Clockwork Angels review by Rush

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  • Released: Jun 12, 2012
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.6 (172 votes)
Rush: Clockwork Angels

Sound — 10
The first thing you notice about this album is that it sounds heavy. I know Rush were always a bit heavier than most of their progressive rock peers in the 1970's, but with "Clockwork Angels," the band seem to have moved a little closer to being Progressive Metal, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as the core iconic Rush feel fans know and love is still present, while giving the album a somewhat more 21st Century sound. I feel like this would be a good album for someone who is wary of newer releases by classic rock groups, because I can honestly say there is nothing I didn't like about this album, sound-wise. It's Rush, they like to experiment with sound, but no matter how much they try to change, you'll always know it's them.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics to this album are good, not the band's best, but as fans probably were already aware of, this album is a companion to a novel of the same name, written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rush's genius drummer, Neil Peart. The result is that the CD, despite being extremely enjoyable on its own, is better when you have read the book, because the album is lyrically a compressed version of the story in the book. Geddy Lee's vocal performance on the album is surprisingly strong, considering I'd heard he was having throat problems around the time it was recorded. Neil Peart's drumming is as excellent as ever and let's face it: Alex Lifeson is one of the most underrated guitarists in the history of rock - he has great riffs and solos pretty much all the time.

Overall Impression — 10
This was probably the biggest musical surprise of the last few years for me. Partially because as I mentioned earlier, I'd heard Geddy Lee was suffering from some sort of throat problems and partially because I just plain wasn't expecting the album to be so powerful. It's heavy, it's melodic, it's lyrically intelligent, it's packed with amazing drumming, killer riffs and complex bass grooves - it has everything a fan would hope for in a Rush album... now here's hoping their next one can top this effort. One of the most interesting releases from a classic group in the modern era, "Clockwork Angels" is Rush, firing on all cylinders, determined to make a great record - and succeeding.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Honestly, I really dig this album. For being around over 40 years, and to come up with such a solid release, I was overjoyed when I first heard "Clockwork Angels." If you want to hear my take on the album, check out my review:
    I am a die hard Rush fan. I love this album musically. But for the first time ever Geddy's voice just rip through me like nails on a chalk board. I have always loved his voice until this album. I hope it's not just a sign of his age but rather an attempt to do something different. I realize that I will get some hateful comments about this. But it is my opinion. Just like *******s everyone has one.
    Clockwork Angels is awful. The production and songwriting are just absolutely terrible. It sounds so mushy and compressed. And the songs just blend together and hardly have any melody or technicality to them. People are insane if they think this is one of the best Rush albums, this is actually one of their worst ever. A loud and completely atonal mess. I turned it into a coaster the week I got it, garbage album.
    I look back on some of my comments in this thread and I really was pretty harsh on the record. I still feel much the same way about the album as a whole, but it has grown on me a little. I still enjoy it more than Snakes And Arrows, but less than Vapor Trails. And I was pretty unfair to Alex, his guitar playing is still as exemplary as ever. The songs still suffer a little too much from sounding samey to me, though. For a band that's done an about-face every few albums or so, it does seem a little disconcerting to have them stick to one style for so long, but they're also getting older, probably finding something they're just comfortable with after experimenting in their youth. No one's expecting them to make another Hemispheres.