Legendary Canadian prog-rockers, Rush, released this month their 20th album called Clockwork Angels. The album is a gift for their millions of fans, but also a pleasant surprise for the critics.
After being together as a band for 6 years, they released their first album in 1974 and after this point experienced no personnel changes. Thus, with a long career behind, almost four decades of creating and playing music, Rush could draw the line. They’ve given their best throughout these years, so nobody expected a good album from them anymore. However, Rush has still something to prove. They’ve reached their potential, the peak of their career and this album is the culmination of their work, of their long journey to success.
Clockwork Angels has 12 tracks and is approximately one hour and six minutes long. It’s a concept album as novelist Kevin J. Anderson (a friend of Neil Peart, the least tenured member of the band with only 38 years of band membership), who said that he will be writing a scientific fantastic novelization of the album, which is really mind-blowing. He described the plot: “In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy, with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life.”
Rush’s devotion to making new music is deeply incarcerated within this album. Geddy’s voice is still powerful though he sings in a slightly lower register. The lyrics are amazingly well written and the song “Caravan” stands as proof: “In a world lit only by fire/ Long train of flares/ under piercing stars/ I stand watching the steamliners roll by/ The caravan thunders onward/ To the distant dream of the city/ The caravan carries me onward/ On my way at last/ On my way at last/ I can’t stop thinking big/ I can’t stop thinking big/ On a road lit only by fire/ Going where I want, instead of where I should/ I peer out at the passing shadows/ Carried through the night into the city/ Where a young man has a chance of making good”.
Nevertheless, “Caravan” is not the only song from the album that is worth mentioning. The value of the album resides in all its tracks, including “Clockwork Angels” that gives the title, “The Anarchist,” “The Garden”, “BU2B” and “Halo Effect” which will definitely take up semi-permanent residence in your mp3 player. The best part about this album is that it has no bum songs, the drumming is solid, the basslines are brilliant, and the guitar work will stay in your head long after you have turned off your player.
In conclusion, this album screams of a more mature hard rock and of music integrity. If you are into classic rock or prog rock, then Clockwork Angels is the biggest album release for you this year, because the band has made no compromise, they have kept their lyrical depth, the musical complexity influenced by Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Yes and The Police, as well as their commitment to progressing. As such, they have created a unique sound that’s difficult to copy.