378 of 408 people found the following review helpful
Traveling on the wandering seas of time with Rush!,
This review is from: Clockwork Angels (Audio CD)
I like to review albums from bands who "the mainstream" radio stations dismiss after their "glory years" have faded - which in real people speak means they just don't make them the kind of money these very radio stations and corporations demand anymore. My local rock radio station plays Rush at least once a day when I'm out doing errands in the car, but it's always the same songs, as a reminder they existed once, but time has whisked them away, favoring the newer garbage that is mostly unlistenable.
Well, here it is, album number 20 for the trio from Canada, and this album sounds just as fresh as anything out there. The album explodes out of the speakers with a rapid crystal-clear urgency and tells a wonderful story about a traveler's magical journey, and this time, it's time that is the enemy. Who isn't madly mindful of it when we're out doing what we have to do to survive?
(This isn't your everyday Rush album, as a novelization of the album is coming out soon.)
12 songs adding up to just over an hour:
01. Caravan - this song is about travel, and movement, and the journey begins, steampunk style. Steam engines take our traveler as he thinks about what he setting out to do - find out more truth, find out the meaning of life,and everything in between. The pumping base and vocals of Geddy Lee, the master drumwork of Neal Peart, and the pounding urgent finger work of guitarist Alex Lifeson (along with the unofficial fourth member, producer Nick "Booujzhe" Raskulinecz), have never - and I really mean this - have never sounded fresher and more dedicated to opening an album filled with endless drums, guitar and bass, to make it sound as if ten times the music is there. This is one of the finest and more majestical openings to a Rush album since "Overture" on the album "2112."
02. BU2B - "Brought Up To Believe" gives you the real groundwork and story of the album, even though Rush themselves have said that they weren't going to make another "concept album." The vocals are almost swallowed up by the wonderful machine-gun beats and micro-solos, and Geddy tells us the Watchmaker is there watching us all, as he "loves us all to death."
03. Clockwork Angels - Flying through time, through life, over cities and people and the freedom to simply go and soar higher and higher. This song is the meat of the album, and takes me to a dizzying height, with time itself becoming the demons the angels fight without weapons, the very hands of the clock become swords to battle and fight the marching soldiers of time away - but we all know that game is lost, and the band has simply dazzled me with this over seven minute monster of a song. It's a masterful production.
04. The Anarchist - this is one of the more straightforward songs off the album so far, but it also really isn't. The beat and the drumming and the vocals are there so tightly intertwined, and yet there is so much chaos in the lyrics itself - this is one angry man, so angry about his lost opportunities not to enjoy his life or to simply sing: "A missing part of me that grows around me like a cage..."
05. Carnies - We immediately fall into the magical secretive world of the carnival, with it's deceptive lights and "demon music and gypsy queens." To a young boy, the freedom and swirling spirits floating around him could be intoxicating, but it could also be a beautiful trap, too! Once again, the guitarwork of Lifeson lays the song on it's ear and spins the listener around and around and around with it's old-timey retro but still fresh as hell tricks. A great song.
06. Halo Effect - this is almost a love song, and this will be the song of the album to sing along to when they play it in concert, guaranteed. Deceiving angels, illusions, and what we see may not be what we think it may really be...
07. Seven Cities Of Gold - A fool's paradise, and a fool thinking about the past, and it's our paradise lost, too. They've got it right, "a man can lose himself in a country like this..." This is an over seven-minute song dedicated to the folly of a lost man's failures, and the dreams he might have had once as a young man, and Geddy nails it when he says "that gleam in the distance could be heaven's gate, a long-awaited treasure at the end of my cruel fate." Another wonderful song with a solo will destroy anyone's notions that Rush are just laying down over 35 years later. They never have, and I expect with songs like this, they never will.
08. The Wreckers - this song almost went towards U2 territory with it's extended opening, but the story is anything but that middle-of-the-road garbage Bono spews. Lee and company explain very carefully that like the breakers at the ocean's shore, everything is deceiving, and just when you think you're at your safest, that's when you run aground and it gets really ugly really fast. The truth, brutal as it can be, can kill with just slightest flick of it's wrist. This song nails the painfulness of what happens when you weren't expecting it and it broadsides you so hard, it kinda sucks.
