Customer Review

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing on me already, 11 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Clockwork Angels (MP3 Download)
Every album Rush have produced since the heady days of Moving Pictures has had at least 2 or 3 good tracks on it and while I was really pleased with Vapor Trails I found Snakes and Arrows a bit more of a mixed bag.
Clockwork Angels is the best of the three post hiatus albums by a margin and while it is too early to tell for sure I think there is an argument for this being the best album since Power Windows.

The album starts with the two pre-released tracks Caravan and BU2B which is a pity on first listen as the rest of the album is fresher and it detracted from that initial buzz of listening to an album for the first few times. That said, this is a loose concept album and there is a story going on around the songs so it makes sense to place them where they are.

There are twelve tracks on the album (11 if you discount the reprise of BU2B) and they are all of good quality with a handful of early standouts to grab the attention and pull you in to the album as a whole. The mid-section of The Anarchist, Carnies and Halo Effect is a superb run of potential classics with The Wreckers providing another 'hit'. The total standout is the superb closer The Garden. Genuinely up there with the best songs they have ever produced. It has everything - heart and soul combined with excellent lyrics and great instrumentation.

My only criticism of the album is the production. I bought the 'fan pack' so have the CD but my first listen was on a lower spec PC and the mix sounded very muddy; like there was great gig on inside the stadium but I was on the outside.
Since then I've listened through a few more times on better equipment and the mix is very bassy - which is great if you have the kit to do it justice but something to watch for if your main listening is with in-ear phones on a mobile device.
Even on a half decent system I had to take the bass down a notch to hear the melody properly.

I'd also point any fans in the direction of the CD booklet. This is the first time in ages that I've taken the time to read the sleeve notes etc and it did enhance the pleasure of the music. The short paragraphs that introduce each song help place it in the overall narrative and make the lyrics more accessible. It's a loose concept at best but works reasonably well.

Overall I'd say this is a 4 star album - it's not the best Rush have ever produced but it is damned good and suspect that it will grow better with repeated listening, with better production it would probably have sneaked a 5.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Jun 2012 21:26:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2012 21:34:43 BDT
smash says:
Agreed - it is a very muddy mix isn't it? I thought that when I first heard the pre-release "singles" on Planet Rock. Sounds like the producer has stuck slavishly to the classic rock "bullet" eq curve - very lifeless sound with lack of breathing space (for example the transition from verse to chorus of Halo Effect should be much more dynamic but there's no headroom left for the jump). I guess that falls to Nick Raskulinecz and Richard Chycki...and Rush themselves.

I always thought Rush ploughed their own field and whilst there are some classic Rush moments on this album it feels, to me at any rate, like they're straying into other peoples furrows here which is a shame because they're innovators and not followers. The playing is exemplary from all and Geddy's voice is in great shape.

Posted on 15 Jun 2012 08:59:54 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jun 2012 09:03:27 BDT
G. Young says:
I'm glad I'm not the only one who is disappointed with the production; hi-hats, ride cymbal, snare drum, they sound quite distant and the music, as you say, lacks dynamics, which is a real shame, because I think it is a great album.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jun 2012 01:00:08 BDT
Not sure the production/mix would work on budget in ear phones, and it is 'heavy', but on both a standard Honda in-car system or high end phones (GS-1000 | OBH-21 | CD6003) the various (and many) elements find a place on the on the sound stage. It took a couple of listens (after one run through I thought ug), but I a couple more goes and something clicked. On recent things I would put S&A above VT (love S&A actually) and a strong believer that teh 'best since' discussion leads to underappreciating what is worth getting about each albumn. This is not a collection of songs, or concept stuff like half of 2112. [I'm only misisng GUP Live, so am something of a Rush saddo :-0 ]

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jun 2012 01:43:36 BDT
Agreed. The CD sounds grand in the car stereo where i can crank the sound and take down the bass, but my first couple of listens were on headphones on a laptop and that didn't cope so well. I also initially ripped to MP3 at 256 but that definitely struggled whereas 320 seemed fine.

Posted on 21 Jun 2012 15:44:36 BDT
J. M. Weir says:
You may change your opinion when you hear it in HiFi CD quality. MP3 is low fi I look forward to hearing the CD myself. Thanks for an informative review

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jun 2012 21:58:27 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Jun 2012 21:59:16 BDT
Mr Blackwell says:
Having listened all week now via my Hi Fi separates system and also my midi system, the CD sounds great, a fantastic release.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 12:00:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Jun 2012 12:01:15 BDT
smash says:
I've given it a fair shot on stock galaxy note headphones, my Beyer Dynamics and cranked through my Tannoy Revolution R2s (sorry for the gear list but some people assume when you're critical you have a duff setup!) and I stand by my (and your) comments - it looks to be a victim of the loudness wars and overly compressed.

I wish they'd release an "audiophile true dynamics" mastered version in tandem with stock loudness war CD rather than release the same master RIAA'd onto vinyl. Bit rates mean squat when it's been brick walled with a limiter!

I would honestly pay more to have a true dynamics audiophile copy mastered by someone like Greg Calbi provided he's given free reign - record companies please listen!!

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 12:25:02 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 25 Jun 2012 16:54:31 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2012 16:56:45 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Jun 2012 16:57:26 BDT
RegF says:
Try the 24 / bit HDTracks version on flac.

I find nothing wrong with the sound of this album on my high end stereo.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2012 20:25:43 BDT
Yep, the CD played on a system that can cope with the bass is absolutely fine.
most people don't listen that way these days (at least that's my belief )
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