The Canadian Progressive Rock legends are back with their 20th studio album titled Clockwork Angels. This album has been in work for quite some time as recording began in 2010. However, constant touring commitments kept the work on the album delayed. Rush has once again managed to recreate sounds from their 1970’s masterpieces as they did with their previous highly acclaimed release Snakes & Arrows. There is even a reference to the 2112 album on this album's cover art; note the displayed time of the clock (9:12 or 21:12).
Rush has always possessed the unique gift of being able to develop and cultivate their sound over the years. For a trio to have this kind of chemistry for nearly forty years is truly an art within itself. Most can agree that latter day Rush is just as powerful and fiery as their early recordings and their talent is unprecedented. Clockwork Angels is a fearless trip of musical diversity. Each track has something a little different to offer the listener and each is filled with tons of passion and electricity.
Geddy Lee’s vocals are rich and spiritual throughout the entire album. The inspiring and stimulating effects he portrays are unparalleled. Many of his contemporaries that have been actively performing since the 70’s have a rough hewn and haggard vocal performance. However Lee has managed to keep his pristine voice intact through the use of a strict diet and care to maintain his vocal demands. Obviously this has paid off with benefits; one listen to the track “BU2B (Brought Up To Believe)” and the lushness of his talent shines through in droves.
Tunefully, each track on Clockwork Angels contains a different type of musical style and theme. Some tracks like “The Anarchist” and “Headlong Flight” contain very prominent effects of previous Rush recordings. While other tracks like “The Wreckers” and “The Garden” could be mistaken as traditional Indie Rock songs by some random band. It’s clear to say the album does not have a straight forward conventional Rush sound, and by not maintaining a clear theme throughout the album there is a sense of being lost trying to follow the various musical directions.
One thing that is consistent throughout the entire album is a significant decrease in musical indulgence; the musicianship is downplayed considerably. Not that Rush has anything to prove in that department, but many fans have come to expect the band to “school” other Prog Rock contemporaries with their enormous talent. The subdued premise seems to lead the compositions as “ordinary” and simply not up to par.
Although certainly not their strongest effort, Clockwork Angels does manage to provide a few glimmers of light which can be added to their arsenal of classic songs. However, the album falls relatively flat overall and does not live up to expectations. Rush has fallen into the trap of the greater longevity of a band, so goes the critical rate of their performances. Rush will continue to march on and captivate their audience for many years, as they are still one of the best in the business, and always will be.
Official Rush Website