on 12 December 2006
What can you say about Rush? Bear in mind when you listen to this album, there's only three of them. God knows how they make the sounds they do, but you'd swear blind there should be at least five in a band that sounds like this. For my money, this is the definitive Rush album, it has everything from searing solo's to gentle acoustic moments of serenity. The title track "2112" is riff-laden wig-out structured like an opera, describing a society reaching armageddon, rising from the ashes to become a quasi-religious dictatorship, and ultimately perishing when the new order arrives to take over.
The second group of five songs, unconnected with both "2112" and each other, cover subjects as diverse as the hippy trail ("Passage to Bangkok") to a ballad ("Tears") that seesm to be about lost love.
People seem to get hung up on two things with this album - "1" it's a concept album. Yeah, So what? The 70's were full of concept albums, big deal. It doesn't alter the fact there is brilliant playing on this record. Lifeson's guitar drips emotion throughout 2112, you can hear it cry and scream, particulary in the segment "Presentation" when Geddy's character offers the newly discovered "guitar" to the priests, is rejected, then flees. Listen to the guitar howl at that point and tell me that's not raw despair being wrought from the frets. Listen also to Geddy Lee's galloping bass lines, then remember he's singing the melody over the top at the same time. Which brings me on nicely on to point "2". Geddy's voice. So many people can't seem to get past the fact he has a high pitched voice. This may be so, but it's never strained or out of tune, and carries over the music so you can hear the lyrics. Bon Scott and Brian Johnson of AC/DC both have "unusual" (screechy) voices, but never suffer the same criticism as Geddy Lee does. Just what is the problem here? Can't fathom it myself, it just helps create Rush's distinctive sound.
Ignore the "stigma" of concept albums, get over the singer's unusual (but still tuneful) vocal style, this is an ideal album to get "into " Rush with. I still love this 20 years after I first heard it.
on 17 March 2015
If you are looking at spending over £20 on a near forty year old album chances are you know it already and are fancying a treat so see this more of a review of the Vinyl reissue rather than the album and its music.
I have been a fan of this album for years so when I heard Rush were releasing special vinyl edition of their albums this was always for me. The Rush website had advertised the special 'Hologram Edition' which granted a bit gimicky was an added bonus all the same. The promise of heavyweight vinyl seemed more reason for the splashing of cash.
On receiving the album today I am a little disappointed that the UK release is 180g weight not the US 200g vinyl. What the difference might mean in absolute sound terms who can tell? Although I have a half decent turntable and hifi set up I would be surprised if I could, it's more the principal that bugs me. Regardless there is still quite a buzz opening the Amazon parcel and then the gatefold sleeve for a 12 inch LP compared to downloading a digital album (there is a code for a 320kbps download of the album inside, in addition to the Amazon auto-rip). The inside of the gatefold has all the lyrics including the intros for each segment of 2112 which are not spoken on the tracks. They help set the scene and flesh out the story.
And so to the disc. I must have some heavier vinyl because I was a little underwhelmed by the weight at first but having compared it some original 70s and 80s discs it is more apparent. Once playing though, there is no doubt this is a great quality pressing. There is just something extra to be heard in a good quality recording on vinyl, a warmer more natural sound.
After playing through side 1 I turned to side 2 and immediately noticed the larger than normal run out track. It is here that the hologram is hidden (see photo). With the disc spinning on the turntable and direct light shinning on it (I used the flash from my phone) the pentagram from the cover can be seen. Not sure why?? but then again why not! Something to point out to friends but I can't imagine bothering with it again. But as for the music I am off to listen through again!
PS if the extra 20 g bothers you, Amazon.com sell that version and it looks like you can get it sent to the UK for around the same price as this (assuming you don't have to pay customs).
on 21 August 2013
I won't waste time reviewing the album, plenty before me have, all I will say on that is it's a classic that had stood the test of time!
I personally swithered on whether to buy the regular blu ray edition or the super deluxe, did I want to spend the extra money just for the hardback comic book? Well I was given some money for my birthday so treated myself and wow what a treat!! The blu ray 5.1 surround audio is about the best I have ever heard and I love surround sound SACD's and DVD Audio discs. The sound of the waterfall in the 2112 Suite is so real sounding you'd swear you were in the cave with him and his new found guitar! The comic book is fab well illustrated and follows the story fab, and it doesn't just cover the opening 2112 Suite but illustrates the whole album. What set it apart from me is that they have taken the time to put the visuals onto the blu ray and the pictures follow the story, with the lyric on screen like dialog bubbles in a comic, so now you don't just listen to this album you can pour yourself your tipple of choice turn the light out and lose yourself for 40 minutes in one of the best rock albums of all time!!
