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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, vital and captivating
Hard to believe how fresh these guys are able to sound 38 years after their first album.
I had not great expectations about this one. Based on the two previous studio albums, I just awaited another "Rush by numbers" work. I mean: powerful, hard hitting and masterfully executed, but not especially inspired.. I liked Snakes and Arrows a bit more than Vapor Trails, but...
Published on 21 Jun. 2012 by Adrian Gonbar

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars not sure.....
a bit full in the face for me, not the variation of their old stuff but will keep trying
Published 12 days ago by Martin V. Ford


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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rush At Their Best!, 25 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
Clockwork Angels is no doubt the most significant Rush record that they have produced in the last 30 years!

A concept album which Rush 'the Holy Trinity of Canada' know how to do extremely well and brings into play all of the amazing talent these 3 incredible musicians have to offer.

I only wish I got into this album before I saw them at the O2 recently. Every track is has it's own uniqueness about it, not a single filler track anywhere and I have not stopped playing this since the gig, it grows on you!

I discovered Rush back in 1979 and Hemispheres did it for me, this album is as good if not better.

If you are a rush fan, you must buy this and if you are like me, not too keen on their 80's stuff and recently Vapour Trails which I thought was totally uninspiring, this is a breath of fresh air!
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rush - Clockwork Angels, 21 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
It's been 38 years since Rush came on the scene with their first self titled album. They were accused at the time of being Led Zeppelin clones and to be honest I remember first hearing them on The Old Grey Whistle Test and thinking exactly that.

Oh how quickly that all changed though. Rush shifted through the gears despite the protests of their record company going through a simple rock sound to the much more progressive albums albums such as Hemispheres. It did not stop there with the style changes though and both Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures added more synthesisers and a more commercially accessible form of progressive rock to the Rush style stable. Now the Led Zep clones had transformed into progressive rock leaders and then had actually managed to gain radio play time with the more synthesiser driven sound coupled with the retention of hard rock style.

`Signals' heralded Geddy Lee and his synthesisers and sequencing becoming a more palpable force in the Rush sound with Lifeson's guitars seemingly taking the back burner. It should be noted however that this was partly due to the bigger synthesisation Lifeson's guitar sound itself.

`Presto' heralded the start of a return to a more guitar based sound and also a movement away from the progressive rock genre, culminating eventually with the release of Vapor Trails on which you will not find a single synthesiser or guitar solo.

On their previous release `Snakes And Arrows` we find Rush at the edge of hard progressive rock and we were left wondering what direction would they take on their next offering?

Well Clockwork Angels has arrived and our questions answered!!

Well which Rush do we get this time? Let's have a look!

The album consists of 12 tracks which have a combined length of 1 hour 6 minutes.

If you're a lover of subtle album artwork then look at the time displayed on the album cover. The time is displayed at 9:12 on the clock face which if you then read as a 24 hour clock equates to 21:12 a reference to Rush's classic album of 1976.

So what about the music?

`Caravan' is the opener with a moody synth opening leading into a heavy riff and a tempo that just pulses along before leaning into the synthy chorus. Caravan very quickly gives up the game as to which direction Rush have taken on this release. The good news for Rush fans and all is that they have taken all their previous styles and combined them into one album. Everything is here and nowhere is this more evident than on this opening track. Heavy guitar, bursts of synth, growling bass from Lee and yes a guitar solo from Lifeson. Neil Peart's drumming is superb and varied and never robotical. Excellent opener.

`BU2B' is up next and opens with a jangling Lifeson guitar sound and Lee warbling in the background before thumping into metal territory with an in your face riff and the very recognisable Lee vocals and phrasing. This is a much more guitar driven track but still has the wall of sound to it and once more is filled with variation and tempo changes. It strikes you very early on that the guys have given this album particular care and attention. It's a good start ladies and gentlemen!!

