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Rush - Caress of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.55 | 1437 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars When I first heard Rush I was just a little boy in the 80's, maybe 7 or 8 years old. My brother, 7+ years older than me was already a Rush fan. He was and still is a fan of Power Windows, and I also can recall he owned from Permanent Waves onto Hold Your Fire. One day, he got hold of a copy of Caress of Steel. My young, impressionable mind was surprised, almost I can say startled. Was this the same band that played "The Big Money" and "Force Ten"? Was that the same vocalist that sang "Tom Sawyer" and " The Spirit of the Radio"? Everything sounded so heavy, so dark; a song called "The Necromancer" felt so satanic and blasphemous!

More than 30 years have passed, and my way of thinking has obviously changed. Although I cannot say Caress of Steel is a favorite from Rush's catalog, I do not share the same maligned opinion many have towards this album. It's true we do not have here a real progressive rock album. Rush was still in its formative stage, breaking away from its hard rock cocoon, but it would be only a few months when they would finally find their musical niche. This album marked their final sprint towards their (perhaps unwilling and unknowing) goal of Prog.

For that reason, we cannot expect a masterpiece here. There are very good moments and bad moments in it. On the good side, we have the two epics, the above mentioned "The Necromancer" and side two's much criticized "The Fountain of Lamneth". I personally don't find any significant faults in any of those. "The Necromancer", with its interesting story featuring the very By-Tor himself as the hero, has one of the best guitar solos in Alex Lifeson's repertoire. A real shredder hightened by the mad bass track and crazy drumming. And while it's true that "The Fountain" lacks cohesiveness and abounds with pomposity, I justify it with a simple lack of maturity and experience; perhaps the "By-Tor & the Snow Dog/ The Necromancer" experiments were successful only by chance. Whatever the case, I still find this epic quite enjoyable, its instrumentation a successful enterprise of precision and ability.

On the negative side, "I Think I'm Going Bald" is a sad regression to the debut album. Its melody is very similar to the classic (but not very good) "In the Mood" . Pitiful, uninspired lyrics, found Neil Peart with writer's block, so this what he came up with. But what the hell, this was the 70's! "Bastille Day", although a concert favorite is not exactly my darling; I find it a little dull and repetitive. "Lakeside Park" is an ok, kind of sweet and sentimental song if you lived in the time and place of the story, but not the brightest star around.

3.5 stars for trying, rounded to 3 because of the aforementioned songs.

judahbenkenobi | 3/5 |


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