Yes, it’s 2112. The last and greatest record in the “Led Zeppelin Jr” phase at the start of Rush’s career. Rush had been plugging along, getting more and more adventurous with their songwriting until they reached a pinnacle in the style they were playing with this record.
Their all-time greatest epic, “2112” took up the entire first side of the vinyl release when it first came out. Listeners are discovering this beautiful piece, just as the character in the story discovers a guitar in a world without music. Primary lyricist (and world class drummer) Neil Peart, is inspired by novelist Ayn Rand as the character in the story brings this wonderful music to the current rulers of the world and is rejected. I am so impressed with this story and the way it’s conveyed musically. It is over twenty minutes of incredible genius. Is this the original Heavy Metal epic, or just the best? The band is reaching further than ever before and will reach even greater heights musically on the following albums.
The other side of the record (the rest of the CD) can’t help but be a let down, more of the “LZJr” material they had been salt & peppering the first three albums with. This was their bread and butter that they built their careers on and they certainly do it well however. Songs like guitarist Alex Lifeson’s chewy “Lessons” and the hot steaming serving of beefy goodness “Something for Nothing” really have that early Hard Rock feel. These delicious slices are perhaps most similar to past cuisine from Rush. Okay, I’m done with food references.
They are more musically daring with the Asian influenced “A Passage to Bancock” and the ballad “Tears.” “Tears” has one of Rush’s most graceful melodies and tender lyrics by Geddy Lee that really stretch what might have been expected from this trio. “The Twilight Zone” calls out to some of the show’s most memorable episodes over Lee’s walking jazz-like bass. As a fan of Serling’s classic TV program, I found myself thinking “I remember that one” or “That was good one.”
have a special attachment to this recording, having owned and enjoyed it for many years. It remains one of my favorites in this genre and comes highly recommended by this reviewer. Hold on to your hats though, because this fine group of musicians is about to change genres on the next album 1977’s A Farewell to Kings. Rush will definitely become more Symphonic over the next few records with the exploration of more acoustic instruments, synthesizers and percussion, while never losing their heavier nature.
Reviewed by Terry Jackons on December 6th, 2011