822 543-1 Caress of Steel
Produced and Arranged by RUSH and Terry Brown
Released on October 1975
US CHART POSITION #148
Find it at GEMM
822 543-1 cover  

Here the focus shifts to epic fantasies, but is it a case of Rush by-toring off more than they can chew? Both “The Necromancer” and the side-long “The Fountain of Lamneth” have their moments, even if the band hasn’t quite figured out the best way to bridge their ideas into a single, cohesive whole. Is The Fountain’s “Panacea” simply a standalone track like “Rivendell” encased in bookends, or a logical point along a continuous path? And does the dark narration between segments of The Necromancer constitute a clever plot device or a crutch? Fortunately, these questions are tangential to the task at hand, which is enjoying the good music that does appear on Caress of Steel (and there’s plenty of that). The opening “Bastille Day” might be their most majestic moment yet, and the coolly delivered “Lakeside Park” is another positive sign of things to come. Separating sections of the longer works from their extended families yields similar highlights, including “Under The Shadow” (featuring a riff worthy of Black Sabbath) and “Bacchus Plateau.” Rush still hasn’t found a way to spread the sounds of a bass/guitar/drum trio across prog rock’s semi-classical structures, often leaning on Alex Lifeson to “fill up” space by stretching chords into arpeggiated patterns of mesmerizing cloth, which approximates the sound of a keyboardist but often finds them short one lead guitarist. As a result, Caress of Steel sometimes feels like the work of two bands, half-committed to the music of Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin while aspiring to the work of Genesis. Like their next album (2112), this record may not achieve every thing it sets out to do, but ambition and conviction go a long way toward minimizing the potential downside. Also, any album that can overcome a lame track like “I Think I’m Going Bald” in its midst must be pretty damn good.

822 543-1 back cover
822 543-1 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. BASTILLE DAY    4:36
  2. I THINK I'M GOING BALD    3:35
  3. LAKESIDE PARK    4:07
  4. THE NECROMANCER
    I. Into Darkness    4:20
    II. Under The Shadow    4:25
    III. Return of The Prince    3:51
  5. THE FOUNTAIN OF LAMNETH
    I. In The Valley    4:17
    II. Didacts and Narpets    1:00
    III. No One At The Bridge    4:15
    IV. Panacea    (Geddy Lee/Neil Peart)    3:12
    V. Bacchus Plateau    (Geddy Lee/Neil Peart)    3:12
    VI. The Fountain    3:48

    All songs written by Geddy Lee/Alex Lifeson/Neil Peart unless noted

CREDITS

GEDDY LEE --
ALEX LIFESON --
NEIL PEART --

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REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
CAN 1975 Anthem LP ANR 11003 gatefold cover
US October 1975 Mercury LP/CS SRM-1-1046 gatefold cover
BRA/GER/NET 1975? Mercury LP 6338 600 gatefold cover
UK March 1976 Mercury LP/CS 9100 018 gatefold cover
US/UK April 1987 Mercury LP/CD/CS 822 543 no gatefold
CAN   Anthem CD ANMD 1077 digital remaster
US May 6, 1997 Mercury CD/CS 534 625 original master recording

 

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