Sound — 10
It's been 38 years since Rush's first studio effort "Rush", and yet the Canadian trio still manages to stun and amaze with their latest release "Clockwork Angels". As I listened to the album for the first few times, I marveled how a group of musicians nearing their 60's could still sound so modern and play with such precision. "Clockwork Angels" is heads and shoulders above it's predecessor "Snakes And Arrows" musically and lyrically and if I were to judge the band as a whole off only their 21st century efforts, I would say they've reached their peak. Of course, people said the same thing 32 years ago, when they released "Moving Pictures". Unlike previous Rush albums, "Clockwork Angels" doesn't take a sharp turn away from the band's previous style, but rather elaborates on it. The album feels almost like a brief history of Rush, with the very "Grace Under Pressure" styled passages of the album's title song; to the very "Caress Of Steel" feel the album's seventh song, "Headlong Flight" has; all the way to the "Permanent Waves" feel the song, "The Anarchist" has.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrics have always been one of Rush's strong suits, but this album is a masterpiece. Together, the songs seem to tell a story, but apart the songs stand on their own as well; a feat that is a rarity in modern concept albums. Steam-punk themes and mechanical imagery are this Rush album's forte, with a recurring theme that belief seldom triumphs over reality. Combined with singer Geddy Lee's impressive vocal work makes this album more than rock-solid. While he was once compared to a screaming banshee, Lee's vocals have mellowed out with age, and drive home the darker themes of the album better than his younger counterparts' would have.
Overall Impression — 9
"Clockwork Angels" is masterpiece in it's own right. A Deus-Ex-Machina of everything Rush has to offer, that will be very tough to follow. The biggest letdown the album has to offer besides it's short length, is the subtle hints given by the closing song "The Garden" that this may be Rush's swan song, and that makes me a little sad.