Rush A Farewell to Kings 40th Anniversary

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Murph, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. Juggsnelson

    Juggsnelson Forum Resident

    Long Island
    I got mine from Import CD's a few days ago. I wouldn't worry yet....they have been very good as of late. The same thing happened with the Bill Bruford box set. I pre-ordered, it disappeared from their site, and then it showed up a week later.
  2. That sounds GOOD.
  3. J Vanarsdale

    J Vanarsdale Forum Resident

    Tha changing of the album art is not cool at all... put alternative new artwork somewhere in the package but not on the front. I think it's a classic cover, and the new one cheapens the original release.
  4. dcd2112

    dcd2112 Forum Resident

    Milwaukee, WI USA
    I think it’s ok to have the new artwork featured on the front. I would agree with you if the original version of the album was no longer available, but it is readily available. Also the new artwork delineates that this is an entirely new edition of the album with a full live gig and for those who want it, a 5.1 mix of the album.
    MarshallMan, RangerXT, Plan9 and 5 others like this.
  5. Funky Meadows

    Funky Meadows Forum Resident

    The 'tri-arch' approach lends itself more toward "Moving Pictures" than the original cover. I don't mind a reinterpretation of the original cover , as long as it stays true. This one strays a bit.

    It will be interesting to see the reimagined cover art for "Hemispheres". Of course that is assuming (hoping, SCREAMing) that Hemispheres gets the same treatment as this AFTK Box gets.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  6. Valen2260

    Valen2260 Forum Resident

    I spent the weekend giving the 3 disc set a good listen, and it gets the thumbs up from me.

    Here's my blog feedback for those of you still wondering whether to pull the trigger;

    What’s to like?

    I had heard the whispered tales of immortality….

    One of Rush’s best-loved albums get the 40th birthday makeover, and the results are a “kingly” tribute to the music and the fans.

    The low down

    When they turn the pages of history, when these days have passed long ago…

    A Farewell To Kings is considered a seminal album for Rush, with the band on a creative surge after the success of its predecessor, 2112, which had been a last-stand gamble on the band’s self-belief in their music as their record contract was about to expire. That success was pivotal in bolstering the band’s confidence to take things to the next level with A Farewell To Kings a year later.

    In some ways this was a time of renewal for the trio, as Kings was the first album the Canadians recorded in a new setting, that of Rockfield Studios in Wales. It was also the point where bassist Geddy Lee began taking on additional duties as a keyboard player to add colour and depth to the music, while guitarist Alex Lifeson expanded his array of pedal effects and Neil Peart graduated from “drummer” to “professor of percussion”.

    The music also reflected that spirit of adventure, with the album’s six songs building on the diversity that had been hinted at on the previous album, but sounding bigger and bolder…and louder. Kings is not the band’s most polished sounding album, but that’s probably why I’ve always liked it. There is a raw, live, feel to it – the epic Xanadu was recorded in two takes (!).

    A Farewell To Kings might be a relatively short album, with only six songs, but the running order is nicely balanced between the epics like Xanadu and Cygnus X-1, and the shorter, more reflective songs like Closer To The Heart and Madrigal. And of course, back then, bands had to pay closer attention to sequencing tracks for maximum effect, because of the limitation of 20-25 minutes on one side of vinyl.

    So, here we are 40 years on, with Rush now seemingly in retirement, but anniversary editions keep on coming. So is this edition a worthy memento of the legacy, or a crass cash-grab by the record label?

    When this release was announced my first reaction was to boycott it. The additional material that I was really interested in – a 5.1 surround mix by Steven Wilson – was being restricted to a super deluxe box set costing almost £100 for pre-orders. Record companies have cottoned on to the idea of releasing extravagant reissues, and forcing fans to cough up if they want the real gems in the set. And while I sympathise with the labels desperately trying to recoup diminishing returns as the overall market shrinks, screwing the fans isn’t going to help their cause.

    However, there was still the potential sweetener of a complete 1978 concert included in the more affordable three disc set, so I compromised and went for this version.


