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Rush - 2112 CD (album) cover

2112

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

4.09 | 1510 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

bfmuller
4 stars THERE'S SOMETHING HERE AS STRONG AS LIFE, I KNOW THAT IT WILL REACH YOU

With 2112, Rush entered definitely in the spotlight. The title track became their most famous epic song, an evocative science fiction piece in a orwellian world where the main character discovers a "strange device" that awakes beauty and emotion in a cold, sanitized world. Of course, the device is a musical instrument, so in the end 2112 is an ode to music.

Lyrically interesting and evocative as it is, musically it is not yet then that Rush mastered the art of epic songs. They still struggle to make the piece sound as a whole, to make smoother transitions between the different parts of the song. It is funny to think that many prog bands could compose sidelong complex music but struggle to make it lyrically cohese and coherent. Rush had precisely the opposite problem, and 2112 is a perfect example. That only emphasizes Neil's lyrical talent.

Despite the small holes in the song's craft, 2112 is still a great song and an obvious improvement from the previous albums' epic tracks. Very good melodies, powerful solos and guitar riffs (as usual), an interesting vocal work, an exciting opening, delicate passages and a dramatic climax. The song has it all.

Side 2 is far less ambitious, and a bit more flawed. The songs all clock under 4 minutes and, though not bad, sound underdeveloped. The hard rockers A Passage to Bangkok and Something for Nothing are the highlights. In between them, three slower pieces not particularly attractive, that doesn't sound very different one from the other. A Passage to Bangkok has some interesting percussion and a catchy guitar riff backed by mandolin. Something for Nothing is a song in the vein of Anthem and Bastille Day, with ambitious lyrics and powerful guitar work. Though it has an unresolved coda - as the live version will prove - still is a nice way to close the album.

It is interesting to notice that 2112 suffers from the exact opposite problem they had for the previous album, where the progressive songs were clearly the weakest points. This time, they worked harder on their progressive composing skills, with a huge improvement, while the shorter, hard rockers are a little bit less enjoyable, probably because they didn't give it the same careful treatment.

I had a really hard time evaluating what would be the fair rating to this album, because it pales in comparison to average 4-star albums, and it is quite unbalanced: tracks 3 to 5 are considerably weaker, while tracks 2 and 6 are very good, but a bit unresolved, as it is, in fact, the title track. The latter has not the cohesion I expect from an epic song, but its good moments are actually great, and most of the album is perfectly enjoyable and appealing to prog rock fans. Balancing all its ups and downs, I give it 4 stars.

As their most ambitious work to date, 2112 shows an evident leap in quality, particularly in their composing skills and progressive sound. Nevertheless, Rush was (still) a rough diamond. But that was to change soon, very soon.

[Procede to live album All the World's a Stage for chronological reviewing]

bfmuller | 4/5 |

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