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Rush - Caress Of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.54 | 1205 ratings

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3 stars Things were changing in the Rush camp. After two albums of solid Heavy Rock, Rush were now starting to experiment more and venturing into their more Fantasy based Prog period. First signs of this could be seen on the previous Fly by Night album with By-Tor and the Snow Dog but on Caress of Steel they went all the way.

Fans on listening to the album for the first time would think nothing much had changed with opener Bastille Day which is a straightforward slice of Heavy Rock which would have fitted in nicely on the previous albums and very good it is too. I Think I'm Going Bald is a bit of fun but it's okay and Rocks along well enough. The more laid back Lakeside Park is a lovely track, lyrics of course by Neil Peart written about a place he used to work.

It's the final two tracks that mark the real change into Prog territory though. The Necromancer, at twelve minutes and The Fountain of Lamneth, which at nineteen minutes took up the whole of side two of the original vinyl version. In hindsight the band looked on this album as a bit of a failure due to these two pieces and it's true that this is far from Rush's best. However, they do have a certain charm and are very good in places.

The Necromancer is divided into three parts starting off quietly and underwhelmingly with Into the Darkness. The use of narration with a silly voice is a little naff but hey, this was the seventies. Things pick up a bit with Under the Shadow which is mainly instrumental and has a fine Guitar solo from Alex Lifeson and features some fluent playing from the entire band. The track finishes with Return of the Prince which is pleasantly melodic with a riff reminiscent of The Who's Baba O' Riley.

The Fountain of Lamneth is divided into six parts starting off acoustically on In the Valley before the band power in. Didacts and Narpets is only one minute long mainly dominated by a short Peart Drum solo which is followed by No One at the Bridge which is more pleasing with a haunting guitar refrain from Lifeson. We're back into acoustic territory with Panacea which is pleasant enough without being stunning which leads into Bacchus Plateau which is basically straightforward Heavy Rock. The Fountain closes the piece which revisits where the track started with In the Valley. Where the track could have been improved would have been to make the parts flow more seamlessly from one section to the next rather than just pausing for a second or so; though perhaps this is the way they wanted it.

Overall then, a good album showing Rush finding their Prog feet and an important stepping stone for what was to come next with 2112.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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