This is certainly one of Rush's greatest albums and the band is unquestionably one of only a select few who have been able to write so consistently well over such a long career.
I differ from some of the reviewers in their comments regarding the second half of the album, i.e. the songs not part of the 2112 suite. I actually prefer these to some of the sections from the first side, in particular, Twilight Zone, Lessons and Tears. Listening to these three songs in a row has remained a pleasure for the best part of 20 years. The musicianship, arrangements and general song-writing abilities on show here are simply breathtaking.
As for the Amazon review, this is borderline disrespectful. The Amazon writer should remember just how many tens of millions of records Rush have sold over their 30-year reign at the top of prog/intelligent rock & metal. You don't have to be the most photogenic or 'cool' band to succeed, thank god.
If you are a Rush fan you will of course already own this album. If you are new to the band, this is a must. Anyone who can play an instrument or write a song to a decent level will appreciate this even if you don't consider yourself a rock fan. Most highly recommended!
on 7 August 2009
In the winter of 1976, Rush recorded what was to become their defining moment, their ultimate tour de force. For many it's their signature album, and it's impossible to overstate its importance in the band's canon.
The piece which comprises the first side of this remarkable album, 2112 itself, is nothing less than a meisterwerk. Lyrically, it's the tale of a young man who discovers a guitar in a cave, in a bleak totalitarian future where authoritarian priests control every aspect of daily life, inspired apparently by Ayn Rand's Anthem. Like The Fountain Of Lamneth from the band's previous album, it's a sidelong 'epic' piece. But where its predecessor was, in truth, really a set of standalone songs united by a single concept, 2112 is a single piece in several parts, all in all a more direct, accomplished work. It's a very, very dynamic piece too, performed with a purposeful, passionate intensity that commands attention; pregnant passages of exquisite, delicate beauty give birth to moments of dizzying, almost orchestral power, driven home by Lifeson's gripping, soaring, spine-tingling, emotive guitar, all polished to a dazzling presence by Terry Brown's exquisite production.
Side Two, as we used to call it in the days when music was made available to the masses in the form of 12-inch diameter black vinyl discs, does not disappoint either. It's often overlooked due to the iconic status of the title piece, yet there are some great tunes here too, performed and produced with consummate taste, flair and style. Something For Nothing and A Passage to Bangkok are classic hard-hitting, stylish Rush tunes, Tears is an extraordinarily mature ballad with a remarkable lush, atmospheric production. And perhaps remarkably, it's Side Two where the guitar work really shines - witness the delicate, perfect, crisp rhythm work on Twilight Zone and the magnificent, intense lead guitar which graces Something For Nothing.
Rush would go from here to expand their musical boundaries and deliver music of ever greater sophistication, at least until 1987. They would never have been capable of a La Villa Strangiato, a YYZ or a Subdivisions in the winter of 1976; yet they would never again catch the magical combination of sheer passion, intensity and above all, drama of the epic piece which gave this album its title. This was their extraordinary moment in time, lightning captured in a bottle, the album they were born to create. A staggering achievement; truly a musical work of towering stature.
on 23 December 2012
Now, I'm a great fan of early Rush - I the love the first 3 studio albums before 2112 (they're great), and I think the 4 studio albums after it are absolutely awesome.
However, when it has come to 2112, I am afraid I've always been quite ambivalent towards it: it was an album I thought I appreciated (and I knew how crucial it was to Rush's development, and their success), but it was an album which I never enjoyed as much as any of the other albums... I liked the title track, but had a less favorable opinion of the B-side tracks.
I am happy to say that I've reassessed my opinion of the whole album with the purchase of 2112 - Super Deluxe Edition. The 5.1 mix on the Blu-Ray has blown me away, it sounds incredible, and has cleared the cobwebs away from my understanding of the album. The title track is as epic as ever, but even larger and more encompassing than the stereo mix. The B-side tracks are all good songs - Ok, they don't match the scope of the 20 minute 2112, but they rock hard all the same (other than Tears - which is a bit slow going, but still alright), and sound glorious in 5.1.
The visuals of the Blu-Ray work well, and incorporate text very well - although they may not be everyone's cup of tea. The extras on the blu-ray are so-so - a photo gallery, comic book art gallery, lyrics, etc. But the sound is the real draw here (and it's presented in Stereo as well, if you prefer). I think that Peart's drumming is loud and clear, and comes across really well in this mix, and I'm not certain why some have criticised it (!)
The CD that comes with the package is good - not much different from the previous CD release, with only 3 Live bonus tracks (that barely total 11 minutes long in total), and it's hard to say if the sound is much better than the previous CD release.
