Like a eruptive flaming fire going at 100 miles per hour, Rush show no sign of stopping and they’ve been around since day one and their formation in 1974 and they are letting the fans know that “We’re here and we have brought something for you to make you understand how much you meant your support to us.” They had been very busy lately with the 2010 documentary that Sam Dunn had worked on along with being nominated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for next year, and it makes you wonder what they have up their sleeves.
The result is their 20th album, Clockwork Angels, released this year and this one hell of an album from start to finish. They have done several concept pieces since 1976 with compositions like; 2112, Cygnus X-1: Book I & II, The Nercomancer, The Fountain of Lamenth, and Jacob’s Ladder to name a few, this time they released in what I believe their very first concept album, set in the steampunk universe of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.
The two tracks, Caravan and BU2B, which were released as singles about a year ago, in which they both start off a roller-coaster ride into another dimension which has some mind-blowing guitar and bass work and not to mention the pumping drum works of the master trio; Alex, Geddy, and Neil. The album is now a novelization done by sci-fi writer Kevin J. Anderson in which it was inspired by Neil’s songwriting, about Owen Hardy who is living a fresh life, and moves to Crown City, but is caught in the middle of the town gone wrong from strict rules and control from The Watchmaker and war from The Anarchist.
I imagine the story would one day be made into a movie, but let’s get straight into the review. There are some elements of the story including the hypnotic title track in where our hero is moving into the city to start a new beginning in which at the last 2-minutes has a spooky folk-rock touch as Geddy’s voice is spoke through a Leslie speaker before they go back into the stars while Carnies starts off with a Merry-Go-Round music gone wrong before it becomes this heavy whirlpool of terror with some sinister guitar echoing chords and intense movements that feels like straight out of the Japanese animated series, Fullmetal Alchemist.
There’s also the political symphonic powerhouse with the string ensemble on The Wreckers, which has some elements of Erik Larson’s novel, Devil in the White City as Headlong Flight, reminded me of Bastille Day from Caress of Steel, is pure retro ‘70s heavy bullet train rock as the boys go into town. The uplifting and rising Wish Them Well, is a combination of the three of a, thumping, emotional, and spiritual piece as if to look around at your past to say good-bye and moving forward as the closer, which features the string quartet on the 6-minute piece, The Garden, in which you need Kleenex for this, is a wonderful and magical closer for the curtain to drop.
I have listened to Clockwork Angels about four times already and I’m hooked. I don’t know if its going to be album of the year, but for Rush, they have reached the light at the end of tunnel, and have finally succeeded.