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Rush - Caress of Steel CD (album) cover

CARESS OF STEEL

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

3.53 | 915 ratings

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Gorloche
3 stars Here is where we start seeing RUSH emerge from the shadow of their influences. The first half of this album is, unfortunately, rather lackluster. DREAM THEATER famously got their original name (MAJESTY) from MIKE PORTNOY describing the sound of the finale of "Bastille Day". When I bought this, I was essentially a DT fanboy, so I must have listened to that song probably five or six times within the first hour or two of owning the album. I absolutely could not hear it. It sounded too much like FLY BY NIGHT-era songwriting, little glimmers of the Rush we all know and love without the full assertiveness of their musical or songwriting prowess. The next two tracks fair no better; "I Think I'm Going Bald" is probably Rush's second worst song (After the miserable "Dog Years").

Just when I thought things were going terrible came "The Necromancer". I have to admit that my first brush with this song was as a cover DT did in probably the mid-90s. I thought it was one of theirs at first and it became one of my favorite tunes by them, but someone corrected me and told me that it was a cover by Rush, prompting my purchase of this album. And I say that it is in this song that Rush finally emerges. It has all the traits of a classic Rush epic, with shifting time signatures and tempos, difficult instrumental sections, a strident rock feel to it and great lyrics to boot, even featuring a return of By-Tor. This is one of Rush's best epics and is criminally overlooked, I feel.

Side 2 gets more play in discussion due to it being their first side-long epic but, as others before me have said, they really hadn't mastered the form of that kind of girth yet. Unlike "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" or even "The Necromancer", a track on the same album, "The Fountain of Lamneth" does not feature sections that actually link together. It is not that linking sections sound impossible to be crafted, simply that they weren't. Instead, we get an annoying fade-out/fade-in between each and every section. That aside, the individual sections aren't even that great, feeling like four stronger short tunes and a lackluster drum solo. However, it must be said that these short sections are all individually better than any of the short tracks on this album. So, the epic is a step forward, even if not a great one.

Three-stars. If nothing else, check out "The Necromancer".

Gorloche | 3/5 |

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