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5 stars For those who like good old fashioned 70's metal, this is your album. The lead guitar and bass are played with feeling, energy and skill. The drums make you get up from your chair. The best tracks are Anthem, Best I Can, Fly By Night, Making Memories, and In The End. The other three tracks are ok, but nothing to write home about. If you played this album to today's teen, you'd get mixed reactions. They don't know what they're missing. You definitely appreciate this album more if you lived during the 1970s and were attuned to what was going on.
Report this review (#20259)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here's where things get interesting: who in the annals of rock has written a riff as convuluted yet catchy as "Anthem"? More fiery ROCK musicianship in "Best I Can," with that great stop/start riff, and then the utter kill of "Beneath, Between Behind" (and it just makes me sad that you don't hear bands that can play and write like this anymore). "By-Tor" always confused and freaked me out, it has some great rocking parts but it is just flat-out Weird, especially those Snow Dog sounds Geddy does with the bass. Back when I first got this album my 13 year old brain didn't quite know how to process this one... "Fly By Night" is waaay overplayed but damn catchy and demostrates the band's ability to mix the potential hits with the freak stuff. I'm going to piss some people off, but "Rivendell" is kind of annoying partly because of the way the vocals are processed. "In The End" is beautiful, and has 1 of those riffs that will stick in your head for weeks. Incredibly, this is their 2nd album!
Report this review (#20275)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rutsey, due to internal conflict, as well as illness, had left the band at the start of Rush's tour for their debut album. This was actually a step in the right direction, as Neil showed up to the audition with his drums stacked away in a garbage can. Immediately the band hit it off, and started writing songs together. Neil, with his lyrical prowress shows off his genius in this brilliant release. Anthem is one of Rush's greates hard rock tunes, with a blend of progressive spontaneity blended in with it. The lyrics are an 'Anthem' to the greatness of man (Hence the title and their record label for that matter,) and Neil demonstrates his love for the genius Ayn Rand for the first time.(Ayn Rand also wrote a novelette called Anthem, although it is more like 2112 than this song.) Beneath, Between, and Behind is an excellent song worth many listens, being one of Rush's best hard rock work. By-Tor and the Snow Dog is Rush's first true progressive epic. By blending the furious attack of the trio and their respective instruments with their classical and literary roots, they have created the magnificent song that continues to define Progressive Metal long before Metallica tried to claim that distinction. Fly by Night is an instant classic, memorable and catchy, yet complex and enjoyable. Another brilliant song is In The End, which is one of Rush's most moving compositions. Overall, upon Neil's arrival on the band, he has shifted them into the prog rock greats that they are, and Fly By Night simply confirms that greatness.
Report this review (#20258)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Not that this is a bad album but it is hardly a classic , as they were still struggling to come out of their Zep clone habits. And this is an old Torontonian speaking who saw them live about twenty times around those years and to 82.

Of course one can see that By-Tor And The Snow Dog is the premice of the start of greater things to come , but there are still a lot of flaws in it. Of course as a teenager, we did not see those flaws, and my comments on all Rush albums are a mix of my teen fanhood and the grown-up proghead I am today. Anthem has got its moments , in The End is a good closer and Rivendell is correct. The rest is in my eyes relatively flawed but nothing shameful either, displaying the same hard rock they had given us with their debut album.

Report this review (#20251)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars 99% of Rush's music is amazing, and I have every album. Nearly all are classics. But this...sorry to say, is without doubt their weakest. (And all the people I know who like Rush agree with me!) Admittedly Anthem is a tremendous song,and Beneath, Between and Behind is excellent too. But the rest is average at best and unmemorable. By-Tor, whilst being a powerful highlight on All The World's A Stage, is here shortened and plods along. Rivendell is embarrassing (and yes, I am a Tolkien fan) and the whole recording seems pedestrian. I know a lot of fans will disagree with me on this but we are all different! And yes, I was around when this album was first released, so I know what I am talking about!
Report this review (#20248)
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I've always difficulties to listen to the whole album each time I play it...sorry but Geddy Lee vocals are disconcerting & really irritating. Moreover this album is absolutely not progressive. It features only basic, standardised, old dated hard rock compositions. Unfortunately in that time, the group didn't find his own musical identity...a regrettable effort.
Report this review (#20260)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars WOW! For the first time, Neil Peart plays the drums here: compared to the previous album, we feel here a quite more DYNAMIC energy involved: faster & more refined bass, more complex and varied drums. The guitar sound is not exactly the same too: it is more nervous and the sound is just slightly less extreme, although very powerful and razor all the same. We also notice that the tracks are much more structured: the have more the prog hard rock style. This record has no keyboards and does not need them at all! The sound is very good and the recording is professionally made. There are some excellent flanger effects in the electric guitar sound, like on "Anthem" and "In the End". Lee still screams like an hysterical person, and that is very pleasant, never irritating. Most of the tracks are rythmic, loaded and catchy. On "Rivendell", the mood is very mellow, featuring a peaceful acoustic guitar, with Lee whispering in your ears some poetic words. Of the RUSH's keyboards-free records, this is my favorite one!

Rating: 4.5/5

Report this review (#20277)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars They came riding from the North, ready to do battle with the notion that progressive rock was a dying art form. No disservice to JOHN RUTSEY, but new drummer/lyricist NEIL PEART was the missing chink in this power trio's armor, as "Fly By Night" makes plain. This is a firestorm of a record, with music delivered in great chunks of hot metal: the epic "By-Tor and The Snow Dog", the searing "Beneath, Between and Behind", et al. PEART's drumming, sometimes treated with an echo, is the perfect foil to LEE's impassioned (if awkwardly high register) vocals and Lifeson's gargantuan guitars. At this stage, RUSH hadn't incorporated the standard LEE/LIFESON/PEART credits for their music, allowing various members to pair off in songwriting (including a song written completely by Lee, "Best I Can"). The title track, which served as the album's single, is as catchy a song as they've written over their career (the style is reprised on "In The End", my personal favorite on here). The LED ZEPPELIN comparisons still hold on a few tracks, notably "Making Memories", which sounds like an outtake from "Houses of the Holy" (or a southern boogie band, given LIFESON's leads). The band also slips into GENESIS territory on the delicate "Rivendell", with LIFESON stretching out the guitar notes a la STEVE HACKETT.

"Fly By Night" may find the band groping for their own voice, but what I hear is a band throwing down the gauntlet and challenging for their own fiefdom in prog rock's storied land.

Report this review (#20257)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This Rush CD, brought a Virtuoso in drums to the world, Neil Peart. Neil was also responsable into writing lyrics, which are genius. The Album kicks off with Anthem, a hard rocking song with great drum pieces. Then goes with Best I can and Behind Beneath and Beyond, which are pretty good songs, but Geddy didnt know whether to screech or sing. Then the second best song on the album By Tor and Snow Dog, about the fight between By Tor the Devil's Prince, and Snow Dog, a holy soldier.

Then goes to Fly By Night, a real Radio Friendly type song. Then we go to the last few songs are good but still not catchy, then In The End, the greatest song in the album, a la slowed down Fly By Night, in a kick ass beat.

I give this CD 4.5 Stars, only because Geddy's Vocals were somewhat unstable then

Report this review (#20261)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I grew up listening to Rush, in a small town in Northern Minnesota. A very good friend of mine (as well as many other people), Ray Santeramo, epitomized the ideal of Geddy Lee. He was truly a gifted drummer, & did Geddy justice every time he played. Unfortunately, Ray was taken from us all too soon. I will never forget Ray & RUSH will always be a part of my soul. Who can forget the haunting melody of "Rivendell", long before it was glorified in the movie, but forever steadfast in your mind from the books of Tolkien...

This was, and always will be, a treasured part of my youth - as well as something I will pass along to my children. Good music (and good musicians), never really die...

Report this review (#20264)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fly By Night ranks right up there with the best of Rush albums. "Anthem", "Best I Can", "By-Tor", "In The End", "Fly By Night"...the whole damn thing is amazing! The first LP with Neal Peart and a very obvious shift in lyrical ideas. Beer and chicks replaced by snow dogs and hobbits...well not hobbits but you know...more mystical stuff. The tunes are great...the playing is great...the production in great. The cover is kinda lame, but hey, what the hell.
Report this review (#20265)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now we´re talking, FLY BY NIGHT showed the world the transition Rush would suffer over the years, and obviously for good. It has incredible tunes like By Tor and The Snow Dog, Anthem with it´s 7/8 intro, Best I Can and the underrated Rivendell. I gotta admit that I didn´t give this album 5 stars, because I can´t seem to find "In The End" interesting, it bores me a lot.
Report this review (#20266)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album I would not classify as Progressive, more like Aggressive. It starts out with a flurry - Anthem, Best I Can, Beneath B&B, ByTor & the Snow Dog - introducing everybody to "The Professor". Great hard rocking stuff and some excellent guitar work from Alex, especially the solos. I love Geddy's wail in their earlier work as well, I think it fits the kind of heavy, fast paced music that they were playing while each band member displayed their impressive talents. They weren't trying to be artsy here, they were (and are) a hard- rocking power trio and a great one at that. The production of FBN is better than their debut album and in my opinion an underrated piece of work for most Rush fans and rock fans in general. On the downside, the lyrics aren't yet what we've come to know from Rush and the album is a bit short. As a hardcore Rush fan I'm trying to be realistic to those who may not be so even though this CD may not be quite 4 stars, I think it's better than 3.
Report this review (#20267)
Posted Friday, July 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars To me, this was Rush's official beginning. This album made a huge impact. The only song that I can't stand on the album is rivendell. But an album with only one bad song still deserves 5 stars if you as me. Anyways, Songs like Fly by night, By-tor and anthem are quite the masterpieces. No matter what anyone else says, I say the lyrical and musical ability of this album is amazing. This album was definately why rush is where they are today.
Report this review (#20269)
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rush begin to take their compositions seriously, with Fly By Night, their second album. With persussion genius Neil Peart on board the band were at last able to challenge themselves and each other as musicians. This is not really a prog album, as it stays faithful to their rock 'n' roll roots, but it does have 'By-Tor and the snow dog' the first 'concept' track by Rush. At almost 9 minutes, 'BTATSD' moves through a series of musical chapters, describing battle netween good and evil. Its entertaining, is filled with classic Peart drumming, but is not to be taken too seriously. 'Athem' opens the album explosively and with a positivity that reassures the listerner that they have indeed moved on from their scatty, silly sounding debut album. There are great rock songs on 'FBN' notably 'Anthem' 'The best I can' and 'Beneath between and behind' Lifesons guitar sound is raw and his playing competent. The only song that doesn't quite hit the spot is 'Rivendell' This is a weak glimpse into the bands admiration for Tolkein, but despite it weakness it is certainly prophetic. A good second album for a young band. A good rock album.
Report this review (#20270)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not an essential, but oh! so slose. This is 4 stars...if you take the time to listen and relisten. We have a bit of everything for everyone. Hard rock, prog rock even something close to folk in Rivendell, inspired of course by Peart's love for Tolkien's litterature. Because this is something that Peart is good at...reading. Thanks to him, the band really and I mean really took off to success and finally giving Canadian Rock a name to be proud of. He reads a freakin' lot, judging by the quality of the lyrics and the cohesion of his writing along the glorious Rush' journey.

This is a misunderstood album. Despite duds like Best I Can (which is quite finger snappy), this is prime-time good ol' rock and roll. Who Rush generates in Fly by Night a fiery cry of youth that could alter your behavior while driving. Suddently, you feel like speeding up and giving "the eyes" to women at a red light just like at 20 years old.

Fly by Night breathes great mid-20's years just hanging out and listening old records. Who could deny the fact that By-Tor and the Snow Dog has tremendous musical efficency and 100% concert headbanging potential? Man, I wrecked my neck in the Vapor Trail Tour on that song. I still recall shouting at the top of my lungs "the sign of Eth is rising in the air!" and mimicking Geddy Lee's grandiose Robert Plant-like "Oooh yeeahh!"

Boy what a crazy ride of an album.

A huge 1975 "ROCK ON!" to everyone who agrees.

Report this review (#20271)
Posted Sunday, September 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Of the three Rush albums before the bands major breakthrough this has to be the pick. What a way to begin, Anthem just rocks! Brilliant almost punk rock lyrics, and Geddy's voice at it's early best, just about audible to humans, dogs love it! Love Best I Can, and Beneath, Between and Behind is another great tune, as is the title track. No doubt that Neil Peart is now on board with the preposterous By-Tor nonsense, great track though. This would be a 5-star job only Making Memories and Rivendell are a bit bland. Skip those cause In The End is brilliant, awesome the way the guitar comes in. Go buy!
Report this review (#20272)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is one of those albums that you would think is subpar after listening to their later stuff (A FAREWELL TO KINGS,HEMISPHERES etc..) When you go back to this album it sounds quite inferior. The album is more in the Led Zep mold. It does have some of the fantasy motiffs in it that Mr Peart has bought into it and has Middle Earth type tune Rivendell and the slight epic Bytor and the Snow dog but it isn't the Rush that we all come to love. That would surface on A Farewell to Kings. Still a good, honest effort from the trio.
Report this review (#20276)
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Album number two and Rush is really just starting to gel. I didnt really like this one except for the title track which sounds like the Rush we all know and love.To me this album is one Great track and a whole lot of filler!They did correct their mixing issues of the first album however.A solid 3 stars.A good album but still not at their peak.
Report this review (#20283)
Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is Neil Peart's debut with Rush. From the get-go, he was asked to supply lyrics for the band, and this addition changed the principal elements of the band. No longer would they sing about working from 9-5, now they would sing about Snow Dogs and Necromancers. Anyway, the work by all the members is phenomenal. Rather than talk about all of the tracks, I'll mention the stand out tracks.

The opener Anthem begins and ends with a bang. With great guitar work by Lifeson, phenomenal bass work by Lee, and incredible drumming and lyrics from Peart, the song brings up Peart's long fascination with the heart and mind. A true rocker at the core.

The next stand out track, By-Tor and the Snow Dog, brings in the entrance of By-Tor, who later makes an appearance in The Necromancer. A true rocker, with phenomenal work by all of the members, especially Peart, whoses drum fills take the main stage throughout the song. The song has a very rocking intro, a very quiet middle section, and a rocking ending everything a good song needs, a rise and fall.

The other three songs woth mentioning are Beneath, Between, and Behind, another rocking piece that begins Pearts fascination about kingdoms. Fly By Night, a rocking piece, with some great bass work by Lee and a catchy chorus. And the finale, In The End, beginning with a quiet acoustic guitar, then roaring in with a phased electric guitar, this is my favorite song on the album.

Overall, this is my 2nd favorite of the first 3 Rush albums. For every track I like, there are a few that are just okay, nothing spectacular. 3.5/5.

Report this review (#37168)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, this album is pretty good. Its more hard guitar-driven rock than their later stuff, but some of it is not spectacular. Lots of 'Meh' stuff. This is also when Geddy used to kind of scream with his super high pitched voice, and then tends to turn some listeners off (personally, I prefer his later vocals, but these are great too). This is also Rush's first album with brilliant drummer/lyricist Neil Peart, so of course, all the lyrics and rumming are excellent. Anthem is a good opening hard rocker, with great riffing and a great solo from Lifeson. Best I can is one of those kind of boring 'meh' songs, which tends to recall the straight-forward hard rock of Rush's self titled debut. Beneath, Between and Behind is also kind of boring, and is simliar to Best I can. By-Tor and the Snow Dog is awesome, possibly the best song on the album. Its tells the story of By-Tor, the 'Knight of Darkness,' and his epic battle with the Snow Dog. Part III. Of the Battle is all instrumental, featruing great solos, and the dynamic playing from all actually paints pictures of an epic battle in one's head.

Fly By Night, the title-track, is a good song, and was a hit single, featuring classic Rush- style riffs and lyrics. Great guit-fiddle solo too. Making Memories, an acoustic song, is kind of 'meh' for me, but it is better than Best I can or Beneath, Between, and Behind. Rivendell is a very emotional song, played on a nylon string acoustic guitar. Maybe I just like this song so much because it references Lord of the Rings, but its great anyway. It is also very relaxing, too. The closing track, In the End, is great too, featuring an acoustic intro, and then it rocks hard for the rest of the song.

So this is a pretty good album, which even seems metal-ish at times (By-Tor and the Snow Dog, Anthem). Some boring 'meh' songs, not terrible, but with a band as full of great songs as Rush, there have to be a few mediocre songs.

Report this review (#37268)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rush's 1st album with Neal Peart is also one of their better albums out there. While it may not reach the same heights as Kings or Moving Pictures, Fly By Night is a fast, firey record of a band trying to strech beyond their normal boundaries (By-Tor, Rivendell), while holding onto their Zeppelin/ hard rock roots (Anthem, Beneath, Between Behind). THe one thing that keeps this album up there is the addition of Peart as the band's drummer. His Lightning fast prescision and skills make him the perfect fit in this power trio. All in all, Fly By Night should not be missed by any Rush fan, if only for Peart's arrival on the scene
Report this review (#38768)
Posted Thursday, July 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say except that this is one of Rush's best albums. If you like hard fast rock and don't care for Rush's last 25 years of "progressive" style, this album is for you. Geddy screaches at the top of his lungs and in my opinion, has never sounded better. Neil's percussion is frantic and precise (unbelievable). Alex puts out an amazing sound that is so different than anyone else I can think of. Minimal use of synths except in By-Tor which I appreciate.

This group is young, full of energy and hungry for attention at this moment in their career. Lyrically I absolutely love the mythical tone of the album. They are not concerned with writing about serious (boring) topics and instead serve up some Zepplin style fantasy. I love everything before Moving Pictures and only wish that they would truly return to this heavier progressive style. Anthem, Beneath Between and Behind, Best I Can, By-Tor and The Snow Dog are my favorites. Geddy please find THIS voice again if at all possible----- you do have old fans that are not fans of your new stuff.

Report this review (#39964)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A solid four star album. Peart joins just as they are about to tour for the first album and we are off and running full speed. His entry in late 74 opened the door for Geddy and Alex to begin realizing their vision. Peart is almost cosmically in tune with their musical proclivities and is the perfect addition. He breaks the mold in a way by assuming control over the lyrics. And guess what? His respect for the objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand draws a great deal of criticism from "liberal" critics. This musico/politico firestorm is augmented by the usual whiners complaining about Geddy's voice. Funny how I never heard them moan and groan about the absurdly hoarse Cobain vocals and other darlings of rock who can't sing live with anywhere near the intensity and consistency of Geddy. Standout tracks include Anthem, Best I Can, and By Tor and the Snow Dog. 4.254839203200398953 is my final answer.
Report this review (#39966)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Not all bad, but surely not among my favourite rush albums. Neil Peart has strengthened the team, while John Rutsey did a good job on the eponymous debut, Neil really adds to the sound, with great drumfill's. So now the line-up is in place.

With their second release Rush is atempting to find their own sound, and break away from the all too obvious Led Zep. influence that was a central theme throughout the previous album, they succeed on that I think, but it has a negative effect on general direction, some songs are really good, others seem less well thought out.

Fly By Night, and By Tor, are the best songs on the album, Anthem deserves a mention, but the rest is while not bad, not very good. An inconsistent second album, good moments, but too few to really grab me, a nice album for the fans.

Maybe a step in the right direction, but not quite there, and I like the raw sounds of the debut album above this piece. 2 stars, but not all bad.

Report this review (#40089)
Posted Saturday, July 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By this second album Rush had changed personnel in which previous drummer John Rustsey was replaced by Neil Peart. This line-up which we can consider it as Mark II has never changed since then until now. Through this second album, the band still consistent with their music style, i.e. hard rock with three-piece formation similar to early line-up of American Grand Funk railroad. With this second album, musically the band has matured as the composition was getting better than the debut album. Yes, by the time the band was still categorized as heavily influenced by legendary heavy metal band Led Zeppelin. However, with this album Rush had pushed their music boundary not limited only to hard rock music but the had injected some prog elements into their music.

The album opener "Anthem 4:21" (4:10) does not only indicate a heavy metal / hard rock tunes standards but they pushed forward with some dynamic style through the exploration of guitar riffs and inventive bass lines. "Best I Can" (3:24) is probably still rooted on hard rock music with straight forward structure. This also happens to the thirrd track "Beneath, Between and Behind" (3:00) which has been the band's favorite live track. Through the fourth track "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" (8:57) I can smell the progressive efforts put forward by the band. It's something that Led Zeppelin had ever done before: combining the energetic part of a composition with some music exploration that is continued with different style of music - a blues-based style. It's also obvious that the band divides this 8-minute track into four parts: I. At the Fobes of Hades, II. Across the Styx, III. Of the battle, IV. Epilogue. The combination of electric guitar solo plus its sound effects and bass guitar lines is truly excellent.

"Fly by Night" (3:20) brings the music back to a hard rock style followed with a good ballad using acoustic guitar rhythm in "Making Memories" (2:56). "Rivendell" (5:00) is a mellow track with nice melody augmented with good acoustic guitar fills. "In The End" (6:51) is a good track that combines nice introduction in mellow style and a rocking part that follows. It's now a legendary track.

