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Rush - Caress Of Steel CD (album) cover

CARESS OF STEEL

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

3.54 | 1205 ratings

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ster
4 stars 3 and a half stars rounded up to 4.

Caress Of Steel has always been that controversial album in Rush's early catalog. This was Rush's "self indulgent" album or more accurately the album that took them from hard rockers to successful fusers of hard rock and prog. The transition didn't happen overnight and COS shows this transition. This would be the first record, from here on out, that Neil would handle the bulk?if not all of the lyrics. Rush pulled out all of the stops on COS. Determined to display their Yes and Genesis influences, they produced a somewhat uneven album riddled with some ideas that didn't age very well and a side long epic that just misses the mark. The dark and gloomy cover depicts the music perfectly even though the color wasn't what the band intended.

But COS is still a very good record nonetheless.

Bastille Day kicks this album off with a classic hard rocker about the French revolution. They nailed it with this tune. One of their best.

I Think I'm Going Bald. Goofy title that turns out to be a nice introspective on aging. A hard rocker that would have benefitted from better production. To me the lyrics save this one in a big way. I heard a Rush tribute band play this tune and it sounded killer. This recording just lacks balls.

Lakeside Park. Another Rush classic that reminisces about Neil Peart's youth on Victoria day at a lakeside amusement park he used to go to as a kid. Amazing melodic guitar work that sounds to me like a cross between Roye Albrighton and Steve Hackett. A wonderfully crafted song.

The Necromancer. Rush's 1st attempt at a serious epic. Starts off with some spoken word narration which was a decent twist but sounds very dated now. A short story of 3 travelers who were captured by an evil necromancer and then were saved by Prince By-Tor. A fun song with some great melodies and some very hard rock that ultimately fails. Not their best work conceptually but they created some great instrumental atmospheres and you can see where their chops and dynamics are taking shape.

The Fountain Of Lamneth is their first side long epic. Here Rush attempts to make a story that 20 minutes would not be enough time to give it the quality it might deserve. They still do a pretty good job of telling the story of a man's desperate attempt to reach his goal by rejecting conventional wisdom and ultimately finding out that the end wasn't as wonderful as he thought. There is some great music here and the epic is bookended nicely but not all of the parts are great and the story is rushed (!). The album Clockwork Angels will take this basic idea much further. Still some great melodic guitar work, drums and passionate vocals are to found.

My biggest complaint about this record is the production. Rush were establishing themselves as a very hard rock band with their first 2 albums. COS sounds softer, more subdued even during the harder parts. It lacks bite but somehow, in retrospect, serves this record in a strange way, making it darker and gloomier?giving this album a character of its own. This production and the coherent storytelling will be seriously rectified on their next release.

ster | 4/5 |

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