The Necromancer

Part 1

Part 2

Background and Commentary

“‘The Necromancer’ is subtitled ‘A Short Story by Rush.’ The title was from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, in which the Necromancer, a wizard who either summons the dead or reduces the living into specter form, is confronted by three travelers, Sam, Frodo, and Gollum. In the old tales of quests, the travelers were always restless and with a goal. So were Rush, always on tour.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

“A necromancer is one who practices necromancy, a type of divination involving the summoning of Operative Spirits to discern information about the future. ‘The Necromancer’ starts with heavy influence from J.R.R. Tolkien‘s literary mythology. The Necromancer was a pseudonym used by Tolkien in The Hobbit for the character Sauron. The song departs from the story of the book as Part III, ‘Return of the Prince,’ sees the return of By-Tor from Fly by Night, this time as a hero and not a villain. ‘Return of the Prince’ was also released as a single in some countries. Also in the introductory prologue to the song, the “three travelers, men of Willowdale” is a reference to the band itself, an allusion to the band’s home in the suburb of Willowdale in Toronto, Ontario. On the inside gatefold of the album, just below the lyrics to ‘The Necromancer,’ the Latin phrase Terminat hora diem; terminat auctor opus appears. This translates (loosely) to: ‘[as] The hour ends the day; the author ends his work.'”—Caress of Steel on Wikipedia

Among some of the references in the piece, “fording a river” was used by ancients in stories [a literary device] to show a decisive stage in a journey. “O’er” is an old Gaelic term. Another “bow’ reference, as in “Bastille Day,” with the travelers becoming specters and locked in dungeons. The labyrinth classically represented the quest to find the center (the start, the sprit, the center of time and space in the microcosm of a maze). Perhaps By-Tor is not evil here and battles for freedom because of his defeat in Fly By Night by the Snowdog?”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

The strange introductory vocal in the song “was created by treating Neil’s voice with a digital delay unit and slowing the recording speed. [The song] expands on the tentative art rock experiments of Fly By Night. A whole bevy of effects are employed to heighten the sonic experience.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

In The Necromancer, Rush made a “selective, unspecific, and fanciful” reconstruction of medieval times. Such medievalist fantasy “flatter a middle-class sensibility. . . . The archetypal quest corresponds to the bourgeois notion of starting an enterprise or ‘following one’s dreams,’ and the successful fulfillment of the quest (after some deferral of gratification) leads directly to upward mobility or social elevation.”—
Christopher McDonald, Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class

Following “nostalgic popster” “Lakeside Park,” the Caress of Steel album “wings out, offering 12 and a half minutes of . . . a creepy, quite heavy, often jarring prog metal opus.”—Martin Popoff, Contents Under Pressure

Lyrics

I. Into the Darkness

“As gray traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky,
the three travelers, men of Willowdale,
emerge from the forest shadow.
Fording the River Dawn, they turn south, journeying
into the dark and forbidding lands of the Necromancer
Even now the intensity of his dread power can be felt,
weakening the body and saddening the heart
Ultimately they will become empty, mindless specters . . .
stripped of will and soul, only their thirst for freedom
gives them hunger for vengeance.”

Silence shrouds the forest
As the birds announce the dawn
Three trav’llers ford the river
And southward journey on
The road is lined with peril
The air is charged with fear
The shadow of his nearness
Weighs like iron tears

II. Under the Shadow

“Shreds of black cloud loom in overcast skies. The Necromancer
keeps watch with his magic prism eyes. He views all his lands and
is already aware of the three helpless invaders trapped in his lair.”

Brooding in the tower
Watching o’er his land
Holding ev’ry creature
Helplessly they stand
Gaze into his prisms
Knowing they are near
Lead them to the dungeons
Specters numb with fear
They bow defeated

III. Return Of the Prince

“Enter the Champion. Prince By-Tor appears to battle for
freedom from chains of long years. The spell has been broken.
The Dark Lands are bright. The Wraith of the Necromancer soars
away in the night.”

Stealthily attacking
By-Tor slays his foe
The men are free to run now
From labyrinths below
The Wraith of Necromancer
Shadows through the sky
Another land to darken
With evil prism eye

Tablature

Part 1: Into the Darkness

Excerpted from Fretplay.

[Riff 1]
Em7 Dsus4/E D/E Em7 C G D/F#
e:——3——3—2——-3—————————————-|
B:——3——3—3——-3—————————————-|
G:——0——2—2——-0———–0—————————-|
D:——2——2—2——-2———2——-0———————-|
A:——2——————2-(0-2)-3——-2——-0—————-|
E:–0~–0—0~———0~–0————-3——-2——————|

[Fill 1] [Fill 2] [Fill 3] [FIll 4]
e:—————–|————-|——————-|—————|
B:-3sss7~~ss3ss5~–|—15b17~~—|–8s12–12s8-8s10~-|—————|
G:—————–|————-|——————-|-11s7-7s9–4—|
D:—————–|————-|——————-|————-5.|
A:—————–|————-|——————-|—————|
E:—————–|————-|——————-|—————|

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Part 2: Under the Shadow

Excerpted from Fretplay.

