Clockwork Angels

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Clockwork Angels
Rush Clockwork Angels artwork.png
Studio album by Rush
ReleasedJune 8, 2012 (Australia)[1]
June 12, 2012 (US and Canada)
June 13, 2012 (Europe)
RecordedApril 2010, Blackbird Studio, Nashville, Tennessee; October–December 2011, Revolution Recording, Toronto, Ontario
LabelAnthem (Canada), Roadrunner[2]
ProducerRush, Nick Raskulinecz
Rush chronology
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
Clockwork Angels
Clockwork Angels Tour
Singles from Clockwork Angels
  1. "Caravan/BU2B"
    Released: June 1, 2010
  2. "Headlong Flight"
    Released: April 19, 2012
  3. "The Wreckers"
    Released: July 25, 2012
  4. "The Anarchist"
    Released: February 20, 2013
  5. "The Garden"
    Released: April 20, 2013

Clockwork Angels is the 19th and final studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released on June 12, 2012. The album was recorded in April 2010 at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee and from October to December 2011 at Revolution Recording in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[3]

Two songs that would eventually appear on the album, "Caravan" and "BU2B", were released to radio stations and made available as a digital download on June 1, 2010.[4] Following the release of these two songs, the band embarked on the Time Machine Tour, with "Caravan" and "BU2B" included in the set list. Clockwork Angels was completed following this tour. The album's second single, titled "Headlong Flight", was released on April 19, 2012. The album's third single, "The Wreckers", was released on July 25, 2012. On February 20, 2013, "The Anarchist" was released as the fourth and final single. A 10" picture disc version of the song "The Garden" was released as part of the 2013 Record Store Day Black Friday sale, limited to 3,000 copies. It is also the band's last full-length studio album before their retirement in 2018.

The album debuted at No. 1 in Canada and at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.[5][6] The album won the award for Rock Album of the Year at the 2013 Juno Awards.[7]


One of the earliest indications that the band would begin working on new studio material came from an interview with guitarist Alex Lifeson in February 2009. At this time he speculated that Nick Raskulinecz, who worked with the band on their previous album Snakes & Arrows, would be invited to return as co-producer. At the same time, he denied that the band would create a "concept album".[8]

On March 19, 2010, the CBC posted a video interview with bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and Lifeson, which contained the first definitive announcement by the members of Rush. At the time, Lee said "Just about a month and a half ago we had no songs. And now we've been writing and now we've got about six songs that we just love ..."[9] On March 26, 2010, in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Lifeson reconfirmed that the band had already written a half-dozen songs and that there was the potential for two supporting tours, one planned for Summer 2010 and a more extensive tour planned for Summer 2011. While still uncertain of exactly how and when the new material would be released, at the time he projected a tentative Spring 2011 release date.[10] By late March 2010, drummer and lyricist Neil Peart confirmed that American producer Nick Raskulinecz had returned as co-producer.[11]

In April 2010, Rush entered Blackbird Studios in Nashville with Raskulinecz to record the songs "Caravan" and "BU2B" with mixing done by record engineer Richard Chycki at the Sound Kitchen in Franklin, Tennessee.[4] The single "Caravan" was released June 1 to radio stations and made available for digital download at this time along with "BU2B".[4] On April 8, both the official Rush website and PR Newswire announced that the band would embark on the Time Machine Tour, confirming Lifeson's earlier predictions from March. The first leg of the tour began on June 29 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and finished October 17 in Santiago, Chile at the National stadium. Both "Caravan" and "BU2B" were featured on the tour.[12]

In late August 2010, Lifeson had remarked at the time that the album was turning out to be very musically diverse. In particular, Lifeson referred to the nearly finished title track "Clockwork Angels" as an "epic song" and a "multi-parted piece". He described it as "very dynamic".[13] Peart said of the still in-work album in May 2011, "I intend it to be my highest achievement lyrically and drumming wise."[14]

It was suggested that Rush would return to the studio after the completion of the tour with plans to release Clockwork Angels in 2011.[15] However, in a January 2011 interview with Guitarist Magazine, Lifeson indicated that the band was extending the tour and that the release of the album would be delayed.[16] The second leg began on March 30, 2011 in Fort Lauderdale and came to an end on July 2, 2011 in George, Washington.[17] Confirmed by an announcement from Richard Chycki via Twitter on December 20, 2011, Rush finished recording Clockwork Angels in Toronto.[18] The album's second official single, "Headlong Flight", was released to radio stations and for online streaming on April 19.

On his personal website, Neil Peart revealed that he took a new approach in writing and recording his drum tracks for the album: "I played through each song just a few times on my own, checking out patterns and fills that might work, then called in Booujzhe. He stood in the room with me, facing my drums, with a music stand and a single drumstick—he was my conductor, and I was his orchestra ... I would attack the drums, responding to his enthusiasm, and his suggestions between takes, and together we would hammer out the basic architecture of the part. His baton would conduct me into choruses, half-time bridges, and double-time outros and so on—so I didn't have to worry about their durations. No counting, and no endless repetition."[19]


Clockwork Angels contains string arrangements composed of six violins and two cellos. Brad Madix stated when working the strings in the album: "I'd worked with strings in the past, but it was always either in a very quiet setting with minimal sound reinforcement or the violins were strictly electric. On Rush's Clockwork Angels Tour, the band definitely meant for the strings to be featured and acoustic."[20]


On February 9, 2012, science fiction novelist Kevin J. Anderson, a long time friend of Neil Peart, announced that he would be writing a novelization of Clockwork Angels. He also revealed information about the album's concept:[21]

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.

Released on September 4, 2012, the novel was followed by a loose sequel titled Clockwork Lives, which was published on September 15, 2015.


