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Rush – 2112 (Deluxe Reissue) (Album Review)

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 Written by Jonny Rimmer

It is difficult for this generation to gauge how much of an impact an album like '2112' would of had when it first dropped - why, my own Dad was only fourteen when this came out. Rush were a band that were yet to release anything successful in a commercial or critical sense, and they flopped with their first real attempt at experimentation, the forgettable 'Caress of Steel'. All things considered, I am still surprised at how fresh and playful '2112', the follow-up, sounds.

ImageYes, Rush slot nicely into those “essential” progressive rock lists that Classic Rock and Rolling Stone hurl out every couple of years – the self-titled piece here takes up twenty minutes and seven movements of the album – but Rush emanate an energy that isn't necessarily present on classic Pink Floyd or Genesis records. Rather than “fiddle” about, Rush come bursting out of the block with exciting guitar lines, a dynamic rhythmic approach and a memorable refrain in “we are the priests of the temples of Syrinx”.

Unless you're a prog-head, the dystopian lyrics don't necessarily need to engage the listener, especially considering Rush's instrumental abilities. It can never be over-estimated how impressive drummer Neil Peart is on this record, with his unpredictable fills and generally enthralling play. All over the album, the foundations are strong: hummable grooves, the occasional solo bringing energy and contrast, and Geddy Lee's over-zealous vocals fitting in wonderfully.

My only real gripe with the title track is that the concept partly holds it back. Too often does the tempo drop when the band has reached a peak or crescendo of sorts, and this is a frustrating feature all over the record. It is admittedly an imperfection that they smoothed out on subsequent releases, but the band could have perhaps reined in their ambition at points here. The tracks that follow are reasonably engaging nonetheless, with the hypnotic 'The Twilight Zone' a particular highlight.

This deluxe edition also features a couple of superfluous live versions, however it is not older fans but the uninitiated that should give this re-issue a go. Considering its status as a progressive song-cycle of sorts, '2112' isn't as relevant as it could be, but I'd still maintain that this as exciting a rock record as anything the likes of Led Zeppelin were releasing at the time.

'2112 is available now. Rush tour the UK in May.

Rush UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed May 22nd 2013 - Manchester Arena, Manchester
Fri May 24th 2013 - O2 Arena, London
Sun May 26th 2013 - LG Arena, Birmingham
Tue May 28th 2013 - Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield
Thu May 30th 2013 - SECC, Glasgow

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