[Roadrunner; 2012]

Rush is back with their 19th studio album Clockwork Angels, and the blistering new single “Headlong Flight” sees the band bursting with a sense of renewed energy. One of the problems with their recent material is that the music would at times feel suffocating in all the distortion and layering. Vapor Trails suffered from ear piercingly hot production and Snakes & Arrows was weighed down by the heavy handed lyrics.

“Headlong Flight” steps away from this and is raw and stripped down, capturing the band’s incredible technical abilities instead of choking them out with weighty production. It would be easy to fall on cliches and say this sounds like old school Rush. It’s not, nor should it be. This sounds like Rush commanding their modern sound and letting loose. At over 7 min long, “Headlong Flight’s” movements flow with speed and aggression. Alex Lifeson really shines here as he rips through the track with his wonderful guitar work. While I would not call this prog, this is their most epic and ambitious song in years. Considering that Clockwork Angels is a concept album with lengthy tracks and string sections, I think we can expect the rest of the record to match “Headlong Flight” in its ambitious scope.

Whether you are a die hard fan or someone that is new to Rush, “Headlong Flight” is a completely kick ass rock tune. If you fall into the latter, Rush has one of the most expansive discographies in the history of the genre, and you should devour it as soon as possible. For fans, this is a great taste of Clockwork Angels, and another testament to why we still follow them obsessively.

Clockwork Angels is out June 12th via Roadrunner Records.