A nine-piece string ensemble joins the group on the Clockwork material, as well as on a few older Rush chestnuts (“YYZ” and “Red Sector A”).

CD/DVD

Rush
Clockwork Angels Tour
Zoe Records/PGD

It’s easy to see why Rush doesn’t tour with an opening act. They need every minute to dig through their 30-plus-year catalog. Always the documentarians, for their latest live DVD/CD Rush culled a majority of the tracks from Clockwork Angels, but this time Canada’s favorite three-headed prog trio aren’t alone. A nine-piece string ensemble joins the group on the Clockwork material, as well as on a few older Rush chestnuts (“YYZ” and “Red Sector A”). To the die-hard Rush fan—is there any other kind?—the band’s setlist choices might signal a newfound acceptance of the more keyboard/synth-centric sounds from their mid-to-late-’80s catalog. The majority of the first set comes from some of the least guitar-friendly albums the band has made, but in the live setting Alex Lifeson’s guitar doesn’t get the shuttered treatment of the original studio versions. Although not as packed with hits as Rush’s previous live DVD, Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland, Clockwork strikes a balance that even new fans can appreciate.

Must-hear track: “The Big Money”

Multiple modulation modes and malleable voices cement a venerable pedal’s classic status.

Huge range of mellow to immersive modulation sounds. Easy to use. Stereo output. Useful input gain control.

Can sound thin compared to many analog chorus and flange classics.

$149

TC Electronic SCF Gold
tcelectronic.com

4.5
4
4.5
5

When you consider stompboxes that have achieved ubiquity and longevity, images of Tube Screamers, Big Muffs, or Boss’ DD series delays probably flash before your eyes. It’s less likely that TC Electronic’s Stereo Chorus Flanger comes to mind. But when you consider that its fundamental architecture has remained essentially unchanged since 1976 and that it has consistently satisfied persnickety tone hounds like Eric Johnson, it’s hard to not be dazzled by its staying power—or wonder what makes it such an indispensable staple for so many players.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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