    It’s a nicely packaged set, with the discs securely housed in plastic trays in a fold out wallet, so no worries about scratched discs from cheap cardboard sleeves!

    I know some people reacted badly to the new artwork replacing the original iconic sleeve, but I rather like it and as far as I can see from the liner notes, the new art has been produced by Hugh Syme, the same guy responsible for all of Rush’s album sleeves. (And the original cover is respectfully printed on the back of the liner notes, for completists.)

    And talking of the liner notes, they’re some of the most extensive and in-depth notes I’ve read for a reissued album. Seriously, they go into a note by note deconstruction of each song, and reveal loads of fascinating details about the lengths the band went to create new sounds for their instruments.

    From an ancient book, I took a clue.”

    For Lifeson’s guitar, producer Terry Brown placed the guitar amp in the courtyard, 30 degrees to the side of the back wall, and then added two microphones – one in front of the amp and the other on the wall behind the amp – to pick up the signal of the guitar sound bouncing off the wall. This gave the guitar a “super-wide sound with a long delay on it” which may have been a defining moment in creating that famous Rush sound.

    So, how does that sound fare with this new remaster? Well, the first thing I noticed is that the volume is substantially lower than on previous versions, bucking the trend for remastering at louder levels. It took me a few minutes to adjust to this, because I’m so used to hearing the album in its original version, where the sound can border on harshness at times. But once I turned the volume up on the remaster, the dynamics also opened up.

    The acoustic guitars sound warmer, the bass guitar and drums have a little more depth, and the keyboards and bass pedals have much more presence in the music. While it’s always going to be a guitar heavy album, this version reveals how fully the background instruments contributed to the overall sound, and why the band considered this a significant step forward in their music.

    To sum up this remaster, it sounds richer.

    And then there’s the bonus material:

    He held up his riches to challenge the hungry.”

    Fans will probably have an edited version of the band’s show at Hammersmith Odeon in 1978, released as a bonus with the Different Stages set back in 1998.

    However, with this new set, you get the full version of the show – a further 30 minutes with the addition of Lakeside Park, 2112 (full version), Closer To The Heart – and the band are really going for it on that night! The playing is terrific and I felt that the performance of 2112 here is one the best live versions I’ve ever heard. Lifeson not only nails his principal parts, but adds flourishes and embellishments that show just how quickly he was developing as one of rock’s finest guitarists.

    As an additional sweetener, the live tapes have been remixed by Terry Brown. I did a quick comparison with the 1998 version, and Brown’s remix wins hands down, transforming it from quality bootleg to a bona fide contender as the definitive Rush live album.

    It would be remiss of me not to mention the handful of cover versions tacked onto the end of this package’s third disc, but I’ve yet to listen to them. After hearing the originals at their best, anything else would have felt like an anti-climax.

    Chances are, if you’re reading this you may well be a fan already, or at least familiar with the album. In which case, from Rush-head to another, why not treat yourself to this 40thanniversary edition? The remaster gives the album a new lease of life, and you get the bonus of a complete show from that tour, superbly mixed and showcasing the band on fine form.

    If you’re not familiar with the band, then A Farewell To Kings is a worthy introduction to the annals of Rush. It’s frequently ranked in top ten lists of prog rock albums, and is considered a prototype for what became known as progressive metal, blending hard rock guitar with epic prog rock arrangements.

    For me, it’s an album that shaped my taste in music as a teenager just starting to listen to rock, and time hasn’t diminished its influence, “For I have dined on honey dew, and drunk the milk of Paradise.”
  7. *Zod*

    *Zod* Forum Resident

    Connecticut, USA
    I'll just leave this here

  8. opiumden

    opiumden Forum Resident

    My ears are really sensitive to left/right differences and maybe that should be considered as a factor. It's my personal opinion, after all.
    But still, I prefer the Different Stages version to this mix. IMO the sound of live Rush was never well documented. Not one official live release delivers the true sound of the band. Exit Stage Left comes close, but doesn't cut it.
    RangerXT likes this.
  9. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Bergen County, NJ
    C'mon guys - why are there no reviews of the turntable mat?;)

