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Rush Clockwork Angels album cover
3.93 | 1218 ratings | 58 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Caravan (5:40)
2. BU2B (5:10)
3. Clockwork Angels (7:31)
4. The Anarchist (6:52)
5. Carnies (4:52)
6. Halo Effect (3:14)
7. Seven Cities of Gold (6:32)
8. The Wreckers (5:01)
9. Headlong Flight (7:20)
10. BU2B2 (1:28)
11. Wish Them Well (5:25)
12. The Garden (6:59)

Total Time 66:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Alex Lifeson / electric, acoustic & 12-string guitars, keyboards
- Geddy Lee / bass, bass pedals, keyboards, vocals
- Neil Peart / drums, cymbals, tambourine

- Jason Sniderman / piano (12)
- David Campbell / strings (6 violins, 2 cellos) arranger & conductor (4,6,8,10,12)
- Nick Raskulinecz / co-producer & mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Hugh Syme

2LP Roadrunner Records ‎- 1686-176561 (2012, US) Includes Hi Res digital download

CD Anthem Records ‎- 6682521722 (2012, Canada) Different cover art from LP edition

FLAC (2012, HdTracks) Hi Res download in 96kHz/24bit lossless files

Thanks to Starhammer for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RUSH Clockwork Angels ratings distribution

(1218 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

RUSH Clockwork Angels reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Rush embark on uncharted territories with a concept album of immeasurable depth and a consistent spirit of excellence.

The long awaited new Rush album is finally here as promised on June 12, a date that became indelible in the hearts of all Rush fans. "Clockwork Angles" was a title that teased Rushaholics for a long time since the release of the first single, 'Caravan'. The picture sleeve of the single depicted the intricate decorative clock and I had thought this would be the cover of the album, however the cover design was released, and I could not help but feel a twinge of disappointment that it was such a simple design, having been used to some more dynamic art on previous album covers over the years. I have since grown used to seeing that iconic red cover with the medieval clock in the swirling turbulent clouds. The simplistic design is memorable and indeed all the artwork in the booklet is incredibly provocative, capturing a steampunk future with dreamy scapes and structures, illustrated by Hugh Syme. There are some breathtaking designs including a spacey look at a blue world with clouds and that giant clock ticking ominously above. Some of the art reminds me of the future fantasy worlds of Myst, such as the beige colour painting of art deco sailing ships in the air over an enormous clock face and there are details of steam emanating from the wheels and cogs of progress. It is a place of dreams and fantasies with characters wandering around such as the peddler in a darkened forest, there is a shipwreck graveyard in stormy seas, two hands reaching for a mystical clock object, sun dials, mysterious enchanted worlds and the everpresent watchmaker icons. Beautifully realised, the art captures the feel of the album and transports us into the world of the protagonist's journey.

The musicianship is brilliant on this album; Peart has stated in interviews that he intended it "to be my highest achievement lyrically and drumming wise" (from website rushisaband Excerpts- from-Classic-Rocks-Prog-magazine-Rush-feature). He further went on to say that he took a new approach to writing and recording; "I played through each song just a few times on my own, checking out patterns and fills that might work" then he called on Nick who became his conductor, "and I was his orchestra". Peart would attack the drums in order to respond "to his enthusiasm, and his suggestions between takes, and together we would hammer out the basic architecture of the part (with) half-time bridges, and double-time outros" therefore there was no need for counting, or endless repetition.

The concept is strong and takes some comprehensive power to interpret it but the liner notes clearly outline a very intricate and compelling tale that is also told within Peart's thoughtful lyrics. The concept is based on the work of Peart's friend, science fiction novelist extraordinaire Kevin J Anderson, who announced that he would write the "Clockwork Angels" novel and he related many of the concepts of the novel, involving the forces of order and chaos that inflict themselves upon a young traveller, who dreams of travelling to a steampunk alchemist world of hidden cities. It is a world of piracy, carnivalesque settings and colourful characters such as The Watchmaker, who imposes precision on the lives of the inhabitants, and the evil Anarchist who desires that precision to be turned to chaos.

The tale that has made its way onto this album is concentric around a farm boy who had an idyllic lifestyle with peace and stability but it became too much to take, and ultimately stifled his dreams of exploring what the world offers. It is set in the village of Barrel Arbor, where steamliners descend onto the rails on their way to the Winding Pinion River to Crown City. As the farmer watched these massive machines he longs to escape to live out his dreams. This is where 'Caravan' comes in, and after hearing it out of context for so long as the first single unleashed upon the world, it is so refreshing to hear it finally as the opener on the album. From the first time I heard it I was very taken with the song as it is a heavier Rush than that of recent years, and it sounded vibrant and dynamic with very thought provoking lyrics and excellent musicianship. It begins with atmospheric clanging bells and the sound of machines moving across the hemispheres. The familiar guitar sound of Alex Lifeson cranks up with that powerdriving riff. Then Neil Peart races around his drum kit, then maintains a steady rhythmic figure until a bassline begins, followed by the golden tones of Geddy Lee; this is Rush! The production and mixing of Nick Raskulinecz is exceptional capturing a crystalline sound with all musicians audible including the orchestrations. The melody of the song is certainly infectious, especially the way the chorus builds to the mantra of the album, "I can't stop thinking big." The interlude is grinding guitar and some accomplished fret work. A low key synth drone is heard in the background. The choppy time sig is repeated until a lead break with some incredible string bends to lift up the sound and then back to the chorus. The structure is effective and it is a great way to open proceedings. It is easy to be accustomed to the standard of excellence that Rush maintain from album to album, but occasionally an album simply stands out as being above the rest simply due to strong songwriting and powerful melodies that jam themselves into the brain. "Clockwork Angels" certainly qualifies in this regard.

A transition is heard leading into 'BU2B', another song not unknown as it was the B side of the single, but the new intro was a nice touch with reverb vocals and mystical undertones. It was never a song I was immediately taken with as a B side, but on the album it makes more sense, and tells the story admirably that introduces The Watchmaker, who is integral to the concept. This figure ruled from Crown City through the Regulators, and the alchemist-priests had provided coldfire in order for the power and light of this world to be possible.

'BU2B' (brought up to believe) concerns the whole concept of belief as a human condition; "the universe as a plan, We are only human, It's not ours to understand." The protagonist is expressing that the world in which he exists always has told the occupants to "Believe in what we're told, Until our final breath, While our loving Watchmaker, Loves us all to death." 'Clockwork Angels' is where the album becomes more than just great, as this is one of the most progressive songs from Rush for years. It is little wonder that Lifeson referred to it as an "epic song", "very dynamic" and a "multi-parted piece" (from website roaddrunnerrecords, article).

It begins with a Gregorian Monk chant, setting the scene and then a hovering synth and loud crashing guitars explode. The percussion builds up and it breaks to a pleasant clean guitar phrase and Lee's vocals. He sounds excellent and at times uses multi tracking on his vocals to enhance the tones. The bassline is pulsating along the metrical patterns of Peart. The lyrics follow the deepening storyline, that moves to the bustling city of Chronos Square, where the farmboy finds himself gazing in wonder at the huge formations of the Cathedral of the Timekeepers, massive sky towers, and the radiant Angels of Land, Sea, Sky and Light, with the iridescent floating globes. It is a surreal scene that is captured brilliantly in the artwork. The song is compelling with some dynamic time sig changes and mood shifts. It builds with many variations on the main themes, until the outbreak of the instrumental that is a hammering riff. The "synchronised and graceful" Clockwork Angels are the creatures that "promise every treasure, to the foolish and the wise, Goddesses of mystery, spirits in disguise, Every pleasure, we bow and close our eyes, Clockwork angels, promise every prize." There is a Biblical pretext based on Proverbs 3:5 "Lean not upon your own understanding". The people of this fantastical land worship and adore the Angels and celestial spiritual machinery. The song ends with a quiet whisper and it has been quite a journey with some complex structures with Rush at the top of their game.

'The Anarchist' follows with a terrific guitar riff and heavy rhythms. Lee's vocals are more forced and are full of conviction, with some moments that sound processed like a robotic announcer on a PA system. His register is high on verses such as, "In all your science of the mind, seeking blind through flesh and bone, Find the blood inside this stone, What I know, I've never shown; what I feel, I've always known, I plan my vengeance on my own, and I was always alone." Again it is a heavy song with a ton of distortion and loud musical soundscape. The interlude is a wonderful lead break with phase effects on guitar that soars heavenly. It is as good as anything I have heard on the best tracks of recent Rush albums. It definitely has a modern sound unlike the 70s years. The lyrics are from the point of view of The Anarchist who shuns the optimistic cry of the Pedlar, "What do you like" to which he replies, "Vengeance!"

The plot thickens and the next song 'The Carnies' augments the atmospheres with a strange intro of carnival sounds and distant voices. The amazing riff locks in and opens one of the metal tracks of the album. It feels heavier with the metal distortion and then the next section breaks into an electronic spacey soundscape. It is certainly one of the highlights of the album, but none of the songs thus far have been less than excellent respectively. It may be one of the strongest first halves of a Rush album since "Moving Pictures" and "Counterparts". The lead solo is again absolutely virtuoso as only Lifeson can be, with a different sound but an appropriate feeling to the steampunk theme. This song really grew on me and I love the melody and the overall chord structure, and especially the heavy riffing throughout.

The concept was inspired by Peart who was reading about circus settings in Robertson Davies' novels. The story continues that the farmer finds work at a carnival beneath the ever watching angels, where "Bodies spin in a clockwork dance, The smell of flint and steel, A wheel of fate, a game of chance." He sees the Anarchist holding a clockwork detonator, and he hurls it but the farmboy catches it just in time saving all the onlookers at the carnival. However, the "ticking box, in the hand of the innocent," causes the angry crowd to move "toward him with bad intent."

'Halo Effect' is the first time the band are able to settle into a serene tranquil atmosphere. An angelic howl, and wind blowing lead to acoustics and gentle vocals that whisper on the wind. Lee sounds flawless and emotional on this ballad that has really grown on me finally. It builds like a power ballad but this is not 'Closer to the Heart; the sound is modernist and has a heartfelt feeling. The sound reflects the story that involves the protagonist falling in love with a carnival performer, acrobat dancer. He pursues her, and then after a fling she rejects and holds contempt towards him. It is an illusionary lover, "A goddess, with wings on her heels", but the real girl was not "the ideal, that I wanted to see." The song is very thoughtful and has a lovely melodic style. The dreaminess of the song works well to break up the intensity of previous heavier tracks. I look forward to hearing this song now on every listen.

