Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Rush- Caress of Steel
Caress Of Steel- Released in 1975 for Mercury Records
Best song- The Necromancer.
In 1975, Rush looked poised for a mainstream breakthrough. They had some significant hits on their hands, they were touring relentlessly, and people talked about their rising stardom. It seemed a breakthrough was coming. And thus, Rush headed into Toronto sound Studios for work on their third album, Caress of Steel. Terry Brown produced as usual, and he would produce all albums through Signals. Of course, the album was a massive flop, and generally is regarded as one of Rush's worst, if not their worst.
But why? All the songs are top-notch, and the singing and instrumental work is as brilliant as ever. If you like Rush and Fly By Night, i have no idea why you wouldn't like this, and have NO clue why everyone hates this album so.
The album starts out with another great hard rocker, in the vein of Anthem, entitled "Bastille Day", and it's a great one. Lifeson's riffing has bite immediately, and the main song really rocks out, with a great melody and great singing from Geddy, delivering a very agressive performance. Neil's drumming is great as usual, and so is the guitar solo. The slow part at the ending is also fantastic. A great start.
The next song on the album is "I Think I'm Going Bald". Don't be fooled by the stupid name and stupid lyrics though! It has great riffing, similar to "In The Mood", and a nice melody. Everyone hates this song because of the stupid lyrics, but I don't mind it, and find it a great song. The guitar solo is... oh come on! I don't need to say that it's great again! (Lifeson is an amazing guitarist)
Afterwards, we get "Lakeside Park". This is another song everyone likes to hate due to it being an apparent "Fly By Night" ripoff, but i'm fine with it. The melody is great, Neil's drumming is nice, the guitar solo is nice,(Yeezus, will there ever be a Rush song with no guitar solo) and the singing is good! Do you really need anything more? The softer, more laid back middle is also pleasant. Good start!
We then get the first of two epics on this album, the three part, 12 and a half minute "The Necromancer". The first part, "Into The Darkness" starts poor, with pitch-shifted narration by Peart over a BORING backing beat. It then gets better though, with a cool, trippy section (4 minutes and 20 seconds long! Coincidence? I think not!) that almost sounds like Pink Floyd. It then picks up in intensity, but stays similar. This part is really good, with great lead and rhythm guitar and nice drumming. We then go into the next section, "Under The Shadow". This section starts with more terrible narration, but then goes into a really cool section, mostly silent, with sparse guitar hits, and It sounds awesome, especially as they become more consistent. We then have the vocals enter for a bit, before a nice guitar solo. We then go into another instrumental section, with more great riffs. Some weird sounds lead into some fast paced riffing, which sounds good, with some Yes esque parts. We then go into the final section of the song, "Return of The Prince", which starts with a nice, soothing, guitar riff. Even Neil's narration doesn't sound bad over it! it keeps this laid back tone, with some soloing over it, and it sounds wonderful. Overall, "The Necromancer" is another brilliant epic which is recommended.
The album closes out with the massive, 20 minute epic "The Fountain of Lamneth" which apparently tells the story of the lifelong quest of a man to find the titular fountain. We start out with the acoustic chunk "In The Valley", which is supposed to represent birth, followed by childhood. It starts with a pleasant acoustic melody with Geddy singing. It then picks up, with several guitar hits heralding in a harder section, before going into a faster tempo section, which sounds really nice! It then goes back to the softer part, and the transition is seamless. It then goes back to the harder section. This transition between light and hard works really well, and sounds awesome. It keeps doing this a few times. It then leads into the second part, "Didacts and Narpets". DEAR GOD, is this part pointless. It just consists of a random drum solo over which random words like "Work!" and "Live!" are shouted. The definition of filler.
After that disaster, the song has nowhere to go but up, and it does with the third part, "No One At The Bridge" which represents young adulthood. This section features great, emotional singing by Geddy, with a great, midtempo melody backing it. The arpeggio guitar riff is wonderful. As like "In The Valley" it alternates between harder and softer parts, and it works well. It then transitions to a vocal/guitar unison part, similar to the one in "Beneath, Between, and Behind" and it works just as well, with great interplay. Geddy's desperation in his voice is great too. This then leads to another great guitar solo. Then, birds chirping leads to the next part, "Panacea", which is supposed to represent finding love. Geddy does some of his lowest singing here, and the melody is nice and pleasant, but kind of boring. It can stick around, however. The fifth part is "Bacchus Plateau", which represents a mid-life crisis. This song is more uptempo, and it's still good, with another good melody. The drumming is nice as well.
We then finally go to the closing part, "The Fountain", which is supposed to represent old age and death. This part reprises many of the themes from "In The Valley" , and they're just as good here as they are there. It then has another simple acoustic part, ending with another guitar swell, representing death. Overall, it has some weak parts, and is not as good as "The Necromancer", but "The Fountain of Lamneth" is another spectacular epic.
Overall, a strong contender for most underrated album of all time. Everyone loves to hate on this album, and loves to call it one of Rush's worst, if not THE worst. However, I love it! Songs like "The Necromancer" or "Bastille Day" are among the greatest Rush songs of all time, and the rest are great. A wonderful album. 5/5.