JUNE 12th 2012
RUSH: CLOCKWORK ANGELS
Review by: Barretticus
RUSH. Everyone knows that there is no grey area. You either love them or you hate them, though perhaps the latter is in discourse as of late. I grew up knowing all the classic hits thanks to my father and since then I have always found them interesting no matter what cycle of change they went through. I admit to being a child of the eighties, and there will alway be a love of the synth sound and therefore am comfortable with my fondness for even the Power Windows era of Rush. I love Rush, so those who do fall to the opposing side and are even bothering to read on with have to forgive my fanboy pride.
Clockwork Angels is a healthy addition to the Rush library and is their unbelievably 20th studio album. An incredible body of work lends comfort and ease to the production of this album. They have always been a power trio and will possibly always be Prog Rock. But with so many albums and thirty plus years, I would find it impossible to remain progressive. So what about this album. The prog nature is more subtle, but still very much there at the core, and the power of the trio undeniable. The sound, the writing, the playing, the seamless time signature changes is all unquestionably Rush.
I hear hints and elements of classic rock sound and classic Rush as well as riffs that are fresh. Old fans, new listeners and musicians alike will take this album and tell friends listen to this check this part out. Similarly to songs such as Closer to the Heart, there are a few tracks that start with a quiet intro with Alex Lifeson’s classical guitar and delay with Geddy's whispy voice over, and with a beat, they come in with dynamism.
As with every album, the tracks are basically split 50/50 into what could be turned into singles and what will be only for listeners of the full album. BU2B, Clockwork Angels, Carnies, The Wreckers and others could all easily be singles. The album starts off with Caravan, the weakest song on the album, and it is a smart choice to do so. Though weakest, it is still wonderful to listen to and because it starts the album, there is no slump in the middle nor a downer to end it. Too often a band will put one of their best songs to kick it of and then have a weak song to follow and throughout. I find this to be a bit personally disappointing because it sets big expectations for the rest of the album which then stutters its way through a listening. Clockwork Angels is set up to be a steady upward experience.
During Seven cities of gold, you can definitely hear how Geddy has influences Les claypool's bass playing clear as day. such a cool bass riff. Clockwork Angels is definitely one of the most charismatic song and it is easy to see why it it the title track; BU2B is the second track that comes in big and really kicks off the album.
Geddy's voice still wails but but is tempered by a comfort and warmth now in high contrast to his early vocals. I think he has chosen some very interesting melodies; in the chorus of Halo Effect for example. Alex's guitar is full of life and vibrance, perfect uses of reverb and echo, and excellent solos and big riffs; Neil Peart is still very much the drumming god of intricate thunderous rolls and the master of time and tempo he has always been.
I'm not sure I have really anything more to say about the album, except I thoroughly enjoy this album and was not disappointed. Hopefully, this is an album for those who have been with Rush since the beginning, perhaps something very listenable for the significant others with whom musical tastes usually clash, and something for the new kids to find something special with decades of greatness to explore.
No fan will be disappointed with the 20th!
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