Rush: Clockwork Angels

The time has come my friends. One of the best progressive rock bands of our time has finally released the highly anticipated follow-up to their 2007 record, Snakes and Arrows. I don’t really have a favorite band per say because I have so many different favorites for different genres, moods, etc. But if I had to pick an all around favorite band, it would probably be Rush (or Queen). Clockwork Angels is the band’s 19th full length studio record and the band shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

The first two tracks on the record are song you have all heard before. The songs “Caravan” and “BU2B” were released as singles back in 2010. That in mind, let’s get those two out of the way and move on to the rest of the album. In fact, the third song “Clockwork Angels” sounds like it would be a better opening track because of its long, instrumental build up. It seems like they just kinda threw “Caravan” and “BU2B” on their first to get it over with and now the real albums starts. Not the smartest of moves. They probably should have put those songs farther down the line or add them as bonus tracks.

Most of the songs on the last record were within a 4-5 minute time range. Most of the songs on this record 5-7 minute range and most of the songs are more progressive than the last record. Rush has always been able to create magnificent, visceral images with their music and they use their instruments like paintbrushes on an open canvas to create these works of art. They are all masters of their instruments and they have always been fortunate enough to work with very skilled producers who know how to contain Rush’s large and complex sound, but still allow it to have a lot of breathing room. Nick Raskulinecz returns to work on his second album with Rush and so if you’ve heard Snakes & Arrows, then Clockwork Angels doesn’t differ in the production aspect of everything.

Rush have also been a band that have always done what they wanted to do no matter what sort of pressures may be surrounding them and that’s something that I really respect for them. They don’t have a perfect track record in terms of having all good album, but they’ve experimented and they’ve done what they wanted to do and welcomed everyone willing to join them.

Besides the two previously released singles and “Headlong Flight”, a single released in early April, I wouldn’t say that this album has a lot in the singles department unlike what Snakes  and Arrows offered, but that’s fine when you think about it because Rush have never really set out to be a singles band. They have great singles, but those great singles are part of monumental albums. I wouldn’t g as far as to say that this is a monumental record, but I think this is a really strong record. Their songwriting hasn’t diminished at all eve though there’s no “Tom Sawyer” on it.

You kinda have to look at Rush in different eras. You have the beginning phase which features the first three albums. Next you have the golden age, which is 2112 to Moving Pictures. Then all their 80’s and 90s music would be in the experimental/keyboard heavy era. Then their rebirth era starts with Vapor Trails and takes us to where we are now. All these eras have different defining sounds and songs, but all are Rush at the core. I think Clockwork Angels is a fantastic record from, Rush. The instrumentation is phenomenal, the lyrics are really strong, and the songs are well written. The more that things change. The more they stay the same (“Circumstances” Hemispheres).

Luke Helker

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