Overall, this album offers a hard rock style music with some tracks with progressive approach. It's obvious also through this second album of Rush that Neil Peart has demonstrated his excellent drumming. This album is produced by Rush and Terry Brown. If you like the music of Rush, you should have this album with you. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild. GW.

Report this review (#41815)
Posted Saturday, August 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony R
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Rush's second album and the first to feature the drums and lyrics of Neil Peart.

There is still very a "Led Zep Junior" feel to the album,with only hints at later prog glories.Indeed Anthem,Fly By Night,Making Memories,Best I can and In The End are barely a step up from the debut album in terms of songwriting.Thematically there is a big change- out go the working class hero lyrics and in come Ayn Rand and Tolkien flowing from the eager pen of Neil Peart.

This isnt a bad album-apart from the awful Rivendell.The drumming is of course excellent and there is a tightness and assuredness about the band that was lacking on their debut.What really makes this album a progression from their debut is the killer "By-Tor & The Snow Dog".Fantasy lyrics and fantastic playing are a feature of this mini-epic.The bass growls and the guitar screams as the two heroes of the title battle it out in some Tolkienesque fantasy world and then there is that legendary drumming and drum-roll that announced Peart to the drumming fraternity.Of course,the live version on "All The World's A stage" is the definitive version but this track was the real pointer to Rush's future direction.

Once more,this is not really a Progressive Rock album,so cant be rated as one.A 4 1/2 star heavy rock album,but in terms of Prog, for Rush fans only.

Report this review (#44279)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Shoot, mang!!! I really like this one! The production is very strong, with loud guitars burying Geddy just enough so that his squealing isn't nearly as annoying as it would be on the next few albums. Also, a good half of the record is made up of solid memorable hard rock tunes -- "Anthem," "In The End" and the hit title track are the songs of which I am currently speaking! "Making Memories" is a very pretty acoustic number as well. The others are slightly less interesting, but still present the band as a cool mid-70s rock band; this would soon change as Neil Peart's fantastical nerd vision took over
Report this review (#45279)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Honestly, I can't wrap my ear around this one. It's typical 70's era Rush, with songs about mythological warriors that are also laden with Tolkien-esque imagery. Oddly enough, most of their 70's platters are like this, but this one didn't catch my ear when I heard it, and hasn't since. Of course, ANTHEM is an awesome song....pure rock and roll for those who like it hard, heavy and sans apologies. The rest...even though they have well-thought out lyrics, great bass and drum playing and cool guitar kinda there.
Report this review (#46105)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the most fortunate events in music history occured when original Rush drummer John Rutsey was replaced by Neil Peart. 'Fly By Night' was the first album to feature the classic Lee/Lifeson/Peart trio, and like many albums that were to come, it set a very high standard and played to the peak of the band's abilities at the time. 'Fly By Night' is a curious album, splitting time between the band's debut of simplistic hard rock and the progressive tendencies that would overflow on their successive output. It also splits the Rush fanbase, being as much loved/hated as an album like 'Roll The Bones'.

"Anthem" opens proceedings, and if their debut 'Rush' was heavy hard rock, "Anthem" is sublime heavy metal. Bombastic, theatric and iconoclastic, it propels forward with serious intent, tons of depth, and inspired vocals by Geddy. The reverbed accents give the song even more character, and it's clear that Peart is a player on par with his new bandmates. The special chemistry between the three musicians is very clear here, and they couldn't have picked a better song to open their second album. Too bad second song "Best I Can" takes things a few steps backwards. It's simple, framed on a typical boogie-rock figure, and though it would've worked fine on their first album, it drags down the momentum of the album's excellent beginning. "Beneath, Between & Behind" features some interesting chord patterns from Alex Lifeson, swirling percussion from Peart backing Lifeson's open-chord stylings, dissonance and exciting transitions. It's another song that moves Rush away from hard rock and into a more metallic area. And what can I say about "By-Tor & The Snow Dog" that hasn't been said a million times? This is an undeniable classic, an epic of early prog-metal, and easily the highlight of the album (kind of...I put "Anthem" right up there with it). The battle sequence is intensely visual...but we should keep in mind that it bears an uncanny likeness to Yes's "The Gates Of Delirium", which was released one full year before (on 'Relayer'), a band that Rush admitted to being influenced by at this time. But that knowledge doesn't lessen the impact of the mighty "By-Tor" one bit.

The second half continues the diversity of the first, but is overall a bit lighter. "Fly By Night" is a perrenial FM radio staple, simple and light-hearted, easy to get into and utterly enjoyable, though not a total classic. "Making Memories" is something I'm not always in the mood for, being an acoustic-driven, lilting springtime bounce. The lyrics are autobiographical and foreshadow the heights the band would scale in the coming years. "Rivendell" is a gentle ballad with a medieval feel, Geddy's fragile approach conveying Peart's lyrics well enough, but it seems merely a warm-up to the more effective ballads that would come ("Madrigal" and "Tears"). "In The End" is excellent. I love its slow build, and the crashing chords along with Geddy's wailing provide a huge ending to 'Fly By Night', a wonderful album that may not be as complex as those that were on the horizon, but as Rush's true starting point, it works plenty of magic.

Report this review (#46408)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
3 stars After the Cream/Led Zeppelin inspired eponymous debut LP drummer John Rutsey decided to leave Rush because he was not pleased with the wish from Lifeson and Lee to sound more progressive. Soon auditions for a new drummer took place and Neil Peart became the new drummer from Rush. Halfway 1974 the band started their North-American tour as a support act for Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann's Earth Band, they played for 10.000- 12.000 people. During the tour Neil Peart turned out to be a huge reinforcement. Rush kept on touring (with Nazareth, Hawkwind, Kiss and PFM) and the chemistry between the three members started to work.

On this second Rush album (released February 1975) you can hear the difference with their previous record, it sounds far more powerful and original. OK, most of the songs are no more or less than pleasant rock songs like "Anthem", "Best I can", "Beneath, between and behind" and "Fly by night" featuring splendid soli from Alex Lifeson (fiery and biting, wah-wah drenched). But some compositions showscase progressive tendencies like "By-Tor and the Snowdog" (several shifting moods and halfway a break with sound effects and a distorted guitar solo), "Making memories" (catchy rhythm with acoustic - and slide guitar) and "In the end" (first and final acoustic part and halfway propulsive electric guitar riffs, including a fiery solo). Side two delivers more acoustic pieces like the romantic "Rivendell" featuring beautiful classical guitar and warm vocals from Geddy who sound in general a bit screamy and too high pitched for me! From this second album gradually Rush integrated more and more progressive ideas and Neil Peart started to write, his lyrics were almost beyond the usual R&R subjects like love, sex, drugs and other primal needs!

This is a pleasant rock album with progressive tendencies, no less or more.

Report this review (#47064)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
3 stars Better than their debut, but not a great album, and with a soft entering in prog sounds in some songs...

Rush was trying to find their way in rock music, and with the entering of Neil Peart the band earned a lot of quality in the rythm section and a great lyricist in him... Neil Peart it's undoubtly one of the best and more influential (Mike Portnoy he's an obvious fan...) drummers in rock history!!! This is the first Rush's album with the classic trio...

This album followed the path of the previous one, but with a little more complex compositions and with a harder sound, because the great Neal's beats...

Best songs: Anthem (nice start), By-Thor and The Snow Dog (good mini-suite, maybe the firt Rush's progressive song...) Fly By Night (the best song of the album) and Makin Memories (great acoustic and bass here!)

Weak songs: Best I Can (forgettable song...) and Rivendell (really boring song in my opinion...).

A good album, recommended to 70's hard rock lovers. But maybe the prog and symphonic's rock lovers will be dissapointed with it...

Report this review (#47595)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I haven't listened to Rush in awhile, but had started playing the drums again, and Neil Peart, Bill Bruford, Steve Gadd and (Don't laugh) Ringo Starr were the people I learned from, other than my teachers.

I saw Rush at the Belleville Area College (Illinois) gym, when they still had Steve Rutsey.

I liked them alot.

I also started into the professional music business at the time, having producing and engineering credits for many bands from Capital, WEA, RCA, etc.

And ended up with a Platinum record from Duran Duran, altho I liked producing and recording Hip Hop bands from NYC.

But I digress.

I liked the 1st Rush album. I'd give it maybe a 3 out of 5, and left it at that.

Then I received the "Fly By Night" LP. (Wasn't this a Polydor or Mercury release?)

I loved it. I've seen some posts that it was a Led Zepplin rip off, and I have to disagree. And I'd already seen Zepplin more than once at this point.

Page is a great guitar player, but usually sloppy live. Bonham had the "Purdy" feel, but I always thought of seeing him flailing his arms around. Great drummer, but a different style. Robert Plant, same thing, great studio, but all over the board live.

I heard "Fly By Night" learned all the songs on drums, and I was hooked.

Then I saw them play live on the "Fly by Night " tour, and I was really impressed.

Aerosmith always sounded like crap live. I couldn't even tell what song they were playing one time it was such noise, till they got to the drum break, and I figured out it was Sweet emotion. Zep was hit or miss. Queen could actualy pull off their studio cuts live, but an entirely different style (Brian had those 3 Vox AC30 stacks, with each one running a Echoplex between them. One gig I got to actually give his guitar a strum during a sound check.)

Rush sounded crisp and clear. They had a very tightly assembled stage.

Basically, they rocked, and I was hooked.

I quit the music business in about 1990, and had not seen Rush since about 1980. And up till that time, I maybe had seen them 12 to 15 times.

Fly By Night opened many players to a new kind of band. They rocked, and were technically brilliant. Yes was also technically brilliant, but more like classical chamber music. (Nothing wrong with that.)

These were songs you really had to learn. Every time and signature change. Every tempo change. This really pushed my percussion from the normal pop and Rock BS, to making me learn paradiddles and the rudaments.

Then came 2112 (We actually played almost all of this album at gigs, along with out yes, ELP, Steely dan and other eclectic playlist.), and I was reminded of other concept albums, especially my fave, Sgt. Pepper.

If you don't want to call this a progressive Rock classic, then what is? Maybe it received les airplay than 2112. But it was a powerful statement of what was to come.

I slowly lost my touch with Rush about 1980-81, when the punk movement came about, and then the advention of drum computers in the studio took all my time. (Remember those Oberheim DX's that we all thought were the greatest thing ever made?)

Now, many years later, I back to playing a real kit, and wanting to play my roots.

Except for YYZ, that I've been writing out signature patterns, and I'm going to ace over the next 2 weeks.

Report this review (#54717)
Posted Saturday, November 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I bought Fly By Night in early '77 after hearing the All The World's A Stage live album. None of my music loving friends gave a damn about Rush. As far as I knew, I was the only Rush fan on the west coast of Canada.

With this album, Rush really came together as a band. The trio mesh perfectly and the youthful energy drips from every note. Geddy and Alex sound totally professional and Neil Peart is utterly dazzling throughout. I wonder how many listeners in the mid-'70's realized here is the debut of a genius drummer?

Anthem starts the proceedings as a monster track. It's quite original and much evolved from the bluesy hard rock of the post-Zeppelin era. Wonderful hard-hitting stuff.

Best I Can is a pretty simple riff, but Rush make a go of it with sheer energy and sincerity. Peart's drumming is chock full of accents and fills that keep things interesting.

Beneath, Between, Behind is a slightly off beat hard rock number with some rhythm changes that treat the listener. A pretty good tune.

By-Tor And The Snow Dog is fabulous. The lyrics evoke fantasy images as the music describes a tremendous battle. The band gets into a mighty groove then after some gorgeous short drum breaks, shuts down to a post-fight quiet slow section featuring bluesy Lifeson licks. Later everything ramps up to a crescendo and the song is over, leaving the listener stunned, amazed and drained. By-Tor in defeat retreats to Hell. Snow Dog is victorious!

The title track Fly By Night is just plain catchy. Straight ahead hard rock done extremely well by a trio that sounds confident and has their future ahead of them. Not very proggy, though.

Making Memories is quite good, but the best stuff on the album is now over. It's not a bad song about being on the road, and Alex does some fine slide guitar.

Rivendell is the weak point here. Aggression gives way to mellow acoustic guitar and no drums. An OK break in the onslaught, however.

In The End starts with more acoustic guitar, then builds intensity and winds the album down in fine style.

4.5 stars.

Report this review (#54721)
Posted Saturday, November 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fly by Night is more hard rock than anything else, but still a solid second effort by the group! Not their best album, but definitely not their worst. Drummer John Rutsey had left the group and in his place, present-day drumming icon, Neil Peart.

The first side starts with Anthem, a catchy hard rock song that is in my opinion, one of the better songs on the album. Next is Best I Can which is a pretty simple and forgetable rock song. Beneath, Between, and Behind is a good song, but a shadow in comparison to the great By-Tor and the Snow Dog. By-Tor is my favorite song on the album. It's probably Rush's first progressive track, and paves the way for the epics next to come. Overall great way to end the first side.

Side two starts with Fly by Night, which is a slower song than the first half, but very catchy and good overall. Making Memories is a very average acoustic track Zeppelin-style, but still much better than the following Rivendell which I find very boring and the weakest link on the album. Finally, In the End is a good way to end a good album. It starts off slow but builds up and then settles back down.

Overall: 3/5 stars. Better than the debut, but I enjoyed all their albums after this until Signals.

Report this review (#57744)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is still hard rock but better than preceding one, especially thanks to the entry of the new drummer the Great Neil Peart, Which brings great technical ability and begins to write most of the lyrics of the band, with mythological and fantasy contents. My favorite songs are: The wonderful epic song (my favourite on this album) "By Tor and Snow Dog", with four different parts, with great solo drum by Peart in one of these and this is the first progressive song by the band; the classic "Fly By Night" with great guitar solo by Lifeson, the catchy "Anthem" with great intro, the acoustic very relaxed and nice "Rivendell" inspired by the Tolkien's book "The Lord of the Rings", the almost heavy metal "Between, Beneath and Behind". Good songs are also "Making memories" and "In The End", not bad but they are enough influenced by Led Zeppelin sound. Overral it's an excellent addition even if it's not a progressive work (apart from By Tor and Snow Dog).
Report this review (#60438)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Whoa, whoa, whoa, here we have one of the most pleasant and catchy albums of the world! After their debut album, still a learning lesson from their influences, with only the great Working Man song as an outstanding work, they've come to develop their sound in the best way they could in the moment. Still far away from their remarkable style at Moving Pictures or A Farewell to Kings, they made use of very intelligent moderation between some progressive seeds and the pure spirit of rock and roll.

Anthem - The album starts off with a very concise instrumental, creating their style that would last through many pleasant songs until A Farewell to Kings. With a good guitar and a new clear drumming style brought by Neil Peart and an agressive singing by Geddy Lee. 4/5

Best I Can - This is a very interesting moment at Rush's seventies, for the first time they can play a pure rock and roll song with total originality. The lyrics just flow, they fix with perfection with Geddy's singing and with the song's melody. Neil Peart is starting to shine here. 4/5

Beneath, Behind and Between - A monster track! If Best I Can showed Rush could be original making pure rock and roll, in Beneath, Behind and Between, their true spirit is shown. The chorus is perfect, the guitars are somewhat simple, but it fits perfect. 5/5

By-Tor and The Snow Dog - Finally we came to this! By-Tor and the Snow Dog! This is a heavy member if we list the best Rush's songs ever, or even the best progressive tracks. The powerful drum that starts the song, combined with Geddy Lee singing 'tobes of hades lit by flickering torchlight' shivers my spine every single time I listen to this song. Here is the great seed for Rush's progressive mark. When Geddy sings 'Oh yeah', at the end of the first sang part, it is the end of the blues rock and roll predominant influence over Rush's style. The song goes on with a fabulous instrumental version of the great battle. Neil Peart is now showing what he came for! Rush keeps showing the tree guys talent until the second sang part and the song is over. 1000000/5

Fly By Night - A pleasant and catchy song. Okay, it's not progressive and it adds nothing to rush's musical remark, but we can enjoy good rock and roll, can't we? 3.5/5

Making Memories - Another pleasant song, whitout any compromisses with filling rush's musical property. A fabulous solo is played here, as well as Geddy Lee gives us a show in the bass. 4/5

Rivendell - Am I the only one who likes this song? If it was supposed to be a ballad, well, it became too huge for it, but it still gets my attention from beggining to end with the great and catchy acoustic guitars and vocals. 4/5

In The End - The song begins pretty listenable and pleasant, and by the second minute, it recovers the hard energy of the first side of the album. 3.5/5

Well, all I can say is listen to this! Try this first if you're not introduced to Rush

Report this review (#73151)
Posted Saturday, March 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The opening riffs to "Anthem" inform the listener that someone new is behind the kit, someone not to be trifled with. Neil Peart's first album with Rush contains some gems such as "Anthem" and "Fly By Night", but overall the band is still basically playing a very standard Zeppelin influenced hard rock/heavy blues. Certainly the musicianship has been raised up several notches with the addition of Peart; the playing sounds tighter, more focused. The track "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" gives us a glimmer of what is to come, but the album version is slow and listless compared to the absoutely stunning performance of it on "All The World's a Stage" (one of this reviewer's favorite live tracks by any band, ever.) The line from "Making Memories" is apt: "our future still looks brighter than our past". The album is a good step up from their debut but non-essential.
Report this review (#76663)
Posted Saturday, April 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
4 stars The only reason I don't give this album a higher score is that their following stuff is even better (and because of that stupid sound effect passage in the middle of "By-Tor and the Snow Dog").

From the opening unison salvo, you can hear where bands like Dream Theater draw tremendous influence from far as chops go, and you can also hear the infinite difference between previous drummer John Rutsey and current god Neil Peart, with his terrifically accented snare work. After the opening shredding, everything pauses and they go into this soaring riff in case there was any question about whether this band kicked ass or not. From there, it's a roller coaster of diverse & memorable riffs and solos from Mr. Lifeson, Peart's godly drumming and interesting lyrics, and Geddy's banshee wails and monster bass work (that's right, you can hear the bass in this band). The rhythmically unique "Beneath, Between and Behind" is one of my favorites, and that groovy riff in the middle with the whole open-closed hihat pattern will silence any naysayers who put down Neil as having no groove (or maybe he doesn't, I wouldn't know, but the band rocks pretty well and grooves here). "Anthem" is a great hard rock classic with a highly memorable drive and is even better live. "Rivendell" is, as the name implies, about all things fantasy-related, and is actually a quiet acoustic number with some downright beautiful classical guitar work.

Not a real weak track on here, some terrific and revolutionary hard rock and progressive rock/metal, and a good starting point for a band with a huge discography full of great albums.

album rating: 7.5/10 points = 74 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#77217)
Posted Friday, May 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Standing on the Runway Waiting to Take Off

Rush's second album shows a marked progression from the Led Zep clone style of their debut - the Rush sound is beginning to crystallise, most notably in Geddy's vocals.

The overall style of the music, with rare exceptions, is of progressive hard/heavy rock, but it drops valuable Brownie points in the Prog Rock score charts. The one song that redeems this entire album is the famous "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" mini-suite, which almost justifies the price tag - if you can pick it up cheaply.

Good Rocking Tonight

"Anthem" has many of the hallmarks of a Budgie track in the multiplicity of riffs and contrasting light/heavy sections with soaring, screeching vocals - although some sections still bear a sneaky resemblance to Led Zep. Peart, particularly, loses the groove all over the place, coming across as messy rather than loose in the groove.

The same could also be said about "Best I Can" - and "Beneath, Between and Behind" passes almost unnoticed in a rather bland heavy rock vein.

There is a kind of garage charm in the looseness of execution, and the overall feel of being unsure about what the band is trying to achieve, but this is reasonably balanced with the conviction in the delivery and the attention to detail in the structuring of the compositions.

The lyrics for these first three tracks underscore the Rock feeling of the music, as the first two songs are plainly in self-absorbed Rock territory, while the third is an interesting take on the fascination with the Dark and Middle ages that many Rock bands displayed; It's interesting simply because it bemoans man's planned desecration of the earth and worries that we may get our come-uppance - which is the theme of Necronomicon's "Tips Zum Selbstmord".

By-Tor and the Snow Prog

Everything becomes tighter and more dramatic for the "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" mini- suite, which despite the tightness in delivery and focus on riff-based segments, becomes the first and only Prog track proper on this album, each section following on smoothly from the last as a continued developement of a single musical idea. Rush even manage to inject a sense of humour into the overall drama, which goes through clearly identifiable characteristics as it sets out to convey the separate "movements";

The "Across the Styx" section is most striking, as tinkly bells lend an electric atmosphere to the sparse and expressive instrumentation, which demonstrates the versatility of the recharged Rush.

I'm tempted to Rush into an analysis of this piece - but who among Rush fans reads technical analysis of music?

A bit of a Hoot

"Fly By Night" has the harmony issues that were to plague many future Rush tracks, and is just another in the vein of the first 3 tracks - no new territory is explored here.

