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Rush - Caress Of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.54 | 1205 ratings

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4 stars I am tempted to call this album a masterpiece based on the fact that, for me anyway, it holds some of the strongest moments Rush ever put on tape, which is saying a lot.

Anyway, it is kind of inconsistent depending on how one chooses to view it. There are short tracks and long tracks which have quite a different vibe to them, and there is a really weak track called "I think I'm Going Bald". I never understood what's so interesting about that song, interesting enough to place it among the other tracks that is. Because even though "Bastille Day" is also a basic rock tune spiked with some technical playing, it is far more rewarding, not only lyrically but also the general vibe.

The down-to-earth vibe of the first two songs then segues into a nostalgic vibe on "Lakeside Park", a very nice ballad with some fine lyrics and playing, even though Geddy refers to it as "a lousy song". Well... in this case I couldn't disagree more with Geddy, Lakeside Park is simply great.

After Lakeside, the album changes direction completely as it launches into two lengthy, progressive tracks. The first one, "The Necromancer" is very Tolkien-inspired and fantasy-esque in it's story. Sure there is a slight "amateur" vibe over the song, it feels as if they are trying something without being quite sure where the end result is going to be, but that's the charm with this song imo. There is a very youthful and dreamy vibe over it all, and there's some extremely nice playing on here as well, from the heavy drumming during the guitar solo to the poppy ending chord sequence. The story in itself is quite nice but fades in comparison with the album closer.

I cannot possibly even begin to describe how much "Fountain of Lamneth" means to me emotionally, the story might be one of the finest I have ever heard (only second to "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" I guess, but that's a discussion for another day), soaring way above 2112 and Cygnus X-1 Book II because of it's looseness, personality, surrealism and just plain more visionary approach. On this song Rush blend the youthful and adventurous with the serious, poetic vibe. In a way this song materializes what Peart is writing about in Cygnus X-1 Book II, the perfect blend of Dionysus and Apollo.

At first listen one could argue that even Fountain sounds a bit amateur-ish due to the fact that the different parts don't often segue into each other, rather they fade out and fade in. For me, the lyrics bind together the story well enough, as soon as I read through those a few times the fades never bothered me again. The story is, again, the most vivid I've heard from Rush and one of the best I've heard from any band, and analyzing it is not something I will try to do here, but imo that is the single most enjoyable thing about this album, trying to figure out what they are communication through this piece and how that reflects upon oneself. Listening to this song always feels like a revelation to me, it's a 5/5 to end all 5/5s.

In conclusion, this album is by far the most interesting Rush album I've heard, but really not the most consistent. It is a must for anyone who is spiritually alive I'd say, the absolute minimum being reading the lyrics for Fountain of Lamneth, it is an experience everyone should have in my opinion. In that sense, it is an essential album and deserves 5 stars, but when zooming out of "Fountain" (where I often get stuck in when talking about this album, as you've noticed by now) it isn't actually a masterpiece as a whole compared to say "Relayer" or "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". So in the end I'd go for that this album is an "excellent additon to any prog rock music collection". That is a statement I can truly support.

Josef_K | 4/5 |


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