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 release, Fly by Night, had some weak songs, Caress of Steel has absolutely NO flaws. Rush has also mastered making epic's on this release with 'The Necromancer' and my 2nd favorite Rush epic 'The Fountain of Lamneth' (My favorite being 'Cygnus X-1').
1: Bastille Day, like Anthem on FBN, is an amazing album opener. Lifeson's moving guitar riffs perfectly compliment Peart's drumming on this track. The transitions from the heavy blasting parts to the flowing melodic softer parts are spot-on, and the way Lee's voice softens as soon as it gets softer is just perfect. Just as good as Anthem on FBN. (10/10)
2: I Think I'm Going Bald may be a weak track compared to the other songs on this album, this song was actually a joke about Lifeson having a fear of going bald. If you listen to this song taking the joke into account it's not bad, it might remind you of a Primus song. (7/10)
3: Lakeside Park is a nice moody break from the heavy songs preceding it. Lakeside has a great melodic flow to it that just creates a perfect atmosphere. This song perfectly shows that atmosphere really counts and creates some really catchy melodies. (9/10)
4: The Necromancer is the sequel to FBN's 'By-Tor and the Snow Dog' and a perfect sequel. TN starts with some nice ambiance combined with spoken word which would characterize later Rush epics such as Cygnus X-1 and influence later Prog releases such as Pain of Salvation's 'BE'. Lifeson then contributes some great on/off guitar work. TN then becomes a Doom Metal sounding song with some sludgy guitar and Lee shifts his wails to a lower, more menacing tone, this part reminds me a lot of early Black Sabbath. TN then closes with some soft, relaxing, and melodic rhythms as the By-Tor saga comes to a beautiful end. (10/10)
5: The Fountain of Lamneth: The grand finale. TFOL begins with some wonderful, flowing acoustic guitar with some soft vocals from Lee. The soaring electric guitar soon comes in and has a sort of a marching sound at first, then the guitar gets fast and heavy and the vocals flow perfectly. Now Peart really shows his mastery here, with drum rolls looping the listeners head in mastery and Lee's screams perfectly compliment Peart's drumming here. Now we are greeted with some softer flowing melodies that are just beautiful. Now back to where the electric guitar came in and back to some melodic acoustics. A perfect example of eclectic influences equals this album and Rush's following albums. (10/10)
Overall, I think this is also one of Rush's most eclectic releases almost rivaling King Crimson in variety. Recommended to any Prog, Rush, or Metal fan. This album really deserves a Five Stars!
Hope you found this review helpful.