The next interesting track is the balladic "Rivendell", but the line "You feel there's something calling you, You're wanting to return To where the misty mountains rise and friendly fires burn" is a kind of giveaway to the inspiration behind this. Geddy's voice is somewhat precious here, which spoils the whole effect - but in itself it's a reasonable, simple song, as is the disappointing "In The End".

I find the last song disappointing, simply because I kind of expected a hard rock oriented album to go out with a bang rather than a whimper: Although the music picks up for the middle section, it returns to the light opening music, and is somewhat simple and samey in style overall.

Birds of a Feather

It's worth bigging up Budgie at this point - this band had already released 3 albums before Rush's debut, and both "Never Turn Your Back on a Friend" (1973) and "In For The Kill" (1974) should be compulsory acquisitions for fans of "Fly By Night" to lend a better context. The former contains "Breadfan" and the latter contains "Crash Course in Brain Surgery", both made famous when they were covered by Metallica.

Neither has anything as proggy as "By-Tor and the Snow Dog", but both the similarities and differences between these two power trios should automatically make fans of one band fans of the other - and Budgie don't get nearly as much press as they deserve - so check out "Budgie"(1971), "Squawk"(1972) and "Bandolier"(1975) while you're at it :o)

Of course, YMMV.

This Bird Has Flown

By way of summary, a good if patchy hard rock album that's not really metal and not really prog, apart from the one track - which is a bit of a masterpiece.

Report this review (#85548)
Posted Thursday, August 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Team
3 stars When I was younger (much), this was considered a great album in my circle of friends. I didn't argue. As years went by, it came out less frequently. There was a point when it had been dormant for years. In the more recent past, my collection has been in a state of reconstruction (the reasons for which are another story). There were some classics that seemed necessary to replace. This was one of them.

As I have become reacquainted, something has changed. It's not quite as good as nostalgia would have it. Not bad, but just not the on the pedestal upon which it was once perched.

As always, the band can play. They never disappoint as musicians. It's the compositions. They aren't especially strong. Even the classic title track, is a pretty simple rocker. There are some bright moments. All are mostly held in the last three songs, and "By-Tor (foreshadowing what was to come)." "Rivendell" is a lovely piece, but not earthshakingly so. There is solid rocking all throughout, but no real "wow" moments.

Again, this is a good album. If you want to complete your collection, go get it. It's more satisfying than most of the post "Signals" output. However, if you are just looking to explore Rush, this one can wait.

H.T. Riekels

Report this review (#88338)
Posted Monday, August 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Still more hard rock than prog this is another good album. As with the first album half of it is very good and the remainder is not too bad. For me, the good bits are By-Tor, Fly By Night (one of the few Rush standards I can play easily on my guitar), Rivendell and In The End.

By-Tor has lots of power and some great musical passages but at times maybe loses its way slightly but it played well live. Fly By Night has a cool groove and great lyrics. Rivendell is Tolkein inspired and very typical of early prog lyrics but is so laid back that you can't help enjoy it. In The End kind of fools you with a quiet intro featuring the songs main riff before Alex Lifeson lets rip. Try listening to that one at high volume and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, this is another good album by a band who are starting to gel. It's not quite an essential one but I'd say that you should pick up a copy if you get the chance. Enjoy!

Report this review (#94801)
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Work in Progress.

Rush adds Neal Peart, and while their is an obvious improvement, some of this is hard to chew. Most are simple rock songs with a few dynamics here and there, but nothing is memorable or good for multiple listens. This album is great for those who enjoy rock music, as it will be right in your ballpark as far as overall sound goes.

Obvious influences from other texts shows the band branching out with the influence of Peart, but the band really doesn't get 'progressive' per se until the next album 2112. A great record for fans of Rush and following the career of Peart, but their would be much better offers from the band.

Report this review (#95467)
Posted Sunday, October 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was the first Rush album that gripped me.

The 70s rock numbers remain but the influence of Peart is phenomenal. By-Tor and the Snow Dog rocks through the decent into the netherworld, peers eerily across the River Styx and lets loose the dogs of war at the tobes of Hades. Classic.

Making Memories is a great little number: but then I love Ramble On. Same vibe. The opening chords and broken chords of Fly By Night are for me the unmistakable signature of Rush. It's rock but it has a very positive optimistic feel. Nothing dark here.

In the End is just one of those classic simple chorded monster songs (slightly more than 4 chords that made a million) but it just has that simple powerful feel.

This is one of my favourite albums but I could not even venture to say it was a masterpiece. If you are a prog-rocker it's a definite 4.

Report this review (#99126)
Posted Thursday, November 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wutu Banale on "Fly by Night".

Rush' self-titled debut album was a weak performance in many ways. Mediacore drumming, too long songs etc. Fly by Night is an improvement in the words true meaning. The song structures are more solid and complex (In a positive way) and the joining of Neil Peart was truely a "Blessing in Disguise". His skills with Drums are ten times better than of John Rutsey's and Neil also provided some great lyrics on his first album with the band.

Album starts with a true 1st era Rush classic "Anthem". A Killer riff, Controlled shriek vocals, manic drummin' and great Chorus sums up to the best Rush song of the first four albums. But let's not forget other great classics. "Fly by Night" has to be one of the most nostalgic songs ever recorded. Gotta love the riff and chorus (Which gets repeated quite many times) that are just so warm. Beneath, Between & Behind is great (And possibly the shortests Rush song ever) rocker that just makes you wanna sing along and jump to the walls. Geddy's highest vocals ever can be found here on B, B & B. And of course the first multi-part suite "By-Tor & The Snow Dog" gives us a hint what to expect in the future. The First true progsong by Rush. The Middle section is kinda funny with all the noise and fight between By-Tor and Snow Dog is nicely demostrated with Bass and Guitar. Rivendell is one of those tracks that you propably will NEVER get into. Reeeeeally slow and gentle song played with Nylon stringed guitar, using the "Picking" technique.

But of course this is not flawless album. Led Zeppelin still echoes on few of the songs and Side two is clearly weaker than the first side. Best i Can is pretty boring song too. Of course this is not yet Prog album, this could be descriped as "Prog-related Hard rock". Rush would go truely Progressive with the next album Caress of Steel. Fly by Night is an album that most people should buy, especially Rush fans. Great album but they would go even better with the next album "Caress of Steel".

Report this review (#101479)
Posted Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. RUSH's sophomore record with the great cover has it's highlights to be sure, but also some forgettable moments as well.

"Anthem" is a RUSH classic, with a guitar driven intro leading to Geddy's passionate vocals. I love Alex's guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. RUSH's record label in Canada actually took their name from this song. "Best I Can" is a straight forward song with Neil's drumming standing out. Another good guitar solo. "Beneath, Between & Behind" is an uptempo rocker.

"By-Tor & The Snowdog" is a mini epic that I never really liked that much. The guitar is great though. "Fly By Night" is an awesome mid-paced tune. Just a feel good song for me, with a beautiful guitar solo. "Making Memories" and "Rivendell" are two songs that really do nothing for me at all. The album ends with "In The End" a fantastic song with great lyrics.The intro is mellow, while the power is turned up for the rest of the song.

Songs like "Anthem" ,"Fly By Night" and "In The End" are worth the price of admission to this early RUSH record, but the best is yet to come.

Report this review (#105635)
Posted Thursday, January 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ah, "Fly By Night," the first Rush album with Neil Peart. This truly is an amazing album to take in. From the upbeat intro of "Anthem" to the soft outro of "In the End," this album will keep you interested throughout the whole of it. "Rivendell" is a beautiful acoustic song written about the mystical Elven city from J.R.R Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings." In By-Tor and the Snow Dog," Alex Lifeson is labled as "Snow Dog" and Geddy Lee is labled as "By-Tor." Neil Peart wrote these lyrics, and "Snow Dog" appears in "The Necromancer" on their next studio album, "Caress of Steel."

Sure, these things may seem silly now, but give the album a good listen, and you'll understand just why Rush is such an amazing band.

Report this review (#111146)
Posted Friday, February 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The real beginning to the prog Rush. The Zep proggy elements start to appear such as in songs like Beneath, Between & Behind - Alex isn't just playing da hard rock blooze anymore. The songs have variety in sound. More clarity, not always your basic HM overdriven tone. The acoustic in Making Memories make this their Ramble On, but without an Electric guitar led chorus. Rivendell would be their first attempt at a darker mood. The effect would be used more widely on Caress of Steel & 2112. Of course, the plainest sign that they were "progging" is By-Tor & the Snow Dog. Epic length track with the middle "battle" part. If I remember correctly, this tune was my favourite for about six months in the 1977 mid year. Whether on this album or All the World's a Stage, you could find me listening to it a lot. Anthem, Fly by Night & In The End would see them start to exhaust the Zep influence in song structure & Best I Can would be the end for the basic hard rock conventions in Rush songwriting. Already, we can see 2112 in the mist. They would do a dress rehearsal with Caress of Steel, but with hindsight, 2112 was to be the natural progression from FBN.
Report this review (#115752)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris H
3 stars Rush's transition album?

Most people of the general consensus find Rush's late 70's or early 80's albums to be their "transition period" albums, but I like to think of their second release, "Fly By Night", as their transition period. First off, the biggest transition and most obvious is the replacing of original drummer John Rutsey with the powerhouse and major creative mind behind later Rush albums known as Neil Peart. The other reason why this is a transitional album for me is that I noticed they are trying to break free from their "Zeppelin clone" image. Of course this change isn't entirely complete on this album, but songs like "By-Tor And The Snow Dog" certainly help break the ground for their change into progressive rock.

The album opens up with "Anthem", is very reminiscent of their debut album, and by that I mean a straight up, 4 minute, rock n' roll power song. "Best I Can", same thing. More power drumming, heavy bass riffs and guitar solos. "Beneath, Between & Behind" opens up in a similar style, but they manage to transform it halfway through and end up making it somewhat progressive, even though you can still hear the cymbal smashing of a true 60's rocker. Everything from that point on turns into complete progressive rock to the core, starting off with their "epic", "By-Tor And The Snow Dog". Set in four parts, this is as progressive as progressive gets, even if it isn't a favorite Rush song of mine. The progressive party continues to flow into "Fly By Night", one of my favorite Rush songs and one of their most recognizable. That opening intro is just pure brilliance, at least to my ears. The last three songs? Among the last 15 minutes of music I honestly could not find any high points. Sure, "Making Memories" is a nice song but it is incredibly out of place no the album, and none of the last 15 minutes is somewhat progressive.

This is one of those albums that you can listen to and think to yourself, "I'm glad I own this and I'm glad I didn't pay 15 bucks for it". By that I mean don't break the bank trying to find it, but if it's cheap or on sale you should make an effort to snatch it up. Not only is it the transitional phase for Rush, it is also Neil Peart's debut with the band.

Good, but could be better. 3 stars.

Report this review (#116340)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars From the second that "Anthem's" ballsy introduction starts shaking your speakers you'll know you're in for some serious rockin'. "Fly By Night" really showcases the improving musicianship of both Alex and Geddy, but is even more famous for the arrival of Neil Peart, whose lyrical smarts are evident when comparing the themes of this album's songs with the band's debut. Taken as a whole, "FBN" is smarter, more intense, and more consistant than any of Rush's early albums, while at the same time offering more variety in the songs. Peart's precise drumming really tightens up the group as well, bringing them to the next level of playing.

As for specific songs, "Anthem" throws down a gauntlet that is hard to match, but "By- Tor..." comes close. "Beneath, Between, and Behind" is easily one of the wittiest jabs at American history and culture I've ever heard (and boasts a great melody), especially when compared to the overt explicitness of Ameri-bashing coming from some European bands these days. "Rivendell" sets my Tolkien-loving heart aflame each time I hear it-- and remains the only real quite song the band has ever recorded.

"In the End" is an artsy close to a great album, start to finish. Solid.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#116485)
Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is the transitional album from Rush's prog related Led Zeppelin influenced sound to the classic progressive rock sound of the '70s. The band no longer just has some prog elements present on the album but now incorporates prog sounds into each song. This may have something to do with the addition of Neil Peart. He now takes up John Rutsey's place as drummer and is also instated as the lyricist. This album also the first Rush album to feature Terry Brown as producer (a job he kept until Signals).

But this is not 100% prog. Some songs still retain the hard rock sound that the last album was full of. Making Memories, Best I Can and Beneath, Between, and Behind come to mind right away. Other songs such as Anthem, Fly By Night, and Rivendell are more in the vein of prog related with the distinctive Geddy Lee bass present on most of these songs (except Rivendell which does not feature any bass guitar).By-Tor and the Snow Dog, a mini-epic song of sorts - broken down into 4 sections and mostly instrumental, is the main highlight of this album due to its prog nature and the fact that it shows true progression from hard rock to prog rock and is a fine piece of musicianship. Rivendell is a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien, one of two songs in the Rush catalog that do so (the other being on Caress of Steel - The Necromancer). Anthem is inspired by Ayn Rand (who also inspired 2112). I feel that some of these songs are better portrayed on the live album All The World's A Stage because of the energy put behind these songs in such a setting. Rush, I feel, is a band better heard live (or on a live recording).

All in all this is a highly enjoyable album, but it does have some weak songs on the album that can be seen as filler (Making Memories, Best I Can) because of the feeling these songs give off that does not seem to flow with the rest of the album. This album is a "debut" of the distinctive Rush sound. A good start has been made by this band and this is a strong release. 3/5 stars.

Report this review (#119745)
Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Best side A in hard rock

Or one of them at least. "Fly by Night" is my favorite Rush album these days (a 2014 comment) because of its power and immediacy. Anthem kicks off in a big way and the addition of Peart was truly riveting. The songwriting was growing by leaps and bounds as evidenced by By-Tor and In the End. BBB is another stellar rocker. There are a few static moments on side 2 but all in all this was the true blast- off for Rush and a relief for 70s rock fans who may have started to see some cracks in the Zeppelin machine even though Presence was still coming. I also love the easter egg video of Anthem (live) and the look of determination on Peart's face as he sets out to prove himself.

Someday I need to amend this dreadful review with a real review. (Another 2014 edit)

Report this review (#120850)
Posted Saturday, May 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars An owl? . . . or a mutant Budgie?

After what for many Rush fans was a false start, the classic line up of Lifeson, Lee and Peart (that sounds a bit like Emerson Lake and Palmer surely?) came together for this their second album. Neil Peart immediately gets his sleeves rolled up, contributing to the writing of all but two of the tracks.

By and large though, this is simply a natural follow on from the band's debut. The vast majority of the 8 tracks are simplistic heavy rock songs. The three tracks which open the album for example are straightforward toe tappers, with the familiar hints of Led Zeppelin, but little else to define them.

Only the nine minute "By-Tor and the snow dog" stands apart as something more substantial. The track retains the heavy, driving rhythm but the story telling lyrics and three part structure offer the reassuring proposal that the band are looking to move out of their comfort zone and to experiment with more complex themes. We also have in "Across the Styx" the first real indication that the band can be delicate. For me, the appeal of the song is largely confined to the potential it offers, rather than to the music itself.

The title track, which kicks off side two, is an early "Spirit of radio" type pop rock song. It is perhaps "Rivendell" though which is the most interesting track on the side. Once again, not because of the music per se, this is a pretty conventional acoustic soft ballad, but because it introduces another string to the bow. The closing "In the end" surprisingly continues the reflective acoustic mood until Alex Lifeson's lead guitar increases the volume if not the pace. Future albums would successfully bring together these new strands, merging them with the heavy rock roots of the band.

In all, a decent if unremarkable heavy rock album, which is notable more for the potential which flows from it, rather than the music itself.

I have seen Welsh band BUDGIE mentioned as a reference point for this album, and overall that is a useful comparison. It is though a mutant budgie which flies by night.

Report this review (#123390)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fly By night is Rush's first album with drum god Neil Peart, who promptly took over lyrical duties from Lee and Lifeson, who both admit words are not their strong suit. The result is the first transitional album for Rush (there are three or four), and this one takes us from run-of-the-mill blues rock to the start of something special.

"Anthem" opens the album with Peart's first salute to Ayn Rand. It's one of the band's best tunes with heavy riffs and a great bassline. Lyrically, however, the song doesn't pay tribute that well (see 2112 for a much better nod to Rand). "Best I Can" is decent, but it should have been on the debut considering it's simple hard rock sound. "Beneath, Between and Behind" is a scorcher that became even more blazing live. "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" is where the band truly begin to embrace progressive rock: a nine minute song complete with Peart's penchant for mythology, searing guitars, pounding bass, and a jaw-dropping drum solo that manages to dazzle yet remain musical. This is hands down the best track of the album.

Side Two begins with the title track, a fun hard rock number followed by the ballad "Making Memories." These two songs are the glimpses at Peart's lyrical talent that wouldn't start to flower until Permanent Waves and beyond. "Rivendell" is a mediocre track that barely pays homage to Tolkien's Elvish haven. This track is best skipped. "In the End" closes the album in fine fashion with alternating soft and heavy styles.

Fly By Night is worth it for By-Tor, Anthem, and the title track, but the band had a long way to go. Unfortunately, their next album would be a minor misstep that would delay the band's rise.

Grade: C

Report this review (#126305)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rush's second album, "Fly By Night" shows evolved songwriting and a more mature sound. That's pretty cool considering it was released a year after their debut. Neil Peart joined the band as the divinely-appointed drummer, just cementing the ultimate lineup for at least the next 33 years. Anyway, the Zeppelin influence is still there, but it's obvious their eyes are firmly looking forward, not back.

The album opens with the explosive "Anthem", a loud and fast rock tune. Neil Peart lets everyone know within the first 30 seconds of the song that he's the best drummer ever. "Best I Can" and "Beneath, Between & Behind" are slightly reminiscent of the debut album, but not quite as bluesy. "By-Tor & the Snow Dog" shows the band starting to explore with more progressive and epic songwriting. It's not as refined as they would later get, but it's quite a start. The title track, a radio staple to this day, is a reflective, simple but quite catchy rock song. "Making Memories" is an acoustic-driven song that has a good riff, even if it gets repetitive. Guitarist Alex Lifeson lays down a pretty sweet guitar solo at the end, though. "Rivendell" is an interesting classical guitar ballad. It's quiet and nostalgic, and really an underrated gem. "In the End' closes the album in an epic fashion. The first part of the song is mellow, with only Lifeson's acoustic guitar and Geddy Lee singing and then the electric guitar kicks in with sweet riffs. It's really a rockin' tune that really shows a fledgling band showing everyone what they're made of.

One thing that's obviously better with Rush's second album are the lyrics. Neither Lifeson nor Lee expressed much desire to write them, so it kind of fell on Peart by default. That's okay thought, because they're awesome. Covering topics such as rigors of touring, elves and Ayn Rand, it's rather eclectic but a million times better than hearing Geddy chipmunk-screeching about wanting women. Overall "Fly By Night" is a solid album. The band would continue to get better with each release, but this album shows that they're not messing around.

Standout songs: "Anthem", "By-Tor and the Snow Dog", "In the End"

Report this review (#127178)
Posted Saturday, June 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 stars - Rush have yet to reach their progressive streak at this point, but the wheels are already turning. It's amazing how quickly Neil Peart's entrance changed the whole ethos, sound, and sophistication of the band. Rush still have obvious influences throughout their music, but so much has progressed from their debut. The lyrics have changed from sex, alcohol, and rock and roll to fantasy epics and philosophical statements. The playing from all fronts have greatly surpassed that of the debut. Most importantly though, the composition offers much more than your standard Cream/Zeppelin blues rock.

In the way of pure prog we really only have one track "By-Tor and the Snowdog" which still remains one of the bands finest tracks. The instrumental middle section really hint toward the more ethereal work the band would later produce. The other tracks are all steady rockers some more complex than others. I enjoy all of them thoroughly. They're very intelligent and show the band playing great as a unit, amazing for their first album with a new drummer. I especially admire the growth of Alex's playing from essentially a Page wanna-be to the great varied riffs he lays down here. Also, while he solos are not nearly as imaginative as in his prime, he produces some of the greatest hard rock solos I've ever heard all with a strong identity of their own.

I can't honestly say this album has any weak tracks. "Best I Can" and "Making Memories" are a bit generic and leave some to be desired, but if taken for what they are, they deliver. "Rivendell" receives a lot of hate, as would many similar tracks throughout Rush's career. I know it's a rather simple ballad, but there's a certain appeal to it. I can derive plenty of emotion from it; I wish the band would play it live. Whether this be from me being a Tolkein nerd, or a Rush nerd, or a combination of the two I do not know.

I have very little in terms of formal complaints about this album: The band's great, the writing's great, Geddy vocals are perfectly abrasive. However, given this is a prog site I must rate with some discretion. Overall, this is not a progressive album. It has only one song I would call such, and moments in one or two others which have an odor of prog. Fans of Rush, harder edged prog, or 70s rock a la Zeppelin will not be disappointed.