The album's cover depicts a clock marked with alchemical symbols instead of numbers. It displays the time as 9:12 (21:12 in 24-hour time),[22] in reference to the band's 2112 album and its title suite. The cover art was illustrated by graphics artist and long-time Rush collaborator Hugh Syme.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[24]
The Austin Chronicle2/5 stars[25]
The A.V. ClubA-[26][32]
Consequence of Sound4/5 stars[27]
The Guardian4/5 stars[33]
Metal Hammer7/7 stars[31]
Now4/5 stars[28]
PopMatters7/10 stars[29]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[30]

Clockwork Angels was released in Australia on June 8,[1] and to the United States and Canada on June 12. British magazine Classic Rock released a "fanpack", which includes the full CD, as well as a 132-page magazine that forms the 'ultimate sleevenotes' to the album on June 11.[34]

The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 103,000 units the first week.[35][36] In Canada, the album debuted at No. 1 with sales of 20,000 units.[37] The UK Classic Rock fanpack was ineligible to chart, but had it been eligible, the album would have debuted at No. 1.[38] As more people bought the fanpack than the album alone, the latter debuted at No. 76 in the UK.[39]

Clockwork Angels holds a score of 74 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 14 reviews, which indicates "generally favourable reviews".[23] Classic Rock scored the album a 9/10 and called it Rush's best release in 30 years.[40] Jamie Thompson of The Guardian wrote in his review that "those who worship at the temple of Rush will be in raptures; for those who remain agnostic, there may well be enough here to justify a leap of faith."[33] Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles editor-in-chief Martin Popoff gave the album a perfect 10/10 and said of it, "one can't deny that there's more purpose and focus here than on any Rush album ever".[41]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Neil Peart[42]; all music composed by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.

3."Clockwork Angels"7:31
4."The Anarchist"6:52
6."Halo Effect"3:14
7."Seven Cities of Gold"6:32
8."The Wreckers"5:01
9."Headlong Flight"7:19
11."Wish Them Well"5:25
12."The Garden"6:59
Total length:1:06:03



Additional musicians[edit]



"Caravan/BU2B" 5:40/4:21
  • Released: June 1, 2010
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush & Nick Raskulinecz
  • Chart positions: #2 Bubbling Under Hot 100; #38 US Mainstream Rock/#19 US Bubbling Under Hot 100
"Headlong Flight" 7:20 (5:08 (Radio edit))
  • Released: April 19, 2012
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush & Nick Raskulinecz
  • Chart positions: #5 US Mainstream Rock
"The Wreckers" 5:01
  • Released: July 25, 2012
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush & Nick Raskulinecz
  • Chart positions: #38 US Mainstream Rock
"The Anarchist"
  • Released: February 20, 2013
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush & Nick Raskulinecz
  • Chart Positions:


Chart (2012) Peak
Billboard 200[35] 2
Canadian Albums Chart[37] 1
UK Albums Chart[39] 21
Finnish Albums Chart[37] 4
Hungarian Albums Chart[43] 32
Swiss Albums Chart[37] 21
German Albums Chart[37] 11
Swedish Albums Chart[37] 8


  1. ^ a b "JB-Hifi Pre-Order". Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  2. ^ "RUSH Ink Deal With Roadrunner US; Live Album, Clockwork Angels To Follow". News. Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  3. ^ Greenwald, David (11 April 2012). "Rush's 'Clockwork Angels' Hits June 12". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Rush Unveils New Music; Legendary Rock Band Return With New Single "Caravan" Plus Additional Track "BU2B" From Upcoming 20th Studio Album; Both Songs to Be Performed Live on "Time Machine Tour"; "Caravan" to Be Available at All DSPs on June 1st; "CLOCKWORK ANGELS" Set for Release in 2011". Marketwire. 25 May 2010. Archived from the original on 1 August 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
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  9. ^ "The CBC interview with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson". CBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  10. ^ Bradshaw, James (27 March 2010). "Rush's Alex Lifeson on doing what he loves". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  11. ^ Stevenson, Jane (26 March 2010). "Rush-ing into Songwriters Hall". Jam!. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Rush Time Machine North American Tour 2010 Featuring for the First Time Ever Moving Pictures in its Entirety". PR Newswire. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  13. ^ "RUSH Guitarist Talks Upcoming Album, Current Tour". 25 August 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  14. ^ "Interview excerpts: Neil Peart (Rush) Classic Rock's Prog Magazine". 5 May 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  15. ^ "RUSH - New Album Title Revealed; Clockwork Angels Due In 2011". News. Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. 25 May 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  16. ^ Laing, Rob (10 January 2011). "Interview: Alex Lifeson (Rush) Guitarist Magazine". MusicRadar. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  17. ^ "Rush - HOME". Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  18. ^ Wardlaw, Matt (27 December 2011). "Rush Complete Recording Of 'Clockwork Angels'". Ultimate Classic Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  19. ^ Peart, Neil (January 2012). "At the Gate of the Year". NEWS, WEATHER, and SPORTS. Neil Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  20. ^ FOH Engineer Brad Madix Uses Radial PZ-DI On Tour with Rush. Mix Online. April 24, 2013. Accessed from May 4, 2013.
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  23. ^ a b "Clockwork Angels Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  24. ^ Jurek, Thom. Clockwork Angels - Rush at AllMusic. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  25. ^ Hernandez, Raoul (10 August 2012). "Rush: Clockwork Angels (Roadrunner)". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
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  28. ^ Boles, Benjamin (June 14–21, 2012). "Rush - Clockwork Angels". Now. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  29. ^ Ezell, Brice (21 June 2012). "Rush: Clockwork Angels". PopMatters. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  30. ^ Dolan, Jon (18 June 2012). "Clockwork Angels". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
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  43. ^ "MAHASZ – Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége". Retrieved 2012-06-21.