This post is about Rush, “YYZ”, and Xerath (pictured above), in that order, and includes a video that will make you smile and maybe even laugh. Most likely you have no idea what we’re talking about. But look, it’s Saturday (for most of you). What else have you got to do while you’re recovering from whatever damage you did to yourself last night?
Rush is a 3-man Canadian rock band that’s been around for more than 30 years. There was a time when it would have been unnecessary to explain who they are, but times change.
Over the course of their career, they’ve accumulated 24 gold records and 14 platinum records (three of them multi-platinum). They rank fourth – behind the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith – for the most consecutive gold or platinum albums by a rock band. Industry sources have estimated that worldwide, Rush has sold more than 40 million units.
Apart from being wildly popular for a long time, Rush has also been musically dynamic and inventive and has influenced many metal musicians over the years, including bands such as Dream Theater, Primus, and Symphony X.
Rush’s best-selling album of all was 1981’s Moving Pictures, which was certified quadruple platinum. The album was full of pop-friendly prog rock that got lots of radio play and greatly expanded Rush’s audience. It included one instrumental song called “YYZ” that sounds remarkably fresh today, after almost 30 years. (stay with us — more after the jump . . .)
It’s got the kind of complicated rhythms and tempo shifts we like in math metal, plus some guitar and bass solos reminiscent of fusion jazz. This was also a period when Rush was making increasingly heavy use of synthesizers, and there’s a soaring synth interlude near the end of the song.
Why are we writing about “”YYZ” out of the blue? Because of a hot-shit UK band called Xerath.
We’ve written about Xerath before (go here). Our co-author Alexis turned us on to this band and its 2009 debut release — called “I”, and we found it to be really addictive. Xerath practices an unusual form of melodic death metal, combining the more typical elements of the genre (high-pitched and mid-range howling vocals, thick melodic riffing, machine-gun drumming) with orchestral synthesizer bridges that often bring a goth or black-metal flavor to the sound, Meshuggah-like complex rhythms, and even choral passages.
With tongue in cheek, Xerath has variously described its own music as “extreme symphonic metal,” “filmscore metal,” “orchestral groove metal,” and “chug-score metal.” Whatever label you want to use, it’s good shit!
Well, for whatever reason, Xerath decided to record a cover of “”YYZ,” and on Monday of the past week, they put the song up on their MySpace page. It’s definitely a much heavier version of the original, with lots of Meshuggastic rhythms, a really nice guitar solo, and Xerath’s own symphonic overlay. And as icing on the cake, the band set the music to a video montage of images and captions that are pretty fucking funny.
So, to while away a few more minutes of your Saturday time, we recommend you listen to the original Rush version of “YYZ” and then either jump over to Xerath’s MySpace page and listen to their version on the player if you really want to focus on the music — or just watch the video below.
And here’s the video: