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CARESS OF STEEL

Rush

Heavy Prog


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Rush Caress of Steel album cover
3.53 | 899 ratings | 132 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1
1. Bastille Day (4:36)
2. I think I'm Going Bald (3:35)
3. Lakeside Park (4:07)
4. The Necromancer: 12:30
I) Into the Darkness (4:20)
II) Under the Shadow (4:25)
III) Return of the Prince (3:51)

Side 2
5. The Fountain of Lamneth: 19:50
I) In the Valley (4:17)
II) Didacts and Narpets (1:00)
III) No One at the Bridge (4:15)
IV) Panacea (3:12)
V) Bacchus Plateau (3:12)
VI) The Fountain (3:48)

Total Time: 44:38

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Geddy Lee / bass, vocals
- Alex Lifeson / guitars
- Neil Peart / drums, percussion

Releases information

LP Anthem ANR 1603 (Canada) (1975)
CD Anthem Entertainment WANK-1003 (Canada) (1989)
CD (RM) Mercury, Anthem Entertainment 534 625-2 (UK & Europe) (June 5, 1997)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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RUSH Caress of Steel ratings distribution


3.53
(899 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

RUSH Caress of Steel reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
2 stars 2,5 stars really!!!

Rush trying to do their future classic music . Did not really get this one right, as this is sometimes sloppy . This has the markings of a band still learning their trade .

Two tracks hold the proghead's attention: The Necromancer is really dark but leaves me rather cold and Fountain of Lamneth, which is just a little pretentious only because they are trying too hard , too quick and too early. The rest of the tracks are normal early Rush tracks that you will find from their debut up to 2112. Lakeside Park is one of those many Toronto parks where the partying was simply great. Bastille Day was a concert favorite.

My rating must seem really low, but as a early Rush fan, I thought this was fantastic but with age creeping up on me, this album has obviously not aged as well as I have!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#20301) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Review by chessman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The first Rush release I bought, way back in '75. The sound and production is not the best, even on the cd. (I don't have the remaster, but it has to be better!) Musically, it is far superior to Fly By Night, but that isn't a hard thing to achieve! (See my review for that one!) The Necromancer is tremendous, very dark and disturbing, as is The Fountain of Lamneth. The best short song here, unnoticed by many, is - I Think I'm Going Bald. The guitar work is very impressive here, especially at the end, and the whole song is a refreshing change from bogged down 'serious' lyrics. For me, Bastille Day and Lakeside Park are only average, but the album as a whole is worth adding to your collection. But take a chance on the remastered version, it has to be an improvement!

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Send comments to chessman (BETA) | Report this review (#20294) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 26, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the darkest of the RUSH albums. After the dynamic and lively "Fly By Night", it is surprising that they produced a so dark album. No keyboards! This album has varied songs, sometimes smooth and relaxing ("Panacea"), sometimes hard rock ("Bastille Day"), sometimes fast, progressive and experimental ("Necromancer"). The guitar is absolutely outstanding! How many different guitar sounds one can really appreciate here! The sound is pretty good too!

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#20296) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Here the focus shifts to epic fantasies, but is it a case of RUSH by-toring off more than they can chew? Both "The Necromancer" and the side-long "The Fountain of Lamneth" have their moments, even if the band hasn't quite figured out the best way to bridge their ideas into a single, cohesive whole. Is The Fountain's "Panacea" simply a standalone track like "Rivendell" encased in bookends, or a logical point along a continuous path? And does the dark narration between segments of The Necromancer constitute a clever plot device or a crutch? Fortunately, these questions are tangential to the task at hand, which is enjoying the good music that does appear on "Caress of Steel" (and there's plenty of that). The opening "Bastille Day" might be their most majestic moment yet, and the coolly delivered "Lakeside Park" is another positive sign of things to come. Separating sections of the longer works from their extended families yields similar highlights, including "Under The Shadow" (featuring a riff worthy of BLACK SABBATH) and "Bacchus Plateau." RUSH still hasn't found a way to spread the sounds of a bass/guitar/drum trio across prog rock's semi-classical structures, often leaning on ALEX LIFESON to "fill up" space by stretching chords into arpeggiated patterns of mesmerizing cloth, which approximates the sound of a keyboardist but often finds them short one lead guitarist. As a result, "Caress of Steel" sometimes feels like the work of two bands, half-committed to the music of BLACK SABBATH or LED ZEPPELIN while aspiring to the work of GENESIS. Like their next album (2112), this record may not achieve every thing it sets out to do, but ambition and conviction go a long way toward minimizing the potential downside. Also, any album that can overcome a lame track like "I Think I'm Going Bald" in its midst must be pretty damn good.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#20310) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 03, 2004

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Bastile Day" singlehandledly brought awareness of this tragically under-celebrated holiday to legions of hard rock fans across the world, and as a song it's notably hard and relatively adventurous for 1975 rock. "I Think I'm Going Bald" is funny the first time, and possibly thoughtful upon repeated listenings (same theme as CSN's "Almost Cut My Hair", really), but apart from some good guitar work is relatively forgettable. "Lakeside Park", however, is really quite good- a flowing and vivid feel that can take you on a ride. While the longer pieces don't really work yet, "The Necomancer" is more fleshed-out than "By-Tor" was, and "The Fountain of Lamneth" takes the progression even further, preparing us and the band for what was to come on the next album. They are refining their style and their chops here- it makes a more satisfying album than "Fly By Night" but the meal won't be quite ready to eat until "2112".

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#20314) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 27, 2004

Review by Blacksword
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Its a great moment when you hear your favourite artist striving to reach greater heights in their creativity. COS was that moment for Rush, and although I didn't discover all the Rush albums in order its always a pleasure to listern to listern to COS immediately after 'Fly by night'. Fans tend to rate 'FBN higher, but I disagree. COS has 'The Necromancer' and 'The fountain of Lamneth' Two very strong conceptual tracks that form the blueprints for the bands future legthy works. The tracks I tend to avoid on this, their 'difficult' third album, are 'Bastille Day' - although most Rush fans seem to regard this as an anthem - and 'I think I'm going bald' 'Lakeside Park' is a pleasant 'ditty' with a fairly personal and reminiscent lyric, but little more.

I give this album 4 stars for 'The Necromancer' and 'TFOL' and the heady mixture of sensitivity and drama that make them. The musicianship on FBN was good enough to be getting on with, but Rush make a leap on COS, and in some ways the playing is 'cleaner' than on 'A farewll to Kings' which came out two years later. The production too is 'clean' allowing the woody organic sound of Neil Pearts drums to come through. The album has a natural and rather laid back feel to it that appeals to mea great deal, and is a sharp contrast to the screaming rock 'n' roll of FBN. A fine album!

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Send comments to Blacksword (BETA) | Report this review (#20319) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 03, 2004

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I found this as an interesting album, including both good and some very bad moments. The shorter tracks I'm fond of here are the "Bastille Day" and "Lakeside Park", but "I Think I'm Going Bald" is a quite terrible joke rock song I fear. The longer epics have good parts in them, but the compositions seem to be done in a haste, and there are some poor parts included too. If you like 70's hard rock and structured epics, this might be a worthy album to check out! Warning: Some very high an mighty heavy screaming vocals of the 70's included!

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#20330) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 01, 2005

Review by Philo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars his is the point in Rush albums where they were defining the sound that they would be known for throughout the seventies with more involved lyrics from drummer Neil Peart. A more hard edged guitar sound that would be more complete on the next one 2112, but compared with previous efforts A Caress Of Steel is more in line with how they would be perceived with a progressive like influence, although subtle as that may be, but it is still a worthy album that has taken a lot of stick from time to time. Personally it's my favorite Rush album and "Lake side Park" is one of the better songs from any Rush period, a song with memories of youth and drinking and simply hanging out with friends. The song is nicely juxtaposed with electric and acoustic guitar parts, something the band would work with on a few occasions if only to stamp an emotion on a song and it works a treat here with all the poignancy of the song. Some of the longer pieces are a bit experimental and lyrically can be a bit dumb but they are still listenable and surprizingly tight and even mesmeric at intervals, especially with the candid piece "Panacea" as the B side roll toward the end. All around A Caress Of Steel has a nice quality and a warm and fresh Terry Brown production.

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Send comments to Philo (BETA) | Report this review (#20332) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 09, 2005

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This Rush album is the beginning of a long trend in their output of albums. It is the start of what some like to call their Progressive Era. I, for one, like to think of it as a warm up to 2112, for the two epics aren't fully fleshed out and are a bit abstract. Musically, this album is at a time when Rush were trying to expand their horizons, and many different tones and moods are heard. There's the heavy anthem of the album in Bastille Day, the bluesy rocker I Think I'm Going Bald, the soft modulated guitar tones on Lakeside Park, the quiet and somber tones of the Necromancer, and the alternating phased and acoustic sounds of The Fountain of Lamneth. All the right ingredients are there, but why was this album so unpopular when it came out? Frankly, I think it's because they took an unexpected turn and their fan base didn't like it.

Anyway, back to the music. The album opens with the rough and heavy Bastille Day. The drumming and bass on this track are well done, as well as the crunchy tone of Lifeson's guitar. Add in a bluesy, heavy guitar solo, and you have a masterpiece from Rush. The lyrics bring up images of a kingdom under fire, and the guillotine claiming the lives of many.

The next track, the weakest track on the album, I Think I'm Going Bald is more of a joke lyrically than anything else. The music also feels like a rehash of something from their first album, and the solo sounds similar to the one in Bastille Day, the weakest song on the album.

The final of the contemporary tracks, Lakeside Park, is a journey into the past of Neil Peart. With a introduction drum roll, the bluesy guitar shines throughout the vesres, and the clean and soft guitar shines through the choruses. This is one of my favorite Rush songs, mainly because of the modulations Alex Lifeson uses on his guitar, they are phenomenal.

The first of the epics, The Necromancer, is an abstract piece. Beginning with a very deep narrorator (Terry Brown I believe), he tells of a tale of three travellers who are greeted by misfortune when a necromancer takes them into the shadow. The music starts off quietly, with volume swells off of Lifeson's guitar. The ending is full of rejoice when old character Prince By-Tor comes and saves the day (unlike in the song off of Fly by Night, where By- Tor is the evil one). The music is rich and very well done.

The final track, The Fountain of Lamneth, is also a very abstract piece. Musically speaking, this was the most ambitious piece Rush had done to date. The riffing by Lifeson is very similar to what was going to be one of his staples later in Rush's career. It begins quietly, with acoustic guitars from Lifeson. Then one of the main riffs comes in, and it is the most memorable things on the album. It's a very rocking section that takes you straight into Didacts and Narpets. This section is a one minute drum solo from Peart and has only one line of lyric, "LISTEN!!!". The next part, No one at the Bridge, is easily the best riff Lifeson had come up with to date. The rest of the track is masterful, and it truly is one of the great Rush epics.

Overall, this is a great album. Not the best Rush album, but it has many likable qualities to it. The epics, while musically strong, are very abstract. It seemed like this album was the Prequel to 2112. Very solid effort by a very creative group. 4.5/5

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#37165) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Through this third studio album Rush had proved their existence as an excellent rock band with some exploration into more progressive style by creating a long duration epic with approximately 20 minute long of music. It's actually not the song duration that matters it's more on how diverse the music has changed from traditional mainstream rock music. And for this reason only, the band has proved even through its opening track "Bastille Day" (4:36) here I can sense that Alex Lifeson's guitar riffs are completely different with hard rock style. "I think I'm Going Bald" (3:35) is still dominated by heavy guitar riffs with excellent guitar solo. "Lakeside Park" (4:07) is an excellent track combining excellent acoustic guitar work, solid bass lines, good vocals and dynamic drumming. "The Necromancer" 12:30 is an epic that comprises three parts: I. Into the Darkness (4:20), II. Under the shadow (4:25), III. Return of the prince (3:51). The first part is ambient in nature and it has strong influence from blues. It's a very melodic part especially when it's combined with Geddy Lee's voice. At the end of first part there is a narration by a male voice followed with drum solo and guitar riffs that remark the music entrance into second part. The guitar solo is truly stunning. The music turns into a relatively complex arrangements followed with a sudden break to indicate the part 3.

The concluding track of this album is an almost 20 minute long epic "The Fountain of Lamneth" (19:50) that comprises 6 parts: I. In the valley (4:17), II. Dialects and narpets (1:00), III. No one at the bridge (4:15), IV. Panacea (3:12), V. Bacchus plateau (3:12)., and VI. The fountain (3:48). Even though the basic music is hard rock but this epic has demonstrated that Rush, since this album, embarked their musical journey into progressive style. This epic proves well on this. It perfectly combines rock and blues with good composition.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. If you are die-hard fan of Rush, owning this album is a must, I think. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Saturday, August 06, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album was almost Rush their swansong! Everything went wrong with the band, including the cover art because the chemical process turned it into too dark. The music can be devided into archetypical rock songs, progressive hardrock compositions ans tracks that are their time ahead featuring great experimental ideas. Instead of disbanding, Rush took their time and convinced everybody (including the worried record company, the fans and the musical press) with the innovative and acclaimed successor "2112". So "Caress of steel" was a kind of therapeutical experience!

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Posted Saturday, August 06, 2005

Review by slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I can't tell you how much I love this album. But I'll try anyway.

'Caress Of Steel' isn't very well-liked by many of the band's fans, and even the members of Rush generally dismiss it. I've never understood that. It's a bridge to the even better '2112', and the progression from 'Fly By Night' (released earlier that same year) is remarkable. It may be a transitional album, but what a fascinating listen.

Clearly there's a desire to stretch boundaries wider than ever, evidenced by the band's first side-long track, "The Fountain Of Lamneth". As quoted in Martin Popoff's 'Contents Under Pressure' book, Geddy admits that Rush was "influenced by Yes, Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator, Gentle Giant and ELP" at this time. "The Fountain Of Lamneth" is a clear nod to their prog influences, an epic in six parts. It carries a lot of sadness, a grey melancholy heightened by the dry recording. It also features some of Neil Peart's best drumming up to that point (especially in first part "In The Valley"). And second part "Didacts And Narpets" offers some of the weirdest Rush ever. The different parts don't always link together seamlessly, but the individual pieces are all engaging.

It's interesting to note that keyboards hadn't yet come into the band's arsenal, so much of the progginess on 'Caress Of Steel' is achieved through ambitious songwriting, extended song-lengths ("The Fountain Of Lamneth" and "The Necromancer"), and the performances. Without keyboards filling up the sound picture, as they will do in most prog, Rush's sound (at this point) remains firmly in the early metal mode, with Alex Lifeson displaying an incredibly wide range of tones and techniques. His very individualistic style starts coming into its own all over this album.

The first half offers quite a variety of song styles. You get metal bludgeon (in that cool '70s style, of course, this ain't Napalm Death) with "Bastille Day". Self-deprecating humor in the straight rock of "I Think I'm Going Bald"--the last time anything approaching humor would be heard in a Rush song for quite some time. Fun, and a great solo from Lifeson, but the only less-than-excellent moment on the album. "Lakeside Park", lyrically and musically a better version of 'Fly By Night''s "Making Memories". And of course, album climax "The Necromancer", 12-and-a-half minutes of epic storytelling and magic-making. It stands right up there with the epic darkness of early Judas Priest and the proggier Black Sabbath material.

Maybe it's that weird downer greyness (sound and presentation) that keeps people at a distance? I like that aspect. There's certainly no other album that sounds like it. And if you, like I, love early metal as well as early prog, and prefer a good bit of darkness and drama in both, 'Caress Of Steel' is a joy. Frighteningly close to perfection.

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Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Review by Marc Baum
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Very, very nearly there. Rush's prog flirtings would soon properly come to fruitition but they still had a hurdle or two to get over. This is one of the least popular 70s albums, and admittedly probably is one of the weakest, but that's not saying much seeing as at this time Rush were still owning left, right and centre.

These ones get slated by prog fans for their unwillingness to let go their hard rock roots, but this kicks off in fine fashion. "Bastille Day" was used to open their live shows with for years after this album was released and it's not hard to see why. It's an uptempo rocker that makes full use of the band's synergy and developing songwriting abilities. It maximises the turbulence of revolution into an almost epic structure with stellar instrumentation throughout.

"I Think I'm Going Bald" is the last gasp of the first album's heavy Zeppelin inspiration and as such isn't bad. It's Rush after all and it's funny to see this laid back and simple structure get set upon by Neil Peart, who brings strange OTT moments to it. "Lakeside Park" is really relaxed and breezy with it's gentle acoustic guitar lines and Geddy's carefree vocals. This one moves about the place in complicated Rush fashion but it's subtle and the feel is never lost within the changes.

"The Necromancer", in three parts, is probably their most flaccid attempt at an epic. Each section is musically fine but shockingly unmemorable as a whole. It's underwhelming placed next to the might of "2112" and the cheesy narration really kills it off. "The Fountain of Lamneth" follows with twice as many parts and being almost twice as long (very nearly a whooping 20 minutes!) to boot. It's much better than the previous but lacks the natural flow from one part to the next that "2112" perfected. Now, both really were in essence 6 and 7 little songs plastered together, but "2112" just felt right in it's moves from one to the next and even felt, if abstractly, like it was a perfect whole. They explore their British symphonic prog fixations a bit further here, and the Yes-isms are loud and proud. They never forget to break out the hard rocking groove and I can't fault any of the performance. It's just very tame in comparison to what they'd let loose in the next few years. That said, "Panacea" and "Bacchus Plateau" are the highlights of 6 parts that move between light and dark moments very often.

Geddy once said of this period: "You could just smell the hash oil coming off us" or something like that. Well I don't know if they were taking too much or too little but this album could might have benefitted one way or the other. Anyway, any prog fan can add this to the collection, at least for the historical value and to hear how one of the biggest and most influential prog bans in the world progressed.

Album rating: 7.5/10 points = 76 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

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Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album obviously follows the path of "Fly By Night", still very rooted in the 70's hard rock, but increasing the progressive elements...

The main difference is that the band assumed their prog condition, and they offered us two long epics: The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth, with a little irregular results sometimes. Both songs have great parts, but some flaw moments too. The most enjoyable fact is the use of the acoustics and the excellent bass lines... Nevertheless, this two tracks should not be missed by any 70's Rush fans. At the moment of the realease of this album, Rush had not yet the complete abilities to write long tracks with totally satisfactory results... But I'm sure that they learned with this experience, and after "Caress of Steel" came "2112", with the first great Rush's epic.

The short tracks are a little irregular too. Bastille Day is really good, in the same style of the best rocker songs of the two first releases, and the only real classic of this album. But I Think I'm Going Bald it's just forgettable, really silly track... Nevertheless, Lakeside Park is another good song.

Best songs: Bastille Day (good Rush's rocker...), Lakeside Park (I love the acoustic guitar work...) and The Necromancer (it's long, but not boring like The Fountain of Lamneth...)

Conclusion: good transition album, strongly linked with "Fly By Night" but showing an indication of what the band will make in a future. The whole album is a little irregular, but it deserves a good listening.

My rating: ***

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Posted Saturday, April 01, 2006

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Caress of Steel marks Rush's leap into prog. The last album showed hints of where the band was headed with songs like By Tor and the Snow Dog, but this album sped up the slow evolution with two monolithic numbers. Neil Peart by now established himself as lead songwriter, replacing Lee's and Lifeson's admittedly shoddy lyrics. His fascination with sci-fi would later result in the band's triumphs, but here he tried just a lttle too hard a little too soon.

"Bastille Day" opens the album with Peart's musings of the French Revolution processed through the philosophical viewpoint of Ayn Rand. The song is a great opening rocker and it's the highlight of the album.

"I Think I'm Going Bald" is the standard Rush filler. It's a silly tune that ruins the severity of the rest of the album. Now, I love humor in music, but Rush has never once succeeded in making these kinds of songs work. The humor fails miserably. This is what prevents me from ever giving Rush album five stars.

"Lakeside Park" is a poppy song tha the band pulls off quite well. Rush always was good at crafting little pop gems amidst the prog.

"The Necromancer" is the first of two proggy songs that would point in the direction of future releases. The song has the darkness that would later result in the great 2112, but here it lacks the emotion of that great piece. Also, for such a gifted band, the compostion is horrible. This track is a long letdown. The only pro is Alex's solo.

"The Fountain of Lamneth" shows real promise. Peart is in top form on drums, and Lee and Lifeson give their strings a pretty good workout. However, the song drags and Peart reached beyond his grasp with the lyrics. Overall, a pretty good song but nearly as good as later epics.

Caress of Steel is an important record for Rush, but it's a bit banal. The two satndout tracks are Bastille Day and Lakeside Park. I recommend 2112 over this album, since they hammered out all the flaws in their epics for the title track.

Grade: C-

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Posted Thursday, December 14, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Caress Of Steel" has to be the most underrated RUSH album. I think this is an upgrade from the first two records as RUSH takes things in a new direction.This record would set the tone for the next one "2112". Although record sales for "Caress Of Steel" and the tour that went with it proved unsuccessful (although it sold 100,000 copies just like their first 2 records did), I give the band a lot of credit for sticking with this same formula when they recorded "2112". Peart said "It was weird. We loved it so much when we made it, and we were flush with the excitement of making it.Then when it didn't do well, we were kind of stung." He goes on to say "We see it as a bridge, though. We wouldn't have made "2112" if we hadn't made that. I can trace the roots of all our material fom our previous experiments."

"Bastille Day" was a concert opener for years and for good reason, as it got the crowd in the mood you could say for the whole show. "I Think I'm Going Bald" is a funny song about getting old. Love it when Geddy screams "I think i'm going bald".This one rocks out pretty good. "Lakeside Park" is a place in Neil's home town and it has a lot of meaning for me growing up in a tourist town also watching fireworks on the 24th of May and doing crazy things at the midway and on the beach.The lyrics hit home with me of a time gone by. "The Necromancer" opens with the "Into the Darkness" section, with monologue to begin the slow paced song before we are treated to some scorching guitar, and the main melody is great ! "Under The shadow" features outbursts of heavy drums and guitar as Geddy spits out the lyrics. The drums are really good and the guitar is fantastic. The final section "Return Of The Prince" is an upbeat song like light causing the dark to flee.

The second epic is "The Fountain Of Lamenth "RUSH's first side long song. Divided into 6 sections starting with "In The Valley" with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals to open before things get loud and Geddy lets it rip 2 minutes in. "Didacts And Narpets" features some amazing drum work and chaotic vocals. "No One At The Bridge" is a great section, with nice guitar melodies and incredible vocals. "Panacea" is a good song with acoustic guitar and gentle vocals. "Bacchus Plateau" opens with guitar, with vocals and drums to follow. And finally the last section "The Fountain" with a heavy intro and intense vocals that give way to a pastoral climate.This contrast of light and heavy continue throughout the song.

This really is the start of an amazing stretch of records where RUSH could do no wrong. So yes this is raw and certainly not perfect, but this is where the monster starts to rise.

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Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Following the artsy dabbling done on "Fly by Night", Rush upped the ante with two extended songs on their next album which show their burgeoning experimentation-- both of which don't really pay off. Instead of a tight, solid album like "FBN", we have a somewhat messy smattering of songs with the band playing well, but seemingly confused with what they're playing.

The chugging opening of "Bastille Day" withstanding, there really isn't much to get excited about with this release. "...Going Bald" and "Lakeside Park" don't offer anything new and are actually somewhat regressive when juxtaposed to prior awesomeness. As for the epics themselves, "Necromancer's" fantasy-inspired lyrics and goofy voice-overs are redeemed by some excellent guitar work by Alex and the central instrumental section, but "Fountain of Lamneth" can't sustain its almost 20-minute length. Its movements don't flow together very well and its themes are difficult to grasp; however, it isn't without its instrumental merits, and Geddy does have a few beautiful vocal moments as well.

All in all, "Caress of Steel" remains one for the fans, and holds up to an occasional listen every now and again.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A commercial flop for Rush. Not only do I think the band were ready at that point to write extended passages, but I think that they didn't have good musical ideas overall: whatever they had were wasted on the two long songs here. The short songs range from mediocre to decent, there is a typical energetic rocker which fails to grab my attention, an ok pop song, and a kind of irritating hard rock tune that tries to be funny "I think I'm Going bald".

Why do the long songs fail as being good music? They are very poorly constructed, incoherent and some passages feel way too long. "The Necromancer" is the better one of those, starting with a dark slow section full of electric guitars, then having two sections which seem to have no musical connections and some unintentionally funny narration that hurts the song. "The Fountain of Lamneth" is the longest one, and the songwriting is awful. It starts with a bit of potential with a good hard rock riff, but then goes a drum solo and the singer randomly shouting lyrics and when music turns decent again, you have a very dull and overlong acoustic section and the rest is all hit and miss, making it hard to listen to it. Overall, it has its moments but is very inconsistent and ends up leaving me cold and unsatisfied. I can't believe how poor their songwriting skills were at this point and I'm glad they proved the world wrong with 2112, containing a classic hard rock epic of excellent musicianship and songwriting.

Recommended for hardcore Rush fans and completionists. There's no reason to get this album when you could buy their next set of albums, which are superior.

1. Bastille Day (D+)

2. I think I'm Going Bald (D-)

3. Lakeside Park (C-)

4. The Necromancer: (C)

5. The Fountain Of Lamneth: (D)

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Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007

Review by obiter
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars There are great bits here. The classic anthem Bastille Day and the D&D Necromancer. My favourie is Lakeside Park.

The album is at time frustrating and this is exemplified by The Fountain of Lamneth: the side long epic. At times it's great, and then a drastic transition ends up a blind alley and you're left going Oouch that's gotta hurt!

The band is pushing its limits at the time and is suppose that is what prog is about. It just doesn't come off here with the majesty that later albums possess.

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Posted Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Rush trying to do their future classic music, and the result is a good one but non essential. Still one of Rush albums that i listen with pleasure but when i descovered other albums from different bands from that period i realized that is not so fabulous album as i thought in my early discoveries, just a good one. Maybe nothing more to add, just if you want to listen to the early sound of Rush this is the album that you may purchase first. 3 stars and an underrated Rush album that still needs to be descovered, and maybe a classic of prog after all.

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Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Review by FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Not the most cohesive or memorable RUSH album but shouldn't be written off - well worth a listen.

I've been listening to RUSH for about 3 years and had listened to the 2 epics on the album 'the necromancer' and 'the fountain of lamneth' extensively and quite enjoyed them and wondered why people dismissed this album as rather mediocre for RUSH, only recently have a listened to the album in it's entirety and now I'm inclined to agree with their opinion.

The album starts out fairly well with the relatively straight up rock on roll track 'bastille day', not bad but not particularly prog or interesting. Next up 'I think I'm going bald' is a joke really, the song is substandard straight up bluesy rock'n'roll with silly subject matter and some generic pentatonic solo. 'Lakeside park' is similarly unenthusiastic, pretty much straight up rock as for as RUSH goes, the first 3 songs are easily forgettable and really bring this album down.

'The Necromancer' is a fantastic song, easily the best on the album, it starts out with an admittedly cheesy spoken word intro about the necromancer and a group of heroes which is easily forgiven once the song takes flight first into a mellow slowly building jam. The song continues on and gains steam moving into a sensational riffy and funky jam with some great soloing before reaching the climax of a fast driving section ending with a mellow acoustic section. This is a great precusor to the song writing featured on their classic next album '2112'.

'The fountain of lamneth' the side long epic finishing the album is a bit hit and miss, there is a lot to like here but it does get a bit boring and simply isn't as interesting or cohesive as RUSH's later sidelong masterpieces '2112' and 'Hemispheres', well worth a listen though it is on the whole a good song.

Overall Caress of Steel is a decent album, not nearly RUSH's best nor nearly their worst, recommended for fans of RUSH's earlier more progressive song writing (just skip the first 3 tracks), 'the necromancer' and 'the fountain of lamneth' make it well worth the listen.

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Posted Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Probably the most uncommercial of all the Rush albums. To the point where the resulting tour was nicknamed the Down the Tubes tour. But along with Hemispheres & Grace Under Pressure, this is a fave of mine. And not just among Rush albums, but among my whole collection. My brother had picked the Archives 3 Lp set (Rush, FBN, & CoS). Our gang had already gotten into All the World's a Stage, and I was curious to see what else this band had in 'em. Side one starts off with a winner, an all-time Rush classic - Bastille Day. It gave off the same exhilarating bang that Anthem had on FBN. Big chords, riff after riff, it still gives me chills when I listen to it, and I still love playing it on guitar. I THink I'M Going Bald is rightly described as Rush's last real Rock n Roll song. In a way it brings back for one last time Lifeson's big Les Paul tone from their debut. Lakeside Park, though sounding thinner than on All the World's a Stage, was an early example of Lifeson's propensity for using unsual chordings, suspended, 12th fret ... why play the G here, if I can get this effect by playing it at the 7th fret. Necromancer, however, is where Rush goes prog big time. Yes, FBN had its' moments of progginess. But you could still argue that Rush was a hard rock / heavy metal band. Necromancer took them beyond just Zep & Blues riffing. Atmosphere, multi-part suite, narrative, instrumental swings from moody dark backing to overwhelming riffage. Now they were starting to put words & music working together. OF course, the second side (for those old enough to remember vinyl) is where Rush stake their first prog claim to glory. Having immersed themselves in bands like Genesis, Gentle Giant and other prog giants of the day, you can see Rush taking the first steps in establishing their own style. Changing tempos, abrupt chord changes, quiet to loud, back to quiet, riffs that sounded like the metal equivalent of Genesis's Watcher of the Skies, with the same arrangement matching the lyrics' message to the musical backing. As with many developing bands (another 70s relic, nurturing a new act until they hit their stride), Rush would learn to better edit themselves, concentrate on establishing the melody or riff beyond the 4 bar section. Indeed, 2112 is the result of this album's experimentation. So if you love 2112, CoS is a perfect match if you're looking for more.

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Posted Monday, September 24, 2007

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I believe this is one of the most special albums by Rush, mainly because of the two long ones. I come to those in a minute. The first three songs are nice, almost funny (especially I think I'm going bald) but they are not really rocking my boat. Then it's the turn to The Neckromancer. This song is the main reason why I think this album is special. I mean have you ever heard a song like this ? This is truelly unique: a very gloomy song a bout a medieval wizard that really makes you get the feeling you're in the middle ages. How do they do that ? It's amazing ! And that's not all. I sometimes make a list of the best guitar solos ever and I can say that the solo at the end of this song ends up always in the top three ! This is such a great performance by Alex Lifeson, he is one of the very best in the business. To conclude we have the final epic: The Fountain of Lamneth. A song that actually consists of six shorter parts. It's a good composition but personally I favour The Neckromancer as the best of this album.

That's why I can't go for the ultimate score. One song is not really enough but it's a very good album. 4 stars

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Posted Thursday, October 04, 2007

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
4 stars A very unique band in progressive rock history,RUSH were formed in Toronto,Canada in 1968.They begun as a classic hard rock band,as we meet them in their eponymous debut in 1974.Soon after original drummer John Rutsey would quit to be replaced by talented drummer/lyricist Neil Part.In 1975 the album ''Fly by night'' featured some slightly more complicated arrangements,but still their style can be characterized as LED ZEPPELLIN-influenced bluesy hard rock.Their third release ''Caress of steel'' was the big turn for RUSH.The album starts with three amazing mid-length tracks,featuring the well-known bluesy/hard rock of mid-70's RUSH...but it contained two epic tracks,clocking at over 12 and 19 min. respectively.These tracks contain some very interesting instrumental sections,a more complicated style of rock and lots of changing climates,based mainly on the great guitar work of Alex Lifeson and the familiar vocal lines of Geddy Lee.The turn of the sound of RUSH was a fact and ''Caress of steel'' might be the most important album in RUSH' history,as from this point on they would add tons of progressive elements in their music.A strongly recommended record!

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Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is how early into rush discography I have dared to wander. Caress of Steel has some of the trademark progressive elements of early Rush, but they are certainly not developed into the sophisticated sound they would have on later albums yet. There is something of a heavy metal feeling to this album. But come on! Rush would and will never sound like Black Sabbath or Uriah Heep, which is something they aim at with Caress of Steel. I´m a bit confused with this album, because they seem to want to play their more heavier riffs but a the same time develop their progressive angle. It just doesn´t work very well. Thank God they ditched the heavy metal leanings on later albums.

The musicianship is of course flawless as always and the production is ok for the time.

Like the dwarfs in Lord of the Rings, I have dug too deep. I should have stopped while the game was still funny ( A Farewell to Kings). This will never be a favorite of mine. Maybe I will listen to this again in 10 years, but I will probably feel the same as I do today.

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Posted Monday, December 03, 2007

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Things were changing in the Rush camp. After two albums of solid Heavy Rock, Rush were now starting to experiment more and venturing into their more Fantasy based Prog period. First signs of this could be seen on the previous Fly by Night album with By-Tor and the Snow Dog but on Caress of Steel they went all the way.

Fans on listening to the album for the first time would think nothing much had changed with opener Bastille Day which is a straightforward slice of Heavy Rock which would have fitted in nicely on the previous albums and very good it is too. I Think I'm Going Bald is a bit of fun but it's okay and Rocks along well enough. The more laid back Lakeside Park is a lovely track, lyrics of course by Neil Peart written about a place he used to work.

It's the final two tracks that mark the real change into Prog territory though. The Necromancer, at twelve minutes and The Fountain of Lamneth, which at nineteen minutes took up the whole of side two of the original vinyl version. In hindsight the band looked on this album as a bit of a failure due to these two pieces and it's true that this is far from Rush's best. However, they do have a certain charm and are very good in places.

The Necromancer is divided into three parts starting off quietly and underwhelmingly with Into the Darkness. The use of narration with a silly voice is a little naff but hey, this was the seventies. Things pick up a bit with Under the Shadow which is mainly instrumental and has a fine Guitar solo from Alex Lifeson and features some fluent playing from the entire band. The track finishes with Return of the Prince which is pleasantly melodic with a riff reminiscent of The Who's Baba O' Riley.

The Fountain of Lamneth is divided into six parts starting off acoustically on In the Valley before the band power in. Didacts and Narpets is only one minute long mainly dominated by a short Peart Drum solo which is followed by No One at the Bridge which is more pleasing with a haunting guitar refrain from Lifeson. We're back into acoustic territory with Panacea which is pleasant enough without being stunning which leads into Bacchus Plateau which is basically straightforward Heavy Rock. The Fountain closes the piece which revisits where the track started with In the Valley. Where the track could have been improved would have been to make the parts flow more seamlessly from one section to the next rather than just pausing for a second or so; though perhaps this is the way they wanted it.

Overall then, a good album showing Rush finding their Prog feet and an important stepping stone for what was to come next with 2112.

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Posted Friday, December 14, 2007

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars 2.5/5 to be honest

I find this album very hard to review. At the same time that I desperately want to play out my fanboy-ism for this album, it seems like highly unfair for all the readers at PA.

Fly by Night is much better than Caress of Steel is the first thought that pops up in my mind. Obviously, most of the previous reviewers disagree with that statement. Let me explain why they are wrong :).

Caress of Steel is where Rush made too much, too fast. I personally don't find neither the Necromancer nor The Fountain of Lamneth thoroughly enjoyable. Sure, they do fulfill the prog requirements, but I still don't think they are good prog. Both songs have some magnificent parts in them, with The Fountain of Lamneth being the best of the two in my opinion, but they fail in coherence. The connections between the different parts leave me feeling lost. It's like a collection of many parts cut out of many different songs, only loosely connected. And that's why I often find myself playing this album as background music, while studying or being involved with some other activity.

Bastille Day, I Think I'm Going Bald and Lakeside Park also feels strangely out of place alongside the epics. They're all fun rock songs (especially I Think I'm Going Bald!), but I'd want them on...perhaps their debut album? This isn't a good follow-up to Fly by Night, which has it's natural follow-up in the excellent 2112.

As stated earlier: too much, too fast and some misplaced good ol' rockin thrown in for good measure!

//Linus

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Posted Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Almost... there....

A strange album for Rush, really. This album represents Rush moving into progressive boundaries, while still clinging onto their hard rock roots. This album is the start of their classic 'Swords and Shields' era of music, capitalized on in later albums, but this album is also quite experimental and often has some missteps. It's easy to see where 'By-Tor and the Snow Dog' would have evolved into this album and this album would eventually turn into '2112', and in that transition it's stuck. Considered a commercial flop by their record label (even if it sold the same as the last two albums) Rush was put on the chopping block, the tour for this album was even called 'The Down The Tubes Tour'. Luckily they still had one album to their contract and that's where it all turned around.

Three shorts and two longs... how do they stack up?

The album starts off with the heavy BASITLE DAY, which could very well have been taken from either of the two prior albums. A rocking riff and political lyrics make this one a good head-banger. Also housed on side one is the excellent LAKESIDE PARK, a whimsical rock song that encapsulates the younger days of the band spent in their hometown of Toronto. Unfortunately there's one more short song to be had, I THINK I'M GOING BALD. Rush is often accused of being too serious with their music, and this song proves why. A quirky song without much substance, I THINK I'M GOING BALD is one that's better skipped (ironically, 33 years later and none of the band are bald at all!). A couple good short songs and one oddball, Rush definitely still liked to rock.

Onto the longer tracks and this is where everything gets... complicated. A mix of great and meh, the two longer tracks show Rush entering the new territory that is the progressive epic. Where their first epic 'By-Tor and the Snow Dog' excelled was it's mixture of heavy metal and progressive elements to create something completely new (and in hindsight, it's own genre), the problem with the two epics here is their speed. How can one describe the speed of these songs? Schizophrenic would be a good word, with the songs jumping back and forth between heavy and humble without mixing both. THE NECROMANCER is a good track when the volume is cranked, as it can be a bit quiet at times. The narrator describing the journey of some men across the labyrinth of the twisted Necromancer who traps them. The valiant By-Tor also reprises his role here in an excellent case of Deux Ex Machina as he comes out of the shadows to slay the necromancer at the end of the song. (Whoo, go By-Tor!). Good playing by the band, unfortunately the song is a bit too slow in parts. THE FOUNTAIN OF LAMNETH suffers from the same things in places. Granted, this song is longer and likely the better of the two with some great heavy moments, but it too is too quiet and indecisive about it's direction. One particularly excellent part of the song is 'Didacts and Narpets' as Neil hammers out the drums and Geddy lets out a shrill 'Listen!!'... just in case you were falling asleep.

In the end, what does this album get...?

Good, but not essential is the definitive way to summarize whether one should buy the album or not. 3 stars it is. Good for Rush fans and fans of early Rush, but not really for the average Prog-goer. A couple of good experimental epics and some good short rock songs make for an interesting album, but Rush has so much better stuff still to come.

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Posted Monday, February 11, 2008

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Review 21, Caress Of Steel, Rush, 1975

StarStarStarStarStar My favourite Rush album, from the seven that I currently own, and likely to remain there. In good conscience, I can give it the full five stars. I can't really comment on the resemblance to Led Zeppelin, because I don't know Zep nearly as well as I should. What I can comment on is how the album affected me, and still affects me after quite a few listens. I was blown away from the first listen (I had only heard Snakes And Arrows previously), and still am. From the emotions of The Necromancer to the reminiscing of Lakeside Park to the rocking of Bastille Day, everything works for me. I can understand why some people would take issue with some of this album, but I love it anyway, and consider it perfect for me.

Bastille Day opens with a kicking bass riff, and Peart and Lifeson both come in neatly. The screaming, high vocals burst into life, carrying some enjoyable (if simple) lyrics from Peart. Great opener, with a very strong rhythm section, and I like the slightly softer instrumental break, with the occasional withdrawals of the other instruments to leave Lifeson alone. The concluding burst, however, is the highlight of the song, ascending with a great guitar-drums combination.

I Think I'm Going Bald is a great semi-sarcastic, riff-based (although it is varied, and done very neatly) song with a couple of solid short guitar solos from Lifeson. The lyrics are pretty decent, Lee's weird, not-quite-clear vocals work brilliantly, and the fade works very neatly, I think.

Lakeside Park is widely accepted as a Led Zep rip-off. I really don't mind. Nice subdued bass performance, a good example of Peart's softer percussion and I love the vocals and lyrics, with their nostalgic tone. The small escalation at the end to an almost-celestial guitar tap is perfectly done. Basically, a really good song, whether or not it's a rip-off.

Now we come to my joint-favourite (with Cygnus X-I) Rush song, The Necromancer. The division into three sections works pretty neatly, since while each section is a distinct entity, they flow very well and have a couple of constants that glue them together. Each of the musicians stands out perfectly, with Peart handling the transitions from fairly intense drumming to sparse drumming and vice versa very well. Alex Lifeson moves between soloing and rhythm neatly, and Geddy Lee provides his usual excellent bass-playing. The biggest criticism that I could give this one is the lyrics, which are unabashedly nerdy and inspired by Lord Of The Rings, even if I like them. Could have been worse... (*coughTheWhiteRiderbyCamelcough*)

Into The Darkness begins with a haunting atmospheric guitar, and develops slowly, with a hollow Lord Of The Rings inspired narrator, very sparing percussion from Peart and a developing bass part. The way it all comes together into a song, which retains all its elements and yet is a complete entity, is unforgettable and indescribable. Geddy Lee's entrance on the vocals is superb, and the strange guitar continues behind him, echoing the ideas in the vocals before turning into temperate solo that expresses the longing and mental breakdown of the travelers. Music as a form of expression. Post-perfect.

The second section (Under The Shadow) begins with a sort of swirling (presumably guitar) effect, that conveys some sort of distance and power, and then bursts out in with Peart's hard-hitting drumming and biting stabs of guitar and near-growly vocals before bursting into a heavy, rocking part with the first of two vicious solos from Lifeson. After a twisting, thick guitar effect, it moves onto the second part of the instrumental with a more pronounced bassline. Whereas the first part was travelling through a grey, soulless wood and succumbing to its destruction, this is a medieval dungeon of horrors and torture, and visions of terror and chaos. Another post-perfect. If the rest of the album was at the level of these two parts, it would never leave my CD player.

Out of this horror, the third section, The Return Of The Prince, comes with a gentle, uplifting guitar melody, bringing back the light and life to the Necromancer's dungeon. Peart contributes with a nice drum part, while Lee and Lifeson intertwine their bass and guitar. Uplifting, cheerful, potent and unassuming. Perfect as an expression of hope.

So, there you have it. Three emotions: sadness, fear and hope, three sections. A truly amazing song.

The Fountain Of Lamneth is not as strong as its predecessor, and there are admittedly some sections that people with a sense of cheese might look down upon. There are some repeats (verbatim) of the album's main parts (acousting opening echoed in the closer, The Fountain's theme and chorus are repeated a few times, and the other sections also haven't got obscene amounts of variation within them), however, no matter how hard I try, I can't bring myself to care. The main theme is an absolute killer, with a savage bass-drums combination, and the acoustic parts are very neat and back-up the lyrical themes. All the other themes work as intended, I think, even the Panacea section. The reason I love this song, though, is probably to be found in the ambitious lyrical exploration of the human condition (cheesy metaphors and all) and stunning, poetic lines ('My eyes have just been opened and they're open very wide/Images around me don't identify inside/Just one blur I recognise: the one that soothes and feeds/My way of life is easy and as simple are my needs'). I love this piece, though the criticisms of it are mostly fair.

The side-long suite begins with a gentle, hesitant, acoustic opening, accompanied by a soft vocals introducing the lyrical search and leading pretty neatly into the main, heavy Fountain riff with a drum battery from Peart and a tearing guitar part (accompanied by stunning, powerful lyrics [just my opinion, normal people may not like them]). Geddy Lee lays down a whirling bass part which hasn't grown old yet and provides his. Peart continues pretty neatly through this section of the song, having a semi-directed soft drumming style that reminds me of Bill Bruford's finest hour (Close To The Edge).

Didacts And Narpets is a weird section, beginning with a chaotic, hollow, rolling drum solo with shifting guitars and opposed vocals chiming in with an argument of sorts. The guitar returns and the whole group scream out 'LISTEN!'

The following section, under the melancholy title of Noone At The Bridge, complete with sailing metaphor, begins with a guitar part from Alex Lifeson that holds up almost the entire section, with Peart and Lee working around it very well. Peart is particularly stunning, and Lee does an impressive job holding up completely solo on vocals for a couple of moments, and giving life to the great 'SCREAM OUT DESPERATION, BUT NOONE CARES TO HEAR!' line (sorry for the capitals). At its end, Lifeson provides us with an interesting solo over a slightly morphing beat, and Peart fades the song out effectively with his percussion and some birdsong effect.

Panacea is perhaps the weakest section of the song, having more clichéd lyrics, even if I love them, and as an acoustic piece, it sounds poor and generic unless you pay attention to the subtleties, shimmering guitar (could be keyboards, I'm not sure) and throbbing bass, as well as Neil Peart's fairly nice drum additions at time.

Bacchus Plateau rocks in with a pretty standard guitar part, decent drumming and bass. The brief rhythm section solos are enjoyable, and Geddy Lee is perhaps taking a risk with his vocals, which sounds a little dubious if I try really hard not to like it. Lifeson's ending solo, while in keeping with the song, could probably afford to rock a little more. Nonetheless, the softness of this section is perfect as a lead up to the main theme driving in again.

A slight bulking up of the earlier Fountain theme slams in, with especially superb high vocals from Geddy Lee, and the guitar effect is very interesting. Alex Lifeson provides a solo (which feels more typical of him than the previous one) which works very neatly, and Peart's drumming is especially welcome. A minor escalation of the theme leads up to a reprise of the acoustics on the opening, continuing and rounding off the grand lyrical themes. A slow instrument hum concludes the song.

All in all, a much-loved song, with one of my favourite Peart performances (I'm not the greatest fan of his drumming elsewhere, but this is brilliant). The lyrics were really my thing, even if they might come off poorly with some listeners. Not a general epic masterpiece, but a masterpiece for me.

This is one of those albums that has a sort of personal resonance with me, which is fairly rare, and also not the most loved of Rush albums, but I feel that I can justify why I think it's so brilliant, and love it so much. What distinguishes this album, and 2112, from later Rush albums that I've heard, is that it is emotional, open and honest throughout, and conjures up images in a way that Moving Pictures never will. I can understand that this may not be the album for some people, but it's the album for me. Consequently, it gets the highest of ratings from me.

Rating: Five Stars

Favourite Track: The Necromancer (especially Into The Darkness)

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Posted Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The most underrated Rush album ever hands down. There is nothing about it I can criticize. Everything is perfect. The production, the musicianship, and the melodies are all perfect. While the last two tracks are the best, the 3 shorter tracks are incredible too.

The opening to the album, BASTILLE DAY, is an incredible Zeppelin- like song that has great singing by Geddy Lee.

That is followed by I THINK I'M GOING BALD, obviously about Neil Peart's hair situation. The lyrics are odd, but the music's still great.

LAKESIDE PARK is the last short song on the album, and is easily the best of the first three songs. I particulary like the drumming on this track, but Lifeson's guitars sound great here too.

THE NECROMANCER is arguably the best on the album. While it took me two or three times to love, it's great once you get there, and I look at it as a masterpeice.

THE FOUNTAIN OF LAMNETH is Rush first 20-minute epic. The acoustic opening contains Geddy Lee's best singing. I also love the solos by Lifeson.

Overall, this is just a superb album. Any prog, prog metal, or even hard rock fan will love this. Fans of Rush will love this, and this is a great place to start listening to Rush. A must own for anyone.

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Posted Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Review by The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Caress of Steel: Rush fans reject it, Non Rush fans praise it

My third Rush purchase, after buying 2112 and A Farewell to Kings, Caress of Steel showed me an early version of 2112, a proto-type of it; similar structure on the songs format.

Caress of Steel showed Rush fans a change on direction, bringing an almost 20 minutes epic thus leaving the Zeppelin-influence pretty behind; with this album and the next one, Rush managed to move further to the Prog territory that the band would be known-of with later releases.

This album is often rejected by Rush fans due to the loose conection between the different parts of The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth, both songs which showcase some of Rush's most creative ideas, however they didn't manage to make them as succesful as they would with 2112, hence why one became popular and the other not.

