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on 21 June 2012
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 somehow the spirit of old Rush' golden era (let's say the one that flew over A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres, Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures) seemed to be forever gone.

A digression here : Vapor Trails, especially, is a quite tiresome album to me. It stays a bit to much in the low frequency sonic spectre: too much bass guitar, to much bass drum, and too much guitar power chords, not properly equilibrated by other sonic and musical ingredients, which makes it a hard task to listen to it, from beginning to end, without taking a break. Snakes and Arrows, while walking the same sonic territory as V.T., was more varied and dynamic, and I found it more enjoyable. Not bad albums to my taste, but not exciting enough.

Clockwork Angels, however, is gifted with a different nature. It is tremendously fresh, vital and captivating, and makes me recall the best years of the band. Yes, Rush look younger than yesterday, playing with enthusiasm a set of convincing songs. Nothing to do with (like someone could fear), a tired old group. There are no fillers in this album. It is a concept album equipped with its proper organic quality. From the beginnig, the listener is propelled by an exciting, dynamic music, feeling the need to know how the story goes.

Theme:
As I said it is a concept album, based on a sci-fi story. There is a "perfectly organized" world where people are instilled to not to think by themselves and to be content with their destiny ( Planet Earth, year whatever, I guess) . The album tells the adventures and reflections of an inconformist young man during his quest for truth.

Sound:
Compared to previous albums, I find that Neil Peart's drums playing is a bit more restrained, and that the drums are not so loud in the mix . Just a matter of nuances; don't worry, Neil Peart is still there and you can hear and enjoy his playing .
Geddy Lee's voice is in good form, and maturity has made him gain expresiveness. The bass sounds hugely powerful but very defined and clear too.
Lifeson `s guitar makes also a quite restrained job (at least not prodigal in solos), but the instrument has a killer full tone, and the playing is very expressive and piercing when strictly necessary.
The whole album sounds clear and well defined even at a low volume (a quality that was not shared by Vapor Trails and Snakes and Arrows).

The songs:

1. Caravan - Is Rush in pure and best form. Intricate rhythms, guitar riffs, catchy chorus (" I can't stop thinking big ") A
statement of purposes. It ends with a beautiful reflective passage a la Pink Floyd, where acoustic and electric guitar
with tremolo effect take command.
2. Bu2B - Another classic Rush tour the force rocker propelled by mighty drums. "We were taught that we lived in the best of
all possible worlds".
3. Clockwork angels - Rush trademark intricate, fierce ternary tempo. Wonderful guitar solo.
The pedlar 1 - Short instrumental integrated at the end of Clockwork angels. Old (and all) time Rush.
4. The anarchist - Another powerful rocker, where the rebel anarchist character is introduced. Strings and guitar solo with
a northern africa/arab flavour (a la Page&Plant).
5. Carnies - The rock goes on. The young man's fate changes since his encounter with the anarchist.
6. Halo effect - A nice ballad about following false illusions. Beautifuly sung by Lee. Short enough (3:14) so the
trepidant pace of the album is not left for too long.
7. Seven cities of gold - Another uptempo heavy rocker with catchy chorus. High pitched Lee's vocals recalling older works.
8. The wreckers - It begins with an openly pop a la Byrds intro, rapidly changing into a minor key melody. This could be a
rather "radio friendly"song, despite its serious, sour matter: "All I know is that sometimes the truth is
contrary/everything in life you thought you knew". All along the song there is a constant contrast between the a-la Byrds
and dramatic character passages, so the result is melodically varied and appealing.
9. Headlong Flight - A killer epic, vaguely reminiscent of Iron Maiden. Our hero declares he would not change anything he did
("I learned to fight, to love, to feel")
10. Bu2B2 - Short mature bittersweet reflections by Lee & strings only.
11. Wish them well - This is the most pop oriented song in the album, almost in a Paul McCartney's style (no joke) , except
for another piercing solo by Lifeson. It makes sense considering the positive message: the benefit of not keeping anger
and grudges in our hearts
12. The garden - Masterful slow tempo with another positive, mature declaration of principles: "The measure of a life is a
measure of love and respect / ... / A garden to nurture and protect". Strings intro, acoustic guitars, and, from the
4:30, a beautiful, emotive crescendo that soars high for a perfect album's end.

Highly recommended.
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on 9 August 2012
Afer a five year wait since Snakes & Arrows, Rush have returned with a rich & complex album full of amazing tracks. Their musicianship is as usual magnificent & just astounds me every time I listen to this. It has to be said that due to the album's complexity & theme, you may find that it will take quite a bit of listening to in order to get the feel of what is on offer. Neil Peart is a gifted writer & this album is testament to his talent.

If you like Rush, then is an essential purchase. I love all the songs & if I had to choose a favourite track, it would be Headlong Flight. What a stormer !!
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on 12 July 2012
I got into Rush in about 2000 and went through their back catalogue .... Moving Pictures was my favourite album.
Test For Echo, Vapour Trails and Snakes and Arrows were ok, but I didn't love them - only listen to them occasionally now.
Clockwork Angels, however, is a whole new ball game. It's the first album since Moving Pictures where I love all the tracks.
It flows as an album and you can immerse yourself in the story, the music and the vibe.
There's a lot to digest and, like all good albums, it takes a few listens, but it's absolutely worth it.
Obviously, Rush have been through a few different stages in their musical sound so everyone will have a different opinion; for me, however, after listening multiple times every day for the last week, I really think this might be Rush's best album ... which is amazing considering how long they've been at it.
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on 16 June 2012
Rush fan since the early 1970's and have to say this stunning album is a true return to form from three of the best musicians in the business. Takes three or four listens to appreciate the subtleties of Neil Peart's lyrics but the musicianship as per usual is peerless with the final track Garden probably my pick as the orchestral arrangement just adds that touch of class to the world's leading power trio.