    GeraldB and RangerXT like this.
  10. bbanderic

    bbanderic Forum Resident

    Possible for someone to post DR values for the 4oth anniversary CD? Curious if it's the same as the 2015 hi-res version.
  11. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

    Northeast US

    If I'm not mistaken, some of those songs are from Toronto.
    RangerXT and pool_of_tears like this.
  12. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

    Northeast US

    Not sure. The Different Stages mix seems more direct and raw, I think Terry Brown's mix is maybe a bit more balanced and polished?
    RangerXT and prognastycator like this.
  13. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

    Northeast US

    Which CD? The official CD, the bootleg CDs or the radio show broadcast in 1986?
    RangerXT likes this.
  14. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

    Northeast US

    Thought I was hallucinating the first time when I heard Close Encounters there.
    RangerXT likes this.
  15. ytserush

    ytserush Forum Resident

    Northeast US
    I think so too, but at least the original front cover is referenced, which wasn't the case with the 2112 set.

    That said, I do like a lot of the new art inside the booklet.
    RangerXT likes this.
  16. RangerXT

    RangerXT Forum Resident

    United States
    Official CD, though I can only vouch for the stand alone CD release, not the disc that was put in the X3 video pack.
    ytserush likes this.
  17. Hoops12

    Hoops12 Active Member

    I like the changing of the album art a lot. I already have the original art (just as everybody), so a new perspective is very welcomed and even needed. Waiting for the next approach on Hemispheres...
    RangerXT likes this.
  18. Hoops12

    Hoops12 Active Member

    Finally a very good analysis of this new release! I was just getting tired of reading too much about everything else but A Farewell to Kings 40th anniversary edition. Thanks!
    anth67, OptimisticGoat and RangerXT like this.
  19. Rosskolnikov

    Rosskolnikov Designated Cloud Yeller

    That's an absolute deal-breaker. No money from me. This kind of greedy behavior has to be discouraged or record companies will normalize it.
    chaz, RangerXT and formu_la like this.
  20. Bytor Snowdog

    Bytor Snowdog Forum Resident

    The set encompasses the Abbey Road Mastering Studios 2015 remastered edition of the album for the first time on CD

    A Farewell To Kings 40th Anniversary Release |

    Sounds to me like the studio CD is nothing more than a 16/44 version of the 24/192 2015 hi-res release. A downgrade for those that already have the hi-res version. Am I wrong?
    RangerXT likes this.
  21. JediJoker

    JediJoker Audio Engineer/Enthusiast

    Portland, OR, USA
    Well, the hi-res download is watermarked. Hopefully, the CD isn't. Last year's 2112 40th followed the same format and though they claimed the CD would be a straight downconversion of the hi-res master, the DR values suggested it was slightly more compressed (could just be conversion artifacts) and my ears told me it might actually still be watermarked. If an early adopter would be willing to measure and upload the DR of both the first CD and the stereo from the Blu-ray, I know I'm not the only one here who would appreciate it.
    RangerXT and driverdrummer like this.
  22. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Where on the download can I (might) hear the watermark? I don't hear it on AFTK. Conversion artifacts affect DR? Is that standard?
    RangerXT likes this.
  23. scribbs

    scribbs Resident Mockery

    I just picked up the 3-CD set. How does it sound? :laugh:
    RangerXT and Matthew Tate like this.
  24. What does "watermarked" mean?
    RangerXT likes this.
  25. JediJoker

    JediJoker Audio Engineer/Enthusiast

    Portland, OR, USA
    You can read up on watermarking in this thread.
    I don't own the download, but my ears are quite acutely tuned to the effects of the watermark, so I'm sure I could spot it in a sample. The end of the chorus of "Madrigal" would probably be the easiest. It's all-but-certain that every single one of the Mercury albums was watermarked, so I doubt Farewell got spared. Of course, if it's not audible to the end user, does it matter?
    Sample rate conversion and, especially, dither (if used) can most definitely affect peak and RMS values. Even the best SRC and dither algorithms can have a measurable effect. Whether it's audible is another story.
    RangerXT likes this.

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