Report this review (#129285)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2.5 stars, actually

Definitely on the lower tier of RUSH albums. Yet, condsidering the calibur of RUSH albums, it seems this still passes off as a almost a good album. Its very hard rock, and very reminicent of Led Zeppelin, which is exactly what they were trying to imitate after all. Even though it doesn't sound very 'RUSH' and sounds more like something else its still a fun album. Some classic RUSH songs here. Anthem and By-Tor & the Snow Dog being the main ones.

I recommend it to a RUSH fan if they want to know about the roots of their favorite band and as well anyone who likes the hard rock side of RUSH and enjoyed the 2112 album. Otherwise, only By-Tor really saves this album from being collectors only. Basically it gets a 2 and a half because it's between what I normally rate a 2 and a 3... sorry, i guess that wasn't a very good explaination. Either way, if your a Rush fan get it, if your not, skip it and look elsewhere.

Report this review (#130475)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Fly by night, some progressive moments, many not regressive moments. Though not a horrible album, and actually not a bad classic rock album, I feel the album probably shouldnt be held too high in anyones aresenal, prog fan or not. Geddy Lee does, however, show his amazing skill as a bass player, unlike in the terrible debut album, and Neil is introduced, giving some much needed drum skill to the group for the second album.Then theres Lifeson, the guy who can get away with huge stardom and glory, without ever having to get out of the pentatonic scale, this is very frustrating to me, oh well.

The first three songs, Anthem, Best I can and Beneath between and behind are all your typical three minuete verse chorus verse classic rock song, touching on little to no subject matter. Beneath between and behind is actually a bit more satisfying then the other two, with a catchy chorus and a cool bassline, but as Pearts debut in songwriting, even with Lifeson... disapointing. Things look up as Rush's first mini epic appears as By tor and the snow dog, An awesome display of musicianship and compositional skill, yes even Lifeson is very good on this one, hey! They even mess with time signatures on this song! Now theres the poppy radio singal title song, it's pretty nice, but nothing progressive though. The next two songs, making memories and Rivendell are boring and forgettable. Now there is my favirote song on the album, IN THE END! Just an awesome classic rock song,yuo wont find me saying that very often, but man, this song has some very cool moments, especially the riff and the closing part!

Well, there's my review of this album, though there are some very mediocer moments, there are songs like by tor and the snow dog, and In the end that pull the album up a bit, butI would get hemispheres or some other later seventies stuff than this.


Report this review (#132024)
Posted Monday, August 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Essential but not excellent.

'Fly by Night' is an essential album seen in the perspective of the history of progressive rock and in the perspective of hte individual band history of Rush. It is probably best characterized as a transition between more traditional blues-oriented hard rock and the coming progressive hard rock that is found on albums like '2112' and 'Permanent Waves' later in the band's history.

'Fly by Night' contains mainly straightforward rock songs, some of which are more interesting than others. Noteworthy are the title track 'Fly by Night' and 'Anthem', which are both wonderfully cathcy, each in its own way.

The outstanding track is 'By-Tor and the Snowdog', which I think is one of the great masterpieces in the history of rock 'n' roll. It starts out in an "in medias res" res explosion and offers nine minutes of empowering hard rock energy spiced with musical humor and with lyrics that effectively generate vivid imagery.

'Fly by Night' is not a masterpiece, and it is perhaps even not a great album, but it is essential nonetheless (hence four stars instead or three), and 'By-Tor and the Snowdog' is certainly worth buying the entire album for.

Report this review (#132936)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars And so begins Rush's rise to the top.

Exit John Rutsey and enter lyricist/drum master Neil Peart. This new album Rush moved on from their debut and the rumor that they would only try to be the next Zep, the heavy side can still be heard from the trio, but this really is where the band started to explore it's progressive side. Rush fans know that Peart is now the primary lyric writter, with Geddy and Alex contributing music, but back in the day such was not so, only just staring to get there. The result is a diverse album, not the classic era Rush, a bit more experimental, but with moments of glory none the less.

As stated before, the album is quite heavy, starting with the bombastic ANTHEM the album presses on to the equilly heavy BEST I CAN, which apperently is a fairly forgotten, well done track. Where the album realy gets good , though, is where they discard the straitforewardedness of their previous album. For example, IN THE END is a classic that starts on a slower pace but ends up with blasting guitars and sharp, screaming (yet coherant) vocals. The biggest standout (and this should come as no surprise to many) is Rush's first true epic, BY-TOR AND THE SNOW DOG. Who needs ovetures? Rush bursts strait into this battle at full speed. We see the beginning as Prince By-tor leave the depths of Hades and ascends to the overworld where awaits his nemesis, the Snow Dog. The instumental battle ensues, with Geddy playing the part of By-Tor and Alex the Snow Dog. A frantic battle and a slower victory later the vocal re-emerge and outro the song. This is a fantastic track, (It's even better live, as most Rush is, check it out on Different Stages Disc 3 or Rush In Rio disc 3) and would be the beginning to the classic sword and shields era if Rush that lived from 1975-1980.

Other tracks on the album are also quite good and worth noting; MAKING MEMORIES a remenicent track about life on the road, RIVENDELL, a slower track for the Lord Of The Rings fans, and BENEATH BETWEEN & BEHIND, a great straitforward track. At the end of it all this album does not disapoint, I would give this album four stars, but it's still really for the Rush fans, as a prog album it only has a couple really prog tracks, Rush's later material is better for those who want to listen to some strait-up prog. 3.5 stars as a prog album, great, but not totally essential, but if you like Rush make sure you get around to it sooner than later.

Report this review (#134755)
Posted Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a very interesting album from Rush. You can see their potential and what they would become on so many of the tracks. This has all the elements that are found in a great Rush album, the edges are just a little rough. They would get better at crafting songs on future albums but this attempt is still valient and extremely enjoyable. "Fly By Night" is an important album in their catalog. It is necessary in order to piece together and put into perspective the development of their sound. The highlights are "Anthem", "By-Tor and the Snowdog", the title track, and "Rivendell". This is definitely worth picking up, especially if you're a fan of Rush. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who is just starting out on Rush. 3.5 stars.
Report this review (#140184)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I think that this album could have been better. It isnt quite up to par with the rest of the Rush albums. Some of the songs are great but I have a problem with some of the other songs. Some of the best songs are Anthem and Fly By Night. Some of the songs bring the rating of this album down. I don't like the slower, quieter, softer songs like rivendell. If more of the songs were like Fly By Night I think this album would be much better. I would have to say that it is worth a listen. especially if you are already a Rush fan. But i would have to say that if your just starting out I would listen to better albums like Hemispheres or Farewell to Kings
Report this review (#140682)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not Quite. The songs Anthem and By-tor & the Snowdog are great tracks, I love Lifeson's brilliant guitar work of both these tracks. I think for a three piece without a keyboardist its pretty amazing what they achieved with By-tor. The songs Fly by Night and Making Memories hint to their future but still a lot of work is needed in the songwriting department. The band is sounding tight and polished indicating what they are capable of as musicians, Geddy's voice is either comic or brilliant depending what side of the fence you are on with his voice. The problem is the rest of the songs are basically Sabbath and Zep influenced hard rock, but not the experimental way Sabbath and Zep could be, the tracks are generally feel good but also pretty forgettable, with the obligatory acoustic tune. This album is a good document for fans hearing where Rush's music devloped but will be of little interest to others, I only got this CD because I was entitled to a free one at the music store and I picked this one because I liked the sleeve! Really just displaying their potential, for fans of Rush and hard rock, or if you want to hear Anthem and By-tor & the Snowdog, and supurb musicianship. Songwriting still need to develop. Not bad,but Rush would do a lot better.
Report this review (#144216)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fly By Night is the debut of Professor Peart in Rush and it shows from the lyrics immediately. Of course you also notice his drumming style, but I think he only changed form from Rutsey a bit; changing substance would be for later albums.

Most substance (not only considering the drumming, but especially the compositions as a whole) is quite resemblant of the trio's debut, but there are two very nice surprises: the obvious By-Tor And The Snow Dog is Rush first real epic, showcasing the typical convoluted high-energy performance. But opener Anthem with its infectuous riff is hardly less classic.

The other tracks are, as said, not that much new. In The End is ok, but quite Zeppelin-alike and Beneath, Between And Behind also stands out a bit. All in all a good early Rush record, but newcomers should start looking elsewhere.

Report this review (#148790)
Posted Sunday, November 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars With the benefit of hindsight the arrival of Drummer Neil Peart in Rush was an essential addition for the band to progress from their Hard Rock roots into the Progressive giants they were to become. Much of this album follows in a similar vein to their debut but here the band display more finesse and start to show hints of a more Progressive and fantasy based style most notably on By-Tor and the Snow Dog.

The first three tracks are still pretty much straight Heavy Rock but album opener Anthem is an excellent track in particular with a great riff and Peart demonstrating he means business from the off.

Getting back to the previously mentioned By-Tor and the Snow Dog, here the band really start to demonstrate what they're capable of. The song is divided into four parts and although still primarily a Heavy Rock track they use more light and shade and really begin to show what great players they are as it's their most demanding piece to date.

Title track Fly by Night is another slice of good Heavy Rock and the band add acoustic Guitar to their arsenal, notably on Making Memories and the Tolkien inspired Rivendell although neither is essential. Final song In the End also has an acoustic guitar intro and after By-Tor and Anthem is the best track on the album combining a strong melody, powerful Guitar riffs and Geddy Lee's high pitch vocals taking centre stage to great effect.

Fly by Night is a step forward from their debut album but not a Rush classic and although well produced I prefer the versions of the key tracks here that can be found on their first live album, All the World's a Stage.

Report this review (#152519)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I decided that this would be either the worst three or the best two that I have ever given, and I gave it one more listen before writing this review just to be sure. This album isn't particularly bad, indeed it has it's good parts/songs, but in all honesty it doesn't come quite up to par with even much mediocre prog and especially anything the band made between 2112 and Hold Your Fire (which is a lot of music). It was obviously a step up from their debut and the inception of Neil Peart now sets the band's progress in motion. The Led Zeppelin influences are unmistakable, but it is definitely the hard prog Rush we know and love, just in it's infancy (in fact... practically just born). Overall the material presented in this album is a bit raw and immature, especially for progressive rock, but serves as an adequate hard rock album nonetheless, and proves that band can write decent music and play like real rock musicians. It almost seems like Alex is the lesser musician of the band now, which definitely says something. The main highlights are Fly by Night, as good if not better than much of the material on Caress of Steel and even 2112, along with By-Tor and the snow dog, which is probably the biggest indicator of progressive thinking, most likely thanks to our intellectual friend Peart. Anthem, the opener, is a pretty good track as well. Keyboard, story-based songwriting, and musicianship are all presented, if not hinted at in this album. Geddy's singing is probably the worst part of the album, which is not so bad, though he has a ways to go before he finds his own unique sound. I recommend this album primarily for Rush fans alone who love their music, even that which isn't spectacularly progressive. My concluding rating is a around a 2.4/5.
Report this review (#158621)
Posted Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rush' second album after the odd debut. A radical change you might call this. There's not much left compared to their first where style is concerned and of course that has also to do with the personnel change (Peart for Rutsey) which in such a small band is a significant change. But also the songwriting has already matured slightly in one year time. First three songs are nice firecrackers, pretty heavy songs with speed sounding really fine. Next is By-Tor & The Snow Dog the album heads in another more symphonic direction. Real progressive composition, almost epical with after two minutes special vocal effects combined with spacy guitar playing by Lifeson. Significant song this.

The original B-side (vinyl) was always less interesting to me, just some good tracks with In the End as the better one. If side B would have been as good as the A-side this could have been a 4 star album but now it will have to settle for 3 (3,3). Good album.

Report this review (#158703)
Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars 3,5 stars

This album marks the beginning of the Rush sound. I will still only award it three stars, even if it's better than Rush in many ways.

Personally, I find this album very different from their '74 album. Gone is that Zeppelin tribute feeling so very present there, and the listener is served a more mature listening experience. The band is clearly more confident now and - with the hard rock sound still very prevalent - things are starting to happen...

Anthem starts the album with a boom. Wow, this is powerful! One can immediately recognise Geddy's bass melody in this song (check out 2:25 to 2:55). And the lyrics? Well, have no fear, Neil is here! The individualistic, Rayn-inspired text promises great things for the future. You can't possibly miss the improved muscle of the drumming, which seems to have been moved more up front on Fly by Night.

I won't write a song-by-song review, but some of them deserves some extra mentioning:

Beneath, Between and Behind/Fly by Night - prime examples of Rush's signature hard rock sound. Originality.

By-Tor and the Snow Dog/Anthem - the mini-epic By-Tor marks the beginning of progressive Rush, even though i wouldn't consider it a progressive effort. Or...what the hell! I'll call it progressive. It features enough experimentation, shifts in the music, sound effects, skill and sci-fi imagery for that. Anthem is just great,'nuff said.

Not a single BAD song here, but some of the songs just don't resonate with me like the ones mentioned above. As an example, Rivendell is beautiful, but not essential for the album experience.

//Linus W

Report this review (#161121)
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Hm, RUSH is supposed to be a sort of very influential mid-70s prog rock trio that influenced development of prog metal.

I must admit the band is virtually unknown in the former Yugoslav republics - as far as I can remember, only Permanent Waves saw the light of the day in exYU record shops at the turn of the 80s. Basically I never heard what they sounded like until I joined ProgArchives and listened to several samples. Now, I tried to listen to the entire album Fly By Night for a few times and I am very disappointed.

First, there is no trace of any progressive rock here - what I hear is a basic hard rock with elements of emerging heavy metal.

Second, sorry guys but the voice of Geddy Lee is really horrible, I can't stand it! At moments it reminds me of late Bonn Scott of AC/DC, with a difference that Scott was enough funny and deliberately caricatured in a teen-glam rock fashion.

Third, music is below-average hard rocking with occasional acoustic moments, drawing unoriginal inspiration from ZEPPELIN's folk-Tolkienesque themes (Rivendell).

The title song is a decent and catchy rock tune, while the acoustic ballad Making Memories is OK because Lee's vocal is at least somewhat bearable.

Overall, this is bad album without innovative or experimental prog elements and sounds like third-class heavy metal. If compared with its contemporaries like LED ZEPPELIN, BLUE OYSTER CULT or even AC/DC, it is very poor.


P.A. RATING: 1/5

Report this review (#163842)
Posted Thursday, March 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Fly by Night" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Canadian progressive rock act Rush. The album was released through Mercury Records in February 1975. A lineup change has occured since the 1974 self-titled debut album as drummer John Rutsey left Rush shortly after the debut album was released. He was replaced by Neil Peart, who also toured with Alex Lifeson (guitars), and Geddy Lee (bass, vocals) in support of the debut album. Neil Peart would immediately start contributing lyrics to the band´s music, and he has written all lyrics on "Fly by Night", except for "Best I Can" and "In the End", which were written by Geddy Lee.

Compared to the Led Zeppelin influenced hard rock of the debut album, the music on "Fly by Night" is slightly more sophisticated and varied. There´s still a strong hard rock foundation in the music, but it´s obvious the band were interested in moving in a more progressive direction. So "Fly by Night" features both hard rock riffs and driving rhythms as well as more intricate details. The 8:39 minutes long mini-epic "By-Tor & The Snow Dog" is the most obvious example of the band´s newfound progressive rock direction, but it´s not as such representative for the rest of the material featured on the album.

The change on the drummer position is heard throughout the album. Rutsey was arguably a well playing hard rock drummer, but Peart has a few more tricks up his sleeve. His slightly fusion influenced drumming style and occasional experiments with time signatures bring a new more sophisticated dimension to the band´s music, although he can also rock hard when that is called for. The musicianship is generally of high class on all positions though. Geddy Lee is not only a skilled and distinct sounding vocalist but a brilliant and quite busy bass player too, and Lifeson delivers both hard rocking riffs and well played solos. It´s on this album his chord progressions also began going down other roads than the debut´s predominantly blues based hard rock progressions. It´s a combination of the two here though.

"Fly by Night" is a very well produced album, featuring a powerful, organic, and detailed production, which suits the material on the album perfectly. The songwriting on the 8 track, 37:57 minutes long album is overall of a good quality too, and although some tracks don´t stand out as much as others, it´s an entertaining album throughout. Highlights include "Anthem" and "By-Tor & The Snow Dog", while Rush probably shouldn´t have ventured into fantasy ballad territory with "Rivendell", which doesn´t really work that well and also feels a bit out of place on the album. All things considered "Fly by Night" is a quality release though and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#167846)
Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rush's second album Fly By Night still owes much to Led Zeppelin. The influence of new drummer/lyricist Neil Peart certainly gives the band a more mature and complex essence but Fly By Night is still essentially a Hard Rock album. Anthem and Beneath, Between & Behind are surprisingly aggressive and while not particularly sophisticated Fly By Night itself is a snappy, guitar driven rocker with an infectious chorus. There is Progressive Rock value here most notably on geeky extended centre-piece By-Tor & The Snow Dog which features an intense jam/instrument battle section. Fans of acoustic based music will be pleased with the inclusion of good-time Folky number Making Memories, Tolkienesque ballad Rivendell and the introduction to album closer In The End (Which soon breaks into a pounding riff driven reprise of itself). While still obviously the sound of a developing band Fly By Night should not be overlooked especially by fans of Classic Rock with subtle hints of Prog.
Report this review (#170325)
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Noteworthy for being the first album with Neal Peart, and also for containing a hint at the heavy prog direction Rush would partake in the future, namely in ''By-Tor and the Snow Dog''. This eight minute driving epic ought to keep prog fans satisfied with all of its themes and twists and changes. This song and ''Anthem'' are early examples of what we call ''Heavy Prog''.

The rest of the album doesn't hold a candle to either song. I have a soft spot for ''Best I Can'' of all things even if it fits better on RUSH. The band tries acoustic folk with ''Rivendell'', but this sappy soft song doesn't really sound like Rush. Most of the other songs are rather forgettable in the context of later Rush glories, even if many fans consider the title track a classic.

Rush were finding their feet here. Don't expect too much of a masterpiece here.

Report this review (#172060)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I group the bands first five releases into what I call "Early RUSH". These albums are: Rush I (1974), Fly By Night (1975), Caress of Steel (1975), 2112 (1976), and All the World's a Stage "Live" (1976).

Fly By Night, Rush's second album, is one of my early favorites. It kicks off with Anthem, and in just a few seconds of that opening track, you realize this is a new, energized Rush with a different drummer. Out with John Rutsey, in with Neil Peart, "the professor" of the drum kit. There are a number of good tracks here including Beneath, Between, & Behind and the title track, Fly By Night. Rush also rolls out another early epic tale of fantasy, By-Tor and the Snow Dog. A four-part song that runs 8:37. This track really high-lights Peart's skill with the drum kit. Alex also begins to play more acoustic guitar parts as showcased in Making Memories and In The End. I give it an honest 4 and half stars as a RUSH album.

Best Tracks: Anthem and Fly By Night

Report this review (#182086)
Posted Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rush is always going to be my favorite band, and with the release of Fly By Night, it only adds to how much I really love Rush. There are many classics on the album, and it shows that Rush had evolved from being a Hard Rock/Metal Band to a full Progressive Rock/ Progressive Metal band. The lyrics have also changed, they are more heart-spoken, and more intense than the first album. I will go track to track and rate each song from a scale of 1 to 10.

Anthem - One of the strongest tracks on the record. This features very heavy guitar, loud bass, and drums. Geddy also has a very high-pitch vocals range for this song as well. A great opener, the album wouldn't be the album without this song. Rating- 9.5/10

Best I can - A pretty good song about life being tough, trying to make your way through being a rocker. The guitar is the most prominent, as the bass being just as loud. The drums are pretty clean, a little simple, even for Neil. Geddy sings a little lower, but the song fits in well with the album. Rating- 8/10

Beneth, Between, Behind - A pretty solid song. The riff is a little odd, but the lyrics discuss the finding of earth, pretty much. Geddy has a pretty good bass part, to say the least, as with neil drumming his heart out. Rating- 7/10

By-tor and the snowdog - A very interesting epic, with an odd break in the middle. I think the lyrics are very interesting, but the music is more compelling than that of the lyrics. The bass is also very cool, even for early Geddy. A pretty solid epic, with very little to be desired. Rating- 8.5/10

Fly By Night - The title track, and probably the most popular track, along with tracks like Anthem and In the End a very soft song, but it really fits the title track. The song has a very repetitive feel to it, but thats really one of the best parts. The bridge is pretty soft, and solo is really cool. A Rush esential, to say the least. Rating- 10/10

Making Memories - I, personally, don't care for the track. Its a little boring, it dosen't seem to move me like the other songs do. The lyrics are a little out of place, as well, not very dramatic like the rest of the album is. Rating- 4.5/10

Rivendell - The bands first true ballad. The lyrics are very heart-warming, and the song honestly makes me cry. The guitar is very sad sounding, as with Geddy, going very high. Alex has the original acoustic to play this. Oddly, Neil Peart writes the song, but does not play in it. Overall, a very true song, very interesting, and a very cold, dramatic song, great let off to the next song. Rating- 8/10

In the End - Another very popular Rush song. The album closer starts off with a pretty sad sounding acoustic intro, with parts of bass and drums. Then it goes full on rock n' roll, with the electric and strong bass parts. Geddy sounds particularly nice hear, as with Neil banging on the drums, but in a very good manor. Rating- 9/10

Overall, its a great Rush album that you really don't want to miss. It has all of the good classics, and it shows that Rush is really evolving, as I have said before, into a Progressive band, and leaving the hard rock/metal band to the first album.