`Clockwork Angels' the title track of the album and possibly the track which combines the biggest variety of time changes and elements. Lifeson drives this with more chord than riff orientated guitar and also the open stringed guitar harmonies so associated with Rush. Time changes are sprung upon you quickly and without warning almost immediately. Lee's vocals are supplemented with is own harmonies and also fade in / fade out harmonies. The guitar solo is almost secondary to Lee's wonderful grumbling bass. Whilst the title track is without doubt an attempt at a more epic proglike track it never changes theme too much and keeps in touch with the chorus at all times. It's a good track but not one of the best off the album for me whereas the following is undoubtably super.

`The Anarchist' just opens up fast and positively jogs along with Rush sounding like the tremendously talented 3 piece that they are. Chord driven guitar once more with great drumming from Peart, but it is the imperious bass work once more from Lee that lifts this to another level. The chorus I just love, maybe because it takes me back to the better moments from Vapor Trails. Anarchist just never lets up though even when the bass roll bridge drumming of Peart has Lee's vocal dancing around it before exploding back into the verse. Keyboards fill like strings at splendid moments particularly towards the end of the track. Lifeson's arabic guitar solo comes in before we glide back to verse and the hairs on the back of the neck finale. Great track and brilliant drumming, guitar and keyboard fill but...Oh my god!! That Bass!!! Superb!

`Carnies' follows and you can't help but wonder whether this is gonna be `After the Lord Mayor's Show'. After all, how do you follow The Anarchist? Well the answer it seems is to follow it with a song that has a heavier riffing and lick to it and ultimately showcases the guitar work of Lifeson and the drumming of Peart rather than the song itself. So, particularly because of the clever style change injected near the end before a return to heavier guitar work, the answer is that it's not a case of `After the Lord Mayor's Show' but more of a case of `And Now For Something Completely Different'. Great way to follow a killer track.

`Halo Effect' is the sixth track on the album and has the almost obligatory clean guitar opening with a slower tempo. So is this the ballad bit you ask? Well kind of but let me say right now there is an absolutely delightful guitar break in the middle of this track and the keyboard fills are superb. So yeah it's a little slower and a bit of a ballad and a much shorter track but super nevertheless.

`Seven Cities Of Gold' has a Rage Against The Machine style riff that leads into a more obvious Rush style chorus interspersed with a 3 chord lead in between the main riff and lick. 4 minutes in and the track breaks down into intermittent drums with a steady foot on the bass pedal and guitar full of reverb and echo like a flock of seagulls. I just know that some people are going to love this track more than others because of the styling, but for me it is one of the weaker more obvious tracks on the album.

`The Wreckers' is the track which shows the softer side of Rush with a much lighter bit of guitar work from Lifeson accompanied by slightly restrained bass and drums. Also add to this the vocal which is clearly held back from any shouts or screams by Lee and what we have here is the the closest thing you are going to get to the ballad track. Complete with middle eight and string style keyboard fills building and grandiose chorus this is another hairs on the back on the neck track. Superb!!

`Headlong Flight' must be the most heard of track off the album as it was sprawled across Youtube from the very start. Here we have the Bastille Day style riff we have all been yearning for and the pumped up bridge that breaks back down then throws us all hurtling forward at breakneck speed again. No wonder they called it Headlong Flight. But this is Rush and it wouldn't be Rush without slowing the tempo right down before bursting out of the blocks again. Guys just listen to the grumbling bass and drums here! Artists at the top of their game on this track, belting out unrelenting fury for the masses, how well could you mosh or headbang to this one at Download. What I really love about Rush is that even in the studio they never lose sight of the fact that they are a 3 piece and are more than willing to break it down to it's bare components before filling out the sound again. Utterly brilliant track!!

`BU2B2′ is the eigth track and consists of 1:30 mins of Geddy Lee and strings and that's it. The perfect little break before.......

`Wish Them Well' which is undoubtably the sing along anthem from the album. It starts off with the chorus and goes along at medium pace before breaking into the verses and various harmonies which ultimately just wanna build back up to the singalong chorus. Having said all that it's the unrelenting intensity that drives this track along just the same as the rest of the album. Variation hits at 3 minutes in with a chnage in tempo and a middle eight which is singalong in itself before.... you've guessed it....get your lighters out and annoy the bloke next to you with your very unrushlike vocal to the chorus. Splendid stuff.

