The Enemy Within

Background and Commentary

“Lays bare where fear begins: within ourselves. We are our own jailor. The things that seem to crawl in the darkness are really but ghosts draped in shrouds spun by our fear-fevered imaginations. ‘We have met the enemy, and he is us,’ Pogo said. We think we possess the potential for great things, but what if the attempt shows we lack what success requires? So we tell ourselves it’s better to rest content with daydreams, which at least allow us the pleasant belief that we might have what it takes. Martin Heidegger said that we flee the terrible risk of personal authenticity and take refuge in a kind of lowest common denominator existence.”—Carol Selby Price and Robert Price, Mystic Rhythms

“Neil plays a drum part on the song that reminds listeners how dexterous he really is. At one point during the chorus, he plays the high-hat with his left foot, then kicks his foot over to the closest bass drum, throws in an accent, then it’s back to the high-hat. On the next measure, he hits another accent on a claptrap in an odd time. His left foot moves back and forth between three percussive instruments, while his right foot plays the other double bass, his right hand rides the bell of a cymbal, and his left hand plays the snare, with drum fills thrown in to top it all off.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

The piece is the first part of the four-part Fear series. (Originally the series was a trilogy.)

“The idea for the trilogy was suggested by an older man telling that he didn’t think life was ruled by love, or reason, or money, or the pursuit of happiness—but by fear. This smart-but cynical guy’s position was that most people’s actions are motivated by fear of being hungry, fear of being hurt, fear of being alone, fear of being robbed, etc., and that people don’t make choices based on hope that something good will happen, but in fear that something bad will happen.

“I reacted to this the way all of us tend to react to generalities: ‘Well, I’m not like that!’ But then I started thinking about it more, watching the way people around me behaved, and I soon realized that there was something to this viewpoint, So I sketched out the three ‘theaters of fear,’ as I saw them: how fear works inside us (‘The Enemy Within’), how fear is used against us (‘The Weapon’), and how fear feeds the mob mentality (‘Witch Hunt’).

“As it happened, the last theme was easiest to deal with, so it was written first, and consequently appeared first on record, and the other two followed in reverse order for the same reason.”—Wikipedia

The fourth in the series, ‘Freeze,’ released almost 20 years after release of ‘Witch Hunt,’ looks at that moment when one chooses to fight or flee.


Things crawl in the darkness
That imagination spins
Needles at your nerve ends
Crawl like spiders on your skin

Pounding in your temples
And a surge of adrenaline
Every muscle tense to fence the enemy within

I’m not giving in to security under pressure
I’m not missing out on the promise of adventure
I’m not giving up on implausible dreams
Experience to extremes
Experience to extremes

Suspicious looking stranger
Flashes you a dangerous grin
Shadows across your window
Was it only trees in the wind?

Every breath a static charge,
A tongue that tastes like tin
Steely-eyed outside to hide the enemy within

To you, is it movement or is it action?
Is it contact or just reaction?
And you: revolution or just resistance?
Is it living, or just existence?
Yeah, you! It takes a little more persistence
To get up and go the distance



By Jimmy Pena (

Excerpted from Fretplay.

This song is in D. The guitar is chorused. This tab is not
entirely correct as there are many picking nuances throughout the song
and I didn’t tab out each and every one. I just tabbed the main ones. You are free to experiment with them.

| = not a standard bar line; just used to separate music
~ = vibrato or held note
s = slide
/ = slide up from infinity
\ = slide down into infinity
[x35553] = fret box; this is a C chord – this is the same as standard
tablature, only turned on its side. Tilt your head clockwise to read.
PM = Palm Mute; lightly touch the strings at the bridge with the edge of
the fret hand

Chord legend:

A : [x0222x]

[Riff 1] – Let each note ring out
Bm some kind of D Bm? Asus4 addD?

[Riff 2]
Bm G A
PM ———-| PM ———-| PM ———-| PM ———-|

[Riff 3]
Bm D A A/C#


[Riff 4]
Bm G A
PM ———————————————-|

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.


“The Enemy Within” guitar cover

“The Enemy Within” bass cover

“The Enemy Within” drum cover

Back to Rush Vault

~ by rvkeeper on February 6, 2011.

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