Report this review (#195106)
Posted Friday, December 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Is this a prog album or not ?

This album is a nice development from the debut album. I suspect the development is named Neil Peart who made his debut on this album. The result is a pretty amazing album. It is still rooted in hard rock and blues. But some clear prog rock influences has sneaked in. I also detect THE BEATLES in this album. I guess that's where the majority of the prog rock influences comes from. There is not much, if any, of the usual suspects (YES, GENESIS etc etc) here. But most of all, there is some major good tunes here. I am not a fan of songs like Anthem. But I really like the progressive songs like In The End, the title track and By-Tor And The Snowdog. Rivendell also gets a star in my book. Actually, there is no real weakness on this album whatsoever. I have been listening to it for the best part of 25 years and I still like it. It is not one of Rush finest hours....... but it is close. Very close. It is an album which makes you smile and appreciate Rush. It is also the first real Rush album.

3.5 stars from me.

Report this review (#200898)
Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Fly By Night' - Rush (62/100)

"Life for yourself -- there's no one else more worth living for / Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more..."

It's pretty amazing what can happen to a band within the space of a year. Rush's self-titled debut had initially tanked commercially, but gradually gained popularity as months went by. In that time, their drummer John Rutsey had to leave the band due to complications with diabetes, leaving a third of the band's membership up for grabs. The decision to induct Neil Peart into the ranks of Rush stands as one of the most propitious lineup changes in rock history. I like the debut - I really do! - but it's difficult in current hindsight to dissociate the band's sound and style from Peart. Alex and Geddy had more than enough personality between the two of them to carry a rock record, but it was Neil that pushed them towards a more sophisticated end.

Rush was a solid hard rock album, but it was limited in intellectual scope. Sure, "Working Man" could be interpreted as existential to a certain degree, but their lyrical themes were hooked within genre expectations: contrived lust, having fun, and youthful malcontent. With Peart and Fly by Night, they went from that to songs aboutAyn Rand, of all [%*!#]ing things. More than that, they were also making songs about Lord of the Rings and the mythic struggles of frostbitten puppies. An expression of highbrow literacy paired with an inkling for all things Fantastic were sure signs that Rush were well on the way to becoming progressive rock.

...It's unfortunate that the music quite as interesting. Despite a few incredible tracks, Fly By Night is one of those sophomores that tries to be several kinds of follow-up at once. Rush were trying to push past the straight-up heavy blues on the debut; a nine minute track like "By-Tor & the Snow Dog" (complete with incomprehensible subsections) was a clear nod towards bigger things. At the same time, they clearly didn't wish to alienate fans of the first; rockers like "Best I Can" and "Beneath, Between & Behind" could have easily masqueraded as weaker tracks on the self-titled. Fly By Night is a less consistent album, with higher highs, lower lows, and a weaker sense of coherence, if only because Rush were trying out so many new things at once. It was a necessary transition album, but it's always struck me as one of the weaker chapters in their discography, alongside the arguable nadir they hit in the 90s, circa Test for Echo.

At the same time, Fly by Night isn't so easily dismissed. On top of having a few of the least appetizing tracks of Rush's early career, there are a couple of the absolute best. On the heels of the self-titled, hearing "By-Tor & the Snow Dog" is a revelation. The peppy rock energy they've carried throughout their career becomes entwined with progressive bombast here. Even if they were new to the 'prog' genre here, they were already teaching it a thing or two. Most progressive suites take time to build and get started; "By-Tor" erupts with a quick drum fill and bursts into the quick meat of the song. The instrumental mid-section is one of the coolest things Rush would ever do; the counterpoint between Lifeson's playful leads and Geddy Lee's heavily distorted bass fuzz sounds like a conversation between two distinct personalities- isn't that what all battles are to begin with?

Even if it's certainly the most ambitious piece on the album, "By-Tor" isn't my favourite. The honour has always gone to "Anthem", which musically might be described as "Finding My Way" on amphetamines. Rush were clearly trying to recreate the thunderous energy that opened the self-titled, and they managed to one-up it in every possible way, creating one of the best hard rock songs I've ever heard. I really like how it takes absolutely no time whatsoever to demonstrate the talents of their newest member. Neil Peart is in top form with "Anthem"; the drums are crisp and frantic, and it's clear Lifeson and Lee are benefiting from the fresh blood.

I have so many good things to say about those two tracks- even the title track "Fly By Night" has gone some peppy flame to it, although the nuisance of radio overplay probably weighs against it. It's a memorable, catchy pop song with a contagiously cheerful riff to boot. much like the debut however, there are just as many songs on Fly By Night that come off as underwhelming. "Best I Can" and "Beneath, Between & Behind" sound like they're rehashing the self-titled without the credit of great riff writing. Barring the title track, the rest of the second half is downright disappointing. I suppose "Making Memories" is decent, but there's nothing really compelling about a simplified acoustic rock tune in the wake of what came before it. "In the End" tries to play the role of bombastic closer, but the hazy pace feels lifeless. Worst of all (and I'm sure some will disagree) is "Rivendell". By all means I know I should be enjoying Rush trying to be Yes or something out of Jon Anderson's solo career, but the sleepy atmosphere never seems to end. It is a small handful of initially charming ideas stretched out to make a song two or three minutes longer than it really should be. Fly By Night has considerably more to say than its predecessor, but nothing off of Rush felt as lazy and uncompelling as the last couple of tracks here.

Fly By Night is a total mixed bag. Unlike the self-titled (which I think benefited from a revisit) my thoughts on Rush's second album haven't changed much over the years. There are a few immortal tunes, some 'meh', and a couple I'm bored stiff by. In any case, there's a lot to be said for any band that tries this hard to see what they're capable of. Emerging from the shadow of their influences was no doubt a scary step to make, but judging from the streak of legendary records they would make soon after this, I think their leap of faith paid off fairly well; don't you?

Report this review (#205592)
Posted Friday, March 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many fans consider later releases like "2112," "Hemispheres," and "Moving Pictures" to be the "classic albums" of Rush's career. As fine as those albums may be, perhaps even better than this one, I say go back further to find the classic Rush.

"Fly by Night" is, in my eyes, the first true Rush album - the first album to feature what is now a 35 year line-up: drummer Neil Peart, bassist Geddy Lee, and guitarist Alex Lifeson. The sound is refined far beyond anything they could have been capable with previous drummer John Rutsey.

The album is structured very intelligently, four high energy hard rock songs on side A, and some more eclectic pieces on side B that balance it out, giving the album an even feeling. Most of the songs feature a killer melodic guitar solo establishing Alex Lifeson among the other greats of his time, like Page and Beck.

"Anthem" kicks of the album with full force, introducing new found musical ideas and ability, as well as fine new lyrics, credit of new drummer, Neil Peart. You don't need to listen longer than six seconds to tell that Neil is light years ahead Rutsey on the drum kit. You really should though, because this song is the first of four excellent hard rock songs that comprise side A.

"Best I Can," the only solely Geddy Lee composition here, shows them hanging onto their roots; just the right amount of rock-star ambition cheesiness is present in the lyrics, Geddy's lyrics are not as terrible as many would have you believe.

"Beneath, Between, and Behind," is another great rocker, you can really detect the direction Neil is taking the band. The lyrics are an homage to Canadian independence, the drum work shows influence by prog legends like Bill Bruford and well as standard rock greats like John Bonham.

"By-Tor and the Snow Dog" may come as a bit of a turn off because of its almost absurd fantasy-based lyrics, but once you can either appreciate or get past this, you will find it to be a great song, Rush's first excursion into the territory of multi-part epics. The real crux of this song is its six-minute instrumental mid-section, where the band really shows off its talents. They have become frighteningly rhythmically tight, as the awesome backwards-count-from-seven breakdown proves. An indication of the potential Rush had for the future, once they were allowed some time to mature.

"Fly By Night" is killer pop song with great bass work and a catchy chorus. Strange that they should have chosen it as the title track as it may seem insignificant next to the other songs, but it is a good song nonetheless. It is perhaps not prog enough for some, however.

"Making Memories" is a one-of-a-kind song in Rush's collection, folk-rock with a edge. Sounds almost like a Doobie Brothers song. At 2:56, its presence is more than welcome here.

"Rivendell" has been called tedious, boring, or even ridiculous with its Tolkien-inspired lyrics, but I oppose these notions. It is truly a sultry ballad, in a way that only Rush could achieve. This song should be listened to in a quiet place with headphones on, you'd be surprised that Geddy could sing this soft.

"In the End" is a fine closer, a catchy power ballad with Geddy's classic screaming vocals. The mood of this song is one that Rush would later abandon, as Geddy, who writes here, would progressively write fewer lyrics. Here, the mood is something approaching romance, making this a feel-good song that ties together what loose ends there were.

Some call "Fly by Night" a standard hard rock album - a Led Zeppelin clone - but I recognize it as something distinct. The progressive element is already brewing as Neil enters the fold, you can see the direction they are heading with more complex song structures, odd time signatures, and fantastical lyrics.

All in all, Fly by Night is a very good album, but there is still much to come from the band at this point. I recommend either this or "2112" as a starting point for someone looking to get into the wondrous music of Rush.

P.S. Don't be afraid of Geddy's voice.

Report this review (#211662)
Posted Saturday, April 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars A transitional effort. This album is often lauded for it's progressive ambitions, but then poo pooed for the fact that the band still does a lot of hard rock. Let's face facts: at this point in time, the band was best at hard rock. Tracks like Anthem, Beneath Between and Beneath, Fly By Night, and parts of By-Tor show the band operating at their best. Lots of energy, great riffs, great playing, and the added push of a truly excellent drummer. The hard rock parts of this album are a general huge improvement over the tenative and derviative feel of the (fun) first album. The production is better, the songs are more creative, and the band is developing their own feel for their hard rock style. Not to mention the fact that the band is playing much better than they were earlier. With a more accomplished drummer, Geddy and Lifeson are allowed to explode and explore much more fully than before.

Those are the good sides of the album. If the album had focused on those hard rock elements (which I insist were their real strengths at this time) it would have been a four star worthy album. Unfortunately, the band decided to dip their toes into progressive music, and they were very unprepared. First of all, the number one offender on this album, the one person who makes the progressive elements of this album laughable, if anyone doubted it, is Mr. Neil Peart. I absolutely hate his lyrics on this album. Hate them. The man later turned into a very accomplished lyricist (around Permanent Waves) who really delves into many complex situations with a degree of understanding and literacy that, while not unheard of in rock (I've heard much better lyricists than Peart even at his best) are at least worthy of notice.

However, at this early stage Neil is...awful. No sense of holding back eh? Rivendell is, of course, one of the main offenders. The song wasn't great any ways. It's kind of pretty, but really not developed enough to gain true points for beauty. Rush always has a hard time with ballads, and this is a great example. The song would be passable and ignorable if it was a love song. But no, it's a stupid Tolkien song. "I've travelled so many miles, it's so good to see the smiles..." Ugh... "Elven songs and endless nights." UGH! I won't go into great detail on the whole song. Some of the lyrics are okay. The nostalgic feel of the song could work...if it wasn't about elves. Sorry.

Beneath Between and Behind, while being strong musically, is also particularly bad. "Ten score years ago, defeat the kingly foe/A wondrous dream came into being/Tame the trackless waste, no virgin land left chaste/All shining eyes, but never seeing." What is that all about? That's awful. I don't mind a lyricist trying to take me into different worlds. In fact, in progressive rock, it's usually prefered. Early Jon Anderson is a great example. He blathers and rants and says some pretty questionable things (giant purple wolfhound?), but his lyrics are vivid, colorful, distinct, and definitely take me places. Neil's are too blunt, too cliched, and too cringe worthy in many of the rhymes for me to take them seriously. His lyrics constantly sabotage this album.

By-Tor is another great example. While the song would only truly come alive onstage (as many have stated already) it's still enjoyable musically. But the lyrics are seriously some of the worst I've ever read. "Tobes of Hades, lit by flickering torchlight/The netherworld is gathered in the glare/Prince By-Tor takes the cavern to the north light/The sign of Eth is rising in the air." Ugh. Truly awful.

Even Anthem, arguably the best song on the album, is ruined by Neil's preachy ode to Ayn Rand and objectivism. I hate objectivism and Ayn Rand for many reasons I won't go into here because this is an album review. So hearing her crap being praised as something Godlike will irritate me every time. It's actually amazing to me that Neil got better, and I praise him for that. I really do. And before anybody gets angry at me, and asks me if I could do better lyrically, I'll answer you: no. I do write songs, and I'm not a good lyricist yet.

Anyways, this album is a classic transitional album: one foot in the past, exploring and pefecting old styles, while pushing towards new styles tentatively and hoping for the best. And as usual, only the old styles work. The next album, however, would be an even bigger jump into new styles.

Report this review (#212396)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Fly by fight.

This is the first widely popular rush album, and I find several reasons to enjoy it. But, I don't enjoy it. Much at all, really.

They rely so heavily on somewhat complex hard rock, that it damages the overall diversity, not to mention the hard rock can feel quite plain at times, and Geddy wants to be the best Plant he can.

Still, album opener Anthem is a damn highlight. The rocking bass throbs set to Lifeson's blazing guitar soloing halfway through. It is a punching introduction. But, they lose it. Best I Can is plain and plodding hard rock. I swear I heard Led Zeppelin do this very song, before...

Beneath, Between and Behind features everyone in a completely different rock tone, that just so happens to be exactly the same. The wet atmosphere employed within is already faltered enough without them resorting to a small fashion of stagnation. Nothing is out and out bad, though. If you like hard rock, you could find a great deal to enjoy. The album's Epic in the shape of By-Tor is the main showing of progression inherent in Rush's formula. Still, it evokes very little emotion in me. I can't get any feeling out of any of these songs. To me, they feel like slightly more complex than normal hard rock, that just so happens to sing about science fiction and popular novels.

I also sense a real lack of band cohesion. Everyone seems to be going on to do their own things, and it gives the album a very disjointed sensation that doesn't come off well. By Tor could easily be the best example, as it attempts complexity with sordid shavings and fills and solo spots tossed in. this is the work of a good band, but it is messy work. The title track was a dandy radio hit, and perhaps best showcased the near direction of the future. Somewhat technical hard rock, with Geddy's high register, containing a rather catchy chorus. True, this album is more a case of "a sign of things to come" rather than a fully fleshed out and powerful musical statement. They rely too heavily on standard rock formula to appeal to a sense of depth or progression. Making Memories is hardly memorable, and I could easily apply the filler tag. It's saving grace is a nice main rhythm.

Rivendell, which is what I'd assume to be the requisite Lord of the Rings reference, follows suit of Making Memories, and fails to impress me. The main melodies leave a great deal to be desired, and the songs are plain without applying a real sense of need in the bare bones nature of it. Finally, In The End closes in much the way it has been for the past few substandard songs. Geddy hardly utilizes the majesty of his voice, and I ask the point of it. Also, no one here really shines through with the full grasp of their respective instruments.

This is a fine album, and a pretty good one from a hard rock perspective, but it shakes no boundaries, nor does it amaze or inspire. I was not able to cull any deep emotional enjoyment form the experience, and the second half of the album is just weak. They rely too heavily on Zeppelin style hard rock to let their own talent shine through their influence. You are left with a sign of future greatness, mixed together with a couple highlights.

Best Moment - Anthem

Worst Moment - The second half

** stars

Report this review (#219978)
Posted Friday, June 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars What the..? Rush?

Fly By Night is still one of two pre-mature Rush albums, the other beaing the self-titled debut. They have yet to agree if they're going to be a prog band, or a hard rock band. Some of the songs on this album have progginess in them, like By-Tor and the Snow Dog, and Anthem, but the rest of them sound like the songs on their debut, 3 minutes of power chords.

No grudge held against Rush here, it's just that this is not the band we know as Rush. The album opens with Anthem, which is fairly proggy, but very heavy, which is still reminiscent of Working All Day *shivers*.

By-Tor and the Snow Dog is the real masterpiece on this album. Like Anthem, fairly proggy, yet still hard rock. This track is 8 minutes, with a sound reminiscent of Working Man, yet drum solos and odd time-signatures can be heard in this fantastic track.

Overall, Fly By Night is NOT recommended, but it's still a fairly good album. It deserves the 3 I gave it, not more.

Report this review (#229893)
Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars This is Rush at their hard rocking best. More mature but still as energetic as on the first record. Not as elaborate but more direct then 2112. The album has a fine mix of good hard rock songs (Beneath Between Behind, Fly by Night) and classic tracks like Anthem and By-Tor that mark Rush's their first brave steps into prog territory. Especially Neil Peart lifts this album to a higher stage. His drumming is immediately spot on. Fast, heavy, subtle, rich, complex and very prominent.

Anthem is the quintessential Rush track, with its complex rhythms, Zeppelin-meets-Crimson guitar riffs, the heavy Chris Squire inspired bass playing and Geddy's vintage duck squeal it screams prog rock through all its pores, even though it's only a good 4 minutes long. Best I Can and Beneath Between Behind are entirely pleasant hard rock tunes. Again it is the drumming that makes them stand out above Rush's debut album. By-Tor and the Snowdog is the real winner here. An epic song with an unexpected song structure, long instrumental passages and heavy effect soloing. One of the most interesting tracks of 1974. Fly By Night and Making Memories are just straightforward, catchy rock songs, but with Rivendell and In The End, the album goes for a strong ending. Rivendell is a folksy moody tune, a unique style exercise for Rush and a very successful one. In The End screams Led Zeppelin all over again, it's the last of their songs where the reference is still so obvious but it's a worthy tribute and a solid conclusion of an ambitious and well balanced album.

Well, I think you kind of guessed Fly By Bight is my personal favourite of Rush's first four albums.

Report this review (#236640)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
4 stars Rush's second release, Fly by Night, is classic 70's Hard Rock; strong riffs, powerful solos, unstoppable drumming, loud bass and energetic vocals. Yeah that's it, pretty much like their debut was, however on this album Rush goes a bit further on reaching their own sound, unlike their debut which clearly had Led Zeppelin influences pretty much everywhere.

This album reminds me more of the Welsh power trio band, Budgie, they were doing a very similar style of Hard Rock, besides both being ''power trio's'', they had high-pitched vocalist and explored some new grounds for them, in the case of this album the 9 minute mini-suite By-Tor and The Snow Dog: raging drumming and great guitar potential, plus a splendid soft instrumental section which they would later develop once again in the following album with even greater success, The Necromancer.

The rest of the album features mostly straight-forward Hard Rock songs with great potential and in the heights from those featured in Caress of Steel and 2112. These are Fly By Night, Anthem, Best I Can, In the End and Beneath Between & Behind. All strong in riffs like I stated in the begining, and definitely rock hard.

The album then features two acoustic-oriented songs, Rivendell and Making Memories. The former being a very sweet acoustic tune giving the album a more dynamic feel, while the latter is more up-beat with a simple though very entertaining acoustic guitar and well Geddy's voice can't get catchier than this.

Very strong second album, despite not featuring the complexity nor uniqueness of their later more acclaimed albums. I find this to be in the heights of early Ac/Dc or Blue Oyster Cult, naming two more acclaimed hard rock bands of the time.

3.5 stars, highly recomnded for those Hard Rock fans from the 70's. However, if you're looking for the Prog, check out 2112 and A Farewell to Kings first.

Report this review (#238931)
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars This is Rush's second album, and so began the evolution of a great band. Rush's new drummer would also be responsible for the bulk of the band's lyrical content, reflecting both his philosophy of Objectivism and his penchant for the mythical, fantastical, and science-fiction. The first half is full of fast, crunchy, riff-based rock music, whilst the second half is far more acoustic and simplistic. It's a must for Rush fans, and a good album for anybody else.

"Anthem" The album begins with one of Rush's best early riffs, a speedy ride that stops midair to bring in heavy chords and then Geddy Lee's rough, premature screeching vocals. Overall, this is a great piece and the harbinger of what Rush would accomplish in terms of hard-hitting rock "anthems."

"Best I Can" This is about as straight ahead as it gets in terms of rock music. It is riff-based and has a pop structure, complete with a guitar solo in the middle.

"Beneath, Between and Behind" Yet another heavy rock piece in the vein of Led Zeppelin, this song has a great melody and shows some of what newcomer Neil Peart was capable of.

