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Clockwork Angels released 10 years ago


The Analog Cub
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The final album, 10 years ago.

 

And in my opinion, one of their absolute best. A lot of bands with that kind of lifespan make crap in their later years, this was a late career gem.

 

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Still remember the trip to the store to get it, and how much my son and I enjoyed it on the way home.

 

IMO, the best since at least 1984, possibly 1981.

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I remember, after listening to the full album the first 1-2 times, reacting negatively to a lot of it.  
 

After several more trips through the album, I fell in love with it.   It was as if a switch was flipped in my head.  

 

Ten years later, it’s still magnificent to me.   Not perfect, as I still hate Wish Them Well.  :biggrin:

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I've got Clockwork in my Top 5, it's timeless.

I've also noticed there are quite a few bands recently that have been making better music in the 2010's as compared to the previous 10 to 15 years. Rush has Clockwork, Styx with The Mission and Crash of the Crown, Yes has the Fly From Here suite which is one of the bands' best songs, Kansas has made a comeback, AC/DC's Power Up was better than the last few albums at least, etc etc. It seems now that some of these bands move away from caring about trying to keep up with the times and instead just create classic style music with modern flares to it that make it unique while still reminiscent of their peaks.

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Went to the store in NJ to pick up my copy of the CD on release day.  Cranking it in the truck on the way home...the long way home. Back when a new truck had a CD player.

Then a couple of days later bought the HD tracks version. 

I liked the album so much better than SNA (Leela still sucks, BTW).  Good heavy proggy jams. Sort of like classic Rush, but not.

In retrospect, seems fair as a final album.  What choice do we have really ....that's it. 

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For some reason I can't recall, I got hold of a download before the CD fanpack.

I remember jumping round the house with my ipod and the cans on, listening to The Anarchist and texting friends saying "OMG this is going to be INCREDIBLE live!"

A real joy to experience a first time listen like that to a Rush album in 2012.

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Unreal. Fastest decade I've ever experienced. I still remember the anticipation I felt waiting for its release, finally getting to listen to it, and being the first crowd to hear the CA stuff live except for Caravan and BU2B. I don't love every song on it (like Wish Them Well and frankly The Garden makes me feel too sad to listen to it). However still a strong album that I enjoy to this day. Happy birthday Clockwork Angels! 

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Charlotte7598, I'm right there with you on The Garden.  Not that I don't like it.  It's just way too sad to listen to.  Was at a Rush Tribute Project show this last Saturday and they played it.  Nailed it to the point that things got so sad.  They also played Chain Lightning, which I thought was fantastic.  I saw that a whole lot in the audience had no idea what song it was.  Chain Lightning is the one in which Neil wrote about "Sun Dogs fire on the horizon" and then "Reflected in another pair of Eyes".  Those eyes were his daughter, Selena's.  Neil wrote about that maybe in the Tour Book or maybe in the Rush Newsletter.  Really heart-wrenching.  And then they played Afterimage.  Honestly...  Tears to my eyes.  The show was labeled A Tribute To Neil Peart.

 

For any who don't know and may wonder, Sun Dogs are a weather phenomenon which occurs when it's a bright sunny day and way, way, way below zero.  Like Canada on a normal winter day.  You can look it up.

 

But yes, 10 years since Clockwork Angels was released.  Most certainly one of their absolute best. The Title song, Anarchist, Wreckers, Carnies and of course the incredible Headlong Flight.  Amazing stuff.

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Love the riff to the Anarchist.  Good lord, a decade already...

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It's the album i joined this forum on.  it was certainly a time cause i was part of a small rag tag group who was less than thrilled by it.

 

and my opinion realy never wavered.  but i won't re-hash i've done it enough, lol

 

Mick

Edited by bluefox4000
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3 hours ago, bluefox4000 said:

It's the album i joined this forum on.  it was certainly a time cause i was part of a small rag tag group who was less than thrilled by it.

 

and my opinion realy never wavered.  but i won't re-hash i've done it enough, lol

 

Mick

Were you the one that used to mention Ged yodeling? I like the album, but that was pretty spot on. :biggrin:

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14 minutes ago, blueschica said:

Were you the one that used to mention Ged yodeling? I like the album, but that was pretty spot on. :biggrin:

 

yea i coined the Ged Yodeling thing....i like to think i did anyway.  i'd seen nobody commenting on it.  or maybe they were being nice about it.:biggrin:

 

but yea to me it was just so jarring, lol

 

Mick

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It's a fine album. I spin it on days when I need a soundtrack to whatever I'm doing.....

