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Rush - Clockwork Angels CD (album) cover

CLOCKWORK ANGELS

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

3.95 | 1016 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
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

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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