The packaging is pleasant enough, presented as a thin hard back book, which holds the CD and Blu-Ray together, and has a short essay/introduction on the band and the album, a collection of photos from the period, and comic art work representing the visuals of the songs (the same art which is used as the visuals on the Blu-Ray).
So 4 stars from me - a great Rush album, which led the way to greater things, but stands on its own merits.
Overpriced? You betchya! (priced at £40 at this time - this for 1 CD and 1 Blu-Ray is not cheap, by anybody's standards (they could of thrown a copy of the Vinyl in for that cost!)) but it depends on how limited this 'Limited Edition' really is, and how bothered you are about owning it... Wait, and it may come down in price... Or if you aren't really bothered by these petty concerns, then you can still pick up 2112 - The Deluxe Edition for about £15 (December 2012) which has the Cd and Blu-Ray without the added frills of the book.
Either way, check it out, it's worth it!
on 26 January 2012
As with most pre-Permanent Waves Rush albums, this takes many listens to truly appreciate. Yes the old adage is that anything will sound good if you play it long enough, but it is not the case here. 2112 is layered and thoughtful, demanding the listener's attention. Ok, it's not for everyone (especially prog rock haters) and it has dated as it is very of its time, but if you are looking for something a bit left of commercial then this 1970s classic is more than worthy.
The title track is a whopper. Unlike their later Cygnus suites, 2112 is a lot easier to digest as it is in bitesize sections. The opening is all fanfare and riffs and is sufficiently rousing. The middle section where the protagonist finds the guitar in the narrative is beautiful with some excellent lyrics. The end does take its time and is less interesting than the first 2 thirds but when it is over it leaves you wondering whether you have heard something very special or simply an overindulgence. But it makes you return for another listen anyway.
The rest are unrelated 3-4 minute tracks of equal quality, none surpassing the mighty titular epic. The pick would be 'Passage to Bangkok', 'Tears' and 'Something for Nothing'. Again these tracks are very layered and not immediate which may put off some as we are more used to the quick-fix nature of pop in today's musical climate (as of 2012).
Not something to cherish as I have only just discovered this but it is definitely worthy of high praise and further examination.
on 10 July 2013
I was surprisingly pleased with this disc. Full booklet with lyrics, extensive liner notes, and more. However, a few of the goodies on show here are worth a further mention.
First, it is a full DVD Audio disc, capable of 24/96 high resolution stereo and 5.1 audio - as well as the normal DVD stereo/surround stuff (Dolby Digital).
Second, the animation for the DVD part of the disc changes with the lyrics - where as it doesn't on the DVD-A part, necessitating manual advance of the slides (I presume this is a limitation of the DVD-A format). My Pioneer DV-575A universal player won't let me access the DVD Video part of the disc - forcing me to the DVD-A part - meaning I have to play the DVD Video part on my computer/PS3 to access the fully animated stuff.
Third, the whole of the album has animation, not just 2112. This is a real treat, and much more than I expected.
To sum up; very pleased with the disc, and maybe I should have bought the Blu-ray after all, but then again my Blu-ray player is not wired up for surround where as my Pioneer is (for its DVD-A and SACD capabilities), and I can't afford a new surround audio setup... Either way, the waterfall effect on 2112 is nicely placed in the rear speakers, and frees the fronts for the song. Good stuff.
on 4 March 2004
I first bought this in 1980, then bought it on CD in the late 80's, then didn't have a copy for around 10 years. I bought it again a few months ago, and just HAD to crank up the volume and just listen.
Too often concept albums are individual tracks forced together and it doesn't work that well, but the track 2112 is a masterpiece of thematic writing. There are essentially 3 themes (and variations on these themes) that are used throughout to tremendous effect, and a storyline that sounds like it should be the storyline from a Phillip K Dick novel. This is the middle ground between the early 70's rock and the late 70's arty rock that Rush produced, and they have rarely done better!
The other tracks here are pretty damn good too - 'Passage to Bangkok' is basically a journey through the world's dope capitals, 'Something for Nothing' is a concert favourite, and then...the ballad! How on earth did 'Tears' get on an album like this? It's got keyboard strings and no distorted guitar at all, but it really fits in well. In fact, it's a very beautiful song.
You know, I think I'm going to have to go and play it again...
on 4 July 2006
I first heard this back in 1977 after a certain Sounds (remember them?) critic called Geoff Barton raved about this band. Then it sounded, as it does now, as one of the greatest rock albums of all time, the title track in particular is the kind of aural assault that future bands such as Metallica would try to emulate. Future albums are maybe lyrically better but despite this, it is a great album and all I can say to the few reviewers that have slagged it off is that true greatness is rarely appreciated by all.