"By-Tor and the Snowdog" The centerpiece of the album is a sign of what is to come during the remainder of the 1970s with respect to conceptual and progressive songwriting. Over instrumental growling and bass work that's all over the place, Alex Lifeson stretches out and makes use of his biting creativity on guitar. That new fellow also takes an opportunity to show off his chops during a few short drum solos. A menacingly quiet interlude follows, incorporating a snare drum, deep bass, and guitar swells, all leading into a final guitar solo.

"Fly by Night" The title track is a peppy one, and a radio favorite on many stations. It has a pleasing riff coupled by acoustic guitar that compliments the vocal melody quite well. The brief bridge is more pensive and makes for a masterful variation.

"Making Memories" This acoustic track is a decent song that features a slide guitar solo.

"Rivendell" Rush takes things to an even quieter level with this gentle piece consisting of classical guitar and a rare, sweet vocal performance. The piece does not develop at all, instead staying in classical guitar mode for its entire duration (rather than progressing into other styles and moods as a song like "The Trees" would).

"In the End" Further acoustic guitar, this time accompanied by bass, makes up the beginning of the final song. The band would be remiss if they didn't rock out once more though, and with a riff that is very similar to that of "Fly by Night," they're off with a moderately-paced rocker.

Report this review (#252330)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fly by Night is as of yet the earliest Rush album I own. This is an album which is still on the road to becoming the "Rush" we know and love on 2112 and beyond. This album is much more straightforward in its approach to rock than the later band and as a result the sound is simplistic and freewheeling compared to dense works like Hemispheres, Permanent Waves or the incredibly thick Snakes and Arrows. This is the kind of album I'd like to listen to on a road trip; mostly up tempo and easy to sing along with.

The album kicks off in style with what may be their best song pre-2112 in Anthem. The intellectual lyrics are starting to crack in here thanks to the presence of Neil Peart during the production process for the first time. They are really firing on all cylinders here. All three are living up to the power trio principal. Anthem is great hard rock track with some progressive elements.

After Anthem comes Best I Can. With the exception of some Neil's drumming this is a more generic rock entry. This still sounds good, the guitar is wailing and the bass is pumping. It is the perfect example of Rush's earlier Zeppelin influences. This one was written by Lee alone and lyrically it is apparent.

Much the same can be said for the follow up track Beneath, Between & Behind. I think it does err a little more into progressive territory, not as much as Anthem though. Peart is back on lyrical duties too.

By-Tor and the Snow Dog is the earliest Rush epic. It has a great driving guitar line. Overall this is a very good Lifeson track. Lee's singing is not at its strongest here though and Peart drums better elsewhere. It's really raw stuff. I would almost go so far as to call it "Garage-Prog". I do enjoy By-Tor's experimental qualities, like the soft almost Steve Howe style guitar work in the interlude, the tempo change-ups and especially the phased bass. Good early stuff, but not up to the standards of their later work.

Following By-Tor is the title track Fly by Night. It is the first of a few autobiographical tracks by Peart. This one focuses on his decision to go to England. It doesn't go into quite as much detail as the unfortunately dull Lakeside Park. This is another solid rock track; nothing terribly adventurous. Lee's singing is better again. Very radio friendly.

Making Memories is one the treasures of Fly by Night. It's mostly acoustic, but still up tempo. This is another autobiographical track focusing on their early touring days. Not too crazy but very enjoyable and well written if not entirely well sung.

The follow up is the very soft Tolkien inspired Rivendell. Most of the album with the exception of the brief interlude on By-Tor is fiery and exciting, making this one a black sheep. It's also really dorky. They really didn't work in the Tolkien references with the same ability as Zeppelin (Ramble On). I don't think that this track is essential to the album.

In the End picks up only slightly from Rivendell at first. Maybe it's to gently nudge those of us who've nodded off. It would have been most unfortunate if they chose to end in on that note. Thankfully this isn't the case. After the intro segment it turns into a slower but hard rocking and well sung track. It seems at times as though it might try to regain the energy of the first half of the album but chooses instead to stay as heavy as a tonne of bricks.

Fly by Night shows the beginnings for the Rush of the future. They are still good here, but only truly excellent in a few places; the easiest of which to pick out being Anthem. For the non-Rush and perhaps non-prog rock fans this is one their more instantly approachable works. For Rush crazed loons, like me, this is part of the journey. Musically it has its ups and downs but I think it's a good effort. I recommend it for anyone, but it wouldn't be the first Rush album I'd tell you to go out and pick up. Three out of Five. Might have been seven out of ten if we did it that way.

Report this review (#268519)
Posted Friday, February 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow. Neil Peart comes into the picture, and the band releases ... a really, really good album!?! I waver between giving it a *** and a ****, but every time I listen to it I come away happy and pretty impressed. In a coup for Rush, I don't consider a single track on here bad, and I find some of them just terrific.

You know what I like most about this album overall? It's the FABULOUS production, which I think may be the best the band would ever have. The equalization is almost textbook for mid-70's hard-rock, as all of the instruments jump out at and throttle the listener without ever suffocating the listener in unnecessary heaviness. Not only that, but I'd say that even a die-hard Geddy hater would have a difficult time saying that Lee ruins a single one of these songs, as his vocal screams often propel the sound forward in a way that couldn't happen otherwise.

Just as important, though, is that quite a few of these riffs and melodies are good. The best of these, of course, comes from the opening "Anthem," which might be in my top five tracks from the band. Sure, the lyrics annoy me in that wonderful Peart manner (the song is named after an Ayn Rand novel), but I cannot ignore all of the marvelous riffs that jump out throught these heavenly four minutes. Plus, I just adore the way that, as mentioned before, the band uses Lee's vocals as a way to catapult the jamming forward, especially when the "Wonders in the world! Wonders in the world! Wonders in the world! AAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRR ... *riffs*" part pops up. The guitar solos are great, too.

Originally, I thought the album was basically just "Anthem" with a bunch of filler, but that was a mistake. The title track is a great pop song; I mean, the riff is good, the guitar tone is solid, the vocal melody is memorable in a good way, and the chorus is very nice. "Beneath, Behind, Between" is somewhat neglected in the hierarchy of great Rush tunes, but I think that it has a great main riff, and having the vocal melody largely move in parallel with the guitar lines actually helps out the song. And finally, I'm very fond of "In the End," which I rarely see touted as a good song. Yes, it's seven minutes, and its mid-tempo, and it's largely based on a single chord sequence on guitar, but I like the chord sequence, and I like the vocal melody Geddy sings over. Yup, if I was going to pick a song as "most underrated Rush song ever," this would be a strong contender.

The other four tracks are a step down, but still not bad. "Making Memories" is an acoustic number with a lot of drive, kinda sounding to me like something Led Zeppelin would have had as an outtake from the III sessions, and I generally like it. The slow, quiet acoustic ballad "Rivendell" (yet another evidence in support of this era of Rush being a bit of a Led Zeppelin knockoff; the obligatory Tolkien-influenced number) is kinda dippy, not really going anywhere, but I don't find it offensive, so it can stick around too.

If the album has clear weak links, it's in the remaining two tracks. "Best I Can" isn't horrible, but it dwells too much on the lyrical message (penned by Lee, not by Peart) at the expense of solid hooks or riffs, and it doesn't impress me much. And, of course, there's "By-tor and the Snowdog." Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad song. The big problem I have is that, given that Geddy has repeatedly stated that Yes' Relayer is his favorite album, it's very difficult for me not to end up trying to compare this track to that album's Gates of Delirium (the structure is largely the same, except for a reprise of the opening vocal melody at the end). Putting it mildly, that's a battle that By-tor just can't win. Still, the song is pretty funny, and I only find it really annoying when the band starts to show off its ability to start and stop on a dime, as if they think that that's enough to make them impressive as a prog rock band. It would improve live, anyway. But all complaining aside, I'm perfectly content with this album. I consider it the studio peak of the early, hard rock epoch of Rush, and I really think it belongs in any decent collection of 70's hard rock.

Report this review (#280679)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars In my college years, I owned a black cat. Naturally I named it Snowdog! How's that for a conversation starter? I always knew who was "in the know" musically. Even so, despite my historical bias in favor of Rush, I must remember that this is ProgArchives, not classic rock archives and review it in the context of prog-interest and history.

"Fly by Night" is an album of "firsts" for the band ? and as such will be of very high interest to Rush fans. We get introduced to a new and vital drummer Neil Peart on this album. Not only is he an interesting drummer, he is a lyricist with a flair for the fantastic and slightly philosophic. This is the Rush album in which they unveil their first "multi-part" song "By-Tor and the Snowdog".

Rush fans will relish the opportunity to see the genesis of and to trace each development along the way. We are witnessing the very roots from which Rush's prog greatness would emerge.

General prog fans, however, may be left wondering what all the fuss is about. Looking back, this is a decent hard rock album, one which includes a few flashes of light pointing toward a bright hard rock/prog future for our beloved trio from Canada. As with their debut, the most compelling track (By-tor and the Snowdog) is much more definitive on Rush's live recordings.

As much as I like this album, it is for Rush fans and collectors. 2 very good stars.

Report this review (#280725)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Review Permalink

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.

Report this review (#294271)
Posted Thursday, August 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Big changes all over this one. There is a huge jump in style and musicianship from their debut to this sophomore album.

Only a year had passed since the debut, so what changed? Well for starters, Neil Peart comes on board, and brings with him ridiculously sick drumming and a penchant for writing lyrics based in mythology, science fiction, and Ayn Rand. Once the 70's ended, Neil's lyrics shifted much more toward human nature, and subtle social commentary, but we get 5 years of great paperback style fantasy before that happens.

Now, Neil can't be given all the credit here. Rush would have developed as a band anyways. You have Ged and Alex who were already fans of Yes and King Crimson, so the progressive seeds had already been planted. Neil just came along and watered them with drumming and lyrics.

So what about the songs? You have the Rand inspired "Anthem," which rules and is one is one of the best short rockers they ever penned. You also have "Fly by Night," where you take mid-tempo pace + lyrics about travel = text book mid-1970's hard rock song. It could easily be formulaic, but it's not, and Geddy adds his shriek to make it a Rush special and remove any banality.

"Beneath, Between, and Behind" is a chanting anthem, and the chorus is sung while Neil matches each syllable with drum beats. It's impossible not to sing along to? "Beneath the noble bird, Between the proudest words, Behind the beauty, cracks appear, Once with heads held high, They sang out to the sky, Why do their shadows bow in fear". Great stuff.

This leads right into Rush's first multi-part suite, "By-Tor and the Snow Dog". This song absolutely kills it, and it introduces the crescendo into Rush's song writing, which they perfect later in songs like "2112," "Cygnus X-1," and "Cygnus X-1 Book 2". The Crescendo builds up, climaxes with drum beats, and then explodes at 7:33 into the song.

The other four songs are great as well, and I prefer them over anything on the debut; a great listen all the way through.

Not even close to their best, but awesome nonetheless. More at

Report this review (#345264)
Posted Monday, December 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A bridge a bit too wide to cross to Caress Of Steel, this is unfortunately the " fall Guy" for that transition yet it is still not too bad an album and probably gets for more negative feedback than it deserves. " ...Snow Dog" is a classic as is the much maligned " Rivendell". Anyway overall a great evolutionary piece of work, this too is art, if well delivered so the migration to bigger and better things would take place. This is a good album, Neil Peart taking over an irreplaceable domain not withstanding his predecessor's contribution. Flickering images by night perhaps but vivid concrete hard edged evidence on reflection to a bolder more progressive future. Not for nostaliaphobes. Three solid stars.
Report this review (#355339)
Posted Friday, December 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars While the debut album created a stir among hard rock and heavy metal fans, Rush began to experiment with what would become their trademark sound. Heavy bass guitar, Screeching vocals, pounding riffs, sick rhythms; the band had created something of interest.

1.Anthem - The most hard-rocking of all the numbers, the opening is considered a classic among others. The proto-metal guitar riff is augmented by sick drumming from master newbie Neil Peart, who would become on of the best all-time drummers and lyricists, and hard-hitting basslines and shrieks from Geddy Lee; whose trademark Rickenbacker 4001 was already in place. Interesting lyrics, as they are much more thoughtful than the debut, and overall an excellent composition. (10/10)

2.In the End - Probably the most Led Zeppelin off of the album, it's an interesting hard rock track. The lyrics are about trying to make it big; as the band were trying to do at the time. The song is a bit unmemorable because it's a bit dull, but the energy is still there. (7.5/10)

3.Beneath, Between & Behind - Another hard-rocking number, this one is bit more progressive in composition than the least. The interesting guitar riff solitifies the band on the heavy prog boat, and the lyrics are totally different than anything than the band had done before. Peart's drumming is amazing on this track, as he makes an odd beat work; with fashion. (8.5/10)

4.By-tor and the Snowdog - The fourth track on this album is a masterpiece, as the band pull out one of their all-time best compositions. Lee's bassline sets for the symphonic and metal guitar riffs of Alex Lifeson and the amazing percussion of Peart. The band experiments with sound effects, delays and phasers to make an almost psychedelic experimental middle passage, and a delicate section soon follows and flows into the opening riff. The lyrics are well sung from Lee, who was still trying to find out where his voice belonged. An intense track, to say the least. (10/10)

5.Fly By Night - Though not the proggiest of the numbers on the album, it's still an excellent hard rock song. The riff from Lifeson is immortal, as it's simple yet catchy. Vocal melodies from Lee are excellent, as are his powerful basslines. Pearts drumming and lyrics are very different from any pop rock stuff on the radio, which makes it unique in that honor. A standout of instrumentation and prowess. (9.5/10)

6.Making Memories - Easily the weakest of the tracks, as it sounds like something from 1969 or 1970. The songs lyrics are probably the worst part, as the instrumentation from the band is excellent; albiet; a bit bored and emotion-less. The song is very groovy despite it's short-comings, but it's almost skip worthy. (6.5/10)

7.Rivendell - The song, one of my favourite ballads from the band, is totally underrated and oddly placed at the bottom of their songs list. The song, excellent vocals and acoustic guitar, are based on Tolkien, who has inspired many, many progressive rock bands and their lyrics. The song is almost an acid trip, as the lyrics can set you into a mindset of complete peace with oneself. An odd, yet delicate ballad. (8/10)

8.In the End - The closing track to this fine album is another homage to Led Zeppelin and their music. The song itself is very well written, and could only be described as a plodding mini-epic. Lifesons acoustic then electric guitars are the high-point of the song, as are the dramatic vocals and lyric from Lee, as he pounds the bass strings on this song and adds another dimension to the song. Pearts drumming is some of his finest on this song, as he plays with such emotion and power. An excellent track and closing. (8.5/10)

Though their are still moments of Zeppelin and weakness, this album is extremely consistent and well played for such young musicians, I would give this a 3.5 stars, but I rounded it up to a 4 because it's such an intense listen and will always have great songs. I would definatly recommend it to any experience Zeppeline listener or heavy progressive rock lover.

Report this review (#364751)
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Honestly, this album is harder to listen to for me than their debut. While RUSH had begun to shed some of their hard rock cloning habits by even this point in their career, and the addition of NEIL PEART saw an immediate increase in quality of the lyrics, there is still far too much here that isn't quite... well, the Rush we know and love. "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" and the title track are wonderful pieces, the former being a progressive epic that still has a great deal of hard rock in it and the later being a beautiful acoustic piece. However, I honestly can't recall the other tracks aside from "Anthem" even immediately afterward.

In regard to "Anthem": I REALLY don't like Ayn Rand, so a song about one of her books just serves to annoy me. This would be petty of me if not for the fact that the song is built around copping LED ZEPPELIN moves, from the riffs to the vocals.

If you get this, it would only be for the title track and "By-Tor." Two stars.

Report this review (#409489)
Posted Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Their first with Neil Peart. The drumming really rocks in this one, way better than in their first album. And there are good songs too. At least in the first side. I mean "Anthem", "Best i can" and "By-Tor And the Snow Dog" are all great tracks. It is really strong side. It's shame that they seem to run out of ideas in the second side. The title track is ok, and "Making Memories" too. But the last songs of the album, "Rivendel" and "In the end" are awful. I mean, really, i hate them. They annoy me. Without them this would be 4 star album, but they drop it so much that i almost gave this 2. So it is weak 3 stars.
Report this review (#419686)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Another important album in the way I use to become a music appreciator. In that times when hard rock and heavy metal as the easy listening that filled my days and attracted me to enjoy art, this album was a no less than a must.

But some years passed away, other musical interests came upon me, and the more time passes by, the more I perceive that this album did not age well. Best stuff here are clearly songs in the way heavy metal was supposed to be recognized, but unfortunately they lack in many senses progressive characteristics. All the punch we have in first four songs faded way slowly, until the moment they did create no more interest in me by means a good moment of musical listening.

Today, I still see some value here. Rivendell is an admirable song, a preferred song of mine until today. A piece of art that clearly shows how these guys are skilled musician in translating by means of music and lyrics the spirit of Tolkien´ s fabulous and famous Lord Of The Rings. The other piece that will always bring me back to this album is the opener Anthem, a unique song in all hard rock, heavy metal or even progressive rock music.

So, this is Fly By Night to me. Two five stars and unforgettable songs; but the rest does not call my attention anymore. As an average, three stars for this album.

Report this review (#434542)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow. That was my first impression when I turned on this classic and heard the amazing drumming that didn't exist on the first album. Well for numerous reasons Geddy and Alex decided to drop their first drummer, John Rutsey, and found a replacement in drummer/lyricist Neil Peart and they really did. Not only did they get arguably the best rock drummer in the world but also a fantastic lyricist. The opener, Anthem, really demonstrates how great Neil is on the drum kit and behind the writer's desk as well. The whole album takes a sudden shift with their first try on the mini-epic with "By-Tor and the Snow Dog". This song was an instant classic in 1974 and still is today. To me, this song really showed how well they would be as full on prog rock artists in the next few years. There still is Zeppelin esque songs on here like Best I Can on here but they go with the whole flow of this album. Great stuff 4 stars. Highlights: Anthem, Best I Can, By-Tor and the Snow Dog, Fly By Night and In the End.
Report this review (#463210)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although highly influenced from what was done in their previous record, this one is an improvement from it, and you could say the main reason was an evident change in the structure of the band, the arrival of Neil Peart.

This change is evident in the dynamics of their drum sound, quite outstanding even at this early stage, with an energy and proficiency which has been one of the strong points of this bands throughout their career. But it is also evident lyrically. Neil Peart has been described as one of the most pretentious lyricists to even come across the world of music. Call me a fan, which I am, but the philosophy coming from this man's words is one which can not be neglected. Either it is a piece of phylosophical reflection, either on his own or influenced by others (like Ayn Rand, for example), like we can find on "Anthem", either it is an autobiographical reference, like in "Fly By Night", or either it is a fantasy-based story, like in "By-Tor and the SnowDog", Neil Peart's lyrics are certainly unique.

Instrumentally and musically, like I said, this album repeats many features present on its predecessor, like Led Zeppelin's influenced vocals and guitar work, but I think we can also appreciate that they are starting to move towards a different direction, creating more complex structures and arrangements that would define their sound in future years.

This record, although it can't be considered their best, is certainly a fine collection of classic rock and progressive rock influenced tunes, worth listening either your are a fan or not, given you can stand Geddy Lee's high pitched voice, thing not everyone does.

Report this review (#474054)
Posted Saturday, July 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Enter the drummer...

Following John Rutsey's departure from the the band after only one album, Neil Peart was recruited to complete the now legendary power trio.

The Good: Whilst the debut is essentially just an exercise in hard rock, Fly By Night shows a definite move towards the style which would become synonymous with their "classic era". This is demonstrated through the structure and instrumental prowess of tracks such as Anthem and By-Tor and the Snow Dog, both of which are fantastic compositions and have remained concert staples throughout the years. The album also has its fair share of standard rockers, but they're of a higher quality than their previous release and far more interesting.

The Bad: Rivendull.

The Verdict: Underrated member of the Rush back catalogue.

Report this review (#483357)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Fly By Night is the second in a long line of Rush albums and this is by no means a classic though has moments of greatness. Rush continued to play many of the tracks here live and they are bonafide fan favourites. Anthem became somewhat of an anthem for the band for years and of course the prog rock delicacies of By-Tor & The Snow Dog: I. At the Tobes of Hades; II. Across the Styx; III. Of the Battle; IV. Epilogue. This blockbuster prog track really summed up what the power trio were about in these early years. They took risks and damn the consequences with this infamous 8 minute sprawling 4 part epic duel of banshees, hell hounds and dogs on glacial landscapes. The lead break of Lifeson on this is phenomenal as is the insistent creative drumming of Peart, joining the band and adding just the right flavour to the mix. The band would remain in this lineup indefinitely having shed Rutsey who moved on to greener pastures, and perhaps regretted that for an eternity. The band were about to be launched into the stratosphere with upcoming albums, but hindsight is a wonderful thing in rock.

Fly by Night is the screechy title track with Geddy's high falsetto voice breaking glass. Throwaways such as Making Memories and Rivendell never do the album any favours, though it ends with a classic in the form of In the End. All in all an improvement from the debut but there was still a lot more left in the tank before Rush would break outside of Canada to becoming one of the greatest rock bands of the world.