'Seven Cities of Gold' is another masterful track opening with powerful bassline and dark lead guitar string bends that echo and slice with serrations on a knife edge. The 'Working Man' style riff soon cranks up that drives this powerhouse track. The riff reminds me of vintage 70s Rush which is a sheer delight. It has a sensational chorus that builds with innovative chord changes. The time sig even has a progressive feel that skips a beat here and there. The lead solo is more of the guitar serrations and high pitched string bends, that add to an ominous atmosphere. It has an infectious melody and again is one that is bound to grow on the listener. Peart explains, "I'd read a lot of history from the south-western part of the US and that figured into the story of the explorer Coronado, who kept going out into the desert to find the fabled cities of gold" (from Classic Rock). The plot of the album gets into the historical legendary story that fascinates the protagonist. The Legend is that there was a land hiding the seven cities of gold and the only way to them was on the steamliners across the Western Sea. The protagonist bravely crossed to Poseidon, a port city, to work on the steamliners serving the alchemy mines, and onto Redrock Desert with its stone monuments. The traveller eventually set out on a quest to find the infamous city of gold, Cibola. These legends were part of the man's dreams as the lyrics tell; "Glowing in my dreams, like hallucinations, Glitter in the sun like a revelation, Distant as a comet or a constellation."

The lyrics of this song are superb with mystical imagery such as the desolate landscapes of the fantasy world; "Canyons and cactus, Endless and trackless, Searching through grim eternity, Sculptured by prehistoric sea." Overall, a wonderful track with esoteric imagery conjuring up the Rushian scapes and mystique of "2112", where any minute one might expect to see the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx turn up on the scene. Dare I say that this is one of the most brilliant tracks of Rush for decades.

'The Wreckers' was once one of the weaker efforts of the album, though I always thought still had a nice rocking energy. It was not initially as captivating as the other songs thus far so it was one of the more pedestrian songs for me even after many listens. However, this too grew on me eventually and after my 9th listen I finally succumbed to its wonderful chorus melodies and sweeping orchestrations. The storyline is more compelling though concerning a narrow escape from the frozen dessert with the protagonist making his way half dead to Poseidon aboard a ship. A storm breaks out but a beacon of light helps navigate them from danger; "a ghostly light, Appears through the driving rain, Salvation in human chain." Unfortunately, the preternatural signal is false to lure seafarers to crash on the rocks. Once the wreck occurred the crew would be plundered of their cargo; these were The Wreckers. Peart explains his inspiration; "The Wreckers was actually from Daphne Du Maurier, that's been in my mind for 30 years. I guess it's an episode in Jamaica Inn. So all of that coalesced into the character and the history of the story, the whole concept."

The lyrics state the warning in a cryptic manner; "All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary, Of a miracle too good to be true, All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary, Everything in life you thought you knew." Of course if you were unaware of the concept story you could interpret these words as part of coping with the trials of life, something that Peart is very familiar with having lost his wife and daughter in recent times in the same year.

The next track is an instant masterpiece, one that I have heard many times prior to this release being the second and far more superior single of the album. 'Headlong Flight' has a glorious riff and melodic line. Lee's wandering bassline is outstanding and the percussion is Peart at his most frenetic as he chases his cymbals and skins around like a maniac. The main riff is lifted from the glory of 'Bastille Day' and that has caused some controversy among fans, but for me there is nothing wrong with returning to the vintage sound if it works and is reinvented to provide something very special. Peart has actually stated that he hopes that song will be in their setlist for live performances indefinitely; "What was it that Oscar Wilde said: self-plagiarism is style?" He believes that "We certainly do a few tongue-in-cheek nods to 'Bastille Day' in 'Headlong Flight' - that's deliberate," so when we fans recognise it, that is a compliment to the band who want us to do precisely that.

The speed of the track is quite breathtaking and Lee sounds absolutely full of passion and drive; "All the journeys of this great adventure, It didn't always feel that way, I wouldn't trade them because I made them, The best I could, and that's enough to say." The song builds to the chorus that changes time sig into a beautiful melodic moderate feel. As soon as I heard the melody of the chorus and the lyrics I was mesmirised; as chills went down the spine, when Lee sings; "I have stoked the fire on the big steel wheels, Steered the airship right across the stars, I learned to fight, I learned to love, I learned to feel, Oh I wish that I could live it all again." Amidst that fantastic melody hides a story of airships, turning cogs and wheels and machinery that now makes perfect sense amidst the rest of the conceptual material. The song has even more power on the album and comes in at the perfect moment when things were beginning to become too easy on the ears. The frenetic pace and intensity of this track makes this stand out as a magical moment of the album. The way the song changes seamlessly from a fast tempo to the half time feel is a master touch. This is Rush at their most adventurous and heaviest after a long hiatus and 20 albums. The lyrics are poetic beauty put to music that resonate so powerfully in my spirit.

Lee's high register vocals are everpresent and he has not sounded this good for years. In the half time section there is an instrumental that has some fast Peart drum fills and deliciously delirious axework from Lifeson. The band are in full flight and one can tell they are enjoying their golden years rocking as hard as ever; you have to be inspired by their energy and commitment to excel. Lifeson incorporates wah-wah pedals, with hyper fast picking and is like a tiger loosed from its cage; a far cry from his lead work on the past few albums.

The words could be taken in any way you want outside of the actual storyline; "Some days were dark, I wish that I could live it all again, Some nights were bright, I wish that I could live it all again." The highs and lows of life are captured perfectly here. In context of the album, the protagonist is thinking over all the great adventures and quotes the great alchemist, Friedrich Gruber, "I wish I could do it all again." He has steered the great airships across the stars and travelled to cities of gold, so he fondly remembers the adventures without regrets; one of the most optimistic moments of the album.

The pedlar returns and asks "what do you lack" again and the protagonist considers how he was "brought up to believe", and "no philosophy consoles me in a clockwork universe". The tone turns to a pessimism with the man pondering over the pedlar's words, so he loses faith in higher powers, remembers the pain, dwells on the illusion of love. He holds onto the belief that love conquers over all the rejection of the past because that is the way he was brought up; to believe. This song is a melancholy short passage of orchestral music, consisting of symphonic strings, conducted by David Campbell. The strings have also appeared on 'Halo Effect', 'The Anarchist', and 'The Wreckers', but on 'BU2B2' they are prominent and quite daring. The lyrics are downbeat and gloomy; "Belief has failed me now, the bright glow of optimism has failed me somehow, life goes from bad to worse." This may not appeal to many, it is easily the worst track of the album, but as a diversion for the album as a whole it works, and I count it as more of a transition into the next masterful track. If taken out of context this track is a morbid downbeat filler, but I still love the way it transforms the atmosphere after the bright vibrant uptempo rock of previous tracks. It is the diversity that makes the impact rather than taken on its own. This is a veritable fish out of water but the album would not be complete without these oddball moments and transitions.

'Wish Them Well' is another outstanding track that grabbed me the first time I heard it. The loud guitar and pounding drum is augmented by very melodic vocals that are back to a more hopeful resonance; "All that you can do is wish them well." The hook is catchy and it leads to some wonderful verses. I especially love the multi tracked harmonies on the section; "Thank your stars you're not that way, Turn your back and walk away, Don't even pause and ask them why, Turn around and say goodbye." I grew to love this song over a few listens, it just jumps out at me and prepares for the epic to end the album. The lead break is stellar playing with emotive bending, speed picking and arpeggios. There is a strong harmony in the refrain too, and the words impact my spirit; "The ones who've done you wrong, The ones who pretended to be so strong, The grudges you've held for so long, It's not worth singing that same sad song." This is about dealing with our demons that is essential to our wellbeing, and Rush have a lot to say about how we must learn to move on even when we are going through trials, "just wish them well."

In context of the storyline, the protagonist has come to terms with his life, even after feeling victimised and defeated. He reasons that it is not worth holding grudges as it is just burning him up like coals on his heart. The best response is to avoid the ones that hurt him and simply wish them well. Now I can relate to this in my own personal journey. Peart has really hit the nail on the head here and it is spiritually uplifting to hear this song with these thoughts in mind. I have seen how people have become scarred over the words of others and hurtful actions and it is all because they hold onto grudges and refuse to let go. It is only when we choose to let go that we can truly be free from condemnation and the curse of rejection. It is a choice and if we remember that we can choose to not allow the defamation of others to scar our character. Thank you, Rush for reminding us of these valuable important lessons.

The lessons continue and culminate in the next wonderful epic song 'The Garden'. It begins with tranquil beautiful acoustics and a violin, and ends with a sweeping majestic orchestral soundscape and soaring melodies that are soothing to the soul. The music includes a gorgeous piano interlude by Jason Sniderman. The lyrics are some of Rush's most powerful and uplifting to the spirit. The protagonist muses on his life and finds that ray of hope he had been searching for; "The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect, So hard to earn, so easily burned, In the fullness of time, A garden to nurture and protect". The hopeful lyrics o a metaphorical garden are reflected in the way that the music builds to a crescendo and it really feels like the ending of an epic journey. There is a sadness in the atmosphere but it is a relaxing beautiful mood generated. There is a hint of remorse that the journey is over but the protagonist, who has experienced a bildungsroman quest, has learnt all the valuable lessons of life and nothing more needs to be said; his life is complete having learned that the measure of love and respect is integral. "The arrow flies while you breathe, the hours tick away, the cells tick away, The Watchmaker has time up his sleeve," continues the lyrics, stating the case for all of us who only have so much time in which to make life count so we must make the most of it before time runs out. These are simplistic ideas but they are conveyed with poetic resonance and it all ends on this ray of hope; "The future disappears into memory, With only a moment between, Forever dwells in that moment, Hope is what remains to be seen." The album concludes on this hope with sweeping symphonic soundscapes that pour out of the speakers, embedding the album upon our conscious. At the end of the album on every listen I feel the same way; emotionally uplifted and with hope in my spirit - not something I can say for the last few Rush albums.

This is an unforgettable album that took some time to grow on me but once it became engrained in my spirit I was totally captivated under its powerful hold. It could easily pass by without fanfare on a casual listen by the average music listener disinterested in understanding the concept or the lyrics. Furthermore, if one does not relate to the lyrics and interprets them as just some fantasy world out of reach, it is possible that this could become rather incomprehensible. The lyrics are deep, perhaps as deep as anything Peart has written, but he has a lot to say about the emotional rollercoaster of existence, faith, love, respect, freedom, resilience, defeat and the purpose of our lives. None of this comes off as convoluted or pretentious in any way; there is a definite conviction in this work and it is trying to say something important to us that we can take with us into our own circumstances. The music itself is a mesmirising virtuoso augmentation and this is embellished with symphony orchestra strings and ethereal atmospherics. It transports us directly into the fantasy worlds and becomes a full sensory experience; aurally with the music and visually tangible thanks to the artwork, liner notes with story lines, and of course the lyrics.

In conclusion of this review (that unwittingly became an essay, written over a weekend while I listened 9 times...) this is Rush back to their absolute best after some rather forgettable albums and straight forward rock releases. "Clockwork Angels" is almost the perfect concept album, where everything works to become a coherent whole with masterful song structures and music literally dripping with innovation. It has been a long time since I have heard a masterpiece album from Rush; I would have to go back to 1981's "Moving Pictures" to find a 5 star album in my opinion. However folks, finally Rush have produced a masterpiece with their new inimitable mature sound. It is far superior to anything from the catalogue of albums from 1985 - 1991. It is marginally better than "Counterparts", that had a weaker second half after a brilliant first half.

