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Rush - Caress of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.55 | 1437 ratings

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5 stars So many reviewers are saying that Caress of Steel is so underrated. Others say it feels unfinished and unpolished. I agree with both. It is probably the least sold of all of their albums. The first time I had heard this one is when I bought the "Archives" 3 disc set which was all three of their first albums in one set. Out of the first three, this was my favorite. I enjoyed the debut album "Rush" even though it wasn't prog at all, I was disappointed in "Fly By Night" and I loved this one, especially "The Necromancer".

"The Necromancer" suite (the fourth track) is the one of the best Rush songs ever and should be considered one of their classics, but it is usually ignored. It clocks in at over 12 minutes and is the tightest that the band appears on this album. In my opinion, it is the reason to get your hands on this album. Amazingly hard in some places, especially the 2nd movement. That tempo shift in the middle of that movement was the loudest and most thrashing guitar solo that existed at the time. Even now it holds up to anything current. What an amazing song, and up to that point, their best attempt at hard, progressive rock to date. Outstanding.

Other than that, the first 3 tracks are shorter songs, the first 2 being great rockers and the 3rd is a more mellow song, not a lot of progressiveness here, but still good enough and somewhat similar to side 2 of "2112" (which was their breakout album and next in the discography). "Bastille Day" could be compared to anything on the debut album except a little more hard and slightly more progressive. "I Think I'm Going Bald" is possibly more like a radio hit along the lines of the song "Fly By Night". "Lakeside Park" is a reflective song and less interesting of the three.

The last track is another longer suite also centered around a theme/story. This one is probably the reason why people feel the album is unpolished and incomplete, because that is what I felt when first listening to the album. However, you can understand where the "2112" suite came from when listening to this because there are some similarities, even though it isn't as good. There are a lot of heavy and mellow passages. The drum solo that makes up the 2nd part of this suite is awesome, but short. Unfortunately, it still adds to the inconsistent feeling of the suite. I believe the main part and best part of this suite is in the 3rd part which has a great slow guitar solo. The fault in this particular suite that I think discounts the opinions of most people who listen to this album is the suite ends without any kind of explosive climax like most of their long pieces and the suite never returns back to the amazing sound of the 3rd part. The 4th part, "Panacea" however is a beautiful acoustic ballad, but unfortunately is the last highlight of the album and there are 2 more underwhelming parts to the suite that end the album. This is probably why most consider the album not on the same par as the other heavy masterworks that the band would produce subsequently. To make matters worse, on the Archive collection (which I owned on 8 track) the suite is presented out of order and intermixed with other tracks. I didn't even know it was a suite until I got the vinyl version.

Anyway, I love this album despite it's flaws and it remains one of my favorite Rush releases, mainly because of "The Necromancer". But there are enough other redeeming qualities that make it worthwhile in my opinion. I find it an excellent addition to my prog collection and will rate it at a strong 4 stars. The best is yet to come though.

TCat | 5/5 |


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