Caress of Steel
RUSH

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RUSH - Caress of Steel cover
3.68 | 48 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1975

Filed under Proto-Metal

Tracklist

1. Bastille Day (4:40)
2. I Think I'm Going Bald (3:41)
3. Lakeside Park (4:10)
4. The Necromancer: I. Into the Darkness / II. Under the Shadow / III. Return of the Prince (12:32)
5. The Fountain of Lamneth: I. In the Valley / II. Didacts and Narpets / III. No One at the Bridge / IV. Panacea / V. Bacchus Plateau / VI. The Fountain (19:57)

Total Time: 45:02

Line-up/Musicians

- Geddy Lee / vocals, bass
- Alex Lifeson / 6 and 12 string electric and acoustic guitars, classical guitar, steel guitar
- Neal Peart / drums, percussion

About this release

Studio album
September 24, 1975
Produced by Rush and Terry Brown

1975 - Anthem(Canada)
1975 - Mercury(US)(UK)
1987 - Mercury(US) CD
1997 - Anthem(Canada) CD: remastered
1997 - Mercury(US)(Europe) CD: remastered
2009 - Warner Music(Japan) CD: CD sized album replica, remastered, limited edition

Thanks to UMUR, cannon, Pekka for the updates

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RUSH CARESS OF STEEL reviews

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siLLy puPPy
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 to compare this to the series of masterpieces that would soon follow. Apparently others were underwhelmed as well explaining the lackluster sales when released and the range of opinions ever since. All this dedication and persistence has paid off for me. For a long time I would have rated this a 2 star album and I spent many years ignoring this release altogether but in the last couple of years I have decided to explore this album a lot more since I was inspired by the many differences in opinion that it has received.

The first thing everyone notices upon first listen is how different the two sides are. The first side is old RUSH with the Zeppelin-inspired hard rock tracks “Bastille Day,” “I Think I'm Going Bald” and “Lakeside Park.” These songs were always inferior for me when compared to the first album and the hard rock anthems on “Fly By Night.” But after accepting them for what they were, my attitude changed towards them. The second side is RUSH's first major experiments with long epic progressive tracks in the forms of “The Necromancer” and “The Fountain Of Lamneth.” These two tracks are very interesting in how you can hear snippets of future masterpieces in the making. There are chord progressions that remind of tracks on 2112. There are nylon classical pieces that remind of A FAREWELL TO KINGS, etc. These two sprawling works are not quite as good as the more refined classics on the next four albums but nonetheless they have really grown on me.

Although this album is not perfect and really a training ground for the albums that follow it is still a decent album in its own right that has taken me very many listens to appreciate as much as I do now. This will hardly ever trump any of the albums from 2112 to Moving Pictures in popularity but I simply can't imagine any RUSH fan's collection complete without this album that provides a glimpse into the evolution of their sound. For that reason alone I recommend this album but I have also grown to really enjoy all the songs on it. I would highly recommend to listen to this periodically as it has a quirkiness that tends to alienate initially but does reward after perseverance. I am not at all disappointed in taking the time to get to know the intricacies of this album. I have had a hard time deciding if this is a 3.5 star album or a 4 star album and even now it seems like it's somewhere in between, but this is RUSH and I love this band so i'm gonna go for the 4.
AtomicCrimsonRush
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".
Warthur
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.
arcane-beautiful
Rush are GODS. There's not much to say. The period between the mid 70's to the early 80's, Rush released some of the music that would make me think of music in a complete;y different way.

Their first real monumental release was Fly By Night, but I don't have that album (at least not yet), so I will start with Caress Of Steel.

With 3 amazing short songs and 2 monumental epics, this album really has it all. I never realy understood how good it was until I listened to it for the second time, and it really is some achievement, especially for 1975.

1. Bastille Day - The first ever power metal song in my opinion. Geddy's vocals are just phenomanal. The lyrics are also amazing and tell a great story (something about France). The instrumental sections are really something.

2. I Think I'm Going Bald - A very comical song. Very funny (although the best song about male patern baldness is Bald by The Darkness). Great chorus.

3. Lakeside Park - A nice laid back moment of the album. Great song with an amazing chorus.

4. The Necromancer - This is the first epic of the album and it really does take you on an epic journey. This song is the continuation of the story of By-Tor (By-Tor & The Snow Dog on Fly By Night). The song really does take you places, with the narration (that sounds like adam09 who made those parodies of John Petrucci on You Tube.) The first part is very calm, followed by a more aggresive and rock paced middle section with an overjoyous conclusion.

5. The Fountain Of Lamneth - The biggest epic of the 2. Just under 20 minutes long, this piece is amazing. The riff in the 2nd and last part is amazing and is one of the first ever real polyrhythym sections in a song. The rest is very epic, with an amazing drum solo as the 3rd part. The lyrics are also amazing, telling of an epic story of a fountain on top of a mountain that has a substance named Panacea that gives you long lasting life. Really is something amazing. I wish I was a child of the 70's, then I would have been able to listen to this music and be more in love with it than I already am.

CONCLUSION: The first of a string of masterpieces. If you don't have this album, then you should be buying it now.

Conor Fynes
'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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