09. Headlong Flight - another over seven-minute monster, and I can only equate it's importance to Rush fans as Pink Floyd fans cherish "Learning To Fly." This song is about flight, and wonderful youthful memories, and massive regret, and the sad rigid responsibilites you MUST have now, so forget what you thought when you were a kid! You steer the ship, you punch the timeclock, and someone behind you does the same exact thing. This song reminds you that back there, somewhere in your memory, you were the king (or queen) of your whole universe, but now you just have what it is now. Neal Peart's drums dominate this song, and the bass beat and the guitar try but just barely keep up with your memories! This song is an opus, and a fantastic work.
10. BU2B2 - "Brought Up To Believe Too" is a reprise of sorts of it's older brother, but boy oh boy this is more like a final determination by your job's management before they fire you. The carpet gets pulled out from under you, and you've just given up. This song segues right into...
11. Wish Them Well - sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and let it go. The band's advice? Just wish them well and walk away. there are better places to be, better people to know, better jobs to take, better places to simply live in. This song, after the last four or five that have had such a hard edge, now comes off as positive, almost like a pat on the shoulder, as if they're trying to tell you that it's okay to lose sometimes and sometimes you just gotta move on. The sound is positive, and uplifting, and almost reassuring in it's tone.
12. The Garden - Sometimes you've got to step back, and understand that time is our friend, even though it's only purpose is to jeep going once we've been laid in the dirt. And what is our garden? It's our safe place, our slowly moving sun and cool starry nights, and not even time Itself can take those things away from our minds, and our hearts. This song is a mellow reflection and almost seven minute calm down, and it's Rush's way of saying hey! it's okay to dream, and sometimes it's okay to forget, too. Hope is there, and forever waits for the right person to take flight again. Personally, I've never encountered such an unusual ending from any of Rush's albums, but they've got it 100 percent right, time is just a measure of our lives, and what we do with it is the most important thing.
So what can I say except that I give this new album 5 wonderful and healthy stars.
Rush has always been one of those bands who can make you scream and shout and rock one moment, and then the next really contemplate the meaning behind the rock. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, and very proudly, too - Rush can play, and they can create, and they can make you step into other far-off worlds you never dreamed existed, even though you don't even have to leave your room.
I really really want you to check out this album and enjoy their story, and enjoy their fantasy, and understand that the album is only and hour of your life, but boy is it worth it - you'll be glad you did!
p.s. - the album cover? look at the time on the clock, and look at it from a military point of view... it's 21:12, people...
(thanks for reading and check out my other reviews here on Amazon!)
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Showing 1-10 of 59 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 12, 2012 6:22:11 AM PDT
P. J. Duffy says:
thanks for the great review. I loved it too
Posted on Jun 12, 2012 6:33:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012 6:36:40 AM PDT
As a reviewer myself I must say that I enjoyed your review. Very well constructed. I personally think "The Garden" should be heard by everyone. My review of Clockwork is on the list. Check it out if you're interested.
Posted on Jun 12, 2012 9:27:54 AM PDT
Hamming It Up says:
Very nice review. I look forward to listening to this new release!
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 11:18:56 AM PDT
Is there ANY SYNTH on this CD??? (Not counting piano... like Moving Pic-style or 2112 style SYNTH?)
Posted on Jun 12, 2012 4:15:50 PM PDT
Jeff Ahlgren says:
Wow, very well written review as I listen to this awesome new Rush CD. The lyrics really make you contemplate life as a whole. Take the hour plus and let the music and words envelope you. A few words sum up this great new Rush CD. "Things will be alright in your life, maintain faith and never lose hope!!
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 9:22:18 PM PDT
Sporn Sober says:
Yes. And it's perfect in just the right places.
Posted on Jun 12, 2012 11:46:45 PM PDT
"rapid crystal clear urgency"??? why do people have to get so poetic on a review?
Posted on Jun 13, 2012 12:53:07 AM PDT
Michael D. Williams says:
Fantastic review, totally professional. Now there is no real point in me writing one. I can just comment on others'.
Posted on Jun 13, 2012 2:46:21 AM PDT
S Tuffnell says:
Wonderful review! I love the concept of the album and those who download it are really missing the full experience dont you agree?
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012 5:53:30 AM PDT
r. f. says:
THANKS for this excellent and well thought out review.