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The other thing I'll say about CA is that Anarchist is the song that inspired me to start playing bass again, after a long time.   Haven't felt that vibe from a Rush song since the early days of Limelight, TCE and the Hemispheres era records.   

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When I saw this anniversary earlier this week, I made CA part of my morning routine.  It's been 4-5 years since I listened to it. I loved the album when it came out, flew to New Hampshire for opening night.  Ended up seeing ~6 shows on the tour  - loved it.  After the tour, I kinda moved on to other things.  I recall being less enthralled with the album during the R40 tour; kinda dropped down on my rankings.  Neil's passing made it difficult to listen to most Rush.  Anyway, first listen was so refreshing - it is a really great later-day Rush album.  I did like Snakes quite a bit and Vapor Trails somewhat less; Clockwork is my favorite of those 3.

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On 6/13/2022 at 8:25 PM, Geddyleegenes said:

They also played Chain Lightning, which I thought was fantastic.

Wow! I adore Chain Lightning (I find Presto to be an underrated album) and always wished they had played it live at least once, although I'm sure it would have brought up some of the trauma for Neil. How did it sound live??

Edited by Charlotte7598
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I've really tried to enjoy CA but it has so far failed to grab me. I think my ears have changed, towards the electronic and the polyrhythmic. 

Still, I can recognize quality. It's the best of the final 3, as most people here agree. 

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4 hours ago, Charlotte7598 said:

Wow! I adore Chain Lightning (I find Presto to be an underrated album) and always wished they had played it live at least once, although I'm sure it would have brought up some of the trauma for Neil. How did it sound live??

It sounded great live.  There are just three guys in the band (The Rush Tribute Project) and they are all so incredibly spot on with their playing.  No, they're not Rush.  They're not Geddy or Alex or Neil.  But honestly, they are really close!  Really accomplished musicians, by my unprofessional estimate.  They sold out the theater, Arcada in St. Charles, Illinois.   I don't know where you're at, but definitely check them out if they happen to get near your area.  They also played Countdown, so that was surprising.  They played 3 hours with an intermission.

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Great, now compared to the rest of you so far I'm going to come across like the turd in the punch bowl contrarian :tongue:

 

This is just my opinion so don't get angry but I find the album on the whole to be mostly unlistenable especially beginning to end. The songs are too long too dense too chaotic not enough hooks or parts that stick with you but above all I can't understand hardly a word Geddy is singing. Between his strained voice singing higher than he was capable of anymore, the bad mix and the wordy songs, he could be singing in a completely different language for all I knew.

 

I liked the return to an epic story however I thought what Peart came up with seemed like a warmed-over rehash of Fountain of Lamneth combined with 2112: (a young idealistic man sets out to see and taste the world in a futuristic dystopian communistic society spread out over several songs and at the end becomes disenchanted) 

 

So overall I appreciate their effort and the band was certainly happy with the results and so were many fans and that's great but I hardly ever listen to the album. I've tried several times over the years but can't get past the first three songs before putting something else on. It's audibly abusive. It's been relegated to drink coaster status. I have no idea how the band signed off on that awful mix Nick did with hardly any separation between the layers of instruments and vocals. 

 

Here's my idea of what would make a better album:

Total remix top to bottom. Nick R is not allowed anywhere near the board. 

Drop the weaker songs and rearrange the remaining songs into a different running order:

Clockwork Angels

Caravan 

BU2B

Anarchist

Carnies

Seven Cities

The Wreckers

Headlong Flight 

The Garden 

 

 

 

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I don't disagree with you.  I don't mind a lot of the album musically, it has some good parts and some excellent playing and energy, but I really, really, really don't like the overall concept.  Like you said, it felt like a re-tread of TFoL and 2112, but with added steampunk and circus, none of which is my kind of thing.  It was the first time the band felt like they went backwards to me, instead of progressing and doing something new.

 

The atrocious mix didn't help matters.  It's a real shame that Rush sounded so awful for the last 20 years of their career.  From the 70s to the 90s, they were one of the best-produced and best-engineered bands around, every album up to Test for Echo was practically a master class in rock production.  But from Vapor Trails on, they went totally off the rails.  Their last three albums (four if you include Feedback) are sonic trash, they're virtually abusive to the ears and hard to sit through start to finish.

