Rush - Caress of Steel
"Caress of Steel" is the third studio album from hard rock/progressive rock band Rush. With the addition of drummer Neil Peart on the previous album, Rush's music and lyrics had gotten more complex while still primarily playing bluesy hard rock. "Caress of Steel" takes the complexity to the next level, featuring not one, but two epic tracks exceeding the 10-minute mark. This album shows Rush become the progressive heavy/hard rock behemoth they're known as today.
"Caress of Steel" expands upon what Rush was experimenting with on "Fly By Night", as there are full epic song-structures as heard in the last two songs, folk-rock influences in 'Lakeside Park', while also getting heavier. The opening two songs 'Bastille Day' and 'I Think I'm Going Bald' are pure killer heavy rocking songs, especially the former which opens the album with heavy speeding riffing. 'Lakeside Park' continues with some of the folk sounds from the previous album, but it sounds much more focused then the experimentation with it on its predecessors. It's actually one of my favorites from the album, and it's nice and calm yet rocking at the same time.
The first of the two epics and my favorite song on the album, 'The Necromancer', is actually part two of the story from the song 'By-Tor and the Snow Dog' from the last album. 'The Necromancer' and the following epic really set the standard for future Rush epics, having different parts all having their own distinct sound. The beginning opens up with spoken word and later gets a bluesy Pink Floyd-vibe to it.The second part shows Rush at perhaps one of their heaviest moments. There's some killer Sabbath-esque sludgy guitar, and Lee's menacing vocals and screams sure makes this part sound like proto-doom metal. What better contrast to sludgy guitar can you have but a great blistering guitar solo. The song ends on an uplifting note with some joyful folk guitar and a solo.
The final song on the album is the 20-minute behemoth, 'The Fountain of Lamneth'. This is an six-segment epic full of variation, going from heavy riffing, menacing melodies, beautiful classical/acoustic guitar work, and more. One of the most amazing parts of the song is part two, 'Didacts and Narpets', which is basically a drum solo with chaotic drum rolls and guitar blasts.
Overall, "Caress of Steel" is a perfect combination of different sounds, and really shows Rush doing all that they do best; heavy blistering rock and complex hard rock epics. A true underrated classic, and one of my favorite Rush albums. "Caress of Steel" is not only a fantastic album, but it led to many future Rush albums with it's approach to balancing out hard rock and heavy progressive epic songs. This is a great starting point for someone getting into 70's Rush, and also essential listening for any fans of classic hard rock. Hope you found this review helpful.
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