The Necromancer demonstrates a solid three part song, in which each part shows Rush's characteristics in making long songs. Part 1 shows a haunting and spacey Rush with a excellent climax, similar to that middle part from By-Tor and The Snow Dog from their previous; Part 2 shows Rush heavy signature, with powerful drumming, great melodic bass playing and some fiercful guitar solos; Finally Part 3 shows Rush's acoustic up-lifting side, with a quite melancholic melody in which will finish with a fantastic emotional guitar solo. The Necromancer is probably one of Rush's finest Prog songs in the creative point of view, while on the musicianship side they would later shine on epics like Cygnus X-1 or instrumentals like YYZ.

The Fountain of Lamneth has a bigger set of characteristic compared to The Necromancer, which will make it obvious, that all of these characteristics won't shine as good as in The Necromancer did. Yet, this one shows a bit more of virtuosity and complexity, which will be one of the basics for Heavy Prog, to be more specific, for Rush later epics. This song is the obvious route which Rush would take to make the famou heavy epic, 2112. Pittily at this stage Rush wasn't that capable of connecting seperate parts, and as a result many fans rate it low. I simply find it spectacular, despite the flaw of being a bit loose, even sometimes better than 2112, since 2112 has a obvious heavy-light-heavy-light structure, The Fountain of Lamneth varies more through gentler rock parts and more interesting passages than in 2112 overall.

The three songs left are typical Rush hard rock tunes in the likes of side two from 2112 and of Fly By Night, however oddly enough the ones in Caress of Steel seem to be the weakest of the bunch, thus making another flaw on the album.

4 stars: Overall one of Rush's most creative albums despite the stated flaws.

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Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Caress Of Steel' - Rush (8/10)

'Caress Of Steel' has long been one of my most fond Rush releases. It was essentially the turning point for Rush leaving their generic classic rock roots behind, for greener fields. Putting 'Caress Of Steel' into context, it is without a doubt their most revolutionary and ambitious effort. While the three first songs could have easily been part of the prior album 'Fly By Night,' 'Caress Of Steel' really shines with the presence of not one, but TWO epics, 'The Necromancer' and 'The Fountain Of Lamneth.' For both of this compositions, there is a heavily Tolkien-influenced fantasy theme that abounds. 'The Necromancer' is a very dark and progressive piece. There's alot of weird effects heard here, and it adds to the atmosphere. After a monotonous bit of dialogue setting the stage, Geddy Lee's voice comes in and begins the story of the tale of 'three travellers going deep into a dark realm' (anyone else thinking of 'The Two Towers?') After a very prog section, a refreshing happy-sounding finale comes, with some nice melodic leads. It's very beautiful, and a sharp contrast to the mainly dark mood of the song.

'The Fountain Of Lamneth,' while not as strong as it's successor '2112,' is still a very good song that ages well. It tells a very different story then 'The Necromancer' although it feels like it's being told in the same mileau. An inhabitant of paradise goes on a perilous journey to find the fabled 'fountain of lamneth,' which apparently can grant him eternal life. I find the concept for this song is much more interesting than the first epic, simply because theres an aspect of complexity and psychological tension in it. Musically though, while there are alot of fantastic parts, 'The Necromancer' feels more concise as a song, although that simply may be because of the shorter song length. There are some really fantastic parts of this song, such as the acoustic 'Panacea' and the optimistic 'Bacchu's Plateau.' The most beautiful part of this song comes at the end, where the intro of the album is reprised, except with vocals. The final few closing phrases of this song are so beautiful, each time listening to it I feel like crying. There is such a power to it, and it really shows what a profound impact powerful music can have on the soul.

'Caress of Steel' is amazing, and if only the first three songs were a bit more distinguished from the album's mediocre predecessor, I'd be able to easily give this a five star rating. But seeing as I only really love two songs of the five, a four star rating it is.

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Posted Monday, March 09, 2009

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, March 09, 2009

Review by CCVP
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars What is wrong in admitting Caress of Steel as a fine Rush album?

Released in the same year as Fly by Night, Caress of Steel introduce a considerable change of pace in the band's music so far. Until this album, the band released albums with straightforward hard rock alone, but, as i said before, that starts to change here with the suites The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth.

Those two songs incorporate many progressive rock elements, such as the subdivision of the song in chapters, having each a different central theme from the other, though they all are connected by the overall song theme. Also, both suites have a completely different mood from the three initial songs, considerably inspired by space rock.

Bastille Day, I think I'm going Bald and Lakeside Park sound more like the other songs from Rush's first two albums, but, quite frankly, they are not very special. This, allied to the fact that the rest of the album is not easily absorbed, may be the reason why Caress of Steel is so badly considered among Rush fans.

The highlights go to The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth.

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Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Posted Monday, June 08, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Often discarded as a failure, I don't judge this album very far below the other early albums. The 20 minute song-cycle that made up side two of the original album is not in the same league as 2112, but still it has its fair share of interesting parts. Bastille Day is a very immediate and steady opening track, not of the roaring intensity of Anthem but still, fun enough. I never cared much for Lakeside Park or Going Bald, but immediately after, the high point of the album announces itself: "The Necromancer", a song that seemingly never made it into their live set or onto compilations but that I regard as one of their best of the early years.

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Posted Thursday, September 03, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars After two albums of relatively straightforward material Rush decided to follow their calling by expanding their composition into something different and although progress is generally a good thing it takes time to adjust and create masterpieces.

By this time the band had already mastered the 4 minute format with compositions like Bastille Day and I Think I'm Going Bald showing this clear improvement. The latter has received mixed reactions from the audience but as long as your mind is set at a straightforward rocker then this performance should definitely do the trick. Lakeside Park isn't really anything too spectacular for my tastes and the track usually passes by unnoticed without making me feel one way nor the other about it.

The band plays it really cool during the album's two longer performances and it's easy to assume that they are really competent in compiling this type of 10+ minute material. Unfortunately once the listener tries to break down the compositions into different sections it becomes clear that Rush is not yet there in the song writing department. I have really tried to enjoy the two longer tracks on the album but it's clear that the comparison to 2112 is non-existent and have it not been for that composition and other great 10+ minute pieces that the band had offered its audience over the years then I would most probably have given these two a bit more credit. The sound production and mixing definitely leave a lot to be desired of but these are far from the biggest flaws that this material can be blamed for. Although I give The Necromancer an advantage the composition takes a lot of time to take off, but once it does we actually get 3 exceptionally groovy minutes of music. It seemed that Rush just didn't know how to make the transition work to the next section since the music just fades and we get another narration. This might have worked if only the next part of the song was anything to write home about, which is really not the case. Towards the 7-minute mark we get another sloppy transition to the upbeat instrumental section that could have easily been worked into the previous part of the song's structure. This part incidentally reminds me a lot of the Yes track Heart of the Sunrise. The outro section almost makes me believe that I experienced something quite spectacular since it's a very deservingly nice melodic ending to a disjointed mess of a composition.

The Fountain Of Lamneth suffers from the same problems as The Necromancer but on top of that we also get almost double the track length which makes things feel tedious after about ten minutes. On a plus side, the main riff featured throughout the composition is quite memorable but it doesn't really justify me listening to this mainly acoustic performance just to get a few glimpses of it here and there.

No matter how I twist and turn my words this album will still remain a fans only release since Rush has both done better and more dynamic progressive rock classics towards the second half of the '70s. Caress Of Steel was definitely a step forward in the right direction that would rightfully payoff once the band finally achieved their breakthrough with the next release.

**** star songs: Bastille Day (4:37) I Think I'm Going Bald (3:38)

*** star songs: Lakeside Park (4:08) The Necromancer (12:29) The Fountain Of Lamneth (19:58)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#279610) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars And heeeere comes the artsiness. Oh sure, a third of the album is "normal" rock songs, but the rest is devoted to a couple of long, multi-part, atmospheric compositions of ... *ahem* ... varying quality. It's almost as if the band changed its mind in the middle of the recording sessions of what kind of band it wanted to be, and I can only imagine how confused the band's established fans were upon buying this. It doesn't help, either, that one of the decisions of Peart and company was to completely erase the strong production values of Fly by Night. The sound is very airy, almost of a demoish quality, and only the clever arrangements betray that this is, in fact, a finished product.

Even worse, the songwriting is clearly on a decline. Of the three regular songs that begin the album, only one of them meets the standard set by "Anthem" - the bitchin' opener "Bastille Day." Oh sure, I can complain that the song would be tons better if the instruments were less "dead" sounding, but I cannot deny the quality of that riff and that chorus. But the other two songs ... ergh. Well, ok, "Lakeside Park" is an alright soft number, though quite overrated - I think that the high esteem that it receives from many fans is a product of its placement between a couple of duds. There are lots of good songs that feature a wistful look back at one's childhood, but this isn't one of the better ones. It's still ten times better than "I Think I'm Going Bald," though, which sounds like it should have taken fifteen minutes to write (both lyrically and otherwise). Man, I'm not a Rush fan, but even I can't really believe that they'd run out of ideas this drastically so soon.

After "Lakeside Park," we enter "artsy" territory with "The Necromancer," a three part epic that introduces Rush The Mediocre Prog Band (whereas "I Think I'm Going Bald" showcased Rush The Mediocre Rock Band). The piece does have its good attributes, I'll give it that, like the menacing slide guitars at the beginning, or that part near the end where the band enters an intense jam, or that funny "happy" part near the end, but the rest of the piece doesn't please me at all. The lyrics are based on The Lord of the Rings (Frodo and Sam journeying towards Mordor in The Two Towers), but they end up sounding like generic gothic Dungeons and Dragons fantasy crap, and the music is often as dull as could possible be. There are some good solos, but the "dark" mood that envelopes the piece just sounds completely ridiculous, fake and stupid sounding to me, and that hurts things a lot.

