RUSH — 2112 (review)

RUSH — 2112 album cover Album · 1976 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
AtomicCrimsonRush
32 years later and this album still has the power to captivate thanks to an almost obsessive conceptual framework on the theme of discovery and enlightenment. Hard prog rockers Rush released in 1976 perhaps their most famous album, '2112'.

A strong narrative text is evident in the title track that rocks with moments of high complexity merged with the simplistic standard song format. '2112' begins with narration and a brilliant instrumental workout in 'Overture'. Rush were a musical virtuoso band, primarily due to the guitar riffing of Alex Lifeson, but also featured incredible vocal gymnastics with a high falsetto range in the form of Geddy Lee. When he powers into 'The Temples of the Syrinx' he nails it to the wall; such is the incredible high vocal range Lee is unable to repeat this in later years live, as is evident on the brilliant 'Different Stages' CD.

The track merges seamlessly with the rest of this epic as the quieter 'Discovery' begins. The concept concerns the weird tale of a boy who has a dream and consults an oracle to find the answers and has a dream that holds the key (a theme that would occur over and over in concept albums - the tales of discovery by consulting a supernatural force - even Kiss did it on 'The Elder'). I don't pretend to understand all the conceptual content, however, I prefer to sit back and let all the musical arrangements wash over, and Rush were masters of the epic performance.

The other tracks on side 2 include 'A Passage to Bangkok' a straight rocker, and the raucous 'Something for Nothing'. This was a brave album for Rush after presenting their own brand of heavy prog such as 'Caress of Steel' and 'Fly By Night', but it works because the tracks are memorable and superbly executed. The Drums of Neil Peart are a definite highlight and keep the relentless rhythms flowing in perfect sync. This album is highly influential to the likes of Dream Theater's '6 Degrees of Inner Turbulence,' that feature a series of songs wrapped in the cocoon of one long album side track, and each song section has the power to stand alone.

Overall this is an excellent album, but the piece de resistance would come on the incredible followup album, 'Farewell to Kings'.
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