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Rush - Caress Of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.54 | 1205 ratings

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2 stars My opinion of CARESS OF STEEL has changed quite dramatically over the years. It went from an underrated slice of Rush to agreeing with the general consensus on this record. After testing out how prog rock worked in Rush under ''By-Tor'', Rush went full blown prog on CARESS OF STEEL in the hopes of scaling the heights that Genesis and Yes have done previously.

The bait of CARESS OF STEEL is the two major epics that take up the bulk of the album. Of the two, the sidelong monster ''Fountain of Lamneth'' is the weaker of the two. The piece sounds like it wants to be very Genesis, but is trying to back off at the last minute. The trouble is this backfires on the band anyway, mostly because the music is much mellower than what the band has tried. It's not that Rush had trouble writing softer material (they got better at it over time; hear ''Different Strings'' off PERMANENT WAVES), it's that ''Fountain of Lamneth'' is a tiring, exhausting listen (and for a second less than twenty minutes), and it doesn't help that the music sounds like it was rejected from Ken Burns's Civil War documentary series. ''Didacts and Narpets'' is the only saving grace of the epic for it being so goofy and out of place within context.

The other epic here is ''The Necromancer'', an epic with references to Lord of the Rings (cliché) as well as Rush's previous epic ''By-Tor and the Snow Dog''. The piece sounds much more like Rush as a hard rock/prog rock hybrid, yet ''The Necromancer'' is not a cohesive epic. It sounds like three unrelated pieces linked as one giant track very weakly; the announcing in the segues (whoever is doing it) is laughable, and it's very poor in trying to tie the music themes together.

Even Rush attempting their failsafe music (at this point), hard rock with prog spicing, doesn't convince simply because they sound like they're running out of ideas on what to do with the shorter tracks. ''Lakeside Park'' works the best here even if the chorus is forgettable, but the pangs of prog are strong here. I just got sick of ''Bastille Day'' (and the chorus is getting more dreadful each listen or thought there of) the same way I got sick of ''Passage to Bangkok''. As for the bald song, the humour would have worked better in KISS or Alice Cooper.

This album certainly has lost its lustre over the years. I can give credit to Rush for trying to go full throttle on the prog, but the music lacks the dynamics that their later works have exuded to the point where CARESS OF STEEL is merely a historical document.

Sinusoid | 2/5 |


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