Rush
Caress of Steel


2.5
average

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (179 Reviews)
October 1st, 2013 | 56 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Down the tubes indeed.

Chapter III: A Shaky Rebirth

After the moderate success of Rush's first two records, the band made the ballsiest choice in their entire career: they ditched their old bluesy hard rock sound in favor of straight up progressive rock. Fans were shocked at this sudden switch; while Fly by Night had some elements of progressive rock, Caress of Steel saw the band going headfirst into the proverbial pit of the genre. But hey, sometimes the most unlikely successes happen because of sporadic stylistic choices, so maybe it's gonna work for Rush...

Oh dear God, it didn't!

A huge leap backward from the previous two albums, Caress of Steel alternates between short straightforward rockers and two lengthy progressive epics. There are certainly good and bad aspects of each section of the album, but the epics are where the most things went wrong. While they are certainly ambitious, they're also incredibly disjointed and frankly boring. "The Necromancer" is split into three parts, and while the spoken-word segments are fun enough to listen to, the solos are irritatingly long and tedious. With "Working Man" off the first album, the solo section was a lot more enjoyable because there was enough compositional variety accompanying Alex Lifeson's guitar work. With "The Necromancer," the solos go on for ages; it doesn't help that the song doesn't flow very well either. As I said though, the spoken word parts are pretty fun despite the cheesiness of the low voice narrating them. The instrumental work is also at its strongest here, with melancholic clean leads giving some atmosphere. "The Fountain of Lamneth," however, is where everything turns completely sour. Despite an admittedly beautiful acoustic opening, the heavier section that follows is a bit sporadic and uncalled for. But even then, it's cool to hear Neil Peart doing some nifty technical drumming around this section. However, it all goes downhill once the drum solo starts. This portion completely screws up the entire epic, derailing the rest of the song's consistency; once it's over, the rest of the tune consists mostly of variations on the same melancholic guitar lines you heard earlier. There are some changes in style and dynamics, but they never amount to much.

The rockers are definitely better than the epics, but there are some problems here too. "Bastille Day" and "Lakeside Park" are really solid hard rock numbers, the former being a classic Rush song that is played live to this day. The main riff is almost punk-sounding and the lyrics about the French Revolution are definitely well-written. The song's structure sounds like it could have been featured on the previous album Fly by Night, with more emphasis on hard rock than progressive rock. "Lakeside Park" is a bit more laid-back, but offers a calming atmosphere represented by cleaner guitar playing. "I Think I'm Going Bald" is a pretty terrible song though, with ridiculous lyrics about - what else? - going bald. The song's instrumental work is completely average, and nothing stands out very much. All of this amounts to the album's biggest problem: it's too inconsistent. There's an annoying disjointed feel about the record, and while the rockers are fun enough, the epics are overlong and boring as hell. This might just be Rush's worst record overall; luckily, the band would find their footing with the next effort, 2112. Stay tuned for Chapter IV.



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user ratings (698)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
FiveLeavesLeft
October 1st 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I know the rating probably seems too low, but I really didn't like this very much. The reason I put
the review off for so long was because I wasn't looking forward to it

Apollo
October 1st 2013


10307 Comments


Sonic and KiLL are gonna shit a brick

FiveLeavesLeft
October 1st 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Luckily I can move on to 2112 now. I'm happy I got this over with

Green Baron
October 1st 2013


20000 Comments


holy diver all over again

FiveLeavesLeft
October 1st 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha, nah, this isn't quite as beloved. Giving a 2/5 to Holy Diver was a deathwish :P

StallionMang
October 1st 2013


5633 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, not a bad album by any means, but I agree that people too often tend to see this as a hidden classic, which
it's really not.

Digging: The Antlers - In the Attic of the Universe

demigod!
October 1st 2013


44445 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

a weaker album in the early rush discog but a very important stepping stone nonetheless. i consider this to be their "spiritual healing"

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

SnakeDelilah
October 1st 2013


7210 Comments


not a 0.5

Digging: At the Drive-In - Relationship of Command

Smial
October 1st 2013


800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nigga what da fu

Parallels
October 1st 2013


6641 Comments


Sonic and KiLL are gonna shit a brick [2]

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2013


3450 Comments


Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR

FUCK YEAH

FiveLeavesLeft
October 1st 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm back :D

Realm
October 2nd 2013


2074 Comments


i dont get why people who generally like rush dislike this album

FiveLeavesLeft
October 2nd 2013


9838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's just really disjointed and boring in my opinion

DrHouseSchuldiner
October 2nd 2013


5643 Comments


good shit here ...fountain of lamneth has been hitting me so hard lately

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2013


20679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol 2.5. Album rules, almost as hard as 2112.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

Nagrarok
October 2nd 2013


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album rules, almost as hard as 2112.


No way! I think I had this at a 2.5 or even a 2 initially so it definitely grew on me, but some parts of it are pretty boring, especially Lamneth which was an admirable attempt at the prog epic but nothing more. They were smart to adapt its best riffs for 2112 though.

Parallels
October 2nd 2013


6641 Comments


Lamneth is a poorly constructed epic, and I Think I'm Going Bald is made a complete mockery of the Rush name. Bastille Day is worth jamming tho

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2013


20679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nothing on here is quite as good as 2112's title track but overall I enjoy both albums pretty much equally. 2112 is slightly overrated imo, I mean it's great but it's nowhere near the best Rush album like some people claim.

Although this album is somewhat flawed (so is 2112 to an extent) there's something that keeps me coming back to it.

Parallels
October 2nd 2013


6641 Comments


holy crap a 4

are you secretly sonic1?



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