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Rush - Caress Of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.54 | 1190 ratings

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4 stars My favorite classic Rush album

Caress is an album which I ignored in my earlier years preferring the immediate gratification of later stuff. As I cycled back through the pre-Permanent Waves stuff again recently I realized how powerful Caress is. It's more fully realized than Fly by Night, just plain more interesting that 2112, and more emotional/less cerebral than Hemispheres. And it kicks ass. I can now understand why the band were so mystified when Caress bombed, if I made an album this good I'd be crushed as well to see it get panned. I do think it is the album that perhaps takes the longest to assimilate, I saw a fan write a forum quote that spoke to this: "You aren't given CoS. You earn CoS." Maybe.

What I love about the album is three-fold, the sound, the vibe, and the consistency. Regarding the sound Caress basks in this warm glow, very hard to describe but I find the feel of the drums and guitar in particular to be the most natural and pleasant they ever achieved. Geddy's voice is incredible here, heartfelt on the mellow stuff in Fountain while at the peak of his power on the crazy high stuff. Regarding the "vibe" and the fantasy themes one could call them a bit airy fairy I suppose, but I rather enjoy getting lost in these tales and the boys deliver it without apology, it's obvious to me they believe in the material. And it's damned consistent. You have the perfect opener in Bastille Day, their longtime concert favorite, followed by Bald which recalls the joy and fun of the debut, but both just slay me. Then you have a breather with Lakeside Park which is an odd Rush track, sentimental, somewhat out of place, but it works all the same. Last you have the double whammy of Necromancer and Fountain, 32 minutes of pure progressive hard rock beautifully balanced with serene acoustic sections of introspection. Sound effects, narration, blistering leads, cosmic banshee shrieks, Shire-like folk sections, and anthemic heavy overloads. What the hell is not to like here? I don't understand why it was panned at the time, nor do I understand low ratings now. While other Rush epics are more musically complex and rock harder, none have the same combination of mood, fantasy, and musically delivered thc contact-high as Caress. This is a nearly perfect musical experience that is sadly overlooked.

Oddly, despite ignoring the album for years myself it seems to appeal much more now than some of its chronological neighbors. The progression of musical themes and pure youthful energy are so invigorating. The ideas seem fresher than 2112 or Farewell To Kings, less forced than the mighty Hemispheres. No deductions for me, no weak spots, something I can't say with the others. This album for me is the true Rush early classic.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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