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Rush - 2112 CD (album) cover

2112

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

4.12 | 2059 ratings

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Ktrout
4 stars '2112' is a very important album, in that it saw the development of Rush from prog hopefuls, into the band that later composed such wonders as 'A Farewell to Kings', 'Hemispheres', 'Permanent Waves' and 'Moving Pictures'. The album itself however, falls short of the status of it's successors.

'2112', the epic focal point of the album, is indeed impressive - and of course tremendously exciting. Particularly so is the Overture and first movement, 'Temples of Syrinx'. Here, the music surges into the first guitar solo with gusto, which Lifeson (needless to say) executes brilliantly. Geddy's voice soars beautifully, although it must be said he has a tenancy to shriek later in 'Presentation' as he vocalises the role of the priests. Indeed, 'Presentation' is probably the weakest section of '2112', or would be but for a tremendous guitar solo closing that movement, blisteringly fast and tremendously exciting. Geddy's bass line in accompaniment is also complex and Peart's syncopated drum line very effective. The solo's end takes us into 'Oracle: The Dream', far stronger and more beautiful than the preceding movement, in particularly the melody and following poetry; "I see the work of gifted hands Grace this strange a wondrous land I see the hand of men arise With hungry mind and open eyes" - subject being the 'elder race of men', who later conclude the epic by arriving to liberate the subject civilisation from the authoritarian grip of the priests.

Fine though '2112' may be, it's structural arrangement simply doesn't measure up to that of 'Cygnus X-1 Book II', to my ears a far greater epic. Equally, the quality of subject matter doesn't match. In Cygnus, Rush deploy interpretation of something of the philosophical legacy handed down to us from Ancient Greece, in an intellectually mature manner. '2112'? Cheap science-fiction, almost on the level of comic magazines and space invaders. Granted, there's a bit more to it; the political questions as to the role of the state and liberty of the individual. But not much more.

'2112' is not the be all and end of the album; four more songs follow, worthy of particularly note however only 'The Twilight Zone'. Subtle and atmospheric, it is at times rather eerie. The chorus sees mysterious interplay between the bass line and guitar arpeggios, Geddy's voice and an unnerving whisper gliding over this texture like ghosts. The customary guitar solo is equally atmospheric. The lyrics are pleasantly strange; "Beneath his hat, the strangeness lies; Take it off, he's got three eyes." How very odd, but also very good.

'2112' is essential listening for all Rush fans, the album having been so instrumental in their development. For people seeking an introduction however, buy 'Hemispheres', or 'Permanent Waves'. Visit '2112' after you have appreciated the full splendour of Rush at their peak. It's still excellent however, my criticisms relative to Rush's greater works, which sets a very high standard. Four stars.

Ktrout | 4/5 |

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