Report this review (#500578)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars Rush is a band that is around for over 40 years now. And you don't really need to give any introductions. The only thing nice to mention tough, is that after their first album, Rush (1974) they changed their drummer and the same trio is together since then.

Fly By Night (1975) is the first album with Neil Peart behind the drums and also writing most of the lyrics. Neil's lyrics were always different and something to pay attention on. Here, he's on his early stage as a writer but you could see how far he would go and soon.

Fly By Night was the second album from Rush I've heard (being Moving Pictures the first) and since I brought the LP home I was blown away because of 'Anthem', what a powerful track with an intricate riff and great vocals.

Recently I've bought the remastered CD version of the album and it sparkled the desire of writing a bit about this album. Fly By Night (1975) is their first real attempt of making Prog Rock (Hard Prog to be precise) and it is showed very clearly on the song like 'By-Tor And Snow Dog'. The Prog Rock side would be refined in their next albums. Here, we have two sides of their musicality, the aforementioned Hard Prog with killer songs like 'Anthem', 'Best I Can' and 'Fly By Night'. Many of this songs deal with Neil's dreams finally coming true and going on the road with a band.

Then we also have their acoustic side on songs like 'Making Memories' and the Tolkien influenced 'Rivendell'. These songs are clearly influenced by their lifestyle at the moment, they use to tour 6 days a week on those days and new songs were been written on the bus with acoustic guitars.

They were still 'green' on those days, but with the helping hand of Terry Brown on the production the Canadians were able to surpass, and with style, their debut album and because of that they would achieve fame soon.

This is a really essential album!

Report this review (#515159)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Standing head and shoulders above the Led Zeppelin worship of the previous album, Fly By Night sees Rush create a first rough draft of their distinctive prog metal style. This is most apparent on the album's highlight, the multi-part epic By-Tor and the Snow Dog, which aside from a slow section towards the end is a great prog metal composition featuring some superb guitar work from Alex Lifeson.

Of course, the transformation in the band's sound is thanks mainly to the presence of Neil Peart, whose more technically proficient drumming allows the band to explore more complex musical territory. But both Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson give a superior performance this time around as well, the presence of Peart clearly boosting the band's morale and both founder members relishing the opportunity to show off their skills outside of a blues-rock framework.

It isn't a perfect album, though; it occasionally suffers from muzzy production values and a residual tendency towards lightweight rockers (such as the forgettable Best I Can or Making Memories), and the faltering acoustic piece Rivendell is an embarrassing slice of Tolkien worship that's best forgotten about - not least because it stretches about a minute's worth of musical ideas over five minutes. Nonetheless, the album brings the band appreciably closer to becoming the dominant force they would become, so major-league Rush fans will probably want to pick it up regardless.

Report this review (#539204)
Posted Saturday, October 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars They hadn't fully moved into the realm of progressive rock, but what differentiates their second album from the debut is that Fly By Night is a full-fledged classic rock album, with emphasis on the word classic. Their songwriring ability had obviously grown since the first, and not just because of the addition of the always insightful lyricist and drummer Neil Peart. Through their first few releases, Rush wrote a handful of charactaristically original rock song album tracks, and these are their best ones, especially "Best I Can" and "Beneath, Between and Behind." They're still rocking just as hard as on the first (even harder on the energetic and greatly penned "Anthem"), and they even start to explore prog rock territory on the somewhat lightheartedly adventous "By-Tor and the Snow Dog." At some points, it's apparent that they are still a young band at writing, but the songs are stuffed with so many attention grabbers, like the guitar and bass battle in "By-Tor", the very weed-friendly mixing job put on all the songs, best exemplified on the greatly arranged and supremely catchy title track, and the closing "In the End" is one of their most emotinoally resonant heavy rock songs. They would get even more creative on future recordings, but it can be said that they never again made an album that sounds exactly like Fly By Night.
Report this review (#618571)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not that it matters to anyone (nor that it should), I've finally decided to shed my ill-conceived notions and biases about the band Rush and objectively investigate their prog craft one album at a time. For decades I've avoided them for the pettiest of reasons yet I've come to realize lately that I'm only hurting myself by being so close-minded. The first time I heard of them was back in the mid 70s when my girlfriend who worked at the Travis Street Electric Company in Dallas raved about the show they put on there while I was out of town on a club tour. The night spot was changing from a gaudy disco to a concert venue that could give up-and-coming acts a place to display their wares in North Texas. (They soon moved into a huge barn of a place near downtown and dubbed it the "Electric Ballroom.") I valued her critiques of the artists she got to see there yet this one bugged me. I don't know why but I was jealous of her enthusiasm for a group I'd never heard of and, in response, callously formed a sour opinion of them. My affair with that lovely lass ended badly (for me) in late '75 but, while I eventually got over her, my unfounded aversion for Rush lingered on and on. (I have no doubt there's a connection. Doesn't take a shrink to figure that out, Sigmund.) So whenever I happened to hear one of their songs on the radio I'd purposely pay no attention whatsoever to what they were doing. I was smugly satisfied with being a Rushophobic.

Over the past few years (via numerous documentaries and interviews that've cropped up on VH1 Classic channel in particular) I've been made aware of the trio's enormous influence upon a host of musicians (prog and otherwise) that I hold in lofty esteem, forcing me to contemplate the possibility that I was wrong to rush into judgment about the group so long ago. Plus, the fact that they're (a) recognized worldwide as an undisputed giant in the field of progressive rock and that (b) they're one of the few bands from the Americas that can legitimately call themselves prog add up to my confessing in shame that I've been a stubborn curmudgeon when it comes to Rush. Alas, I've turned over a new maple leaf, my friends, and I intend to boldly go where their art takes me without prejudice. I may or may not like what I hear but at least I'll have legitimate cause for feeling one way or another and that, for this proud prog reviewer, is liberating. I'm starting with their 2nd LP, "Fly By Night," simply because I couldn't procure a copy of their debut in the short run. I'll get around to it someday if I live long enough.

Taking into consideration that their original drummer John Rutsey quit just before embarking on the tour to promote their 1st album, their survival of that normally-devastating event is admirable in and of itself. Replacing him with Neil Peart, a man who'd grow to be revered as a drum god, is fate at its most serendipitous. Even more astounding is the lasting bond that solidified between him, guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist Geddy Lee within a span of weeks. By the time they went into the studio to tape their sophomore record they were a stronger trio than ever before.

The opener, "Anthem," has an aggressive beginning that leads to Geddy singing with much more rasp and gusto than I expected to hear. I confess that, like many of the group's detractors, Lee's sometimes screechy voice can be a distraction but I'm finding it's an acquired taste that my palate is slowly warming up to. One thing that really stands out on this cut is the tightness between Geddy and Neil. They were made for each other. I'm also struck by Alex's solo because it's so individualistic and free from any obvious mimicry of other prog guitarists. "Best I Can" is straight-ahead power rock and once again I'm surprised by how strong Lee's vocal is. I'm similarly impressed by the quality of Peart's lyrics as he describes the arduous task ahead of the band as they travel down the prog road. "I've got a livin' that's rough/a future that's tough/you know what I mean/blankers and boasters/all the bluffers and posers/I'm not into that scene," Geddy sings. "Beneath, Between, Behind" is an energetic track filled with sharp, punchy accents and seamless changes in feel. You gotta love Neil's fearlessness in not sticking with simple beat patterns and daring to be different in his approach.

"By-Tor and the Snow Dog" is progressive rock that doesn't sound like anyone else and much more experimental and envelope-pushing than the three previous numbers. An entertaining, slightly psychedelic aura surrounds the middle instrumental section that serves as a great showcase for the cohesiveness of the players. Lifeson's subtle guitar work during the quieter movement is an indication of his versatility and the whole epic is a testimony to the group's clear, undiluted statement of purpose. "Fly By Night" got the most airplay in my neck of the woods with its memorable melody displaying their desire to be accessible to a wide spectrum of the public without sacrificing their prog ideals. One aspect of the song I'd never bothered to notice is Geddy's complex and invigorating bass lines that run through the tune. "Making Memories" is next wherein Alex's strummed acoustic guitar expands the surface of their aural canvas and keeps things from becoming rote. His bottleneck slide lead is an eye-opener and Lee's voice is not only passionate but controlled as he delivers prophetic lines like "There's a time for feelin' as good as we can/the time is now and there's no stoppin' us/there's a time for livin' as high as we can/behind us you will only see our dust."

The beautiful "Rivendell" unveils a softer side of Rush I wasn't aware of and that I find extremely refreshing. Alex's expressive guitars create a depth of field that's rarely heard without the aid of space-filling keyboards. This song is a more-than-passable foray into the realm of prog folk. They close with "In The End." After a laid-back acoustic 12-string onset the number gives way to hefty electric guitar chords layered over a driving rock groove. I reiterate that it's a pleasure to hear a state-side guitarist with an original tact, who isn't so thoroughly steeped in "da blooz" that it colors every riff he plays. It's somewhat predictable that they'd return to the tune's initial theme but I attribute that to their compositional inexperience and I don't deem it patronizing at all.

Enjoying "Fly By Night" as much as I did only reinforces my personal assessment of myself as being an ignorant jackass. I have a distinct inkling that I'm going to become a fan of Rush the further I venture ahead in this belated journey of discovery. Geddy's voice will, at times, grate on my nerves but I'll also become more comfortable with it as I accept more readily that it's the only voice the Lord gave him and he's getting everything he can out of it without apology. The musicianship of the band, even at this early stage, is beyond reproach and I look forward to the challenges they'll present me with. No sophomore jinx in play here, this is a darn good album from start to finish. 3.3 stars.

Report this review (#629317)
Posted Thursday, February 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Along with it's neighbor in time, CARESS OF STEEL, FLY BY NIGHT is an often overlooked album by Rush. It does not compare for sure with albums such as PERMANENT WAVES or 2112, but it is not as poor as their first album or some of their later more synth albums. FLY BY NIGHT seems to be a "rough draft" for their later progressive albums. Rivendell and By-Tor for example are fine compositions that show what Rush would soon be capable of. And the title track is just a fun rock tune that I have enjoyed for years. Everything else here doesn't quite come up to the same standard so my rating will be a 3 1/2. Not in the top tier of Rush works but solidly in the middle with albums like GRACE UNDER PRESSURE and CARESS OF STEEL.
Report this review (#637912)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 7/10

Hmm .. this album was not an experience as unique as the later works of Rush, but gives a good indication of what the trio will make these next. Also has a classic of them (By-Tor and Snow-Dog) and introduces us to the legend Neil Peart on drums.

The sound is generally a good mix of hard rock with prog. The most notable influence is definitely Led Zeppelin, in the course of acute Geddy Lee (ok, I'm not a big fan of them), but Rush knows how to harness it to their advantage. And Peart's arrival only intensifies the qualities of the band: in addition to being a monster battery baggage he brings with him an incredible lyric writing letters with a strong emphasis on fantasy (which would further explore in the following albums), which is seen in the acoustic Rivendell and epic By-Tor and the Snow Dog.

About the latter, is clearly the peak of the album. Before Rush writing epics with more than 10 minutes they took this song 8 minutes and divided into 4 sections. She now opens with strong vocals, but for the most part is instrumental. And God, that instrumental! Alex Lifeson gets down exploring numerous guitar effects, and its agreement with Lee and Peart is perfect! The other songs the album may even be good, but they are all in this epic ofuscdas wonderful!

It is this song that raises the morale of Fly By Night. The album itself is not very worthy of attention, not matching the material of the later ages of Rush, but it shows us the prototype of the sound that will secure the band as one of the giants of prog-rock.

Report this review (#754012)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fly By Night is the first Rush album with drummer Neil Peart, and coincidentally the first album with a hint of the prog to come. All of the heaviness of the debut is here, but with a much more clean and defined sound.

The songs are a bit more divese than on their debut. There are the rockers in the form of 'Anthem,' 'Best I can,' 'Beneath, Between, and Behind' and the title track. But there are also some softer acoustic driven songs in 'Making Memories' and 'Rivendell,' and the methodically developed 'The End.' But the real treat here is 'By-tor and the Snow Dog,' which could be considered their first prog song. The structure is radically different from anything they've done this far, and the instrumentation is more complex and elaborate.

Though this isn't a true prog rock album, (closer to prog-related perhaps) I still believe it to be one of Rush's greatest accomplishments.


Report this review (#771341)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4,5 really !!! After the first release from 1974, RUSH starts to refine your sound and open their ascending path in direction to (in my humble opinion) the more sophisticated heavy-prog style reached for a band ( specially a trio ). I know which one circumstance contributes definitively to this... RUSH takes great luck in "Drummers Wheels of Fortune" ... Neil Peart brings to band's sound not only a new colored, beside this, more interesting lyrics. But, when I hear the first RUSH album I immediately recognise in Geedy and Alex the capacity to create great melodies , powerful riffs and intricate bass/guitar dialogs. In Fly by Night again you can hear this characteristic in the track 4 ". By-Tor And The Snow Dog" and the 4 parts that compounds the music (where Lee and Lifeson "detonating" . their instruments in Part III "Of The Battle" . The track 3 "Beneath, Between And Behind" is other moment capable of "shake the mind" with their solo/riff/scale where the trio "sparks" between the guitar / bass and drums melody . The track 1 "Anthem" with a overture where Peart assume the "game" and "play your cards", culminates with one of more full of emotion guitar solo that I heard in my life. In fact this is the first great album from RUSH. My rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#929692)
Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Rush sound starts to come together on this album - Neil Peart has taken his place on the seat of the drum engine of the band. 1. Anthem - the beginning of the early classic Rush sound this track is one of the Rush canon set pieces defining what was to come. 2. Best I can - standard rocker but way more advanced in quality than anything on the first album. Still very influenced by the Who to my ears. 3. Between, beneath and behind - Pleasant enough track but pretty standard fare. 4. By-Tor and the Snow Dog - Rush's first epic and a live favorite. 5. Fly by night - To me, one of the instantly recognisable Rush tracks that starts to define Rush. 6. Making memories - Pleasant smaller track. 7. Rivendell - I enjoy this gentle track although it does go on a bit too long for its own good. 8. In the end - The second longest track on the album, starts off with Rush's softer side before rocking out in what was becoming the Rush identifier sound.

Unlike the first Rush album this one will continue to entertain my ears in future as it will remain on my play list however the best of Rush was still very much on the way. With this album Rush shouldered their way into the 70's musical who's who list as a solid entity with their own identity. A very solid three stars for me.

Report this review (#934109)
Posted Saturday, March 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rush's sophomore effort, Fly by Night, is a slight improvement over their debut. Don't get me wrong: both albums are very solid and certainly above average, but neither one quite matches the sophistication and greatness of their late 70s/early 80s output.

Fly By Night is still in the same Zeppelin-esque blues rock vein of the debut, but it's clear from the opening bars of "Anthem" that this band had honed both their playing and songwriting chops while touring. It's also clear that they've benefited from the inclusion of Neil Peart on drums and lyrics: although Rutsey was a solid power drummer, Peart adds more speed and musical sensibility behind the kit; his fills are more creative, diverse, and complex. Geddy's voice and bass work haven't yet "evolved" much, nor has Lifeson's guitar work, but both musicians play tight and certainly haven't regressed. I mean, they had their chops from the get go. As did Peart. They just got better with songwriting and expressing their chops on subsequent releases.

Peart also had experience in the prog rock vein, and his influence is felt in the songwriting (even if he's not really a songwriter). It also helps that both Geddy and Alex were prog fans by this point. The prog tendencies are most obvious in a lengthy, multi-section piece called "By-Tor and the Snow Dog." It may not be one of my favorite tunes, but I respect it for what it is: a stepping stone that covers everything from Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd to King Crimson. On "By-Tor," heavy segments driven by experimental guitar and intense drumming portray an adventurous chase, while the softer, atmospheric pieces border on psychedelic and would have been jarring if the transition hadn't been so seamless. It's all capped off with a short passage of Rush playing pure Blues rock. Peart also pens some thoughtful lyrics - no longer are Rush songs about getting "in the mood" or fetching out some booze. He does tend to go overboard at points (e.g. "Beneath, Between & Behind", "Rivendell") but it's a minor gripe; Geddy is a master at churning great melodies out of verbose lyrics (e.g. "Limelight").

There are also some interesting folk-rock pieces throughout the album, mostly situated in the last few tracks. "Making Memories" is an early Rush classic: it's simplistic, but very catchy and upbeat. "Rivendell" is boring, but trippy guitar effects contract sharply with slicing riffs in the album's closer, "In the End," which sounds straight out of Woodstock.

Of course, the title track is also a standout for its mellow riff, crazy fills, and catchy melodies. It's probably the most well written -song- off the album, though "Anthem" and "Making Memories" give it a run for its money.

Overall, I'm not sure if I'd call Fly By Night a "transition" album, mainly because the next two albums were far more transitory. It's more of a second debut album. They tread much of the same ground as the debut, but with two key upgrades: the inclusion of Peart, and the desire to experiment and mix in prog and folk tendencies. Both prog and folk would factor heavily into some of Rush's later 70s works. All of the variables to Rush's classic formula don't really mesh on Fly By Night, but this is where they were established. The next two albums are where the band truly began their experimentation and progression.

I feel it's a four-star album in the context of rock music, but it's non-essential as a prog rock album: there are no prog rock classics here, only a collection of interesting songs with the occasional dud. I still think it's a step above the debut due to the inclusion of Peart and new styles, but these upgrades are not enough for the album to earn that fourth star.

Album Track Picks:

+ "Anthem"

+ "By-Tor and the Snow Dog"

+ "Fly By Night"

+ "Making Memories"

Weakest Links:

- "Beneath, Between & Behind"

- "Rivendell"

Rating: 7.5/10 (3 stars for ProgArchives: good but non-essential)

Report this review (#996752)
Posted Friday, July 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars RUSH made the leap from just a hard rock band to the progressive rock band that would conquer the world with their 2nd album FLY BY NIGHT. The talented Neil Peart took over not only drumming duties but also became the lyricist leading the band into the fantasy world for inspiration. Also prevalent is the influence of the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

This album starts out really strong with the feisty rocker "Anthem," but although the complexity of RUSH's prog side had taken bloom, clearly their songwriting skills were not quite yet honed to the point where their longer pieces were interesting. I have always loved the shorter songs on here like the title track but tracks like "By-Tor And The Snow Dog" and even "Rivendell" just sound goofy and struggling to find their proper expression but fail miserably in the attempt.

Having said all that, not a bad introduction to the new RUSH that would remain the lineup up to the current day producing countless albums including masterpieces and duds alike. I actually prefer the debut album to this one since the debut is an interesting hard rock album and this one takes on more than it successfully delivers.

Report this review (#1100435)
Posted Thursday, December 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 Stars

In 1974, Rush realized that if they were going to go anywhere they were going to need a new drummer(no knock on John Rutsey though). In comes the very well-acclaimed drum maestro Neil Peart aka The Professor and with the entrance of Peart Rush has officially taken off. Rush since the very beginning were on a quest to challenge themselves musically and their first true test of this came in 1975 with the release of Fly By Night their sophomore effort. The band wanted to take over the world and make more complex music than shown in the past and this album was the first true show of this. We immediately hear the difference between Peart and Rutsey with the song called Anthem. The intro to that song ushered in an Era that has yet to be replicated in Rock music. Ever since this album Rush has been one of the longest tenured Rock groups in history second only to ZZ Top. This was the first time we see and hear the messieurs Lee, Lifeson, Peart. The magic and chemistry has now officially begun. I will now review the first release with these three 1975's Fly By Night!

Here is the tracklisting for the album:

1. Anthem - The album opener to me is really exciting because to me it really is the birth of Prog Metal but arguably perchance(people would argue King Crimson or High Tide but I argue it really began right here). This song has all that defines Heavy Metal and Prog Rock. Perfect piece of Prog Metal. 10/10

2. Best I Can - This song showcases how confident the band was in their ability that we even hear a little bit of arrogance in it haha. Geddy Lee has got some attitude and this song perfectly displays it. It is simple song in nature but one that rocks. 8/10

3. Beneath, Between And Behind - This is one of the first songs that we get to see and hear the guys feel each other musically. People argue that they have not really found themselves but to me the chemistry is undeniable and the playing is first class. Another great song. 9/10

4. By-Tor And The Snow Dog - This is Rush's first real taste into epic territory and it is what I would call a "mini-epic ". We get to hear more of the inner play with each other as the band tries to find itself a little more. I enjoy it quite a bit. I think this song along with Anthem is one of the first examples of Progressive Metal. Perfect! 10/10

5. Fly By Night - The radio hit of the album and a decent one at that. Not the greatest thing Rush ever did but definitely not the worst. I like its solo and the catchiness of it but that's where it ends with me. 8/10

6. Making Memories - Another song that is good but really doesn't do much for me aside from the occasional head nod. 8/10

7. Rivendell - This song is a really special song to me. I love it dearly it is a sweet and simple acoustic guitar piece with some really good vocals from Geddy Lee. With a song like this you could tell that Rush were on their way to bigger and better things. This is one of the first tastes of acoustic music with Rush. It is a really lovely and underrated masterpiece!. 10/10

8. In The End - This is yet again another great song by the band. It is not really a Prog Rock but it is rocker with lots of emotion. I love the intro so much that the hair on the back of my neck stands up knowing that Rush were going somewhere with their music. I really dig Geddy's powerful vocals and this song overall. 10/10

Overall, Fly By Night by Rush is a really good album showcasing the band in many different ways from the soft and gentle to heavy and angry a really good and interesting dichotomy that every Prog Metal band should attest to. This is an album that will go down as one of the most underrated in Prog Rock in my eye. The album gets a 9/10 or 4.5 stars out of 5. Peace Out

Report this review (#1117087)
Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow. If you hadn't already guessed by the mythical beast on the album cover, the first 5 seconds of music should tell you that something serious has changed here. That something is virtuoso drummer, Neil Peart. Geddy and Alex have stepped up their game as well. The first song, Anthem, has it all. A 7/8 intro with about 10 drums being hit per second, incredible bass lines and wailing, an awesome wah-wah guitar solo, ultra-tight stop-and-go action between the three players - the works. The other songs are great too!