The difference with "Clockwork Angels" is that the whole album is consistent in terms of strong musicianship and infectious melodies with powerhouse lyrical content, and that is not something I can say for the rather patchy material of "Test For Echo" or Vapor Trails". And again it is better than "Snakes and Arrows" that had some ordinary tracks marring an otherwise excellent album. To state that this new album measures up to the glory days of "A Farewell to Kings", "Hemispheres", "Permanent Waves" or "Moving Pictures" is perhaps stretching the credibility too far. However, this is still the best Rush album for decades and deserves accolades and high recommendation, therefore ultimately a bonafide masterpiece status for all the reasons stated. I did not expect it to stand up to my rather high expectations, we Rush fans are rather demanding, but I am absolutely delighted to announce that this album is a tour de force that lives up to the hype, and is an exceptional treasure from start to end. So far, I hail it as album of the year!

Review by FragileKings
4 stars I was ever so eager to hear this album since I first read about it sometime in late 2010. It was at this time, after knowing about Rush for 28 years and even owning a few of their CDs, that I suddenly became a rabid fan overnight. I can hardly say what spurned it on. But once I began listening to the CDs I had, really listening, I instantly felt I had to have every studio album they ever recorded. Within a few weeks I had all 19 albums - the Feedback ep being one that I already owned since its release. And then there was Clockwork Angels on the way. I could hardly wait.

But wait I did as the purported release date got pushed a year back. And as the excitement and anticipation built, I couldn't help but fear that this might be a Phantom Menace situation, where all the hype that precedes an established cultural icon leads reviewers to give it more praise than it is truly due.

Thankfully, I was totally wrong to think that way.

Detailed reviews are already in written; however, I want to mention my standout impressions.

Caravan - Since I downloaded the single from iTunes last year, I have totally loved this song for its heaviness. But the best for me is the instrumental section which is more than just a space for a solo. In four parts, the first three showcase Rush's instrumental compositional skills and the ferocity in their playing ability. The fourth part is where Alex burns up the fret board, concluding the solo with a tension-filled mad slashing of the strings followed by an abrupt release in the form of a pick-slide.

BU2B - The single hit things off instantly with that heavy riff and thundering bass sound. On the album there's a mellow intro. It seems at first that Rush is going to slow down after the rocking first track, but if you know the song from the single then you know that you are going to get your ass kicked again. Though the title stands for Brought Up To Believe, I always loved how it could be read as Be You To Be. An indication of Neil's deep intellect, no doubt.

Clockwork Angels - This is where the album really begins to stretch out. The introduction has you almost cringing at the buzzing guitar, thinking, "Here comes the next wallop!" But the song moves into four different riffs, mixing eighties classic Rush with nineties Rush and the heavier riffs of latter day Rush. Though its not among my favourites yet, I really like the sonic explorations in this song. It seems to say that if you didn't understand that this was going to be a heavy prog rock album yet, Rush are going to show that side more clearly here. After the solo the song shifts into a lazy blues mode as Geddy sings a passage from the Bible about not leaning on your own understanding. No question how Neil views that notion. The backwards choir-like singing at the beginning and the end are a great addition.

The Anarchist - A rocker of a song yes, but not in the ultra heavy vein of the first two tracks. Rush explore more territory of soundscape here using strings and a Middle Eastern flavour that is highlighted in Alex's brief but very Tea Party-esque solo.

Carnies - One of Alex's coolest riffs ever and something to prick up the ears of any metal fan.

Halo Effect - Hailed as the next Closer to the Heart by some reviewers, I think it's not realistic to compare it to that old classic. I find the two are very different songs. So far, this one has not stood out for me yet; however, I know with every Rush album there are always the songs that grab me at first and later other songs begin to stand out. Considering the praise this track is getting, I am sure I just need to listen to it more.

Seven Cities of Gold - Such a totally bad-ass bass line and Neil works his kit stunningly well along with the bass. Somehow, this reminded me of Chris Squire's bass intro to The Messenger on Yes's The Ladder album, not as a companion but as the nice boy next door funky bass compared to Geddy's mean mutha bass line here. Alex adds excitement with guitar effects until the song kicks in full. The instrumental break in the middle is psychedelic and mind-bending. One of the more metallic tracks on the album.

The Wreckers - I expected with this title the song would rip the studio to shreds in intensity. But actually it's a beautiful chorus rock song that should get crowds singing along with glee. Very catchy melody. (Wait! Didn't UFO once call Geddy, Glee?)

Headlong Flight - There was one day where I just played the video for this song over and over, not because I loved the video - I was busy doing stuff at work. I just wanted to hear this song again and again. This is Rush absolutely rocking their hardest and making no bones about churning out ass-kicking rock for over seven minutes. Not only is the main riff such a ripping display of power and distortion, Alex comes in near the instrumental section's beginning with another heavy riff, accompanied by Neil practically shooting rifle holes in his kit. It reminds me of Wolfmother, who introduce one thundering metal riff that knocks you flat on your butt, and then just when you are getting up to headbang to it, they drop in another monster riff for a few bars that knocks you right back down again. Alex totally lets fly on the solo hear too. Geddy and Neil drive the wall of sound behind the guitar like an over-sized steam locomotive careening down a mountainside.

BU2B2 - Most people aren't thrilled about this song and I agree that it wouldn't be missed had it been left out. But Alex stated that Neil felt it was integral to the story and I agree that it is an important part of the tale. Indeed, that this tale of despondency follows the very positive outlook expressed in the lyrics of Headlong Flight reminds me of things I read in Neil's book Ghost Rider. There were days where he'd feel he was enjoying his journey and making progress on the healing road (recovering from the death of his daughter and wife) and then suddenly he'd be in tears of grief all over again. Since this is a concept album, I feel the song does have it's place here, even if people won't be adding it to their playlists.

Wish Them Well - The gloom of BU2B2 doesn't last long, and after just over a minute we are back to the positive rock vibe of this song. The message is one that strikes me as a very important one to learn. After seeing on Facebook how so many people are angry and constantly annoyed with people who have supposedly caused them emotional harm, I really began to feel how important it is to just steer clear of anyone that makes you feel angry. Furthermore, why go about wishing that people would die or suffer? Just wish them well. So, the message in this song strikes a very deep chord with me. Following this thinking leads to a higher level of human reasoning.

The Garden - Everyone seems to think this is an amazing song and I agree. Musically it's a beauty, and Geddy delivers to the best of his ability here. But even though I have always liked Geddy's voice (even way back when I was only a casual listener of Rush's music), I can't help but wonder with music this beautiful if a more gifted balladeer might do the song even more justice. Just a thought. Alex's guitar solo is beautiful!

I give this album 4.5 out of five personally. How does it rate as prog rock? This is Rush we are talking about. Prog or not, these guys do everything they can to push themselves further. That at their age they can make an album that would stun and deafen any of the other old hard rock bands is amazing. Rush don't slow down. They evolve. They explore. Long songs, strings, incredible musicianship, futuristic concept album. It's certainly worth four stars here!

(Strangely, this album has me wanting to listen to Snakes and Arrows more.)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After a couple of weeks with this album my initial disappointment has lost its sharpest edges, which puts me in the mood for a friendly bit of criticism towards the band that used to be my entire world in my teenager years and that has stayed with me as a trusty companion for more then 25 years since.

'Caravan' and 'BU2B' open this long expected album and they are easily amongst the best the album has to offer. When these songs were released 2 (already!) years ago it made me hope that another strong album was ahead. Turned out they are by far the best the album has to offer. 'Caravan' is an instant classic, and also 'BU2B' is enjoyable but is symptomatic for the main weakness that troubles the album. It starts with a decent and catchy bluesy riff from Lifeson, of the kind we haven't heard much since the debut, but as soon as the vocals kick in the band wanders off in an onslaught of Rush clichés, producing the type of songs and melodies that rubbed me the wrong way ever since 'Hold Your Fire' and especially on 'Presto' and Roll the Bones'.

'Clockwork Angels' has the advantage of a thick and heavy - if somewhat monotonous - sound that makes it more likeable then the late 80s albums, however, compared to their last 2 albums, the songs are simply too average for Rush standards, especially the middle section of the album, where a cheesy song like 'Halo Effect' and the way too long and repetitive 'Seven Cities' and 'Wreckers' are nothing better then 'Presto'-Rush stuff. Not my thing. On too many occasions, Geddy Lee is trying in vain to come up with a vocal melody that he hasn't sung countless times before, and the severely limited range of his voice doesn't help. 'Headlong Flight' continues the more pleasant rock vibe of the opening songs, but in the end it comes off as an unnecessary 'Bastille Day' remake. The odd 'BU2B2' and the mainstream radio rock of 'Wish Them Well' don't speak to me at all. 'The Garden' is better, for a ballad at least...

Conclusion, a decent melodic heavy blues-rock album that will please a lot of fans but it's one that stays far below the magical tunes they created up until 'Power Windows'. It's also a notch below the somewhat similar grunge-blues-rock of 'Counterparts' and 'Vapor Trails'. Adding that all up it features somewhere around position 15 out of 19 albums. Despite a couple of strong moments, that will be 2.5 stars overall, maybe 3 if I focus on the good bits.

Review by crimson87
3 stars They play it safe again...

Remember Rocky III? Rember the part where after losing to Clubber Lang , the Italian Stallion hires Apollo as his coach and he sayse had lost the eye of the tiger because he is not hungry anymore?

This is exactly what is happening to Rush since Test for Echo. And here with Clockwork Angels , things stay the same. For the last 23 years , the band has been playing the same kind of pop/heavy rock songs and lacking any creativity. Don't get me wrong , those albums are far from being bad and Clockwork Angels is not the exception. Now they have released a concept album and they plan to tour with strings... talk about creativity...

I will make this short. The higlights in the album are the first 3 tracks and Headlong flight. The worst track in my opinion is the poppy Wish them well. But when talking about the last 25 years Rush you have to realize that the highs aren't so high and the lows aren't so low as well. The production is good though it suffers from "loudness wars" sometimes. Geddy's voice is the best since Counterparts and Neil plays terrific as always. Alex... he is a great guitar player but don't expect any memorable riff or solo here.

Summing up , a good (if derivative) Rush album. A fine choice if you are a completionist or find it on a bargain.

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If I wouldn't have known Rush before and someone would have told me this album is from a three sixty year old dudes, I probably would say "get the hell outa here!!". Having not enjoyed any Rush album from the last decade I probably wouldn't have bought this, but after listening to their surprisingly good 2010 single, I thought they might just pull it off afterall. Talking about it on our forum, I certainly approached this album with cautious and hidden expectations. So as I listened to it for a few times, I knew it's a good album but it didn't really fully grabbed me and I was starting to think that I would end up eventually returning it to the shelf to collect a good amount of dust, just like it's predecessor is still doing. But just after a couple of listens it clicked!! and the melodies began to sink in deeper and maid me realize that this is a wonderful album.

