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Rush - Caress Of Steel CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.52 | 1272 ratings

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4 stars This was one of the albums of Rush I collected earlier on. It is severely underrated by many in the community 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 obscure than the successor 2112 as it tops it in the category of obscure. Thus, the album attempts to capture sound that predates it by several years, having missed the boat for classic prog. It's partially sad that none of these songs get played anymore, although 2112 would not have happened without this album.

Bastille Day hails the fervor of the previous albums Rush had done, while trying to live up to Anthem. I must say it tries very hard, with a deafening solo and screaming from Geddy. French Revolution lyrics are the mood. The song sets the pace of the album, but that pace seems to change immediately after. Some themes in the tune sound familiar as well, or maybe it's just me. This is a good song if you're a fan of hard rock.

I Think I'm Going Bald is a rather funny piece from Rush, as the members lament the idea of getting old, a rather progressive theme to a kind of rock song. The solo is particularly good, but aside from that the song sounds like it was brought over from their first album. The song seems just silly compared to the rest of the album, but a treat to listen to.

Lakeside Park is a nice piece of a place near where the band grew up. The phaser usage by Lifeson adds a nice touch to it. Peart adds some good drum fills and his beat is overall well. Geddy tones down his singing for once, which is a nice breather, because this singing doesn't come back until The Fountain of Lamneth. Its good to hear live. After all the three songs are done, then the listener comes to the good parts of the album.

The Necromancer is my favorite off the album, though as obscure as the song may seem. We get some eerie guitar swells and synth-encoded voice before we are introduced to the Necromancer. This opening section is definitely blues-influenced, but the lyrics are really creepy if you can understand of what's being said. Then the second section had some nice growling from Geddy and a bunch of gaps in the music, but after a solo the music rockets into a frenzy. The solo played on top of this is probably one of Alex's fastest, longest, and most furiously recorded solos. It just rips off the board. And when it ends, fades in the most melodic riff you could possibly hear in a Rush song; it just sounds too good when listening to it every time. Claiming victory, By-Tor (yes, the guy from the other album) returns to save the three talked about in the beginning. The tale is strange and not full of lyrics, but overall it's an awesome song that begs to be heard.

The Fountain of Lamneth is truly one of Rush's first epics, not only in style but in sound. Acoustic guitar and chord arpeggios is a primary basis for most parts of the song. I just find the main riff from In The Valley and The Fountain to be weird sounding, especially the first time listening to it. The main theme of this song seems to be about life and climbing the social ladder, but since the members said they were smoking a lot of dope at the time I'm finding it hard to believe. So yeah, when you do figure it out, put your own meaning to it; it's that kind of song. The drum solo early on in the song is killer; can never see Peart play that fast again. No One At The Bridge tends to be a little repetitive and elongated with Lifeson abusing the phaser a bit. Panacea seems to be the point where the character has/is starting to achieve the goal; it's somber and I think it pulls a bit from Rivendell, not that quietly though. Bacchus Plateau (whatever name that is) is decent in terms of guitar riffing and shows a collapse of the character, and some good protested singing from Geddy. The lyrics here do sound rather sad when you think about it. Then we quickly transition back to The Fountain where the album full circles, mostly sounds the same, but showing determination from the character. Then it truly full circles with the acoustic ending exactly the same, but with some philosophical fragmentary sentences thrown in. The way it sounds could make a listener cry if they opened their heart to it. WAY Underrated, as it created the framework for 2112.

In all honesty, it's hard to pin a rating, just because of a track or two that fell short. But it has become one of their albums I listen to the most... The lyrics are all prog in print. It's not music that should be listened to in the background, and should be given individual attention so it may shine as a masterpiece. Same goes for most music, but I am rather easy to please.

(EDIT 10/2019: I was kind of wrong here. I Think I'm Going Bald, and some parts of Fountain of Lamneth bring this down to a 4.)

FromAbove | 4/5 |


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