Review Summary: Dont be Rash
First off lets get something out the way, these dudes are ***in 60. Being that old you'd expect their 20th record to be their most conservative effort, and if it was any other band it would be..but this is Rush, and they are better than any other band. This album isnt just heavy, it's complex, original and diverse and i will explain why in the words below, so keep readin bitch. Clockwork Angels marks the return to the concept record, a type of album they once perfected with the classic 2112. Rush is also considered by many to be the one band that directly inspired Progressive Metal, and while they arent quite metal themselves, this is prob their closest album to it. Traditionally Rush's openers are hard ass rockers that set the album off with a bang, and this album is no different. Aside from the heavy as balls main riff of Caravan the bridge section is the most impressive with its La Villa Strangiato reference and overall jamming. While true Rush fans had already heard Caravan and BU2B over a year ago these songs have had some changes and both receive better mixes to fit in with the rest of the album, but mostly they are the same as the single versions.
As you'd expect, instrumentally the album is beyond stellar. The boys are masters of their craft, and if they so choose, can wank harder than any of the ***ty wank bands such as BTBAM. But unlike many wankers Rush can actually write songs, and classic ones at that. While the album starts off hard and sweet it's not until the title track where it truly comes into its stride. Clockwork Angels opens with signature Lifeson chords which then proceeds into a sweet little verse which soon turns into riffs of balls. This song is a great example of the diversity displayed on this album, *** it rules. The Anarchist and Carnies while both being rockers, feature extremely memorable chorus's and breaks, they wont let you forget ***, but even with these catchy chorus's they still retain the beef. What makes this album so heavy is a combination of the instrument mixes and the production, i mean seriously this makes Counterparts sound like Presto. The album has a balls deep low end, thanks mostly to Geddys bass which sounds bigger than his nose. It's not all amazingly perfect though, the album does suffer from some compression, but it is an improvement over Snakes & Arrows and of course the mess that is Vapor Trails. As well as the bass being higher up in the mix, Geddy has really stepped up his game hard here. As good as his playing has been on the last few albums, this album takes it to the next level. A good example of this is the intro to Seven Cities of Gold, where he lets ***in loose, like you can imagine Geddy in leather pants shakin his ass to the groove, a sick thought for most but the new world women will be wetter than a dirty sewer. Headlong flight is the best showcase of Rush's talents. The intro is another recall to their past, clearly referencing Bastille Day, *** like this genuinely excites any real Rush fan and honestly this could be the heaviest ***in Rush song ever recorded.
Due to this album having less overdubs than Snakes & Arrows, Clockwork Angels marks the return of the signature groovy bass lines under Alex's solos, and in turn brings back the true power trio sound they are famous for. Speaking of Alex's solos, he is back in attack here harder than ever. The past few albums have been lacking in terms of lead playing and here we see a return to form and thank *** for it as it now fills in the void from Snakes and Arrows which was larger than Alex's gut. Neil is really pushing himself on this album, this is in part thanks to their producer Nick Raskulckincfgkhzfd (rip Terry Brown) who helped Neil reach beyond the traditional limiting way of recording. Neil had much more freedom to improvise and you can really tell on the album, from the massive drum fills to the ghost notes on the ride, hey they dont call him the ghost rider for nothing. Neils writing is above and beyond his previous work on S&A. While some quelches think Rush's lyrics are only about how trees are talking to each other, and how different sides of your brain works, and outer space bull***, the lyrics here are more about life in general and appear to be relating to Neil himself. Tracks such as Headlong Flight display the youthful optimism while darker tracks such as The Wreckers discuss the sadder reality of life, but it's not all doom and gloom as The Garden seems to retain some hope. The final song of the album The Garden is surely one of the best Rush songs ever recorded. What sets this song apart from the others is the amazing string section and lyrics. Lyrics such as "The hours tick away, The cells take away " really hit home for a 50 year old dude like myself. The solo is goosebump inducing as is the outro, and is the perfect way to end the album. Bravo Rush, ***in bravo.
Clockwork Angels isnt just one of their heaviest albums in a long time but also is one of their best, with plenty to offer for both new and old school Rush fans, very rarely is there a dull moment. Many riffs give a nod to those classic songs of the 70s period and have the same progressive and improvisational feel whilst retaining their more recent song writing quality and focus. From the overall flow and feel of the album to the rock solid rhythm section, the boys are on top form, Rush truly havent been better in decades.