What makes it so good are a few things, first it's the great melodies, the trio really out did themselves here, whether if it's the verses or the choruses it's all really good. Another thing I like and that's what drew me to this album in the first place, is the excellent heaviness unleashed by Alex's distorted guitars and Geddy's 5 tons weighting bass, it all works so well under the conducting of the maestro Mr. Peart. Seriously I can't find any weak song or any uninspired moment that would remind me any of their previous albums. That said, I wouldn't compare it to any of my favorite 70's albums by the band, that era is over, but placing it in the right perspective I have to say that I would be more than happy to receive this level of quality every two years or so.

So what's the album like? Well, arguing if it's going to be progressive or not before it has been released, now I can say... yes it is but also no it's not. It's more in the vein of structured songs with a cool twist or you can just call them interesting songs. The riffs are not your ordinary FM radio stuff, it is certainly edgier, just take a quick look at UB2B's hammer like main riff and you'll get the picture. Other than that, still keeping it in the "song pattern" Rush have a lot to offer to our trained ears, the playing is fantastic and the songwriting is really good. The album is again HEAVY but still holds a lot of emotion. Lee's vocals are very good and he doesn't sound like he strained his vocal cords for the past 40 years, but man...can he play that bass whoooohooo, he has a lot of groovy moments and overall a fabulous performance, he is one of my favorite bassists ever no doubt about it. Lifeson also manages to stay a live and produces some excellent riffing and some good solos every now and then, he also didn't loose his inspiration. Peart is like always a master but he is not a wicked machine as he was before, I can't help but feel that this time he hasn't stormed the drum kit and played like the good old days, he is more timid and relaxed than before but still not a single bad word can be said about him.

I'm quite excited by this album and I'm very proud of Rush, they certainbly showed just what an amazing musicians and incredible writers they are. So if you are already a Rush fan, you can not go wrong with this album since it has just about every thing we love about this band. Great effort, 3.5 stars.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Tony R
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars I've been a strong critic of post-Signals Rush for a long time and a subscriber to the Brit Rush Fan mantra: "Old Rush good, new Rush bad". On hearing 2008's "Snakes & Arrows" I was originally quite impressed but after the initial honeymoon period I rarely play it, if ever. It lacks those "moments" that can elevate an album and demand you to play it over and over again. In 2010 Rush took the step of releasing two new tracks; Caravan and BU2B (Brought Up To Believe) and I was disappointed. These were rush-released to give the band something to tour on, as they prefer to have new material to play (though they also played "Moving Pictures" in its entirety hence "Time Machine Tour") and many fans were unimpressed but intrigued that these tracks were the first two of a complete concept album, as, surprisingly, Rush has never recorded a full concept album. The theme would be based on Steampunk, a sort of futuristic Jules Verne meets HG Wells world of Victorian aesthetic and there would be strings on some of the tracks. Hmmm. Headlong Flight is subsequently released as a single as a teaser for the album and again I am unimpressed. So 5 stars, where did they come from?

Clockwork Angels is a concept album and as such should be viewed as a whole and listened to in its entirety in one sitting. Probably inspired, or emboldened at least, by the relative success of Porcupine Tree's "The Incident" (Peart made reference to that album prior to recording) this is a definitive Rush album wherein the sum is greater than the parts. It is not perfect; Lee's vocals at times are grating, and there is still too much reliance on the "verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus, chorus" rut the band seem to be trapped in, but as a modern Heavy Prog album it is a triumph.

Each track is connected by a short atmospheric intro but other than that there are no real re-occurring musical themes (except, of course, BU2B2). Lyrically we get Peart's usual musing on individualism, blind faith, integrity, order and chaos and Dawkinsism and it is often difficult to decipher the story that will evolve into a novel via Peart's collaboration with scifi writer Kevin J Anderson. Musically we are treated to enormous riffs, kenetic bass-playing and some of Peart's best drum work in decades. Standout tracks are Clockwork Angels, Carnies, The Wreckers andThe Garden, the latter being quite unlike any previous Rush track with its lush strings, plaintive guitar and soothing, beautiful melody and is an instant Rush classic. Tracks that I initially couldn't take to, the aforementioned Caravan, BU2B (terrible title) and Headlong Flight work well within the overall album - Headlong Flight in particular is a rip-roaring monster of a track propelling the album forward with huge guitar sounds, frenetic drums and echoes of "Bastille Day" and "Bytor". There are a couple of tracks, though not terrible, are not quite up to the standard of the rest; Seven Cities Of Gold which features an atrocious vocal and Wish Them Well a mundane track that was apparently re-written several times this proving that a watched pot never boils. However when it is bad Clockwork Angels is merely average but when it is good it is brilliant so please do not argue with my 5 star rating.

This could be the best Rush album since "Moving Pictures", it is certainly on a par with "Signals" and was rewarded by reaching #2 in the Official US Album Chart, quite a feat by the un-hippest rock band on the planet.There are strings on quite a few tracks and the band intends to take a small string section on their huge worldwide "Clockwork Angels" Tour in 2012 and 2013, I suggest you rush out and acquire tickets now!

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars This CD starts with the first 2 singles; "Caravan" and "BU2B", who are two strong tracks. Then the title track "Clockkwork Angels" is even better with his catchy melody. Then it's followed by some tracks that shows some interesting moments, but the songwriting is not as strong as the first three tracks.We have to wait for the song "The Wreckers" to see some more inspiring music, where the band is more focused on developing their ideas, instead of following their instincts. "Headlong Flight" is the third single and is another heavy song that is very enjoyable. "Wish them Well" is the weakest tracks of the CD. And the standout track is at the end, with "The Garden", showing the band going in a different direction, with a powerful ballad with classical arrangements, a nice piano break that is the entry to the beautiful Alex's guitar solo. The lyrics are really perfect here, matching the music very well, to release all the emotions.

The musicianship on this CD is flawless, no surprise coming from this old band. But i really think that Geddy Lee is stealing the show with his bass sound throughout this CD. His sound was high in the mix , so we can appreciate all the nuances of his playing. As for the influences of the music with previous material, all this being purely accidental, and subjective, i would say that this is a logic evolution of Snakes and Arrows in terms of music style, but very different on the composition level. But it's obvious that the band sound is closer to their hard rock style of Fly By Night and 2112, then the sound of their progressive era after those 2 CDS. The band is now making heavy prog that as more to do with hard rock then prog, which is like they were returning to their roots since the "Counterparts"'s CD

In conclusion, Clockwork Angels is a little stronger then Snakes and Arrows, but there also some inconsistency in the quality level of compositions in the middle of the CD. It's a solid work, but this is not your classic "Moving Pictures".


Review by richardh
3 stars I have held off reviewing this as I don't really have a definitive view of whether its any good. Its that dreaded thing , a non prog album made by a (once) classic prog band. The lads are such great musicians they are clearly not able to make a bad album and clearly this isn't. If you are looking for new ideas some inventiveness and at least an attempt to make something different and new then you will be disappointed. However I doubt anyone purchased this album with their eyes shut. No great surprises and no great risks but fans will see this as almost a strength. The songs are a good level although a notch down from Vapor Trails ,the album this most resembles. There is some good energy and the tightness of the playing will always impress. In the context of a hard rock album this is worth a 4 but as Rush have done this kind of thing better already I don't think it deserves such a high mark.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Yes RUSH is my favourite band so I am a fan-boy but having said that i've rated 8 of their 19 studio albums with 3 stars or less. Since they have come back post Peart's tradgedies I have really enjoyed their sound, although Geddy isn't the singer he once was. I was there front row off to the side in Toronto when they made their triumphant return on the "Vapor Trails" tour and I seem to be one of the few who loves that record. "Snakes & Arrows" wasn't as good in my mind but still a 4 star album which brings us to "Clockwork Angels" where they have increased the heaviness and Geddy's bass is more in your face. I do agree that it's "loud" as far as the sound goes but all three guys really put on a show here. I'm not into concept albums but thankfully that hasn't had a negative impact on the music.

If I might reminisce here I think the first RUSH I ever heard was from "2112" when I was about 17 and I thought these guys were insane. In fact my Art teacher told us on the first day of class back in 1977 that anytime the lesson was over we could use the record player at the back and play anything we wanted to except RUSH. I guess those extreme vocals back then were too much for some people. My first RUSH purchase was "A Farewell To Kings" on vinyl which was their current release at the time. I have such good memories of listening to "Hemispheres" while driving around glassy eyed. I still remember the look a cop gave me at the question I asked as he directed traffic up on the mountain during fishing season's opening day. Many teens went up there to just party, we had no fishing equipment just lots of ahem... party supplies. Anyway he refused to answer me as he rolled his eyes and walked away. We were absolutely wired. Listening to "Permanent Waves" while driving around the beaches in my tourist home town was a perfect match back in the summer of 1981. Again it was all about the green and the music, like bacon and eggs really (haha). That is so long ago now and those days are but a memory, but RUSH is still a big part of my life.

I love that the clock on the cover is set at 21:12. I purposely didn't listen to the singles RUSH released prior to this album as I wanted to hear it all at once, so the first two songs are as new to me as the rest. "Caravan" sounds so good early on as it builds then kicks in with vocals. I really enjoy the contrasts between the chorus and the verses. Killer bass 3 1/2 minutes in and same with the guitar after 4 1/2 minutes. "BU2B" is a top three along with the opener and "Headlong Flight". Anyway the vocals and sound echo then it kicks in hard before a minute as vocals follow. It does settle some but it kicks back in as contrasts continue. "Clockwork Angels" is like a mini concept on it's own as it opens with atmosphere then some ourtbursts come and go. It settles after a minute and the vocals come in. It kicks in hard as the vocals continue. It settles again as contrasts continue. Cool section before 5 1/2 minutes with processed vocals. "The Anarchist" has a great sounding intro, quite heavy. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. The chunky bass sounds incredible and we get prominant guitar before 5 1/2 minutes. "Carnies" opens with atmosphere then some wild guitar kicks in followed by vocals. It picks up. This rocks out pretty good.

"Halo Effect" opens with atmosphere as relaxed guitar and reserved vocals take over. It becomes fuller as contrasts continue. "Seven Cities Of Gold" has some killer bass in the intro as it starts to build. Vocals follow. This one grooves man. Nasty stuff after 4 minutes. "The Wreckers" is a feel good tune for me, so uplifting. Great sound before 3 minutes as it turns darker and heavier. "Headlong Flight" is groundshaking. How good is this ? Vocals just before a minute. It's the Peart show after 4 1/2 minutes then Geddy digs deep while Alex rips it up. What a performance ! I'd like to see this live. "BU2B2" is a short piece with mostly strings and vocals. "Wish Them Well" is just too catchy. I'm surprised I haven't tired of this one yet but it's holding up. There's some power here too at times. "The Garden" is the one song that hasn't caught on with me. I mean it's still a good song but perhaps it's just a case of being made to fit the concept lyrically and that's where the focus is.

So yeah this is one of the best things they've done since "Signals".