Much to my surprise, the second half of the album isn't anywhere near as unenjoyable as "The Necromancer." This side is taken up by the 20-minute side-long "The Fountain of Lamneth," and while it has its problems, I generally enjoy the piece more than not. I can hear its weaknesses easily (and that's not even accounting for the lyrics); the structure is very reminiscient of Genesis' "Supper's Ready" (pleasant acoustic opening, introduction of a "main theme" that pops up at the end and in places in between, in this case), and it becomes insufferably boring at a few points, but still ... I mean, for starters, the "I am born ..." acoustic opening is extremely pretty. It even features some of Geddy's most timid and "vulnerable" singing, which should make it a relief for bashers of his voice. And dang it, I LOVE that guitar line that pops up every so often; it's fairly simple, but the 'epic' sound it produces is genuinely great. That line also gives birth to one of the greatest stretches of 70's Rush, with the great alternation between the "My eyes have just been opened" vocal melody and the "yet my eyes are drawn" chorus. The drum solo with the screaming is kinda stupid, as is the way it ends in that loud "Listen!," but the section into which it leads, "No One at the Bridge," is quite nice. This section has quite a great guitar line, even if it is highly derivative of classic Genesis; the band had successfully expanded its skill set from good Zeppelin imitations to good Genesis imitations. Later is another solid acoustic number in "Panacea," which is quite pretty (if not very memorable) and soothing, even if the lyrics are distractingly stupid. Of course, the "Bacchus Plateau" chunk could leave for all that I care, but the reprise of that great opening theme ("The Fountain") closes things in a beautiful fashion, leaving me with a good feeling about the piece as a whole. And so, while the piece has many flaws (aside from what's already mentioned, the flow is a bit of an issue at times), "The Fountain of Lamneth" is still a perfectly reasonable, acceptable, and even enjoyable side-long piece.

All in all, this will never be one of my favorite Rush albums, as the weaker features are just way too distracting for me to ignore. But, the stretches of beauty, rare as they sometimes seem, ultimately make the album at least passable and somewhat worth my while. Rush has done better, but they've also done worse.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#282580) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The general theme regarding Caress is that this is the album where Rush finally start to sound like Rush. The operative word here is "start".

And that is being generous.

Going by my own subjective opinion, this may be a 3-star album. However, going by the rating anchors, I would have to say that this is mostly for collectors/fans only. I'm not a Rush fanboy, and by extension, I don't think I would buy this album again if given the chance. So...2-stars from me, for whatever that may or may not be worth.

First off, it would be hard to characterize the A side as "bad" music. Grating (particularly Geddy's delivery), uncreative, or simple, perhaps, but not bad. In fact, Bastille Day clearly rocks hard, and most of us can agree on that. In addition, the Necromancer has some very good jams and grooves, although it could have benefited greatly from some simple editing.

Lamneth is simply and completely forgettable to my ears. If this were 5-10 years earlier, or a debut album, I could give it some major slack (ala Sabbath's first shot), but this is 1975 and Rush's 3rd crack at this. They had plenty of good inspiration to draw from! More was clearly expected, and Lamneth failed to deliver. It's repetitive, simplistic, and just rather difficult for me to make it through.

If you can't get enough heavy prog, this album may sound downright awesome to you. If you like some variety and symphonic build-ups, then don't expect a whole lot.

It would be do or die for Rush after this, and clearly, they did, and then some. Just not yet.

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Posted Saturday, June 05, 2010

Review by Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Caress of Copper...

After hints of more progressive works on their previous outing Rush decided to embark on not one, but two epic suites on this album.

The Good: It pretty much goes without saying that the classic Bastille Day is the most recognised, and probably the best track on the album, but there are some other gems waiting to be discovered...

Although it doesn't quite justify its length, The Fountain of Lamneth is one of Rush's best early compositions and the signature drum solo alone makes it worth the listen. Its shorter brother, The Necromancer, does take a while to get going but is equally good with some excellent guitar work from Lifeson. Finally, the nostalgic Lakeside Park brings a really nice change of pace to the album and is a personal favourite of mine.

The Bad: A printing error led to the "steel" silver cover art being released as "puke" yellow. The spoken narratives by Terry Brown sounds like an underwater answer machine. And I Think I'm Going Bald is one of the worst songs I have ever heard.

The Verdict: Overly ambitious but full of potential.

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Posted Friday, July 15, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Rush had abandoned their unbridled Led Zeppelin worship and plunged into uncharted prog metal waters on Fly By Night, so when the first song on Caress of Steel - Bastille Day - is yet another Zep tribute, it bodes ill for the rest of the album. Sure enough, Caress of Steel represents an awkward compromise between commercial rockin' out and progressive metal excess. Both aspects of the album are critically flawed;; the band don't really seem interested in the shorter songs, whilst the prog epics suffer from Rush's compositional chops not quite keeping pace with their ambition.

Of the shorter songs, Bastille Day is the Zep imitator as mentioned, I Think I'm Going Bald is an equally unoriginal and uninspired riff on Goin' Blind by Kiss, and Lakeside Park is entirely forgettable. As for the prog pieces, the Necromancer pads out its running time with an overlong narration at the beginning, takes too long to build up steam, and isn't that impressive what it does. The Fountain of Lamneth, similarly, pads out its runtime with far too much filler and compares poorly to the sidelong epic on the next album, 2112, which it occasionally sounds like working sketches for.

Ultimately, Caress of Steel is what's called a "transitional" album, that being music reviewer code for an album which tries to go for two different sounds at once and fails to accomplish either of them. Probably worth a listen if you're a major Rush fan, but don't expect it to supplant 2112 or its successors in your collection any time soon.

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Posted Friday, October 07, 2011

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
3 stars The third album shows RUSH starting to find their uniqueness as a power trio somewhere between hard rock (think of DEEP PURPLE without organ or other keyboards) and prog rock (they must have been listening to bands like Yes, Kansas and Genesis at the time - there's even a side-long multi-part epic). There were some hints of it all in Fly By Night, but the step forward is very visible between these two albums. Geddy Lee's singing still sounds too pushed at higher register but he can sing with serene emotion too, as this album finely demonstrates.

This album would be almost great if it was as good as the best parts, but it's quite uneven. 'Bastille Day' is a strong, if not very original hard rocking opener, but the next one is a total filler both for music and banal lyrics, 'I Think I'm Going Bald'. Also 'Lakeside Park' comes close being one with its repetitive structure, but I like its mood. 'The Necromancer' is a three - part and 12-minute epic with naive fantasy. What irritates me there is the mutated voice that sounds ridiculous.

The second side is RUSH's attempt to do a massive epic à la 'Supper's Ready' - and it succeeds quite well. It may not reach the highest pantheon of prog epics but it's clearly the best thing RUSH had done that far, and even if they were to do many better prog compositions, I appreciate this among them. There's a lot of dynamics as the epic keeps changing from edginess to delicacy. The fourth movement 'Panacea' is a beautiful acoustic ballad, and the epic ends with cathartic peace, coming to a full circle.

At this point RUSH used no keyboards at all, but Alex Lifeson does wonders with his guitars; the sound of this album is colourful and warm, somehow nicely aged and ageless at the same time. Someone said it's the most underrated RUSH album. I agree! 3½ stars.

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Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Listen!

The power trio find their way on "Caress of Steel", a genuine turning point for Rush. The band are heavy and proud of it channelling Led Zeppelin and Kiss in places but injecting massive dollops of prog into the mix. The prog comes in the form of the two epics that are rarely heard outside of this album. I heard this album again to review after a long break but I have just listened to two ordinary Rush 80s albums and in contrast this album is like a jolt in the arm. There are no synths and the production is not as processed, and it is all the better for it.

The lengthy tracks are fabulous prog classics and Rush hold nothing back in their compositions. This rehearsal for "2112" is killer rock from start to end. Lifeson's riffing is awesome and indispensable on tracks like the brilliant 'Bastille Day' and wonderful 'Lakeside Park'. 'I Think I'm Going Bald' is like Led Zeppelin but lots of fun in any case. However, it is with 'The Necromancer' that it really takes off into full blown prog territory.

'The Necromancer' features some incoherent ideas with a mystical narration and many time sig changes and weird lyrics driving the story. Lifeson's lead breaks are extraordinary, especially at 7:30 when he just unleashes a tirade of guitar licks. What a difference here in the 70s when I just heard his restrained jangly 80s work. Lifeson is a brilliant guitarist and he is on fire on this song. Terry Brown continues to narrate the tale of three weary travellers who meet up with a wizard like Necromancer who leads them into the shadowy darkness, casting a spell that holds them captive.

The track is divided into three distinct sections that flow together seamlessly. 'Into The Darkness' has a "Lord Of The Rings" style narration and after some inspired musicianship moves onto 'Under The Shadow'. Now the travellers enter a medieval dungeon concealing the terrors of the unknown. Then we move to the next section 'The Return Of The Prince' that has a gentler musical texture ending the epic with an uplifting happy ending where the travellers are freed from the clutches of the Necromancer by Prince By-Tor.

On side 2 the whole vinyl record is swallowed up with the monster epic 'The Fountain of Lamneth'. The music is adventurous moving from soft to hard hitting in sharp abstract bursts. Lifeson swaps acoustic guitars for metal distortion as the mood gets darker. The drum solo from Peart is a blistering performance, but one cannot underestimate the power of Lee's high soprano voice and he is definitely in full voice in these early years. There are 6 parts including 'In The Valley', 'Didacts And Narpets', 'No One At The Bridge', 'Panacea', 'Bacchus Plateau' and 'The Fountain'. One of the best Lifeson solos is found on 'No One At The Bridge'. It is a grandiose piece of music that has some nice musical passages and lyrics.

The lyrics speak of the human condition including "Images around me don't identify inside, Just one blur I recognise, the one that soothes and feeds, My way of life is easy and as simple as my needs". But I particularly like the section after Peart's drum solo and Lee just screams out "Listen!" Perhaps he is telling us to listen to this new Rush sound that would permeate all the albums to follow until the 80s. The next few albums to follow would be Rush at their greatest.