The first side is made of three straight-ahead rockers and the band's first foray into a multi-part epic. Said epic, By-Tor and the Snow Dog, is a odd duck. Absurd lyrics about a fantasy battle, with bizzare sounds from the guitar and bass to represent the action. Unbeleivably tight playing in the middle with giant drum fills, and even an ambient section all squeezed into a relatively svelte 8 1/2 minute piece. Great song if you can dig the ridiculous lyrical content.

The second half features the single/title track (another awesome straight forward rock song), a folky tune that sounds like something good by the Doobie Brothers, the beautiful, nylon string Hobbit-ode Rivendell, and the fantastic rocker/ballad conclusion In The End. No weak moments here.

Though prog-related at best, this is an excellent album and the first taste of what a fan might call "true Rush." A great starting point for anyone getting into the band.


Report this review (#1167007)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rush's second album, "Fly By Night" is similar in a way to Judas Priest's "Sad Wings of Destiny" and Metallica's "Ride the Lightning". All three albums were sophomore releases that included the final pieces of material written with founding members who had since departed. Judas Priest included some final bits of material written by Al Atkins; Metallica included some parts claimed by Dave Mustaine; and Rush included a last couple of songs written when former drummer John Rutsey was in the band. Yet while the efforts of Judas Priest and Metallica would go on to have profound impacts on the growth and development of heavy metal, Rush's impact on metal and prog would not leave a huge impression until two albums later with "2112".

Rush's eponymous debut was a good solid hard rock album with some wonderful heavy guitar work. With Neil Peart now on board not only providing an added dimension to the drums but also lyrically taking the band in more intellectual directions, Rush released for their second album a tight rocker with budding progressive tendencies. With songs like "Anthem", and "Beneath, Between & Behind" the band was raising the bar for fast- paced heavy rockers with a higher degree of complexity. Conversely, "Best that I Can", "Making Memories" and "In the End" still sound like the old Rush of a few months prior with "Making Memories" featuring some slide guitar and acoustic guitar that remind me of Nazareth.

The title track was a song I heard frequently on the classic rock radio station along with "In the Mood" and "Closer to the Heart" but none of those songs ever impressed me. Now I really enjoy this song about Peart's time he spent in the U.K. becoming disappointed with the reality of the music business. The guitar solo is a classic seventies rock guitar showcase, and Alex Lifeson, in an interview a couple of years back, listed this among his top ten favourite solos that he has ever played.

The song that was really intended to make headway into prog territory was the mini-epic, "By-Tor and the Snow Dog", a multi-part narrative about two arch enemies who encounter each other and commence battle. The song describes the events that lead up to the battle which is then played out with Lifeson's guitar playing Snow Dog and Geddy Lee's bass growling as By-Tor. The battle is ferocious but at one point it seems Snow Dog might be defeated. The music becomes sparse while little chimes tinkle like ice crystals. We came imagine the two combatants bloodied and out of breath, By-Tor perhaps looking on as Snow Dog seems worse for wear and potentially defeated. But the music returns to power as the Snow Dog does likewise and at last Snow Dog is victorious while By-Tor flees.

The one odd track on this album and indeed one of the oddest in Rush's catalogue is "Rivendell". Featuring only acoustic guitar, soft electric guitar notes, and Lee's voice, the song relates the comfort and joy of staying in Rivendell from Tolkein's "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings".

This is still Rush in their first phase, the seventies hard rock one. Though they began experimenting with more progressive approaches to writing music, this was only their first step. Nevertheless, this album walks with a foot firmly planted on each side, one in the heavy rock of the mid-seventies and one in heavy prog. A step up from the debut and looking strong.

As a prog album, good but not essential. As a rock album, excellent!

Report this review (#1365882)
Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2015 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Rush's 2nd full album effort in my opinion is their weakest from all of their earlier albums from their debut album up to "Moving Pictures". Granted, Rush was working hard to find their sound, and they do move a little bit away from their straightforward Rock sound of the debut album towards a Hard Progressive sound, but they don't quite nail it down very well. To me, "Caress of Steel", their next album does a much better job of expanding their sound than this one does. I know that probably contradicts what most people say, but, I love "Caress of Steel" even if it is a little disjointed and "Fly By Night" to me is rather substandard in comparison. It even sounds more like a 1st album than the debut album does.

There are a few great songs here at least that hold their own when compared to the best Rush songs, namely "Anthem", "Best I Can" and the multi-movement epic "By-tor and the Snow Dog" and these songs throw the most light on the greatness that was to come later, but the rest of the album seems to sag. Most of the 2nd side of the album is much softer and sounds like an attempt to be radio friendly. Of course, this made the title track accessible and has become one of the band's most famous songs, but it pales in comparison to Rush's usual output. The usual emotion and energy of Rush's music is missing and this creates a weak album.

I can't rate this as a 1 star because it's not a poor album. The 3 strong songs here make it a good album, but just don't expect a lot out of it and you may find it somewhat enjoyable at least. Nothing really makes this essential though when compared to the greatest Rush albums. So, it squeaks by with a 3 star rating because of the excellence of 3 tracks and a very cool looking album cover.

Report this review (#1373065)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rush's eponymous debut album was largely comprised of hard rock/blues rock tunes a la Led Zeppelin and Cream. While it had many solid tunes, the album as a whole sounded pretty safe and derivative; the songs didn't really provide anything especially new for fans of 70s hard rock music. Most likely because of this, the album didn't do very well in terms of sales (it only managed to reach 105 on the Billboard 200); to make matters worse, drummer John Rutsey had to opt out of the album's tour due to his diabetes and ended up leaving the band. So when Neil Peart was set to audition for the group, his future bandmates were a bit skeptical, especially guitarist Alex Lifeson. But eventually they formed a bond and started to become great friends, especially since the band's first tour was a few weeks away. Once 1975's Fly by Night was released, some very drastic changes were made from the group's previous effort, but was it all worth it? Definitely.

Fly by Night retains a large amount of the hard rock its predecessor had, but adds a bevy of new tricks to keep listeners on their toes. The most obvious improvement is in the percussion department; Peart's precision and overall technique definitely fit Rush's music a lot better than Rutsey did. But beyond this, he also provides most of the album's lyrics; on top of that, there aren't any more songs about love and sex, but rather about philosophy and fantasy for the most part. The music has also taken a step forward, and there's no better way to display this than with arguably one of best opening songs in rock history, "Anthem." The band immediately throw you into the fray with a heavy (almost metallic) guitar riff and energetic drumming to back it up. The band calms down a bit for the verses, offering a nice contrast to such an intense first impression. Alex Lifeson alternates between the aforementioned heavy riffs and some nice clean guitar playing, while Geddy Lee's bass playing and vocal work are certainly a step up from the trio's debut. "By Tor and the Snow Dog" operates in the same vein, but has a fantastic instrumental section that would hint at the band's future progressive rock epics. The verses are pretty fun too, just your standard hard rock; once again, Neil Peart steals the show with some exceptional drum fills and a keen ear for detail when it comes to his technique. However, my absolute favorite track on here would have to be the insanely-underrated "Rivendell." Ironically, the song doesn't even have drums or the bass guitar on it; it's a folk ballad with Geddy Lee's softer singing and Alex Lifeson's beautiful acoustic guitar playing. As the title suggests, the song is about the elven outpost of the same name in The Lord of the Rings, and Geddy Lee sings about the tranquility and beauty the place brings. The entire song is gorgeous and doesn't need any embellishments to improve it; the almost-minimalist nature of the song and the emotional charge it has is certainly enough.

Unfortunately, the downside about this album is that, as with the band's debut, this album has a good chunk of filler to plow through to get to the good stuff. "Best I Can" and "In the End" are average rockers that could have easily appeared on the first album, while "Making Memories" is a pretty boring acoustic rock piece; the clean guitar work is a nice addition, but the bass is a little listless and the drumming's pretty bland for Mr. Peart. Luckily, the album's fun title track comes in midway to balance things out, and inconsistencies are more tolerable. It's still pretty annoying to have to sit through the boring tracks in the first place, though.

However, these flaws aren't enough to destroy the album; if anything, this album was a very bold move for the band; "By Tor" offers a glimpse into the band's future glories and other songs show the band refining and polishing their hard rock formula very well. This isn't really one of the band's best albums in the end, but it's at least a fun hard rock/progressive rock album that benefits from well-focused compositions and well-written lyricism. If you like Rush or want a hybrid of progressive rock and hard rock, this album should do the trick.

Report this review (#1445867)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars After Rush's debut album an extraordinary series of events took place. After working their tails off playing every high school, church basement and bar they can throughout Ontario, Canada, they finally released an album on their own label after getting rejected multiple times, they then secured a record deal based on the strength of sales from their debut and now had many gigs lined up. Now they were at odds with their drummer. John Rutsey was not on the same page musically and personality-wise as the others. Also he was diabetic and he also wasn't too keen on touring. Meanwhile an incredible drummer, who pretty much had given up on trying to "make it" after moving to England a couple of years prior, shows up and changes the band's (and his) fortunes forever. Fly By Night is Mr. Neil Peart's debut album for Rush. His influence is immediately heard on the very first track. It turns out Neil was the perfect man for the job. Not only could the band increase their musicianship but now they had a real lyricist and someone willing to commit full time. Fly By Night is that transition album from their hard rock beginnings to their more prog flavored albums that came after. In contrast to the debut album, Fly By Night is much sharper, the lyrics were much better for the most part and they now started to take a stab at a longer pieces. . The drums are FAR superior to John Rutsey. Neil had the power of a John Bonham with the finesse of a Michael Giles or a Carl Palmer. The songs vary quite a bit here, You have some hard rock (Anthem, Best I Can) Hard pop (Fly By Night) acoustic (Rivendell) and prog (By-Tor and the Snow Dog). The best way to describe this album would be that it's hard rock with prog musicianship but with a fiercer attack. Still the songwriting needs a bit more shaping up for Rush to enter prog territory but nonetheless is a seminal album for heavy prog.
Report this review (#1509070)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars A little proggy hard rock animal

First RUSH album with drummer Neil Peart, "Fly by Night" is also the first one to clearly feature progressive passages and to shape the style that will become the trio's future musical trademark. The songs are overall in the same catchy 70's hard rock vein than its predecessor's, but some tracks are more elaborated and varied, alternating soft and aggressive passages. Furthermore, new themes are addressed, such as heroic fantasy.

This evolution is partly due to the arrival of Neil Peart. Already an highly skilled drummer, his play style increased the complexity of the songs' rhythmic sections. He also wrote most of the lyrics of this record.

The first side of the disc is the best. The thundering "Anthem" is simply a great powerful opener. Nearly heavy metal, it sounded quite aggressive for the time! "Best I Can" and "Beneath, Between & Behind" are more conventional hard rock'n'roll songs, pleasant and punchy. However, the highlight here is undoubtedly the 8 minutes mini-epic "By-tor And The Snow Dog". Longest track of the album, this song is one of the progressive passages of the disc as well as one of RUSH's first inclusion of fantasy lyrics. Displaying the musicians' skills, it alternates various soli, rhythm changes, different ambiances and even surprising instrumental passages with a space rock feel! This complex composition clearly announces announces RUSH's future musical direction. Very cool!

The second side is unfortunately less convincing. The autobiographical title track narrates Neil Peart's experience when moving from Canada to London as a young musician. The tune is overall average and a little repetitive. "Making Memories" is a semi-acoustic folk piece that can remind LED ZEPPELIN III at times. Not really remarkable, but enjoyable. The other song taking inspiration from fantasy is "Rivendell", referring Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". Looking promising, this fully acoustic ballad is finally soapy and lengthy. The record finishes with "In The End", a pleasant soft piece mutating into a slow heavy rock. The best track of this second side.

"Fly by Night" is the release where RUSH slowly begins to craft its identity, by showing the members' mastership in their respective instruments. Combined with energetic hard rock and catchy melodies, complex structures and rhythm breaks will be the musical signature of the band for the years to come.

As one of RUSH's most uneven album from the 1974-1984 period, this second opus is nonetheless enjoyable and contains powerful passages. Not the one to start with for newcomers, but recommended for fans.

Since then, the Geddy Lee / Alex Lifeson / Neil Peart line-up will become one of the most stable formation in the rock'n'roll history and is still remaining for 40 years now...

Report this review (#1579260)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rush's personality didn't really come in until this album. Like such Fly By Night resonates early echoes of what the band would become, granted with less experimentation and overall "progressive" nature and more of the classic rock sound featured on their debut. Then, you may ask, is so great about this album if isn't blatant hard rock or intricate prog? Well, that's very simple. You see, Fly By Night walks such a fine line between these two aforementioned genres that it combines them extremely well, having a bit of each for each type of fans. You have the rock in songs like the title track and 'Anthem', and the prog in 'By-Tor And the Snow Dog' and my personal favorite 'In The End'. If you are indeed a fan of Moving Pictures / Farewell To Kings-era Rush, then this album is right for you.
Report this review (#1579445)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2016 | Review Permalink
3 stars As Neil Peart entered Rush, the band experimented a rebirth that would redefine its existence and its musical output. Regarding the music, with this album came the first demonstrations of the progressive direction the trio would achieve and perfect in future releases. Lyrically, as Peart began to take the helm, the songs started to abandon their naive, simplistic style featured in the debut. Themes of fantasy and adventure that appeared here first would prevail during the following years, although the shift would not be permanent.

The powerful opener, "Anthem" truly lives up to its name, and would become a staple in the band's live presentations. "By-Tor and the Snow Dog", the band's first epic and progressive track, showed what these three young men were capable of doing behind their respective roles and instruments. "Beneath, Between and Behind" is a short, quick burst of energy and speed, but full of great ideas. And the album's closer, aptly titled "In the End" , is also a highlight of the album, beginning with an acoustic sound that soon morphs into a heavier, electric sound that, while continuing the musical themes, riffs, and chords, keeps adding innovation to the track.

Unfortunately, only half of the tracks are of such fine quality. "Best I Can" conserves the style and lyrical laziness of the first album. No wonder why, since its lyrics were penned, not by Peart, but by Lee, who had taken care, to its detriment, or the lyrics in the debut. The title song, with lyrics by Peart, is credited to only Lee in the music, an unusual fact that would be corrected in the years to come. The Lee/Lifeson collaboration yielded way better results in the majority of instances. Same problem with "Rivendell", which I can assure without a shadow of doubt that is the worst song in Rush's entire existence. Not only because I dislike "The Lord of the Rings" (Hey! I'm a Guatemalan! You can't blame me for having first coming to know about LOTR when I was 20+ years old!), but the song is as boring and excessively long as Peter Jackson's trilogy. "Making Memories" is, ironically, quite a forgettable song, with nothing particularly wrong, but with nothing particularly good.

In short, "Fly By Night" is a good, but not essential album, with many hints of the greatness that Rush would achieve, but with evidence that they still had a lot to learn, and a lot of work to do to truly "find their way" .

Report this review (#1825190)
Posted Monday, November 20, 2017 | Review Permalink
2 stars 'Fly By Night' is the second album by Canadian rock legends Rush. Released in 1975, it's the first album to feature drummer Neil Peart, and solidifies what is the definitive Rush line up, with bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, holding up all the way to the bands retirement in January 2018.

However, I don't think this album is as good as the band's debut. While there's a few good songs, and Neil Peart's drumming has lots of small touches that make him stand out from his predecessor, John Rutsey, I just struggle to really get into most of these tracks.

That's not really a knock on the band though. I love Rush, especially their 80's synth-driven era, and their self-titled debut was a solid hard rock album. But 'Fly By Night' just doesn't quite work for me. It's easy to hear the progressive elements coming into the trios sound, and the musicianship itself is fantastic. I'd just prefer to listen to 'Grace Under Pressure' or 'Signals' instead.

So what songs do I like? 'Anthem' is catchy, as is the title track and 'Best I Can', and there's the soft, folk-inspired 'Rivendell' which I didn't like initially but eventually it came to grow on me. But from a band with such a wealth of material to choose from, I can't see myself coming back to these very often.

Rush are one of my all-time favourite bands, and with a career spanning over 40 years, there's bound to be a couple of albums I'm not too keen on. This is one of them. There's no specific reason, but they have so many other albums that I prefer much more over this one. Simple as that. Sorry guys!

Report this review (#1941490)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2018 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Rush's second album is definitely a better album to their first, I'll give it that. The introduction of Neil Peart into the band immediately gave the band a sound much more indicative of Rush, even if the majority of this was still more along the lines of standard hard rock, rather than the proggier stuff that was soon to come. While still quite flawed in some respects, I definitely love how this is the album that establishes Rush's sound very effectively.

The main difference I find with this album is the much tighter playing that each member of the band displays, along with a strong sense of unity accentuated by the meticulous nature of the compositions, with each instrument playing off each other amazingly, sometimes truly perfectly. Anthem is a great example of this, being a fast song already showing off just how talented Neil Peart is, balanced by an excellent bassline. The more energetic, over the top singing of Geddy Lee works far better on this album as a whole, both due to the music fitting it much better, and especially due to what feels like a clearly improvement of his vocal skills in general, as it contains much less of the abrasive quality than what could be found on the debut album. I also commend how uplifting Rush tends to be in general, but especially with songs such as this, which are on the more energetic side of things, which is part of the reason why I find many of their commerical songs just as good, if not better than some of their proggier output. Best I Can is another fast paced, fun track with a particularly catchy chorus, and is definitely one of the better moments on the album. At points, it definitely still feels clear that the band were still finding their feet, which is most clear in their first attempt at a prog song, By-Tor and the Snow Dog. While elements of this song work well, such as the unconventional soloing by Alex Lifeson and the dynamic instrumental break being a big step up from anything Rush had done beforehand or even on their next album, Caress of Steel. Unfortunately, this is brought down immensely by the pointless middle section that's simply nothing more than a quiet section filled with pointless sound effects and is quite boring. This awful section turns what could have been an absolute classic into a very mixed bag, and is definitely a case of the live versions being considerably better.

More issues arise in the second half of the album, with 3 of the 4 songs either doiing nothing for me, or being downright bad in my opinion. The exception of these tracks is the title track, another concise rock track that carries immense power while also being extremely pleasant and enjoyable in essentially every way, with such an optimistic tone to it. Unfortunately, the remaining songs on the album generally pale in comparison to the rest, especially the next two. Making Memories features a simplistic, repetitive acoustic melody that while initially sounds quite interesting, it never develops past this point, leaving it stagnant. Rivendell has this same issue but ten times worse, as the basic melody reveals nothing interesting, and it is then extended to 5 minutes, which by the end feels painful, just 5 minutes of pure saccharine drivel without much to salvage it. In The End does no favours for itself with the quiet intro, which definitely sounds better when not preceded by Rivendell, but the rest of the song is definitely better, although not really anything amazing.

Overall, while the album is flawed, there are some excellent tracks to be found here, and the growing ambition the band had undertaken here was definitely a step in the right direction. That said, the bad moments on this album tend to be pretty damn bad, especially the 2 song stretch of Making Memories and Rivendell, which singlehandedly make listening to this album far more difficult than it had a right to be, considering it also contains Anthem and Fly By Night. While this isn't where I'd start off with Rush's discography, it's undoubtedly my favourite of Rush's first 3 albums, before they finally broke out and let their ambitions run wild. I'd recommend just cherry picking the best tracks off this, even if you're quite int hard rock, as this album is quite uneven, albeit great at times.

Best songs: Anthem, Best I can, Fly By Night

Weakest songs: Making Memories, Rivendell

Verdict: Despite the clear improvements in all areas that this album shows over its weak predecessor, this album still has a large issue with consistency. The good tracks are absolutely great, but it balances out with some utter garbage. That said, I'd definitely say that a fair bit of this album is good, even if it's ill conceived at times.

Report this review (#2201251)
Posted Thursday, May 9, 2019 | Review Permalink

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