Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Album Review: Clockwork Angels
Rush has always been a favorite band of mine. I first heard their music in a small college dormitory in Grinnell, Iowa when I was there on a religious retreat some 20 odd years ago. The song was Rivendell from the Fly by Night album. I loved it but never knew the name of the band. Flash forward some six years and I came across the song again when picking up the Fly by Night album as one of my first CDs in high school. Soon I owned the double CD collection Chronicles containing their "greatest hits" and off I went to buy up as many of their CDs as possible. I still don't have their entire collection but I do add to it from time to time and always buy their new albums. Their work is some of which I return to over and over again, never growing tired of it.
Clockwork Angels is a worthy Rush album in nearly all aspects. Their first true concept album since 2112 some 30 years ago (and even that had other songs on it besides the 2112 piece), Clockwork Angels can be viewed as a single work narratively as each song is interconnected via characters and events or it can be viewed as separate parts of a greater whole. Certainly with a book based upon Neil Peart's lyrics coming out on September third, they'd like you to view it as a whole.
The journey from beginning to end of the album is very enjoyable--outside of the very immature and almost laughable track "Wish Them Well". Otherwise there are sections here that as "heavy" and as anthemic as Rush has ever done. Peart's drums are of course at the forefront of nearly every track as they deserve to be and Lee's bass isn't far behind. Lifeson's "lead" guitar work as always is overshadowed by the other talents in the band but he is allowed to riff away without wandering off into endless noodling. "Caravan", "Clockwork Angels", "Seven Cities of Gold" and "The Garden" are likely the best tracks on the album (#s 1, 3, 7 and 12) but really Clockwork Angels should be listened to in its entirety and many multiple of times....just skip track #11 as I do and you'll enjoy it greatly without missing anything from the narrative that strings the work together.