Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Flawed Diamond - 5 conditional stars
on 26 November 2012
I adore this band and have been listening to them and going to see them play like forever. They are, in many ways the reason I became a musician. They sowed those seeds in me when I was like 10 years of age and like Jack's beanstalk they just grew and grew.
With this caveat in mind I must say that for all the creative and musical genius that has so obviously been poured into this entire album, and at every stage, from concept to mastering it remains flawed, perhaps fatally by the lyrics or more likely the choice of scenarios to turn into songs from the overarching steampunk tale of journey and discovery (upon which, this album is based).
One of the reasons 2112 was such a massive success was that the story, the lone underdog battling against an overwhelmingly powerful and oppressive totalitarian system even unto his death was something that millions could appreciate, simply put, it resonated and the final "ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION - WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL" was the masterstroke of a genius at home with his craft. Our hero had not died in vain, his single lonely plaintiff cry for help had been heard after all and his death was anything but a meaningless tragedy. This was storytelling at its simple best. A beginning a middle and an end, hubris and nemesis in the classic Greek tradition wrapped up in 20th century musicianship and creativity of the absolute highest order.
CLOCKWORK ANGELS has the same musical creativity and a breadth of ability no band on the planet can match, from a "libretto" point of view however, this is where the comparisons stop. We start off with a young man seeking a different life, he goes on adventures, though most often we are left in the dark as to what those adventures actually are, he has tragedies and eventually he ends up back where he started, tending his garden. All the songs work as stand alone pieces as one would expect, the musicianship and pure craft alone makes sure of that but this isnt an album of stand alone pieces like SIGNALS or POWER WINDOWS this is a high concept album with an overarching storyline and should be experienced as such. Instead we have a strong beginning, several middles and an "end" which is so flaccidly anti-climatic as to be the lyrical equivalent of an anti-viagra tablet. When the Elder Race overthrew the Solar Federation I punched the air and yelled YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! When this album ended I went "Ummm... ok...!" I get what he's on about, I understand the references, I just think it could have been written... better.
That said... I love this album, it kicks butt and does so with a righteousness no other band can even come close to and I love it despite the lyrical and storytelling failings. That much of it is also painfully autobiographical endears me even more to Mr Peart and I hope that with this outpouring his cathartic healing process nears completion.