The whole "concept album" thing seems mostly wasted to me. If it wasn't for repeated references to Angels and Watchmakers in the lyrics it would barely feel like any more of a concept album than S&A or VT.
After my preliminary listens I feel that it's a bit weaker than S&A, but still pretty solid. Nothing bad but there aren't many huge highlights either, aside from Headlong Flight which is far and away the best song IMO. The Garden is a curious left turn for them, they've never really done a song like that before and I'm not totally convinced it works yet. I feel a lot of the songs don't do enough to distinguish themselves from one another, but that may just be because I've only heard this album 2 times so far. The Wreckers has a chorus which heavily reminds me of Armour and Sword's chorus, though maybe that's just me. The added into to BU2B and it's reprise are total filler. I really wish they had left room for an instrumental or two, Rush albums are always better with instrumentals. It wasn't as progressive as I was hoping considering the return to somewhat lengthier running times. I do appreciate the production, which sounds really live and energetic. This is their first album in a long long time to actually sound like there are three guys playing together live. My judgement is still out but right now I'm in the B- range, with definite room for change in that rating since I haven't made up my mind about a lot of the songs yet.
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