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Rush - Caress Of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.54 | 1205 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars By this point in their musical career, Rush was beginning to find their own unique voice. They were still clinging onto the blues-rock of the past, imitating many greats of the time, but it was pushing the envelope in several ways. One noticeable aspect of this album are the two lengthy tracks, a direction Rush would take for a few more amazing albums before contenting themselves to shorter fare indefinitely. Why this album is so maligned I do not know. Surely it is not as strong as what the band would do in the future, but for a fledgling Canadian trio, this is a step in best direction.

"Bastille Day" Heavy riffs with a solid low end and stupendous drumming from Neil Peart make up this excellent first track. Singing about a major event of the French revolution, Geddy Lee's voice shrieks and squeals, and Alex Lifeson's guitar is good and crunchy. The arrangement is a good one, particularly toward the end.

"I Think I'm Going Bald" A throwback to the blues-rock music Rush began with, this is a real weak point on this album. It tries to wax philosophical about aging, but comes across as goofy. Lee's vocals are at their worst here, screeching and sounding like a harpy as he does. Lifeson's lead guitar tone sounds just as bad.

"Lakeside Park" Here is a good standard rock song, nothing flashy and nothing ornate, but still solid. The acoustic guitar adds a much needed layer to what is otherwise very thin music. It's a more laidback track, simple in terms of composition, and so it's easy to follow and enjoy.

"The Necromancer" The opening narrative, spoken through a deepening effect, doesn't come across as silly as it might have. It does set the tone for a lengthy and Pink Floyd- like song. I can honestly hear David Gilmour and Roger Waters singing over this music (Animals and Dark Side of the Moon come to mind). In that respect, Lee's vocals seem unbecoming, but not terrible at all. After a second narrative bit, Lee shrieks over alternating stark emptiness and heavy blows from the band. The guitar solo erupts over one of Lee's most graceful bass lines ever- it is no doubt a highlight. A riff during the second half, especially with the subsequent soft clean guitar music, reminds me of "Heart of the Sunrise" by Yes. The acoustic music that follows is a victorious change from the heavier, darker music of before.

"The Fountain of Lamneth" Lifeson's gentle acoustic guitar with Lee's likewise soft-spoken singing begins this beautiful epic track. The main riff that comes next is one of the best parts of this work. Peart flies off the handle with a drum solo punctuated by strange vocals and guitar blasts. It's definitely one of Rush's stranger moments. The next bit that fades in is very similar to the "Nimrodel" introduction from Camel. Lee's vocals are at their most astringent, however. In the next part, Lifeson treats listeners to a pleasing classical guitar with electric guitar swells and Lee singing in a heartfelt way. After that, there's some heavier music (nothing particularly spectacular by this point but good nonetheless). Wonderfully, Rush returns to the main riff of the song, completely with the light, almost jazzy vocal section. The piecemeal song ends as it began, with gorgeous acoustic guitar, yet with one concluding swell.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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