Review Summary: This album is not the band’s highlight. In fact Caress of Steel is one of their lower efforts in their entire discography. But while most of the album seems uninspired and dull, two songs hit the mark, and they're the first and last tracks.Rush:
Geddy Lee – Lead Vocals, Bass
Alex Lifeson – Lead Guitar
Neil Peart – Percussionist
Caress of Steel
is Rush’s 3rd studio album and was released in 1975. Yeah, these guys are old.
Rush is one of those bands that usually makes people laugh. And for good reason too. I mean who talks about hobbits and black holes in their songs? And is there anybody that sounds remotely close to Geddy Lee? But as different as these guys are, there’s no denying the musicianship and talent between this group is pretty amazing. Most of the time this band is pretty enjoyable to listen to.
This is probably the best song on the album and the one song you would know if you knew any on here. It starts off with a nice catchy riff with Neil showing some of his chops that he’s known for. A nice Lifeson solo comes in about halfway into the song before the band starts to jam it out. They throw in some strange time signatures to keep you off your feet before they end with the majestic outro. Overall, it's a good upbeat song to start the album off.
I Think I’m Going Bald:
The title of this song shocked me when I first saw it and that’s saying something since this is Rush. The lyrics are pretty ridiculous and pointless. It pretty much talks about going bald...Go figure. The track starts off with a nice catchy tune that sounds like something straight off a Zeppelin album. Lifeson throws in another good solo and Neil remains strong, but there’s nothing really to latch onto in a song like this. The whole thing feels a bit uninspired.
This song shows a softer side to Rush that hasn’t been exposed too much up to this point. (Except for maybe Rivendell.
) It is much lighter than the previous two songs. Another small guitar solo makes it’s way into the song and Neil stays creative but overall it’s a little dull. Some fans like this song more than the others on this album but I think it’s just a little boring.
Ah, here’s some of the progressive Rush we’ve been waiting for. Although this song seems to take a little too long to get going. You got to love the voice in the beginning. “journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of the Necromancer.” We’ll get to hear him again about four minutes into the song, and if that’s not enough, he’s in Cygnus X-1
too! This song seems to relate to By Tor and the Snow Dog
since By Tor is mentioned. I’m not going to get too in depth with the epic mumbo jumbo, but if you follow the story it can be fun. By Tor and the Snow Dog
was apparently inspired by two dogs Rush saw at a party and has become one of the more fun and light hearted songs they perform. But anyways, I’m getting off track. Once again, Neil takes the lead as the main guy, but the others contribute nicely a ways into the song. A nice cheesy sound effect sneaks it’s way into the song around seven minutes as we continue to listen to the band do what they do best: play. They continue to truck their way to the end. Anyways this song is not as good as the next track but it’s still pretty good. The ending sounds like Bastille Day
ended, and I do enjoy that.
The Fountain of Lamneth:
And here we are. The true epic of the album. It starts of soft, and then BOOM! Here they are! They flesh out some prog goodness before the cut out at around four minutes. Neil Peart then begins to show why he’s the most well known drummer in the world. Eventually his “Animal like” playing comes to an end and Alex brings us back to a nice tranquil atmosphere. In fact, I really like the riff he comes back in with. Very soothing. Around nine and a half minutes we experience a shift in tone, and Geddy brings in some somber vocals. The song eventually picks up again around the thirteen minute mark and doesn’t let up until the end. While it’s not as good as 2112
, It’s definitely one of Rush’s better epics. And while most of the lyrics on this song, and on the album as a whole are just fantasy fun, one quote caught my attention. "Life is just the candle, and a dream must give it flame." And that brings the album to an end.
This album was released after the highly regarded and somewhat breakthrough album of Fly by Night
, so the bar was set pretty high. It takes the progressive feel that By Tor and the Snow Dog
established on Fly by Night
a little father, with long and complex songs like Fountain of Lamneth
, but ultimately fails to capture the energy, creativity, and overall enjoyability the prior album contained. Ultimately I think the album’s biggest problem is it doesn’t have any truly outstanding tracks to attract the listener. Even as good as Bastille Day
and The Fountain of Lamneth
are, they aren’t Rush’s best. Hey, even Rush said this wasn't one of their favorite albums they put out. So in conclusion I can only recommend this album to the true Rush fans. Either those die hards or possibly those legions of Rush fans that will only listen to Rush prior Permanent Waves
. (since this was before that album.)
Final Review: 2.5/5