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Rush - Caress Of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.54 | 1205 ratings

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3 stars Here the focus shifts to epic fantasies, but is it a case of RUSH by-toring off more than they can chew? Both "The Necromancer" and the side-long "The Fountain of Lamneth" have their moments, even if the band hasn't quite figured out the best way to bridge their ideas into a single, cohesive whole. Is The Fountain's "Panacea" simply a standalone track like "Rivendell" encased in bookends, or a logical point along a continuous path? And does the dark narration between segments of The Necromancer constitute a clever plot device or a crutch? Fortunately, these questions are tangential to the task at hand, which is enjoying the good music that does appear on "Caress of Steel" (and there's plenty of that). The opening "Bastille Day" might be their most majestic moment yet, and the coolly delivered "Lakeside Park" is another positive sign of things to come. Separating sections of the longer works from their extended families yields similar highlights, including "Under The Shadow" (featuring a riff worthy of BLACK SABBATH) and "Bacchus Plateau." RUSH still hasn't found a way to spread the sounds of a bass/guitar/drum trio across prog rock's semi-classical structures, often leaning on ALEX LIFESON to "fill up" space by stretching chords into arpeggiated patterns of mesmerizing cloth, which approximates the sound of a keyboardist but often finds them short one lead guitarist. As a result, "Caress of Steel" sometimes feels like the work of two bands, half-committed to the music of BLACK SABBATH or LED ZEPPELIN while aspiring to the work of GENESIS. Like their next album (2112), this record may not achieve every thing it sets out to do, but ambition and conviction go a long way toward minimizing the potential downside. Also, any album that can overcome a lame track like "I Think I'm Going Bald" in its midst must be pretty damn good.
daveconn | 3/5 |


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