 

I hope that someday a good engineer who's an actual Rush fan, someone like Steven Wilson, gets their hands on the multitracks for those albums and remixes them properly.  It would be a labour of love, it would never really turn a profit, but I would love to hear those albums get their just desserts.

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Some thoughts,

 

As just above, yes it can be a challenge to the ears, but keep in mind a few things.

The folks engineering and producing were Rush fans.

Geddy was encouraged to sing the high notes, it took some re-doing to get it right.

Personally, I don't like words like "atrocious" when it comes to Rush. They have said, all these years, they end up with the best they can do, no matter how challenging it is.

They absolutely progressed, as it was a long time idea to include a group of strings, have an "orchestra" of sorts to record an album. Many rock groups have tried and frankly, sounded poor and uncoordinated.

 

Watching the album live, there is nothing, nothing simple about it. It was an immense project that I think was a great ending to their careers - it had that feel?

I, too, found it hard to listen initially, I didn't get it, as I was a bit out of the scene for a few years and here were these songs on the "Charts" that I was supposed to like?

It took some time, but it is, in my opinion, an absolute amazing album that with all the things that transpired over the following years, I can't think of a better collaboration of musicians making the music that CA is. 

 

Thinking of the big picture, what a last album! Number 19 and nothing simple, nothing re-done, nothing "let's do some unplugged for the third time" - totally original.

The artwork, the lyrics, the playing. Maybe every song is not our favourite, but wow, it was a huge ending - in my opinion.

 

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2 hours ago, jnoble said:

Great, now compared to the rest of you so far I'm going to come across like the turd in the punch bowl contrarian :tongue:

 

This is just my opinion so don't get angry but I find the album on the whole to be mostly unlistenable especially beginning to end. The songs are too long too dense too chaotic not enough hooks or parts that stick with you but above all I can't understand hardly a word Geddy is singing. Between his strained voice singing higher than he was capable of anymore, the bad mix and the wordy songs, he could be singing in a completely different language for all I knew.

 

I liked the return to an epic story however I thought what Peart came up with seemed like a warmed-over rehash of Fountain of Lamneth combined with 2112: (a young idealistic man sets out to see and taste the world in a futuristic dystopian communistic society spread out over several songs and at the end becomes disenchanted) 

 

So overall I appreciate their effort and the band was certainly happy with the results and so were many fans and that's great but I hardly ever listen to the album. I've tried several times over the years but can't get past the first three songs before putting something else on. It's audibly abusive. It's been relegated to drink coaster status. I have no idea how the band signed off on that awful mix Nick did with hardly any separation between the layers of instruments and vocals. 

 

Here's my idea of what would make a better album:

Total remix top to bottom. Nick R is not allowed anywhere near the board. 

Drop the weaker songs and rearrange the remaining songs into a different running order:

Clockwork Angels

Caravan 

BU2B

Anarchist

Carnies

Seven Cities

The Wreckers

Headlong Flight 

The Garden 

 

 

 

 

i feel the same as you it is too long an album.  WAY too long.  i like your trimmed list.

 

but my main problem is yes indeed the album always sounded like shit.  nothing breaths un the mix and the only way t make it semi ok is too play it at a low volume.  otherwise you just get the sound of mud,

 

it's an awful mix.

 

and after the original Vapor Trails this was stunningly bad.

 

Mick

 

 

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On 6/17/2022 at 11:09 PM, bluefox4000 said:

 

i feel the same as you it is too long an album.  WAY too long.  i like your trimmed list.

 

but my main problem is yes indeed the album always sounded like shit.  nothing breaths un the mix and the only way t make it semi ok is too play it at a low volume.  otherwise you just get the sound of mud,

 

it's an awful mix.

 

and after the original Vapor Trails this was stunningly bad.

 

Mick

 

 

Basically, since I couldn't understand most of what Geddy was singing without the lyrics in front of me I couldn't follow the storyline. And since I couldn't follow the storyline the whole concept of the album was lost on me. And at that point my interest in continuing to listen goes down the drain rather quickly especially when some of the songs drone on two or three minutes longer than they really needed too. Take the title track for example: it starts off really well and builds up nicely but when it gets to that middle part where it sounds like Ged is singing through a cheap speakerphone a room away and even the most dedicated fan can't make out WTF he's saying, I hit the skip forward button. 

Which reminds me, it's been 10 years now and I've read the lyric sheet multiple times and I'm STILL completely unclear as to what exactly a "Clockwork Angel" is in context of the story:blink:

 

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