Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Album Review: Rush - "Clockwork Angels"

This is it kiddies. Rush have hit the big two-oh. Their 20th album, Clockwork Angels just dropped today. 38 years since their first album-- holy shit, 38 years. They've been releasing albums for twice as long as I've been alive. Y'know what though, Rush need no introduction. If you don't know who they are, slap yourself in the face for me (and my friend/ Rush superfan Matt), go buy and listen to their albums, and just get your fucking shit together, man.

From Left to Right: Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, some third guy (roadie, maybe?).

Clockwork Angels follows the story of a young man set in a steampunk styled (woo!) sci-fi/ fantasy setting, who wants to leave home and head out on a grand adventure (I'll try not to spoil any of the story for anyone who hasn't listened to the album or read through the lyrics and liner notes). After listening through the album, I seem to interpret the story as describing this young man's journey from adolescence to adulthood. A coming-of-age story of sorts. It's a classic theme shot through the lens of three nerds to make a ruthlessly gripping (and awesome) story.


Not only is the storytelling top-notch, but the music flows with the story incredibly well too. I was never a really huge fan of post-mid-1980s Rush that used a bunch of synthesizers and keyboards to drive their sound instead of plain old guitar, bass, and drums. Clockwork Angels sees a nice return to form with all the focus returning to traditional Rock instruments. Things get pushed a little further here too. There still are some keyboards, and, the pleasantly surprising use of either a cello and/or violins in a few songs as well. I found a lot of the instrumental breaks on the album seemed to show the Canadian power trio making some cool sounscapes, rather than showing off  their already proven furious Prog Rock chops.

I have to say that after Rush released the songs "Caravan" and "BU2B", I didn't really have the highest of hopes for this album. Once "Headlong Flight" was released, they had my curiosity. Now that Clockwork Angels is out, they have my attention. This album blew what I was expecting right out of the water.

Unfortunately, Clockwork Angels isn't without it's downfalls. Well, downfall. The only thing that doesn't sit too well with me is Geddy's voice at some points. Sometimes I'd have to be reading the liner notes while listening to it to understand what he was saying. I can't really blame him though. After belting out some of the best Rock vocals for almost 40 years, he's allowed a little leeway. And he still sings way better than whoever the hell is on Top 40 radio.

Bomb-Ass Tracks

Carnies: With probably the most badass riff on the entire album and my favorite part of the story (partly because the entire song represents maybe only a handful of seconds), "Carnies" stands tall both in the middle of the story and as a standalone track.

Headlong Flight: The intro sounds like a Tool song. That's reason enough to like a song (But seriously, this song is fucking sweet too).

The Garden: A beautiful closer to the album. I never really thought that Rush could pull off a song like this, but, damn, they did.

On a Playlist With: King Crimson, Yes, and Genesis

Overall Score


This is definitely my favorite original material released by Rush since 1981's Moving Pictures. I wouldn't peg Clockwork Angels as my favorite Rush album, or even in my top three, but it still holds it's own as a downright awesome album. Congratulations, Geddy and Neil.

You too... Andrew? Allan? Alvin? Whatever.

That's all for now, folks. Keep being Awesome.

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