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Rush - Fly By Night CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.36 | 1212 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website


And then came Neil Peart...

It is hard to conceive how a drummer can be so decisive in a band status as "just another band" to a staple and reference in rock and roll history. Yet, it happened before - think of Keith Moon and how it was downhill for The Who since he died, despite the enormous talent of the surviving members. And here, it happened again.

Neil also came to help the band develop their progressive sound, in which Alex and Geddy were already interested. Considering the unquestionable talent of their new drummer, but also - and even equally impressive - his lyrical talent, you may understand - as did Alex and Geddy - that this guy was something special. The guitar and bass players had solid musical skills, yet, there was something missing. Neil's brilliance was the spark needed to make Rush great.The two original members would still provide the music and, in the beginning, some lyrics.

Nevertheless, the chemistry between the three would take some time and adjustments to work. Fly By Night is a clear departure from the straight hard rock to more of a progressive rock sound. Stepping into progressive rock, though, was a learning, try-and-error process, and they would always be true to their hard rock origins. So it was transition time, which is what this and the following album are.

The most obvious display of that change - By Tor and the Snow Dog - is, unsurprisingly, a little disappointing - at least for me. Anthem is a more standard hard rock piece, but, as the title says, it is more ambitious than the standard, both musically and lyrically. Its guitar riff is indeed epic. The lyrical themes of individual freedom would be a recurrence in Neil's writing. Beneath, Between and Behind also provide a great mix of powerful chords and bold lyrics. In the End succeeds in mixing a soft start with a harder main theme, before finishing off in a gentle way. It is funny that its guitar riff seems to be "recycled" in the first part of The Necromancer, from the next album.

Besides that, the album is nothing quite special. The title track is weird, Lee's voice sounding almost disco. In fact, his singing would improve a lot in years to come, without losing its distinctive, high tone.

Overall, I find it actually a bit of a drop in quality in relation to their first album, but that's understandable as the band decided not to rest in the obvious hard rock formula, and in the long run, their bet would pay off. The hard rock tracks still master their progressive atempts. In the end, 3 stars is a fair rating.

bfmuller | 3/5 |


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