Thursday, 19 July 2012

Review: Rush - Clockwork Angels

 Is there anything I could possibly say that hasn't already been added to the never-ending amounts of praise given towards Rush? They're the world's biggest cult band. It's music made by a trio of musical experts for musical experts. The only people I've heard speak about them are those who I truly consider qualified rock music fanatics. And of course, there hasn't been any prog rock or metal band that hasn't cited them as an influence. And of course, with the band's ability to be truly progressive across their near 40 year musical career, their nineteenth release Clockwork Angels reveals a further expansion on their musical journey while keeping in touch with what has established them as such a classic band.

 Straight from the tolling bell, an often unsettling sign in music, that opens Caravan listeners are launched straight into a journey of excitement through orchestrations of calmly toned chaos and swinging riffs that immediately re-affirms previous fans and those that know a little less about the band than others, like myself, that Alex Lifeson is a guitar god. The intense pulse that jolts across the storming title track and Headlong Flight gives the an extra layer of heart-racing adrenaline and delirium that makes the journey extra wondrous. And of course, it serves as another reason as to why you can only agree whenever someone says that Neil Peart is the greatest drummer in the world.

 Indeed, Rush's ability to never downplay their ability to stay relevant and never re-hash old material remains apparent across the freshness of Clockwork Angels along with being able to uphold the spirit of older classics. Halo Effect transcends into the kind of stomping rhythms that have made Hemispheres and Moving Pictures such undisputed classics, while the crunching riffage and rumbling basslines and smooth-and-simultaneously jarring vocal calls of Geddy Lee on  BU2B has a reminiscence to their more modern contemporaries in Mastodon or Isis.

 Needless to say, with the general prog fanbase not exactly being the youngest and trendiest of audiences, there's always going to be a demand for undisputed classics and Clockwork Angels is no 2112 or Hemispheres but at the same time, it serves as a tremendous display of Lifeson, Lee and Peart doing what they do best and demonstrating their musical virtuosity, especially with the album being an improvement upon 2007's Snakes & Arrows and a greater attempt to really absorb listeners within a warmer production that really invites listeners to the class of Seven Cities of Gold and the melancholic grandeur that closes the album on The Garden.

 So, with much wonder and beauty on offer across, Clockwork Angels makes itself not a classic Rush album but an undeniably solid release that proves that the Canadian trio are still capable of launching listeners into a world of total wonder and immersion that leaves a lasting impact that proves not only how talented Rush are at creating layered otherworldly soundscapes but have the musical ability to just rock the fuck out! It's rare that a band reaches their nineteenth album these days and you never know how many more albums they have in them, but if that does happen, they can certainly go out on a high note.

 Rush's Clockwork Angels is out now via Roadrunner. The band will tour the UK in May 2013.

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