Rush
Clockwork Angels


4.0
excellent

Review

by Scott M. Baldwin USER (90 Reviews)
February 15th, 2014 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: They've still got it- rare for a band their age.

What I've always loved about Rush is that they know what the people want, while simultaneously doing what they want to do. They've never been a band that has ever had to drastically change their direction in order to get our attention, because despite how many times they change, everything that makes a Rush album is still there. All of this is perfectly displayed on their eighteenth studio album, Clockwork Angels. They're doing what they've done for all these years, but there's still some new elements brought to the table. It's hard to believe these guys are in their sixties already, because their playing and craftsmanship shows a band who hasn't lost their touch one bit. If this were any other band, they'd be giving a more conservative effort, but come on, folks. Rush is Rush. They don't mess around.

If there's one thing that stops this album from being the masterpiece that it could have been, it's the fact that it's a bit too focused on vocals and lyrics. There's a constant string of lyrics on much of the songs, and it does sort of take away what's going in behind it- the vocals themselves are showing signs of wear and tear as well, but then again, with Geddy having done this his whole career, obviously his voice is going to show some signs of age. But that said, the album is still a bit too "wordy". Part of this could be chalked up to the fact that this is a concept album; based on a story that Neil had written with a friend named Kevin J. Anderson. It's not that the lyrics aren't good- they're stellar, it's just that there's a few too many lyrics on the album, which does sort of get in the way of the music's power.

But don't fret. That being put aside, this album is still a hell of a ride. From the moment you hear bells toll and the sounds of engines humming on the opening track "Caravan", you know you're in for something big. The track starts off with some strings before kicking into a face-melting metal track that will blow you away. The track is a typical Rush rocker, but with some jazzy bass lines, tribal drum fills and a beautiful chorus thrown in there for good measure. And the momentum isn't about to give out any time soon. With the next track, the heavy and in-your-face "BU2B" and the stunningly beautiful "Clockwork Angels", the album begins to feel more and more like an adventure. The title track is like the marraige of a folk song and a metal tune that blends heavy and in-your-face instrumentation and almost church-hymn vocal melodies. Ad even as heavy as this album is. There's still time for moments of beauty. "The Wreckers" shows the band doing more alt-rock stuff that wouldn't feel too out of place on Presto, and has an incredibly dreamy, surreal feel, even all the way down to the fade-out- a song that will for sure remain in your head long after the album is done.

And in the latter half of the album there's some real gems that I imagine will be instant "compilation" choices- songs like "Seven Cities of Gold", "Headlong Flight", "Wish Them Well" and "The Garden" show the band at their most experimental yet nostalgic. "Headlong Flight" even has a few callbacks to previous Rush tunes, "Wish Them Well" has a few elements of the Test for Echo album. "The Garden", however, is the real highlight- a beautiful ballad, heartfelt delivery by the band with the emotional vocals by Geddy- his aging voice adds a sweet personal touch to the song, that I imagine wouldn't be possible if sung by someone younger. To hear him sing "The hours fade away, the cells fade away" with that voice really hits home, and even seems reminiscent of the song "Time Stand Still".

Rush have never been a band to try too hard at anything, and even if what they have done has fallen below par, it still manages to stand out head and shoulders above what other bands have tried to do. The band spent a lot of time working on the album and it shoes. Even if the tracks come off as a bit too "wordy" at times, it's still Rush. They know what to do and it's very apparent here. There's tons of spectacle to be found, but it never once outdoes the actual music itself, even if the production by Nick Rasculinecz is a bit excessive and in-your-face (he's never exactly had the best reputation, really). The music is what matters, the words are what matters- Rush are Rush. And for all its headiness, Clockwork Angels is an album that confirms Rush are still relevant, and still have what it takes to deliver in this day and age.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheMoonchild
February 15th 2014


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been meaning to review this one for a while

YoYoMancuso
February 15th 2014


11113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice. album rules

dannyboy89
February 15th 2014


11975 Comments


Haven't heard this yet.

Mad.
February 15th 2014


3870 Comments


You're a great reviewer man, you should review something more obscure that doesn't already have a review

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2014


21278 Comments


not as good as snoxalls review but then again not much is

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

TheMoonchild
February 15th 2014


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hope that was sarcasm

Also with the whole "it's been reviewed many times man review something else" no.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2014


21278 Comments


it was, i just couldnt pass up a chance to mention snoxalls legendary review

Gwyn.
February 15th 2014


15122 Comments


I'm so glad that review wasn't deleted when Snoxall left

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2014


21278 Comments


still doesnt beat his beyond creation review summary

rip snox

Gwyn.
February 15th 2014


15122 Comments


hes on last.fm at least


hasn't changed even slightly

climactic
February 15th 2014


19123 Comments


hes the worst

Digging: Bolzer - Soma

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2014


21278 Comments


i used to have him on fb. then he blocked me. then we made up for a few minutes, then he blocked me again

hes an interesting species thats for sure

Gwyn.
February 15th 2014


15122 Comments


Wonder if he still thinks anyone believed him when he said he wasn't the guy having that melt down about wanting to remove his account from this place altogether

Chortles
February 15th 2014


17969 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

What happened to his poetic deftones review

Digging: Pinback - Blue Screen Life

climactic
February 15th 2014


19123 Comments


i remember when i wrote a kinda bad btbam review and he commented saying how bad it was and gave me a million critiques, and then i looked at his prof and his newest review was for the same album and it had an even worse pos/neg ratio than mine

NeroCorleone80
February 15th 2014


29096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review

tempest--
February 15th 2014


13631 Comments


ah snox love the guy i got him on fb hes the worst

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2014


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the cover tells the time 21:12, how cool is that, and how pathetic that i only just realised it today

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

KILL
February 15th 2014


71856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

lol catch up martin

Digging: A Guy Called Gerald - Black Secret Technology

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2014


16026 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it was a personal revelation man !



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