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars The most progressive Rush album for 30 years!

My expectations for a new Rush album in 2012 were far from high as the band's studio output during the last three decades has - with a few exceptions - not appealed much to me. I have still maintained an honest respect for the band and reviewed all of their studio albums, but I have always felt that once they fell off the plateau constituted by the classic period of 1976 to 1981 (from 2112 to Moving Pictures) they have never been able to get back up. Unlike many fans I think that Rush lost most of their progressive and creative edge after Moving Pictures. They still continued to make decent music, and the occasional good album, but never surpassing good in my opinion. And even though the 80's albums were drenched in synths and the 90's albums mostly lacked them, the song writing remained stagnant. Much of what they released felt like it was recorded on autopilot.

Now, before you get your hopes up too much I should point out from the beginning that Clockwork Angels is by no means a true return to the sound, style, and approach of the 70's and early 80's. That train has left a long time ago. This album should thus not be compared directly with such classic records as 2112, A Farewell To Kings, Hemispheres, or Moving Pictures, but - and here comes the surprise - it does compare favorably to virtually anything else in the vast Rush discography. It stands head and shoulders above the other two 2000's albums and it puts several of the band's albums from the 90's and 80's to real shame. They have finally gotten over their decades long creative slump.

So what is it about this album that makes it stand out for me? It is more consistent (no weak tracks), more varied (a nice balance between fast and slow, acoustic and electric), more eclectic (some nice Middle-Easters sounds in The Anarchist, for example); it hangs together well (thanks to its conceptual nature); the bands feels more energetic, as if they have re- found a passion that was lost many years ago. Admittedly, if judged only in terms of the quality of the individual songs, Clockwork Angels is rivaled by a few other post-Moving Pictures Rush albums, but it is the conceptual nature of Clockwork Angels that pushes it beyond those albums. The existential lyrics are some of Peart's best ever. Most of the tracks from Clockwork Angels are perhaps not that impressive when taken in isolation, but this time the whole is greater than the sum of the parts in a way that we haven't heard from Rush in a long, long time.

When I heard this album for the first couple of times, I immediately recognized that it was better than many recent albums by the band, but I did not then expect that it would grow on me the way it did. I first suspected that I would end up giving it three stars, which would still have been a high rating for a newer Rush album coming from me, but over further listens I realized that this deserves four stars, which is the highest rating I have given to a Rush albums since Moving Pictures.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars If nothing else, this is definitely one of the best albums that will ever be made by a band whose members are all pushing 60. This is the product of a band that knows exactly who it is and embraces that identity with full force; it's an hour long, it's full of multi-part songs, it has a loose conceptual element (that was later adapted into a novelization), and it makes no attempt whatsoever to acknowledge the outside music world (it sticks pretty closely to the approach shown on Snakes and Arrows, which is perfectly fine by me). It's also absolutely top-notch by Rush standards, and as much as I'm flabbergasted at the notion, this has taken its place as my #3 Rush studio album.

I didn't think it would end up this way, though. The opening "Caravan" (released as an advance single), to be honest, still leaves me feeling somewhat disappointed, and I don't think it's a good representative of the album. I mean, it does have strong playing (duh) and decent riffs and contrasting sections and all that, but I feel like it better fits in with the duller first half of Snakes than with the more varied, more interesting second half. Plus, it feels weirdly disjointed in spots to me; there's an instrumental section in the second half of the track that feels like it was wedged in just because the band decided it just wouldn't be ok for the track to last only 4 minutes, and the guitar solo especially sounds like it was grafted in as an afterthought. I will admit, the first time I heard this album, "Caravan" put me in a slightly irritated mood right away, and while I like the track more than I did (again, it would make a decent 4-minute track), I'm still not thrilled with it.

The next two tracks are freaking great, though. "BU2B" (the other lead single) starts with a low-key, hazy, atmospheric part with Geddy singing something almost indiscernable, and this does a good job of amplifying the impact of the heavier parts that follow. The rest of the track features back-and-forth between these heavy verses and a section driven forward by an energetic, exotic-sounding, higher-pitched Lifeson part, and the band spins off ideas from this foundation with great ease. Even better may be the title track, which also makes use of a quiet, unsettling open (this time driven by a nagging processed bassline, kinda like something from "One of These Days") before making a grand anthemic entrance, and the entire track is about creating drama in the same sort of way that "The Main Monkey Business" did. All of the anthemic aspects in the sections starting with "Clockwork Angels..." and ending with " if to fly" feel genuinely earned, largely thanks to their careful alternation with the frantically arranged verses, and all of the instrumental departures (as well as the fairly odd quieter section in the last couple of minutes where Geddy's vocals become distant again) are extremely entertaining. Now this is what I want from Rush!!

The rest of the album isn't mindblowing, but it still hovers closer to the greatness of "BU2B" and the title track than the ehn of "Caravan." My favorite of the remaining tracks is "Seven Cities of Gold," which builds off a great slap-bass riff into a solid main riff that in turn gives way to a catchy-as-hell anthemic secondary melody and chorus. With the other tracks, my initial impression was that they were all somewhat samey and made the album into a bit of an impenetrable mass, but I really don't think that's the case anymore. Maybe individual tracks might often last a little longer than their main ideas might merit, but that doesn't mean the main ideas aren't good, and what's more is that the ideas are different enough that each track manages to carve out a nice role for itself. "The Anarchist" and "Headlong Flight" are "the fast tracks," and what each lacks in a catchy vocal melody is made up for with speedy and effective riffs (the latter also has instrumental parts that may be among the most entertaining Rush ever put to tape). "Carnies" is "the noisy riff track," featuring a cool squealing riff in the beginning that repeatedly gives way to more upbeat parts and featuring some fantastic instrumental parts. "Halo Effect" is "the acoustic-based track" (though it turns fully electric from time to time), a song that reminds me (in vibe, not in melody) of "Half the World" and the In Rio performances of "Resist," and that's a comparison that makes me happy. "The Wreckers" is "the generic Rush anthem," but meant in the good sense; it has one of those overly verbose Rush choruses full of phrases that don't really work when sung, but it's still rather memorable, and there are other enjoyable aspects as well (I'm especially fond of the weirdly murky section in the fourth minute that breaks up the "get yer lighters out" direction the track tries to go in otherwise). "BU2B2" is "the short quiet reprise," "Wish Them Well" is "the memorable track that focuses prepares the album for conclusion" (it doesn't significantly deviate from its main idea, but the idea is decent enough) and finally "The Garden" is "the atmospheric and moving concluding track." Not bad!

I should make it clear that I don't actually love this album; as I said, I find most of the tracks at least a little overlong, and I do inevitably droop during some instrumental breaks (that weren't explicitly mentioned as being great), and I once again don't find myself giving a hoot about the lyrics. And yet, when I think about this album, what I realize is that Rush have finally, after so many years, provided an album where (to my mind and ears) they don't shoot themselves in the foot. The lyrics may not have impact on me, but they don't distract me either. The number of tracks that I want to skip is held to a minimum. The instrumental breaks are awesome with enough frequency for me not to focus much on the ones that are a little stretched out and pointless. The production and instrumental approach are ideal for the band at this point, and so on. If you are not a Rush hater (and while I don't like Rush, I don't hate them either), this album is a necessity.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Clockwork Angels" is the 19th full-length studio album by Canadian hard rock/progressive rock act Rush. The album was released through Anthem/Roadrunner Records in June 2012. A new Rush album is always met with high expectations. While there have been a few more mediocre releases along the way most of the band's output are highly regarded by fans and critics alike. They've made quite a few stylistic changes to their music over the years and have been through various "phases", but they've always sounded unmistakably like themselves. Rush have always followed their own path and that hasn't changed with "Clockwork Angels".

The music on the album is the umistakable sound of Rush. Geddy Lee's busy basswork and distinct sounding high pitched vocals, Neil Peart's incredibly tight and adventurous drumming and Alex Lifeson's powerful but also atmosperic guitar playing. It's all there and accounted for. The core elements in the music are spiced up by a very tasteful use of keyboards, which add another dimension to the tracks where they appear. Stylistically "Clockwork Angels" borrows from both the late seventies progressive rock era of the band's sound and the synth heavy mid-eighties era. But the sound is probably best described as a combination of the sharper hard rocking tracks from "Presto (1989)" and "Roll the Bones (1991)" and the warmer more "alternative" sound of "Counterparts (1993)" and "Test for Echo (1996)". The whole thing is packed in a powerful and sharp sound production that really suits the music well. I'd especially like to mention the snare drum sound which is much sharper than has been the case on the last couple of releases and it provides the music with some edge.

There are several highlights on the album, but especially the first four tracks and album closer "The Garden" stand out to me. There are a couple of tracks on the album (like "The Wreckers") which don't quite reach the high quality level of the best tracks on the album, but "Clockwork Angels" is overall a very consistent release. What's more important though is that the music on "Clockwork Angels" is the sound of vital band which still have a lot to offer. If I didn't know better, I'd told you that you were lying if you had told me that all three guys in the band were born in 1952/1953. Check out the ultra heavy main riff in "BU2B" and tell me you don't hear youthful energy! A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

Some Talent Never Dies.

"Clockwork Angels" is the nineteenth album by legendary Canadian act Rush, one of the greater Progressive Rock/Hard Rock bands of the late seventies to early eighties. Albums such as "Permanent Waves", "A Farewell To Kings", "Hemispheres", and especially "Moving Pictures" have sculpted the history of the genre, in one way or the other. The band continued making music during the 80's, 90's, and 00's, and never made a terrible album since, although they became more and more generic with time passing, as they tended to be heavily influenced by the current music styles of the time. The last album before "Clockwork", 2006's "Snakes and Arrows", was a pretty successful attempt to gain a new sound of their own, with a lot of Hard Rock influences. This 2012 album pretty much takes off where the previous album did.

"Clockwork Angels" is quite the simple, straightforward album, no fillers, no killers. It's an album composed of Songs with capital S, meaning that that attention for album flow that was felt in their old classics is pretty much gone, in favor of a greater focus on songwriting skills. Of course, the songs don't go anywhere near the levels of the classics, but they still accomplish to be catchy and fun.

Here we have a band that has arrived to a point where they don't care anymore that much to craft an album that could be a potential game-changer; they just want to have fun, and you can tell by listening to "Clockwork Angels", this is just something they did out of their personal need, to get some music out of their system, no matter what the actual results would be. But since we are talking about some of the most talented musicians alive, this results is very satisfying nevertheless.

Rush manage to write quite the catchy tunes on this album, like the opener "Caravan", the title track, "The Wreckers", or the more ballad tunes like the beautiful closer "The Garden" or "Halo Effect". The rest of the songs are pleasant, and miraculously, not even one goes close to being a bad song. Sometimes, simplicity is the way to go.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The clock on the front cover gives the time as 21:12, but this is no 1976-flavoured throwback project; rather, Clockwork Angels captures Rush in the act of playing contemporary-sounding progressive rock which sounds distinctively Rush-like without trying overly hard to recapture any specific previous phase of their career (though it often sounds like a much more rock-oriented take on their synth period - imagine Signals with less synthesisers and more guitar), or for that matter trying to fit in too much with what's currently going on in the genre.