`The Garden' brings us to the end of the album and opens in true acoustic guitar style with Lee singing clearly to this most appealing of finales. This has obviously been written as the last track for the album and like the last piece of music on a film you love it brings proceedings to the end you have dearly hoped for. Adding drum and bass at the second verse this builds and builds with the light string fills adding to a much cleaner sound than the rest of the album.Four minutes in and the vocal is accompanied by light keyboards before breaking into a guitar solo then building to a crescendo of sound completely achieving the sense of finale.

In summary then we could all put our feet up in life and live gently without rocking any boats or putting any real effort into our work. Thank god Rush are the opposite of this!. What they have achieved here is nothing short of classis. Despite the years under the belt and the different styles and sounds attained they have still managed to write and perform an album of variation and marvellous musicianship with some fantastic songs to boot. When I first heard of Clockwork Angels looming on the horizon I thought that this could be a case of one album too many as in all honesty I certainly was not a fan of Snakes And Arrows. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let's lay it on the line here. If you are a Rush fan then you have to own this album. If you are not a Rush fan then you have to won this album. Quite simply one of the best albums of recent years and destined to be a classic. Buy It Now!!!Clockwork Angels
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rush - well oiled and running like..., 13 July 2012
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This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
Not many bands manage to exist as long as Rush and, not only that, get better (on average) each year! A remarkable achievement and a truly great album. Hard as Vapour Trails with the fiddly bits of Snakes and Arrows. You'll hear run-away Working Man instrumentals, Anthem stop start stuff and a few other throw backs! If you're a Rush fan you'll get it, if you're not a Rush fan and not getting it then you're not getting it. Simples.
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22 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed by one of my favorite bands.......again!, 11 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
First, the positives.....'Caravan' is an excellent track and this follows the usual pattern of the opening track of a Rush album setting the standard for all other tracks to live up to. Naturally the musicianship is unquestionably immaculate and what I'd expect from such musical geniuses. The overall production sounds great for a rock album and it's good to hear it has not been excessively brick-wall limited. There are short moments of classic Rush motifs that never fail to please and I'm hoping to discover some more hidden gems on repeated listening. However, I fear the hype preceding this album, namely of being a concept album with extended themes, led me into a false sense eager anticipation. Themes are only worth extending if the originals are good in the first place.

I can only express a personal view and I appreciate others will feel differently but for me, since the release of Vapor Trails Neil Peart has lost his sense of exquisite poetry, writing lyrics in a more direct manner that could influence and limit the ability to phrase good melodies. I also find that from Vapor Trails (2002) onwards, with a few exceptions, Geddy Lee's vocal melodies are bland and quite forgettable and a lot of the songs on Clockwork Angels are no exception. To quote a review I read of Snakes and Arrows (2007) "rocking between 2 notes does not a melody make", I couldn't agree more (ref. the chorus for 'Headlong Flight'). I would add that following the harmonic direction of chords and matching rhythmic patterns of the arrangement with a vocal line also doesn't inspire a great melody. Where is the counterpoint? Geddy Lee could explore the lower registers of his voice more as he is now incapable of reaching those glorious highs of the past.

What is most frustrating is that Rush used to be able to write such great music and only occasionally still do. To some extent the CD format may have played a part in the quality of Rush albums diminishing, when you consider the real classic albums only being of 6-8 tracks in length there was a self limiting effect on the music chosen for a record. Now with a maximum 80 minutes to fill and maybe a desire for providing value for money Rush are including songs that would never had made the cut in those vinyl days. Clockwork Angels had the potential to be a very strong album if only the best musical material embedded within this collection were stitched together to form 6 or 7 great tracks. The same process could be applied to every album they have recorded since Vapor Trails.

