2112 (1976)


1.2112
   I.Overture
   II.The Temples of Syrinx
   III.Discovery
   IV.Presentation
   V.Oracle:The Dream
   VI.Soliloqy
   VII.The Grand Finale
2.A Passage to Bangkok
3.The Twilight Zone
4.Lessons
5.Tears
6.Something for Nothing

 

If this thing is ever discovered hundreds of years after a nuclear holocaust along with its predecessor Caress of Steel, experts would swear that years of development amongst band members would have been achieved as opposed to several months. This record is so much better than the last, that it's literally a head scratcher. The guys go from sounding like a trio of geeks zonked out on hashish fiddling around aimlessly in a recording studio, to sounding like incredibly seasoned professionals determined to perfect their craft.

It was a good thing, too. Record executives were getting impatient. The band was aware (they dubbed the tour that supported the last album "The Down the Tubes Tour"), yet rather than caving in to demands to produce a more commercial, radio friendly product, they decided to do what they loved to do, and if it meant the end of their careers, so be it.

Side one of this album remains a favorite of many devotees over thirty-five years later. This features the "song" 2112. It's another epic, but whereas the term "epic" from Caress of Steel might send one frantically searching for ear muffs, they manage to get this one right in a very big way. Lyrically, it's about a future society where rock music is outlawed 'cause it's evil, and then one day our hero discovers a guitar. Nada nada nada. You've heard this story before, and it's nothing special. The music, however is quite the masterpiece. It's mostly hard driven rock, yet slows down in all the appropriate places for the listener to catch their breath. Not surprisingly, the band still plays huge chunks of this epic in their shows. Also not surprisingly, it still remains the highlight for most in attendance.

Side two has nothing at all to do with the concept, and since it simply can't compare, a lot of it tends to be forgotten. No, it's nowhere close to its sister side, yet it's miles ahead of anything they've done prior. Some cuts may come across as a bit kitschy (i.e. The Twilight Zone), but we must remember that these guys weren't even a quarter of a century old yet. They finally write a beautiful slow piece, Tears, that should be resurrected at some point, somehow – on a future tour. Ironically, they would never tackle something like this ever again.

The musicianship and production on this record is simply incredible. The last cut, Something for Nothing suffers a bit lyrically. It's one of Peart's early Ayn Rand rants. In fact, the entire record is devoted to "The Genius of Ayn Rand". Peart would later rescind much of that devotion.

Speaking of Peart, he needn't ever have to worry again about going back to work in a tractor parts store.

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