Shreds of black cloud loom in . . .

[Riff 1] [Riff 2]
e:————-|————-|——————————–|
B:————-|————-|——————————–|
G:————-|————-|——————————–|
D:————-|————-|——————————–|
A:–7~—-7-7.-|–7~—-7-5.-|———–5-6-7—————-|
E:—–0——-|—–0——-|—3-5-6-7———————-|

[Riff 3] [Riff 4]
e:————|————-|—————————————-|
B:————|————-|—————————————-|
G:————|————-|–12–12\——————————-|
D:————|————-|–12–12\——————————-|
A:——-7-7.-|——–7-5.-|–10–10\——————————-|
E:-0~-0——-|–0~-0——-|—————————————-|

Progression:

[Riff 1] x2
[Riff 1] x1 w/ [Riff 4] in between

[Riff 2] x1

[Riff 3] x1

With [Riff 1] x4:

Brooding in the tower, watching . . .

[Riff 1] x1 w/ [Riff 4] in between

[Riff 2] x1

[Riff 3] x1 w/ [Riff 4] in between

[Riff 2] x1

[Bass] – played during and after gtr solo

G:——————————————————————-|
D:–5~————————5~————————————-|
A:—-7–5-6-7——7~-5-6-7—-7~-5-6-7—————————–|
E:————–0-0———————-3.–5.———————-|

[Guitar Solo] – I only caught bits and pieces of it

e:——————————————————————-|
B:————————————————————13b15~-|
G:——————————————————————-|
D:–14b16r14s12~~–[12]-[12]-[12]-12-12-12–12h14~~–14-14-14——–|
A:——————————————————————-|
E:——————————————————————-|

e:——————————————————————-|
B:-13b15r13–13-12-10—–13p12p10———————————–|
G:——————–12——————–??———————–|
D:——————————————————————-|
A:——————————————————————-|
E:——————————————————————-|

e:———————————————————15b17r15~-|
B:–15b17~–15-15b17-15b17~–15-15b17–15b17-17b19-15b17~————|
G:——————————————————————-|
D:——————————————————————-|
A:——————————————————————-|
E:——————————————————————-|

e:-15b17r15~—–15p14p12.–14p12p10.–12p10p8–12-10b12~~———–|
B:——————————————————————-|
G:——————————————————————-|
D:——————————————————————-|
A:——————————————————————-|
E:——————————————————————-|

e:—————————————-|————————–|
B:—————————————-|–[12]-[11]-[12]-[11]—–|
G:-13p12p10h12b14–13p12p10h12b14———|————————–|
D:———————————–??—|————————–|
A:—————————————-|————————–|
E:—————————————-|————————–|

e:——————————————————————-|
B:-[12]-[11]-[12]-[11]-[12]-[11]-[12]-[11]-[12]-[11]-[12]-[11]-[12]–|
G:——————————————————————-|
D:——————————————————————-|
A:——————————————————————-|
E:——————————————————————-|

e:——————————————-|———————–|
B:-[12]~~—[12]-[11]–[(14)r12]————-|———————–|
G:——————————-14p12——-|-9b11r9-9p7—7——–|
D:————————————-14~~–|————9———-|
A:——————————————-|———————–|
E:——————————————-|———————–|

e:——————|————————————————|
B:——————|————————————————|
G:-9b11r9-9p7—7—|–9b11r9b11r9b11r9~–9p7—9-9-7~———-etc–|
D:————9—–|————————-9———————-|
A:——————|————————————————|
E:——————|————————————————|

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Part 3: Return of the Prince

Excerpted from Fretplay.

[Intro]
E B(addE) A(addB) B(addE)
e:——–0———0———-0———-0————————–|
B:———-0———0———-0———-0————————|
G:—-13———8———-6———-8—————————–|
D:-14———-9———-7———-9——————————-|
A:——————————————————————-|
E:——————————————————————-|

[Riff 1]
E B(addE) A(addB) B(addE)
e:——————————————————————-|
B:–12-12-12—7–7—–5–5–5—–7–7—————————–|
G:–13-13-13—8–8—–6–6–6—–8–8—————————–|
D:–14-14-14—9–9—–7–7–7—–9–9—————————–|
A:——————————————————————-|
E:——————————————————————-|

[Riff 2]
E B A B
e:–0–0–0—-2–2—————2-2——————————–|
B:–0–0–0—-4–4—-2———-4-4——————————–|
G:–1–1–1—-4–4—-2———-4-4——————————–|
D:–2–2–2—-4–4—-2———-4-4——————————–|
A:–2–2–2—-2–2—-0———-2-2——————————–|
E:–0–0–0———————————————————-|

[Intro] x5

With [Intro]:

Enter the Champion, Prince By-Tor . . .

[Riff 1] and [Intro] x8

[Riff 1] and [Intro] w/ lyrics:

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Tutorials

“The Necromancer” guitar cover

“The Necromancer” bass cover

“The Necromancer” drum cover

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~ by rvkeeper on January 31, 2011.

 
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