I admire Nick Raskulinecz (producer) for encouraging Rush to sound like 'Rush' again but they also need a producer who can conceptualize and extract the wheat from the chaff and have the courage to challenge Rush to stop trying to write 'songs' and focus on writing great music.
If Rush feel they no longer have anything to prove at their age I'd question why they should bother writing at all, but the very fact that they continue to produce albums shows they still feel they have something to give and when they get it right it's a spine tingling occasion but unfortunately these moments are becoming scarce. I for one would prefer a more concise, high quality selection of music than is presented within Clockwork Angels. I am still looking forward to seeing them live!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Immediate, even my non-rush fan mate likes it, 11 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
I like it. Not a great review, I know, but it's honest. I'm not a writer, but I do have ears and (hopefully) a soul, and it seems to me that if both are open then this latest piece of work will fill the space between nicely.

Needless to say I've been a long time fan, like most reviewers here, so my view is clearly skewed. I could spend weeks discussing the relevance of this album in relation to the vast back catalogue, but others have done that better. What I will say is that this is immediate, for me. Other albums have sometimes left me cold - Test for Echo took 2 years for me to like.

My longest friend has never been a "fan" of Rush, but has always appreciated their musicianship especially over the years - he's a musician himself. However he said, without prompting which is my usual approach with him, that this was something that grabbed him immediately. I had an inner smile (not to mention the broad one on my face) at this. Who knows, I might ever tempt him to a couple of gigs this time round.

So, listen without prejudice and let it grow - it didn't need that for me, but I was ready for this.

See you all at as many gigs as I can arrange to get to this year and next.

Only disappointed with one thing in the fan pack. I received it today in work and when I opened I squealed like a teenage girl seeing Justin Whathisname as I thought it contained Lerxst picks - turned out to be a keyring - a nice one, but I wanted picks, dammit :)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
A brilliant collection and their best album in recent years
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not there best, 14 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
Good album but they have made much better ones.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff, but not 5 stars, 29 Jun. 2012
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Mr. R. Powell (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
This one is a grower, like many of the best albums. When I first heard it I really was not too sure, but this is Rush and there is always more to a Rush album than a few listens can disclose. And this one is no exception. Over the past fortnight it has really grown on me. I really liked Snakes And Arrows, it brought me back into the fold after the eighties albums had scared me away for twenty years, and this carries on from there. But, unlike so many bands, Rush have not chosen to repeat the trick, they have moved forward and continued to evolve. The guitars continue to be to the fore with the keyboards where they should be, there to add texture. If you liked the two songs that were originally released two years ago (Caravan & BU2B)then you will like this album. So why only four stars? Well, although this is a very good album it is not 2112 or A Farewell To Kings, Rush's greatest albums, and cannot be rated as highly as those two classics. Would I recommend it? Definitely, afterall I wouldn't rate Fly By Night or Permanent Waves as 5 stars but I would still recommend them to anyone with half decent musical tate, and seeing as you're reading this I suspect you have more than a half decent musical taste and as such I recommend you buy it, you won't be disappointed. Nearly forty years on and they are still making music this good. Roll on next May!!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 18 Oct. 2014
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Good product, prompt delivery
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11 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unrecognisable, 29 July 2012
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Lemming (middle england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
I was a big Rush fan in the late 70s and 80s, I had all the albums from Caress of Steel to Moving Pictures and loved em all. I have heard nothing since then. Because of many personal recommendations and lots of 5 star reviews in Metro, Times, Prog etc I thought I had better catch up.

If it hadn't said "Rush" on the cover, I honestly would never have guessed it was them. The whole sound has changed - especially Geddy's voice. To me the Rush sound has always been about shades of light and dark, soft thoughtful passages and lyrics melding perfectly with raunchy riffs. This is just bland mushy hard rock. I have listened to it all the way through about ten times, really willing myself to "get it" but I know I'll never like it. After ten times there isn't a single track that sticks in my mind.

I know this will upset a lot of rush fans, but they have definitely lost it.
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