Hitting a sweet spot in which they are able to take into account new musical developments and styles without being constrained by them, and with David Campbell's string arrangements lending some cinematic gravitas to proceedings here and there, this isn't a top-notch Rush classic that will redefine how people see prog, but it is a really solid album that will satisfy most old-time fans, and was perhaps the closest they came to a major shift in their musical approach since Counterparts.

For a while after the release, rumours swirl about whether or not they were going to put out more, but as it stood the death of Neil Peart would put an end to the Rush story; even though he wasn't a founder member of the band (he's not on the debut album, after all), it was his arrival on Fly By Night which saw the band really begin to take off (pun intended), and it's completely understandable that Alex and Geddy would have no stomach to keep the band going without him after some 40 years of working together.

As a result, Clockwork Angels is the band's studio swansong, at least in terms of new recordings. (It would be followed in 2013 with a remixed issue of Vapor Trails, revealing what was actually a pretty tight album once you stripped away the horrible early-2000s loudness war affectations of the original mix.) If this is how it has to be, I can't imagine Rush in the 2010s putting out a significantly better final statement than this one. It might not be a flat-out classic on the level of Moving Pictures, Farewell to Kings, or the first side of 2112, but you can fail to hit that level and still produce damn good music.

Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars While I am happy that Rush has been an enduring classic band, my interest was lost after "Moving Pictures." Each succeeding album just seemed to have less to offer than its predecessor. In many cases (Yes comes to mind) it might be suggested that the band should have hung it up long ago. I never felt that way with Rush. Even though the prog gods from Canada haven't moved me in decades, their mission has always been sincere. Other bands have just continued to churn it out over the years for the lack of anything better to do. Geddy, Alex and Neil never stopped believing in the music or each other. A lot of it didn't work for me but it did for them, and I respect that.

Hearing the tale Neil Peart's family tragedies did incline me to check out the band again once they regrouped. "Vapor Trails" was decent and "Snakes and Arrows" was even better. Probably the best Rush had been since 1981. Unfortunately neither album stuck with me after hearing them. In the summer of 2012 a prog musician I know said that the new one was amazing. It was a pretty lofty endorsement so I bought a copy of "Clockwork Angels" at NEARfest.

Wow! Saying this is the best thing since "Moving Pictures" does not do the album justice. "Clockwork Angels" will most likely be given classic status along with the aforementioned masterpiece and "2112." I don't know where the bolt of lightning came from (perhaps the Colbert Report appearance?) but it hit the trio right in their collective rock and roll asses. When I say rock, I mean ROCK! The band hasn't smoked like this since? well possibly ever. Geddy isn't singing excessively high again but he does wail. Neil is? well, Neil. Unbelievably even he sounds better. It is Alex though that really stands out. The dude apparently remembered that he is a guitar monster and went balls out to prove it.

The intensity of the musicianship would be a wonderful treat on it's own but truly great albums are not made of just this. The songwriting is also superb. There are hooks and catchy melodies that never cross the line of trite cheese. The jams are long enough to enthrall without skirting the realm of tedium. The pieces are loosely held together with a theme and this is where some debate may come in. I think it works, others may disagree, and you know what? It doesn't matter. There is not a weak moment on this album. I can picture these debates taking place in living rooms while "Clockwork Angels" is blasting to the enjoyment of all the participants. Even if it is happening in an online forum I bet everyone will be typing to the rhythm "Caravan."

Seriously, this is an excellent album. I know I consistently laud classic artists who seem to miraculously produce a winner long after their supposed expiration date. Call me biased if you want but I was honestly not expecting a resurrection of my Rush fandom. The fact that it comes from beloved bashers of my youthful ears is just an added bonus. Good music is good music and great music needs to be heard. Hear this!

H.T. Riekels

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A personal journey.

Rush's potentially final album is a magnum opus that solidifies everything they have set to achieve in their almost 40 year career. It is musically fascinating, technically impressive (even for artists of Rush's caliber), emotional, story driven and still new territory for the band. The TL;DR of this article is that if you have ever enjoyed the music of Rush this album will not only whet your appetite for more but also satisfy your craving for an incredible musical experience. This album is worthy of 5 shining stars.

That is my review of the album. This is my experience of the album.

Clockwork Angels was released in 2012 and I had been an avid fan of the band since the release of Feedback. The longest that my tragically short amount of time spent on this beautiful planet would allow me. When Snakes & Arrows was released I waited outside of the record store in eager anticipation with my CD player which I had dusted off and put my iPod aside so that I could hear the album as soon as my abilities would allow me. I had given the album over 50 spins by the time we week was over. I loved it.

I fell in love with Rush when I heard them on the radio. To hear a group play music like Rush plays - heavy and intellectual, technical and experimental - with the masterful lyrics and storytelling abilities that came along with the ride, this youngster was hooked.

Time changes us all and in 2012 I missed the release of Clockwork Angels.

I had been a member of Progarchives since 2006, those who have longevity on this site will know that I joined the site as "King By-Tor". I felt that it was time that Prince By-Tor was forgiven of this quest to ruin our world after he had slain the Necromancer to mercifully set free the lost souls trapped in his labyrinth. After a number of reviews on the site I applied to become more active and the site's volunteer staff granted me promotion. Eventually I was writing reviews and articles, conducting interviews with prog artists and socializing on the forum. It became a major hobby for me while I was a student and in the early days of my career.

Life sped up and I tried to keep up with it. Eventually I became overwhelmed and started to wonder the point of what I was doing. I just wasn't happy. The life I had built, my career and everything I had written. I had become miserable while trying to keep up with the Smith's and build and bigger and bigger life for myself. I stopped being active on the site and my reputation became tarnished after several unnecessary arguments on the forum and zero contribution to the site. I had forgotten what brought me here. I had forgotten the Rush review that led me to the site and inspired me to write about the music I loved for the first time. I became ashamed of the very name I identified with. I became "SharkZ" on the site, feeling my own name was better than something taken from a song.

Back in real life the balls I was juggling were becoming too much and they were starting to fall. I descended into drug use while being egged on by the wrong crowd, hoping the feeling could make me happy and make everything better again. My work slipped, my relationships were shattered, I had forgotten everything that used to mean so much to me. Eventually clients stopped calling. They were fed up with my lack of results and respect. My friends stopped calling. They did not like the person I had become. I sat my luxurious apartment alone and fumed at the world for not knowing my greatness.

One day I came across the video for Headlong Flight on youtube. Listening to it I thought such trivial and overcritical things as, "oh, I guess Fly By Night wasn't enough, Rush has to start recycling. They're out of ideas." I decided I would buy the album. I couldn't wait to tear it apart. Maybe if people saw that I could give a Rush album a bad review they would finally see my greatness - obviously it was my love for something so trivial and bias holding me back. I bought it and sat down with it, ready to attack the band that had given me so much over the years.

My first listen of the album was indescribable. It was so close to my own story that in my drug addled haze I was actually convinced that Rush had written the album about me. With the final notes of The Garden I burst into tears.

And still, I wanted to dislike it.

I was convinced that there was something I didn't like about it. That it couldn't be MY story, they must have just found a formula so general that it would appeal to anyone. Besides, Rush never used an orchestra - maybe they just couldn't do enough with their instruments anymore and they had to lean on the skills of someone else to sound as good as they used to.

Friends excitedly asked me what I thought of the album. Maybe a new Rush album should show a shred of my humanity return to me.

I told them I had to think on it. I put the album aside for a year.

During that year my life as I knew it ended. I experienced a mental breakdown after finding that I could not look at myself in the mirror and tried to remember back to a time when things were more simple. I had to find something that was worth going on for. I dug into the darkest realms of my fears to find out what it was I had to conquer so that I wouldn't be so afraid of everything. Maybe if I wasn't so afraid of everything I wouldn't want to destroy it like I did.

I remembered the times I was truly afraid. I remembered when I had first moved in with my high-school sweet heart and the awkward confessions to her that I wanted to try on her clothing. I remember her support and when we first moved in together I remember living all our home lives with me dressed in her wardrobe. What was scary was it felt so right. But I couldn't imagine what other people would say if they saw me. Still, it wasn't just the clothes, it was more than that - but that was a good place to start.

When the longest night of my life had finally ended I stepped into the morning sunlight feeling like a new person. I had stepped out the door for the first time in my life as a woman. I felt so liberated that I never wanted to go back. I felt like I could take on anything and suddenly I felt like I wanted to - but this time I would take it on with love instead of scorn. With an open heart and respect instead of a close-minded ego.

"Going where I want / Instead of where I should." Caravan This heavy rocker sees someone setting off on an adventure. The chorus of "in a world where I feel so small/ I can't stop thinking big" rings in my heart. I have never been the type to be content and this is an anthem that I could sing at the top of my lungs every time I hear it.

I had never questioned what was dealt to me for a lot of reasons, but when I never did I became more and more angry. Not having spent a lot of time in the real world I felt I was alone in my sorrow and that there was nothing I could do. BU2B tugs at those places in my heart and its nearly metal approach can still make me bang my head to this day. It reminds me that I am not alone - that we are all together and we can face anything if we work together. This time, this world is all we have. "We are only human / It's not ours to understand"

We have all met people in our lives that we thought were perfect. I had always tried to get close to these people and learn their secrets. I was very often betrayed or hurt, and often thought it was my fault. "Clockwork Angels spread their arms and sing / synchronized and graceful they move like living things," - a firm reminder that some only appear to be what they are and are actually dangerous from the way they have designed their own mechanizations.

Early in my life I was betrayed for the first time. I moved with my family to an island when I was 6 years old and left my life behind. I only had a few friends that I kept close and the first one I had ever really related to was a girl that had joined our class after moving from another town. The idea of leaving my best friend behind was heartbreaking so I kept in touch over letter correspondence. We exchanged a few letters back and forth which I loved because I was having a very hard time making friends in my new school. One letter I had sent was never responded to. She had vanished from my life. "The lenses inside of me that paint the world black," goes The Anarchist, "The pools of poison, the scarlet mist / that spilled over into rage". I had always wondered what would have happened if I had not left. I could not accept that life goes on. "The things I've always been denied / an early promise that somehow died." I loved being friends with her - I never really got along with boys very well. When I had arrived at the new school I was quickly befriended by a girl who was not the most popular in the school and a group of boys had gotten together to force us to kiss, convinced we were boyfriend/girlfriend. "Why is it not allowed for me to just be friends with who I want to?"

I often replayed the events of my early life over and over again in my head during my drug using days. Trying to find a way to break free by thinking that I could change the past by living in it. It was only when I was behind my camera that I could enjoy the present and in 2012 I had joined forces with a group of performers. Circus performers, in fact. "Under the gaze of the angels / A spectacle like he's / never seen / Spinning lights and faces / Demon music and gypsy queens". I decided that this was what my existence was missing, this was the life I had been seeking. I started to shed anything that I had loved before. Hobbies, friends, family and music.