The magazine included in the fan pack also provides a valuable insight to how the album was put together, particularly like the story of how producer Nick Raskulinecz went into the drum booth and turned down the volume before speaking to Peart. When he returns to the control room everyone is thinking "What the..." whereupon Geddy Lee quips to Raskulinecz "He'll like you!". Priceless.
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on 31 July 2012
During the years 1978 to 1983 Rush were my musical world. Liked other bands, loved Rush. Collected everything from Albums and Singles, posters, badges, patches...the whole early teens malarkey. I bought Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, Signals and Grace.. on release day and all 4 are still firm favourites. And then Power Windows shot them down. Bought it and could not - no matter what - get into it. Sold it to a mate at college. After that, I never really went back. Bought the live DVD's, bought Lighted Stage, saw them live...but no album purchases. On the recommendation of my brother in law I picked this one up last week...and not stopped playing it since. Not going to review it, will just say ignore the doubters...this is a 10/10
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on 22 June 2012
The Fan Pack was purchased for me (at my request) as a birthday present from a local newsagents at the recommended price as indicated on the barcode label of £14.99 and I wasn't disappointed.

Whilst I prefer earlier Rush material, the cd is for me, far better than Snakes and Arrows. Geddy has moved away from the vocal style he used on snakes which makes Clockwork Angels a more pleasing album. The musicianship by all three is as always second to none. But what makes the Fan Pack so special is the book. The interviews / explanations and the photo's just enhance the whole package.

I'm not the biggest Rush fan but I'll treasure this till the end.
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on 11 June 2012
Clockwork Angels seems like a culmination of what Rush have been striving to achieve over the last 20 years, and is consistent throughout. Overall, a hard-hitting record although with plenty of lush production and softer melodic moments. There are much less guitar/bass/vocal overdubs meaning they sound more like a 3-piece again (albeit with inclusion of string section on a number of tracks). The first two songs were released previously as singles (they have been remixed slightly, with the 'BU2B' having a quiet prelude). Of these, Caravan has ridiculous off-the-wall drum patterns and funky breaks that bring a band Primus to mind). 'BU2B '- very heavy riff and cynical lyrics that suit the dark menacing mood perfectly. The title track somehow seems to span Rush's entire career and is pretty epic (like most songs here!). The Anarchist and Carnies have a bit of middle eastern feel, both with entrancing rhythms (especially the very tribal-sounding parts of Carnies). Halo Effect - gorgeous acoustic guitar and break (think: a more cheerful Cure song). 'Seven Cities of Gold' starts off quite funkily, with guitar-lines like 60s power-rock (thinking Hendrix/Who/Cream). 'The Wreckers' is infectious, again with a 60s rock feel, which halfway through explodes into an epic break (for some reason I felt reminiscent of the Cure or a very epic Eno produced Coldplay) which suits the lyrics so perfectly. 'Headlong Flight' - is the heaviest track - parts borrowed from Bastille Day - incredible drum fills with guitar and attack in the same vein as Foo fighters. 'BU2B2' serves as a quiet interlude after the aural battering of the previous track using string section and Geddy's vocals. 'Wish them well' is an upbeat song with 60s feel again but does not work as well as the other songs, in sounding a little forced. The album ends on a high though, with 'the Garden'. This is their 'comfortably numb'. The song is quite simple overall-no fancy drumming-builds up and up-featuring an absolutely haunting guitar arpeggio and fantastic solo-the last time they evoked this feeling was with 'Limelight'. The addition of Piano and Strings could have been cheesy, but the balance is right, and they are used to great effect in this very emotional song. Stunning.
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on 27 June 2012
Detail! The devil is in the detail, and the detail on this album is exemplary. Listen, we all long for another Fly By Night or 2112, but this is never going to happen. But this album is at least as good as anything the 'three men of Willowdale' have come up with since Grace Under Pressure. Trust me, this album will get under your skin, because the instrumentation and composition is a dream to those of us of a certain age who not only enjoy a good yarn (the narrative is a yarn of prog-epic proportions with flying ships, goodies, baddies and a protagonist who is at odds with his limiting surroundings, but he can't help 'thinking big'), but can wallow in indulgent guitar solos, bass lines and drumming which elevates us from the norm to take us to a better place.

I think it may well be called '1979' - not quite 1974, but not much farther.
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on 20 November 2012
With this album Rush have managed to re-visit their older styles and sounds without sounding "old and dated". There are some great songs and as expected some great playing.

Geddy Lee's bass sound is awesome, the last few of their more recent albums I found his sound was getting very toppy, but the sound of his bass on some of the tracks on Clockwork Angels really take me back to the early Rush sound, but it still sounds new at the same time!

Longtime Rush fans will love this album I'm sure, I have been into Rush since 1981, and this is my favourite of their albums of the 00's.
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on 12 June 2012
Fanpack received Monday the 11th, currently listening to my 4th play-through and it's only Tuesday the 12th!!! Track by track it never fails to disappoint. We all know caravan and Bu2b, but songs like halo effect, seven cities of gold and wish them well are instant classics, with the garden being my personal favourite, what a beautiful song! Listening while reading the words and the short stories really gives you a total rush conceptual experience. The magazine is also superb, deserving of the price alone. The cd book/sleeve is a great idea that has been beautifully presented. Keyring? Not so good! Rush truly are musical giants.
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