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Rush - Clockwork Angels CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.95 | 1013 ratings

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4 stars I've lived with the new Rush album for well over a month now, delaying my review for the simple reason that I've been blowing hot and cold with it. There are certainly tracks on here that well and truly hit the spot straight away, others I've been on the fence with, but feel I can now make a valid judgement without changing my mind tomorrow.

It was no secret that this was going to be a concept album, a fact that not surprisingly generated much excitement amongst the fans in particular who'd love to see Rush return to the days of A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres. Well concept album it may be but anyone expecting them to return to those glory days of old will be sorely disappointed. Neither can it be considered a step forward either as it contains pretty much the same sort of stuff they've been releasing on the last few albums, namely largely ditching the keyboards in favour of guitar driven heavy rock with prog touches, though minus the raw production of Vapor Trails of course.

Well Clockwork Angels is not perfect but it's certainly very good, excellent even. Better than Vapour Trails but not as good as Snakes & Arrows. Caravan and BU2B, which open the album, have been knocking around since 2010 when they were released as a single, a teasing taste of what was to come. They are both as excellent tracks as we could hope from a band that've been kicking around for nigh on forty years. Powerful guitar driven rock, Caravan in particular containing extremely inventive riffing from Alex Lifeson as it moves into the most unexpected places. Geddy Lee and Neil Peart follow suit with some great playing but what else would you expect. After this initial 1-2 punch the title track is somewhat of a disappointment with the kind of pedestrian riff Rush could churn out in their sleep. It's also the longest track on the album and at 7:31 outstays its welcome due to it being simply average.

There are a few other less than spectacular moments - namely Carnies and the more laid back Halo Effect. Not bad, just simply ordinary. BU2B2 is more a bridge piece so shouldn't be judged too harshly. They are however enough excellent moments to raise the bar quite a bit. There's great riffs, strong hooks, a few exceptional guitar solos and strong melodies to be found on The Anarchist, Seven Cities Of Gold, The Wreckers, headlong Flight - a nod to Bastille Day with a touch of By-Tor in the guitar solo would you believe and Wish Them Well. Closing is the more reflective The Garden which is one of the few less bombastic moments, a fitting end that works well.

Overall then, whilst Clockwork Angels isn't the success of Snakes & Arrows, an album which for sheer consistency you'd have to go back to the days before Signals to beat, it is another excellent release from the band. Not perfect but I won't be complaining as long as they don't go back to the dreaded synth and Police influenced reggae days. There aren't many bands who can still release albums this good after four decades in the business. I'm really glad Rush are still around.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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