And that was when I met... her.

I wasn't sure if it was the drugs I had taken at the party but when I saw this woman I thought she was the angel that I had been looking for all my life. She would save me. She looked a lot like what I would look like if I had been born a girl. Maybe I never wanted to be a woman, maybe I just wanted her. "Sometimes the angels punish us / by answering our prayers". I hunted her down and it was only a week later that we were living together. She fit every aspect of my new life that I wanted so badly. The spectacles - oh how she could dance. The music - everything she introduced me to seemed so new. She became my gypsy queen, "a Goddess with wings on her heels"

"All my illusions reflected on her," and we lived our bizarre life. We didn't really get along but I wanted to change and she wanted to change me so we developed a teacher-student relationship. "What did I care? Fool that I was," I was enamored by her Halo Effect. She was so perfect and I was so horrid, I considered myself lucky that she loved me. "My friends were dismayed / to see me betrayed / but they knew they could never tell me," and my relationships strained until many of them broke. I considered them lost causes - surely her love meant more.

"A man can lose his past, in a country like this / Wandering aimless / Parched and nameless" - I had come to the city to become an artist and in my attempts I had settled with being a technician for other artists - most of whom I looked at as inferior. If only I had what they had I would show them how great I was. "And the nights grow longer, the farther I go" and it almost felt like my sun would never rise in the Seven Cities of Gold, I chased anything that I thought would take me there and give me that revelation. More drugs, more parties, anything. "A splendid mirage in this desolation".

I was truly lost. After dosing too hard one night I tried to fight the friend who, through everything, never left my side. In my state I was paranoid and starting projecting everything that I knew about myself deep down but didn't want to admit onto him. I accused him of being a closet homosexual and a cross dresser. I told him he betrayed me and now we had to fight about it. I was trying to destroy myself. A skilled martial-artist, my friend knew when and when not to fight. That night he chose to leave my side, but he never once swung at me - and that hurt more than his punches ever would have. "All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary / everything in life you thought you knew". Even for one so lost such an unprovoked attack on another and having my best friends finally give up on me I decided that the time for change was now. I decided to become The Wrecker and tear down this false life I had tried to build that had destroyed the person that I really was inside.

I looked deep into my own eyes in the mirror and faced the longest night of my life. For the first time ever I looked inside for an answer and faced my fear. When I finally stepped outside the next day was when my Headlong Flight began. I finally felt like I was okay - that I wasn't being someone I wasn't, that I could just be me and I would make sense to people, that I could be friends with whoever I wanted and no one would have the right to judge my decision. My life had officially restarted. From there my experiences became positive. "All the journeys of this great adventure / It didn't always feel that way / I wouldn't trade them because I made them / The best I could, and that's enough to say." Eventually the dark days became easier to accept with all the love I was able to give and gather, "All the treasures, the gold & glory / It didn't always feel that way / I don't regret it - I'll never forget it". They were simply the experiences that made me the happy person that I had become.

Challenges became easier to face. I thanked myself for making the revelations when I did because even though I had changed my mindset and started my happy life that also meant I had to face the consequences of everything I had given up in reckless abandon. "Life goes from bad to worse / I still choose to live / Find a measure of love and laughter / And another measure to give." I thanked everyone in my life that had gotten me through the hard times. "Though the balance tilts against me / I was Brought Up 2 Believe" (2).

"Spirits turned bitter by the poison of envy / Always angry and dissatisfied". A lot of people in my life turned on me when I finally came out with who I really was. People left my life and I would like to think it was for the better if they could not handle someone being true to themselves. Others came to fill their place and left a bigger and better mark in my journey than the ones that left ever could. Others still came to try to take advantage of the newly happy an naive person they saw in front of them. "Thank your stars you're not that way / Turn your back and walk away," it became easier and easier to spot the bad ones from the crowd as I learned from the mistakes I made for the first time in my life. For the first time I didn't want to beat myself up for my mistakes, I wanted to feel the pain they brought and make sure that I found a way to not feel that pain again. It became easier to see others that could not love me the way I could love them, they were in the same cycle I was in before - for various reasons. I learned that sometimes it's not worth the drama to bring people into my life. Sometimes, "all that you can do is Wish Them Well".

There was a time that I respected none and wondered why none respected me. Sure, some feared me and for a time that was enough. Eventually the lack of love around me became too much to bare. I could not even so much as bring myself to do the things I loved. I felt I did not deserve them. But I fought my own fears and I pressed on. The Garden of my life has finally started to blossom and though even to this day there is a lot of weeding and upkeep to do I can be proud to look on the flowers of the friendships and love I have nurtured along the way. Like a fragile and beautiful flower the friendship between two people needs to be cared for and looked after or else it will wither and die. The blossoms of passion need to be watered and looked after regularly or they will be there for you no more. These are the things I have taught myself when I have remembered that "the measure of a life is a measure of love and respect". It would be fabulous if I died a rich old woman but who would be there to share my treasures in my last days? I have found I would rather have a life rich with meaningful relationships and plentiful passions.

Not long ago I returned to the site that once fueled me with joy and inspiration. I didn't know why I did, I only knew I had to. Upon my return I dropped my "SharkZ" alter-ego, hoping to distance myself from the forum nuisance I had become. Like a traveler realizing that they had found what they were looking for no further than home I have realized that I was on the right path before it was a path of destruction. It has been neglected and there are a lot of brambles to cut down before it is a path again, to carry on the foliage metaphor, but the reignited flame of my heart can not be extinguished this time. Not when I have put so much effort into lighting it again - because I won't let it. I have found so much to love that it seems an easy task to not let myself become unhappy. With that out of the way I can focus on the actual challenges life presents - now that I have learned to conquer my greatest enemy: my own ego.

If I could I would thank Rush for their entire body of work and for every note of music they have ever played. I would tell them how much their music has meant to me over the years and how just the fact that it was there - a catalog of wisdom seemingly carved into the timeless rock of eternity - has pushed me to go on in some of my harder times. Like a friend that has seen every hardship I have encountered and stayed without passing a judgement, their music has been essential to this woman's survival and it will always play a large role in my life. I love Clockwork Angels and the above are my reasons. It may be an nontraditional reason to give an album a 5-star rating on this site - but as you can see, I have hardly had a traditional journey.

Thanks for reading! If you still are. This essay has been almost as healing to write as it was to listen to Clockwork Angels again for the first time through the non-judgmental ears of my happy self. I may never be able to thank Dirk, Lerxt and Pratt for their therapy through musical mastery but I can write give 5 glowing stars to their material.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars As the clock strikes 21:12 what does it mean? Is it time for the world to transform into a paradise? Nope. Does the end of the Mayan calendar mean death and destruction to all? Didn't work out that way either. I guess we'll have to settle for the best RUSH album in a very long time. There were signs of the band finally hitting their stride on their long quest of reinventing themselves with a form of alternative rock on the last album, but on this album that comes into a satisfying realization. From the very first track you can tell that this album is different. It takes the alternative sounds that the band had been developing for the last 20 years or so and finally finds a perfect balance between a few familiar sounds from the past but mostly from a new approach to songwriting. On this album there is also a string section which although it's a nice addition is in no way critical to the overall sound.

Make no mistakes, this isn't RUSH trying to capture their past. This is a new RUSH. One that took a little too long to emerge, but emerge they have and hopefully here to stay. I for one am tired of the one step ahead and two back approach that dominated the 90s and 00s. From the exquisitely written track 'Caravan' to the very final track 'The Garden' this is an album that not only kept my attention upon first listen but holds up to the scrutiny of repeated ones as well. Although this is a very welcome comeback I like to keep it in perspective that this still falls short of the true masterpieces in their discography. But a very good album is a welcome sign for a band that was seeming more and more ready to be put to pasture. Should I get my hopes up for another decent follow-up? Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars This album has so many reviews already (as do most Rush albums), but a long-time fan has to have his say and add to the accolades that have already been made by the many reviews already written. All three of the regular members of the band are still present and still in top form. The production is excellent, the music great, and the songs are still new and original, not rehashed and there are no attempts to copy past successes by regurgitating old material. Everything is in place for an excellent album. Does it work? The answer is a big yes! One of the most influential bands are still doing what they do best in the best way possible. If you are looking for a full-fledged return to pre-Moving Picture albums, you won't find it here. But you get one of the best albums since then. It's better than "Fly By Night" and "Roll the Bones" by a long shot. It's on par with "Hemispheres" and "Presto" (yes I'm a "Presto" fan and not a "Fly By Night" fan), but not quite as good as "A Farewell to Kings" or "2112" or "Moving Pictures", so I'm stuck on giving it an almost essential rating of 4.5 stars. But since that is impossible to do here, and since I tend to lean towards masterpiece status on this album, I will round that up to 5 stars. Overall a great album. A lot of great highlights throughout the album and even a few excellent slower songs. Some great strings intermixed in a few tracks, heavy reliance on bass which is never a bad thing, a lot less irritating keyboards and what is there is quite tasteful and up to date, and very guitar driven here. I'm still missing those epic guitar solos of yesteryear, but this is still amazing and up there with some of their best, and there are still a lot more instrumental breaks than there tended to be on some of the 80s albums. Geddy's vocals are a little more shaky at times and in a lower register, but he still shines and they grow on you, but they always did have to grow on you, didn't they? Anyway, other reviewers have already told you the highlights of the album. It is consistently good throughout in my opinion. Everyone will always have their favorites anyway. So if you are still hesitating even now that most of the hoopla over a new album is over, then it's time for you to take the plunge. Statistics show that you will love this one!
Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Rush is my favorite band. They will probably always be my favorite band. Every one of their albums is great for different reasons, even the ones I've given low stars to on ProgArchives. I'm a Rush fanboy. That being said, Clockwork Angels is a great heavy prog album that will crush you with monstrous compositions and impeccable playing - but you may walk away from this album remembering only that it was big and loud.

From a songwriting perspective, Clockwork Angels is an interesting entry for the group. Claiming that this is a "prog" Rush album seems a silly debate to me, because Rush has never sat comfortably within a genre; they change a little bit with every album. While the feel of Clockwork Angels is big and heavy and sweeping, it's not epic prog music to sit side-by-side with Hemispheres. There are loose connections to the steam-punk story (which I'm not a fan of) throughout, but it's clutching at straws to say that this is a concept album. Clockwork Angels is a collection of songs that are a bit more grandiose than the band's recent offerings. Overall they're good, a few are great, but none are amazing. None of them struck me like the achingly poignant songs on Vapor Trails, or the beautifully cynical and secular songs from Snakes and Arrows. There are few songs here that would make it to my list of essential Rush songs.

