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I want to make clear this: Rush is one of my favourite bands. But far from being an essential album in musical terms (in historical and commercial terms it is), this is one of their worst efforts. Blame this on being the first attempt they did, because they evolved and reached their peak in A Farewell to Kings, Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, their holy trinity, but this one is far from those three, even if here we can find a couple of the embryonary ideas for the future sound of the band.
2112 is the main piece here, a conceptual line story about science fiction, space travelling and a couple of mysteries. Honestly, the track starts promising with the famous "Overture", which has a bunch of powerful riffs and a nice mix of atmospheric keyboarding. A nice way to open any album. Then, we reach "The Temple of the Syrinx" and, by god, we actually stay on our sits listening to this. The rythmical pattern drawn by Neil Peart with his powerful and filling drumming, alongside a speedy and progressive tune leads us to the conclusion that Rush was not a joke. They were actually a force to be taken in count both in rock and metal world. Unfortunately, from this point on, "2112" enters into a hollow.
"Discovery", "Presentation" and "Oracle: the Dream" are weaklings. They don't have the emotion nor the strength enough to keep your attention. Oh yes, we can find here a couple of touching singing, some masterful solos from the guitar, and, as usual, Neil doing his thing and doing it well. But they lack, as I stated above, the power, the emotion, the "Rush Spirit" if I can define it using a quote. Yeah, you can try to sound progressive and atmospheric, but do it without damaging the beat, the feeling. This is what happens in those movements. They loose the line, the string, they fall deep in a pretentious world rather than a joyful and creative new vision of things. Only until "Soliloquy", which contains one of the most endearing singing by Geddy Lee and a couple of the most inventive lines ever written by our favourite power trio: "My spirits are low in the depths of despair... My lifeblood spills over..." we encounter the Rush we know and like. The "Grand Finale" has a frantic drumming section which rules your mind, with the the guitar helping it, and that is. "2112" is a rollercoaster of greatness and mellowness, an in-between, unfortunately.
After this, well, something great must have been done to save the album, but the band fails to deliver. We found "A Passage to Bangkok", a song with a nice melodic intro, but once again, remains there, as an attempt. It never gets to the point, even if Lifeson does his best for trying to awake it. "Twilight Zone" it's like an hybrid between early Pink Floyd and late Led Zeppelin. And, yes, as an hybrid, works, but not as a song written by Rush, a band that gained his reputation for being original and progressive, not by trying to copy what others have done before. Almost the same happens with "Lessons", with that nice accoustic guitar sound leading the paice, actually sounds like an excerpt of "2112" (the song). It's radio friendly, enjoyable, with a rocking chorus and somehow touching lyrics, but nothing to amaze, nothing to remember. You can consider it a child-of-it's-time, a 70's song and no more. "Something for Nothing" is the only song that excells. Heavy, speed-paced, with roaring singing by Geddy Lee and a couple of riffs from hell, joint with a masterful drumming, is a return to the Rush Spirit, to that thing we like and enjoy. Unfortunately, it's not enough to save the album.
But what's awful here is that crappy piece known as "Tears" which should have had enough power to ban Rush from the metal archives. Deep Purple also had a dreadful piece in his underrated "Fireball" named Anyone's Daughter, but this is completely balanced with the rest of the album. Here this doesn't happens, unfortunately. It's a totally unnecesary ballad with little to save. Maybe Geddy was trying to show how versatile his voice might be, but my friend, this was not the way. I have nothing against ballads, but this one has no ground for break. It's mediocre, usual and without touch. Even worst, when I heard it for the first time, I thought "this is a song by Air Supply", but no, I was wrong. It was from Rush and that's a disgrace for their glorious career. I won't talk anymore about that.
So, if you have, in a song that has more than twenty minutes only 6 or 7 excellent ones and the rest are rolling around being good and mediocre ones, and then your album is almost completely made by fillers, well, I shall rate this with a 73%, because it is a good thing, overall, pretentious, overrated and freaky yes, but good enough. Now, after listening to that song "Tears", well, I must degrade around 10 points to my final note. Yes, it hurts, but hurted me the most standing to that piece. So, sorry, Rush, I like you, I really do, but... Whatever...