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A conceptual opus within
a modern day prog rock framework

Rush - Clockwork Angels
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: June 27, 2012

Review by Andy Argyrakis

The five year break between Rush's studio albums have been anything but stagnant, as evidenced by the band's cross continental "Time Machine" tour where the group played its classic "Moving Pictures" in its entirety. If anything, that exercise helped the Canadian trio tap back into its stadium shaking progressive rock roots, which coupled with a conceptual lyrical premise, suggests fans will have plenty to sink their teeth into throughout "Clockwork Angels."

While the dozen track, hour-spanning album retains the band's essential elements, it's also a bookend to 2007's "Snakes and Arrows" in the sense that it adapts modern day production from Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Deftones) that could just as easily fit alongside today's prog class as all its previous peers. Cuts like "Caravan" and the title track explode with Alex Lifeson's towering guitars and Neil Peart's shuddering drums, while Geddy Lee sounds absolutely ageless behind the mic. Additional heavy spots include seven minute jams like "The Anarchist" and "Headlong Flight," though Rush never forsakes its melodic side and continues to have a certain degree of catchiness, despite the more cerebral nature of the storyline.

Though it's tricky to figure out Peart's lyrics without doing a bit of research, "Clockwork Angels" tells the generally compelling (albeit occasionally excessive) tale of "a young man's quest across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy as he attempts to follow his dreams." Along the way, there's plenty of pirates, anarchists and even an exotic carnival, which suggests that even though this marks Rush's 20th studio project, there's still plenty of ideas flowing through its progressive pipeline.

Related articles:

Rush - Concert review - Chicago, IL April 2011
Rush - Concert review - Chicago, IL July 2010
Rush - Photo gallery - Milwaukee, WI July 2008
Rush - Concert review - Chicago, IL June 2008
Rush - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI Sept. 2007
Rush - Snakes & Arrows Live DVD Review

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