As a whole the band's playing is ultra-tight, creating a huge sound that is more aggressive and bottom heavy than any of their previous albums. Geddy's bass is very strong and takes the forefront for most of the dramatic moments. He kicks out some monstrous chugga-chugga riffs which demand attention. Alex's guitar is mostly there for texture; there are disappointingly few guitar solos and those there are do not demonstrate his virtuosity. In fact, I'd say that much of his playing comes across as sounding atmospheric. This is a shame, because it makes me feel like the band is missing one of its key voices; this could be an understudy standing in for him. Peart's drumming is characteristically excellent; in fact, it feels exceptionally energized and intense throughout the album.

So Clockwork Angels hit me as a mixed offering from my favorite band. I loved how savage Geddy's bass playing is, and the instrumental highlights throughout. Everything on this album is good; there really isn't much to complain about, but then again, there isn't much for me to rave about, either. Clockwork Angels is a unique album in the Rush library, and a worthy purchase for anyone that's a fan of the band, especially if you enjoyed Vapor Trails or Counterparts, which is a close approximation of this album's sound. Is it a return to their proggish roots? No. Is it a powerful collection of songs akin to their core '80's releases? No. It's not quite either of those things, and it's not quite as good either.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by Necrotica
5 stars Very few bands have ever had what you could call a "second heyday." A popular groups hits a peak, and then either calls it quits or embarks on a downward spiral. But it seems as though Rush have subverted the trend of spiraling downward just by sheer virtue of making consistently good music throughout their entire career. No matter what changes they bring upon their established style (usually following or setting certain trends with each decade of their work), their music is unmistakably Rush and always guaranteed to have some level of excellence with each album. Of course, most people consider the trio's heyday to be their mid 70s-early 80s work. But, starting with Vapor Trails, it seemed as though a new Rush Renaissance had arrived as each successive album had been getting better and better. So now we approach 2012's Clockwork Angels... and if Hemispheres was the crown jewel of their first string of masterpieces, then this is the crown jewel of the bold new string of 21st century successes.

Clockwork Angels is not only technically impressive, stellar in its songwriting, or vocally sound. No, the reason this album is so good is because of the passion and effort clearly thrown into it. Rush sound more fired up and inspired than they have in years and it's hard not to get sucked into the energy these guys pour into the experience, an impressive feat given their ages. Just like the last two albums, Clockwork Angels kicks things off fittingly with a hard-hitting rock/metal number known as "Caravan." However, "BU2B" is where things really get kicked up a notch; the main riff is just brutal in its distortion and heaviness, the dynamics are varied between the verses and the choruses, and the whole thing just flows so smoothly. But that can be said of the entire album; the lack of significant filler here is just mindblowing as each and every song serves a distinct purpose. Some of my personal favorites here are the more ornate and layered tracks such as the title track and "Carnies." The former is especially outstanding, kicking off with an a cappella melody akin to the theme song of Halo before launching into a beautiful blend of Alex Lifeson's bright guitar chords and a driving rhythm section courtesy of Geddy Lee and Neil Peart. Also, some of Lifeson's best soloing occurs on this track; that's always a bonus.

But the presentation also matters a great deal here, as Rush meet these great songs in with some intriguing concepts by Peart. This is what he had to say regarding the album's story:

"In a young man's quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy, with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life."

It seems like a hell of a lot to cram into one record, but Rush pull it off with ease. Longer songs like the title track and "Headlong Flight" really make good use of their lengths to weave a ton of sections into the mix in a flowing manner, so each concept is free to transition into the next with little effort. The latter song even contains a nod to the band's 70s hit "Bastille Day" in its main riff! But where this album really shines is in its sentimental and quiet moments. There's more emotion and subtlety in this record than most of Rush's output (and regarding the former, that's definitely saying something), with many of the best songs being of the more melodic or subdued variety. In fact, "The Garden" may very well be one of the best closing numbers of all time. There's always both a sense of both finality and reflection in the piece, coupled with Lifeson's exquisite acoustic guitar work and some of the most dynamic and yet restrained (in the verses anyway) vocals Geddy Lee has ever performed. "Halo Effect" is also fantastic, although it mixes a similar quietness with a much higher level of intensity during each chorus; Lifeson's guitar playing definitely offers a lot of variety throughout.

I may appear to be gushing a bit too much, but Clockwork Angels really is that good. It perfects the sounds that its more immediate predecessors created while sounding so damn fresh on its own as well. There's no bad song on the record, and you'll often finish the experience feeling both satisfied and emotionally fulfilled. A lot of people got a bit irked by the album's sound production because of the compression and loudness war nonsense (something that also plagued Vapor Trails) but I feel as though the mix is quite stronger this time around. It may be a bit loud and somewhat muddy, but the blending of instruments is still consistently clear and the loudness tends to add to the intensity of the heavier songs. In any case, Clockwork Angels is truly one of Rush's great masterpieces. It's beautiful, it's heavy, it's emotional, it's layered, it's technical, it's Rush in top form.

Latest members reviews

2 stars My God, this is about as dull, boring, and unimaginative as an album could possibly be. Is this the same group who put out the mighty 2112 and Farewell to Kings? July 2023 = I just get tired of so many mediocre compositions.....should I burn them and piss on them, or just come here to PA and ... (read more)

Report this review (#2941992) | Posted by gbjones | Monday, July 24, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It would take Rush five more years to release their next (and final) studio album, Clockwork Angels. (The single "Caravan" b/w "BU2B" was released in 2010, though.) Clockwork Angels sees the band returning to a consistently heavy sound, as well as featuring some of their most complex and progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#2904251) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Monday, April 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Review #92 "Clockwork Angels" was the last studio album of RUSH, it was released in 2012 and it got both good and bad qualifications from the fans and the media. Back in those days, I was obsessed with the seventies records of Prog, so when I heard this album on Grooveshark it was not at all an a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2596221) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Thursday, September 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The final Rush album is very impressive, considering the age of the performers and their work leading up to this. I wouldn't call this a prog masterpiece but it's a great album with several interesting sections and a neat concept. The first two tracks premiered a couple years prior to promot ... (read more)

Report this review (#1873209) | Posted by Corcoranw687 | Wednesday, February 7, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Unbelievable. At 60 years old (more or less), these guys not only put out an album that doesn't suck (which precious few 60-year-olds can boast), but actually stands up to the best of their classic material (which precious few Rush albums after Moving Pictures can boast). I got Clockwork Angels wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#1226665) | Posted by Stalvern | Thursday, July 31, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars ...THE HOURS TICK AWAY, THE CELLS TICK AWAY... CLOCKWORK ANGELS. Where do I begin? I love this album! Now I'm not the absolute greatest Rush fan, though I really like a lot of their music and appreciate Neil Peart's lyrics. Their musicianship has always been top-not ... (read more)

Report this review (#1026809) | Posted by HarmonyDissonan | Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I was thrilled when I had discovered that Rush had released this new album, as I had just fell in love with their music a couple of months earlier, and even more thrilled at the quality of music that these 3 men could still produce! I've never really found an album released by a band so long after t ... (read more)

Report this review (#984570) | Posted by Xonty | Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When I first heard this album I didn't like it all that much however on subsequent listens it has grown on me somewhat. The music is very interesting Heavy Prog music - it isn't an album that I adore by any means but it holds my interest. I love "The Wreckers" and "The Garden". I really like"B ... (read more)

Report this review (#940467) | Posted by sukmytoe | Sunday, April 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In Rush's rockumentary, 'Beyond the lighted stage', Jack Black uses a colorful metaphor to describe any band's artistic longevity - the rocket-sauce bottle. He starts out by saying that some bands use it all up in one song but by contrast, from the outset of their recording and performing car ... (read more)

Report this review (#894738) | Posted by subassonic | Thursday, January 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I could go on and on about Rush, since they have always been and always will be my favorite band, but I won't drone on and bore everyone. Plus everyone knows Rush anyway. To me this is the Rush I have been waiting quite some time for. For me, easily their best album since Hold Your Fire.....I could ... (read more)

Report this review (#840945) | Posted by Puppies On Acid | Saturday, October 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Rush have been around for over four decades now and are still out there to fascinate several generations of progressive rock fans with new world tours and charismatic outputs. Many other heroes have gone a long time ago like Genesis or Pink Floyd, others have gone through weirdest changes and liv ... (read more)

Report this review (#808960) | Posted by kluseba | Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars On paper, Clockwork Angels could be one of the strongest entries of the Rush cannon. For one, it is a concept album, the first the band in quite some time. I am sure I am among plentiful company when I admit that I was overtaken by thoughts of 2112 and other giants of the back catalogue. Rush also ... (read more)

Report this review (#803726) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Monday, August 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is part of the review I have written. I have an individual review for each song on the album. I also have a series of reviews for Clockwork Angels: The Novel for which I received an advance reading copy. Please visit for more Rush reviews. RUSH ' CLOCKWORK ANGELS (2012) ... (read more)

Report this review (#800284) | Posted by The Lofty Oaks | Saturday, August 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rush...that is all I have to say. Now after their last album, which in my opinion was their best album since the early 80's, I really was excited to hear what Rush were gonna do next. It's been a bit of a wait...but at least the band kept us entertained with tours, DVDs and such. So...after ... (read more)

Report this review (#796457) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Sunday, July 29, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Can`t really understand the high ratings for this album. If someone showed me its songs without telling me what was the business, I would say, without hesitate, that they were from any of the 7 last Rush albums. When I first met Rush, the album Signals was beeing released and, since then, I've pu ... (read more)

Report this review (#795684) | Posted by alextrev | Friday, July 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rush's Clockwork Angels: A Measure of a Life Finally, after over a year since RUSH released their first singles "Caravan" & "BU2B" from their currently released album Clockwork Angels, we are privileged to be listening to the entire work and it was well worth the wait. In May, the anticipatio ... (read more)

Report this review (#794829) | Posted by Losingit2k | Wednesday, July 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is downright amazing that a band this old and with this many albums with the same three guys (this is the 18th studio album of original material with Lee/Lifeson/Peart) can still write and play music this good. Songs like Clockwork Angels, The Anarchist, Seven Cities of Gold, Headlong Flig ... (read more)

Report this review (#794437) | Posted by Biff Tannen | Wednesday, July 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A vinyl treat..!! Well, here are my (now revised) top ten Rush albums... 1)Hemispheres 2) A farewell to Kings 3) 2112 4) Permanent Waves 5) Caress of Steel 6) Clockwork Angels 7) Moving Pictures 8) Fly by Night 9) Signals 10) Rush OK, you can see I'm old school. My favourite Rush is ... (read more)

Report this review (#793864) | Posted by Stefano di Sondrio | Monday, July 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As a long-term admirer of Rush, I feel that this is their best work since the 1980s. Whilst, there are no substantial musical developments on their most recent album, the band sound committed to making a well rounded collection of songs.Their playing is immaculate as you would expect of a ban ... (read more)

Report this review (#793202) | Posted by Exposure | Monday, July 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well it is finally here! After waiting for more than four years for this album (I didn't get into Rush until after Snakes and Arrows came out) to be released, I finally got to hear this new Rush album, and I was absolutely floored by it. Being a drummer, I am a huge fan of Neil Peart, and boy, oh ... (read more)

Report this review (#786360) | Posted by P Brox | Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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