Overall "Caress of Steel" signifies the golden era of Rush. It was a beginning of greatness for the band and one cannot help but to admire the bombastic approach to rock the band had in these early years. The epics are well worth checking out but also 'Bastille Day' and 'Lakeside Park' are killer making this an excellent album to indulge in. It reminds me of "Hemispheres" in a way having only a few songs with some epics, but they are all good and so it is a successful epiphany for the band branching into uncharted waters. The trio are at their most inventive and work well together to produce some amazing prog rock on "Caress of Steel".

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#764253) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Review by crimson87
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The third Rush album shows real progression and a valuable attempt at leaving their hard rock influences and addapting a more progressive sound. Hovever , as some reviewers have already stated , I don't think they were up to the challenge at this point of time. Both epics do not sound cohesive at all, as the band was still struggling to find their sound.

The shorter songs of the album are average Rush material and with the exception of Bastille Day being a concert favourite there is not much more to be mentioned about it . The three of them are simple 70's hard rock songs and while that's not bad per se , those 3 songs are pretty uninspired.

That being said, I cannot award this album more than two stars. Sorry guys!!

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Posted Friday, June 08, 2012

Review by VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A perfect album? In a word, no. A flawed masterpiece? Not even that. And yet, Rush's 3rd album has always intrigued me in a way that not many Rush albums do. It's off kilter and certainly a little uneven, but I think that Rush manages to show flashes of brilliance that reach highs they would never again venture towards.

"Bastille Day" has all the makings of an instant classic (which indeed it has turned out to be); it's got a hard driving riff, great performances all around, and of course a healthy dose of historically based, intellectual lyrics delivered in the wailing tones that only Geddy Lee can deliver. It seems to me that Lee hadn't quite mastered his formidable voice yet here; there's still a bit of shrieking and über-wide vibrato that hasn't been quite polished off yet, but there's something to be said for such a raw delivery, and it certainly has its own charm.

"I Think I'm Going Bald" is fun but completely forgettable, which I think is basically all that needs to be said. "Lakeside Park," too, is nice enough, but contains some of the worst cheese ever penned by everyone's favorite Canadian power trio ("although it's just a memory, some memories last forever" ?ugh) and it certainly doesn't stand out to me as one of the better tracks in Rush's catalogue.

Why then, do I rate Caress of Steel so highly? Well, because I would argue that the final two tracks on the album are two of the most interesting Rush ever recorded. "The Necromancer" may be a bit disjointed as a track, but the playing throughout is superb, and the pacing overall is very nice. Alex Lifeson has an unfortunate tendency to be overlooked in the face of the two larger personalities of his bandmates, but it is clear from this track that from a musical perspective Lifeson is every bit the master that Peart or Lee is. As a matter of fact, I think that "The Necromancer" contains some of his very best playing. Lee's vocal performance here is probably the best on the album, too, and Neil Peart is, well, Neil Peart. What else can one really say?

"The Fountain of Lamneth" has to be one of the more forgotten songs in Rush's catalogue, especially with the similarly long "2112" so visible as Rush's flagship epic, but man oh man, is this a good one. It's got an opening that contains some of the gentlest, most tender vocals Geddy ever recorded, and every section is incredibly evocative and atmospheric, creating a feel that Rush would never capture again, even on "2112." It's even got a rare Peart drum solo, which lasts just long enough to be cool but doesn't overstay its welcome. Does it have the same stadium-pounding drive of "2112?" No. It's subtler, calmer, and it "rocks" far less, but I'll still take it over "2112" with a gun to my head.

The most impressive thing about these latter tracks, though, is that it never feels as if Rush's reach exceeded its grasp. Are there brief moments of inconsistency? Sure. Are there unfortunate spoken word passages? Yes. But these songs have a charm to them that is totally missing from the perfectly polished later releases from this excellent band, and I think there's something to be said for that.

In closing, then, Caress of Steel is far from a perfect album. It lacks the power and punch of 2112, and it lacks the through-and-through compositional prowess of "Farewell to Kings" or "Moving Pictures." That said, however, it's still one of my favorite Rush albums. Is it a masterpiece? No. But I will argue to the ends of the earth that it has a place among every progressive rock collection, and especially among the collections of anyone who calls him- or-herself a Rush fan.

4/5

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Posted Sunday, November 18, 2012

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 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.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#863672) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Caress of Steel: Rush's first pure prog album. I honestly think that Caress of Steel is Rush's most underrated album, and it is my favorite classic Rush album. this is an instant classic for me and should be an essential part of any Prog, Rush, or Metal fans collection. Where as their last rel ... (read more)

Report this review (#1167109) | Posted by Unitron | Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Caress of Steel is a lovable but flawed album, and a bit of an outlier in the Rush catalog. The music here is very similar to Fly By Night, prog-related hard rock with the signature elements of early Rush, including Zeppelin-esque blues riffs, Geddy wailing like a mad-man, giant tom-fills, s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1167023) | Posted by TwoCents | Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars CARESS OF STEEL is the album by RUSH that I have put the most effort into listening to in order to appreciate more. Upon my first listening of their third album I was somewhat underwhelmed since my exposure to classic RUSH was well after these first albums were released so of course it's hard not ... (read more)

Report this review (#1149218) | Posted by siLLy puPPy | Sunday, March 16, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I feel like this album is somewhat overlooked in the Rush pantheon, despite its importance to the band's development. After all, this is the album, "By-Tor" aside, where they embrace prog rock and also the last Rush album that would not feature keyboards until "Vapor Trails." However, the album i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1130991) | Posted by hughes | Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It was really hard for me to enjoy this album and several attempts took place before I was ready to say:well this is very solid record. The most exciting thing about the album is that it contains the elements that were later used on more notable Rush albums. There's a bit of 2112, A Farewell To K ... (read more)

Report this review (#1106319) | Posted by LSDisease | Saturday, January 04, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.5 Stars In my opinion, this is the first true progressive album by Rush. Though Fly By Night had some progressive elements in the song "By-Tor and The Snow Dog" the band never really solidified itself into the genre until this album was released. Side One Bastille Day is an awesome son ... (read more)

Report this review (#1008952) | Posted by Meegan | Tuesday, July 30, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In my opinion, "Caress Of Steel" is one of the most underrated albums in all of progressive rock. The album begins with the familiar sound of "Bastille Day", a great heavy prog riff that makes me smile every time I hear it. It contains real power in Alex's guitar, Geddy's raw voice, and Neil's p ... (read more)

Report this review (#984562) | Posted by Xonty | Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#965304) | Posted by Josef_K | Sunday, May 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I really do not understand what people have against this album. For me this is Rush first real prog album and it definitely ranks higher in my book, than Neils, Ayn Rand fanfiction.. err, i mean "2112". All kidding aside though, this is the album where the group definitely gained my interest and ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#951541) | Posted by Knapitatet | Monday, April 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Caress of Steel" probably as the RUSH most controversial album in their career before they get some recognition as great rock band, a fact which happens only when they released their first masterpiece "2112", and the moment when they "bet" in his own musical conception... a really heavy- pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#940250) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, April 06, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This third album is Rush heading very quickly in the direction of the fantastic 2112. Once again a marked prog jump from the previous album where Rush heads solidly into prog territory. The first Rush album was a credible rock album over shadowed by other acts of the 70's doing hard rock music ... (read more)

Report this review (#934135) | Posted by sukmytoe | Saturday, March 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Their debut album and Fly By Night set them in stone as some heavy rockers, but Caress of Steel furthers the Rush sound by adding some prog to the mix. In this way the album is very much a transition album for the band. But like many transition albums, there is often a lacking in focused songwriting ... (read more)

Report this review (#771342) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It would be one more album before Rush perfected their prog rock approach, but they had already attained a high level of general songwriting ability with Fly By Night, and it shows on Caress of Steel. Two of their best early songs can be found here, "Bastille Day" and "Lakeside Park", the fir ... (read more)

Report this review (#619494) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Like a boy going through the awkward passage between childhood and adulthood, Caress of Steel shows us the awkward transition between the excellent blues rock of Fly By Night and the excellent prog rock of 2112. I had a hard time rating this album. It was a necessary album in the bands transit ... (read more)

Report this review (#617301) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Monday, January 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was one of the albums of Rush I collected earlier on. It is severely underrated by many in the commmunity and outside of it (if you exclude Test For Echo and Roll the Bones). If you listen well enough, it will grow on you as an album. Particularly, the sound on the album is much more obscur ... (read more)

Report this review (#615933) | Posted by FromAbove | Sunday, January 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars its not hard to see why some folks would see this as inconsistent or pretentious or bombastic. yes, it is all of that - and thats what makes it a 4-star. remember, this was 1975. remember, this was only Rush's 3rd album. remember Fly By Night's inspired pieces like By Tor...remember that this ... (read more)

Report this review (#491108) | Posted by sv_godspeed | Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The sudden dark turn of this album may have shut some people off on giving this one a spin but I truly believe that this is one of their absolute best. This album is complex and dark which was a drastic change from Fly By Night which was very light in its sound. But from the first song (Bastil ... (read more)

Report this review (#463212) | Posted by criticdrummer94 | Thursday, June 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, not my favorite Rush disc. Not by a long shot. This just has a huge unfinished feel to it that I can't get past. Also, the sound just isn't very clear, at least not on the disc I have. In terms of content, the shorter songs like "Bastille Day" and "Lakeside Park" don't grab me and the lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#428099) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, April 05, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hey, they are getting progressive on this one! And the result is very good. This is one of their strongest albums. Opening track Bastille Day rocks really nice, but the real gem is the twenty minute long, epic The Fountain of Lamneth. From their tree one-side long songs this is best. Great son ... (read more)

Report this review (#419701) | Posted by Talybont | Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#409524) | Posted by Gorloche | Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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