Rush- 2113: Shelved album!
Best song- All are lit
Well well well, what a treat we have here! An unreleased album from the Rush vaults! This album was going to be released in 1977, continuing the story of 2112, who's open-ended conclusion left fans confused. However, after tumultuous recording sessions that among other things included Geddy Lee joining a Wiccan cult, Alex Lifeson playing guitar so hard his fingers literally fell off, and Neil Peart hiring a moon landing truther as a guest vocalist, the album was shelved and left to rot. However, during a impromptu Facebook chat I managed to get in touch with the album's producer, Jim Shady, and he gave me MP5s (An innovative new audio format) for the album. So here is le review.
The album is a fascinating experience beyond any other. The album is a full on concept album, not just a concept side. Geddy Lee took primal screaming lessons before the album, and thus his raw singing is brutal beyond belief, Alex Lifeson's finger-falling-off guitar playing is out of this world, and Neil uses tons of innovative techniques in his playing, such as punching drums with his fist, banging his hands on a table, and putting the drum on his head, walking around, and seeing what happens. Couple this with the wide variety of instruments and we get an amazing work of art.
The suite starts off, like all good suites should, with "Overture". Frentic sackbut and hurdy-gurdy playing is followed up by constipated moans, 100-tracked throat-singing harmonies backed by even louder screaming in pain, and the body of the track consists of a variety of guitar themes with heavy use of 1024th notes, backed by a guest vocalist muttering about how the moon landing was a soundstage. The disembodied child vocals in the background are a nice touch. Overall, an incredible use of 4 minutes.
The first lyrical song comes next, in "I Ain't Dead", where the protagonist, who was presumed to be dead, is actually alive and living in a secluded farm with all the crops he wants. Geddy's guttural vocal style is in top form here, as he literally makes me crap myself with how raw he sounds, and Neil's forceful table-hitting, Alex making a prank phone call in the background while smashing the guitar on the phone, as WELL as playing the contracontracontrabassoon at the same time (what a talent) and guest vocalist's muttering about the Coca-Cola bottle below the moon landing broadcast while playing the electronic harmonica is an incredible music background. I especially dig when 6 minutes in everything cuts out except Alex counting to 10 backwards in Ukranian on loop for the next 10 minutes, backed by an increasingly louder string of profanity and excerpts from Manos And The Hands Of Fate.
Next up on the list is "Into The Underground" where the protagonist seeks refuge in the London Underground where he inexplicably ended up. The track is an aural collage of train sounds backed by Neil punching holes in his drum kit, bass-boosted and pitch-shifted to make it sound demonic. A delightful experience, especially when the tortured moans of pain start creeping in.
"Why Am I Fat and Gassy?" comes afterwards. Geddy laments about his body weight and flatulence problem, in a demonic proto-death-growl. Over which, the guest vocalist and Neil, in a sped up, muted voice, duet the entire transcript of "Duck And Cover", which gets progressively higher pitched until it's unhearable, though my dogs went nuts while I was listening and barked for about an hour. But that's a story for another day. I also think the ending part where Alex untunes his guitar is epic.
"The Temples Of Syrinx II" is an interesting track, taking the original "Temples of Syrinx" but pitches it up an octave, slows it down, and adds tons of screaming, screaming, and moon landing conspiracy screaming. And the hurdy-gurdy and sackbut are back too.
Finally, it ends with a "Finale" which mixes all of the best elements of the prior tracks. Disembodied child vocals, screaming, throat-singing, sackbut, Moon Landing drabble, and it keeps building and building until my computer literally exploded from the amazingness.
Overall, a simply killer album. 6.5807482375098237950847380957345870780/5.
Oh, and also, APRIL FOOLS!