The Necromancer (song)
||This article possibly contains original research. (July 2009)|
|Song by Rush from the album Caress of Steel|
|Genre||Hard rock, Progressive rock|
|Label||Anthem Records (Canada)
|Writer||Neil Peart, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson|
|Producer||Rush & Terry Brown|
|Caress of Steel track listing|
|"The Necromancer: Return of the Prince"|
|Single by Rush|
|from the album
Caress of Steel
|Rush singles chronology|
The Necromancer is a progressive rock song by Rush from their 1975 album Caress of Steel and is currently their fourth longest song, behind 2112, The Fountain of Lamneth, and Cygnus X-1, Book II. This was Rush's first attempt at writing an epic piece, along with its partner "The Fountain of Lamneth", and one of the songs most blamed for the album's commercial failure.
This is the second Rush song to feature the character Prince By-Tor, the first being "By-Tor & The Snow Dog" on the band's second album, Fly by Night. The song also appears on a Bootleg DVD entitled "Rush, Caught In The Act," which was recorded live by an 8mm video recorder on May 15, 1975 at Rochester, New York by an avid fan, and produced on DVD. Progressive metal band Dream Theater covered this song during their "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" tour.
The song is subtitled "A Short Story by Rush". The title may have been inspired by Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in which the Necromancer (more commonly called Sauron), an evil entity who either summons the dead or reduces the living into specter form, is confronted by "three travelers": Sam, Frodo, and Gollum. However the parallel with Tolkien is inexact, as in The Lord of the Rings Sauron is unaware of the trio's approach until it is too late for him to stop them. In the old quests stories, travelers were generally restless and searching for a goal; so were Rush, always on tour. The reference to Willowdale is the name of the suburb in Toronto that two of the three members of Rush (Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson) are from. Neil Peart is from St. Catharines.
The song has three parts:
"Into Darkness" "Fording a river" was used by ancients in stories to show a decisive stage in a journey. That was the actual lyric Neil wrote, omitting "dawn" altogether.
"Return of the Prince" The incarnation of oppression is later confronted by Prince By-Tor (title comes from Tolkien's The Return of the King). Neil is the voice in the intro. The labyrinth classically represented the quest to find the center (the start, the spirit, the center of time and space in the microcosm of a maze). By-Tor is not evil here and he battles for freedom. By-Tor slays the Necromancer. The Necromancer then becomes a wraith seeking another land to rule with his "evil prism eye". The men are freed from the labyrinth after his departure. The evil prism eye is another Tolkien reference to the eye of Sauron. The song ends with Lifeson playing a triumphant guitar solo in celebration of the victory over evil.