Sound — 9
Rush are a band who have undergone many changes in their musical styles over the years, from plain old Led Zep influenced rock to creating their own brand of progressive rock which some people worship almost religiously. Not so big on the synth and keyboards on this album. "Caress of Steel" was the album that Rush intended to have the impact that "2112" had on their reputations as masters of the progressive rock scene. They introduce their ambitiousness as artists on this album, using varying tempos, with a differing selection of riffs and solos, both clean and distorted (original, though with that ever-remaining taste of Led Zeppelin hanging about) and undertaking their first epic piece. I'm referring here of course to their first epic; The Fountain of Lamneth (which is 19 minutes 58 seconds long), containing six separate episodes. Unlike the other epics and extended songs such as Xanadu, 2112, Cygnus X-1, the episodes don't run into each other unacknowledged, but are clearly separated. Another thing: loud bass rules!
Lyrics — 8
This album contains lyrics of which you would expect from Rush; intellectual, epic, sometimes humorous, a little cheesy and often intelligible. The first song "Bastille Day" deals with the French Revolution of the 14th July 1789. You'd have to be brain-dead to not get that. Actually make that just dead in general. Quite a fast song (similar to Passage to Bangkok which featured on their next release), pace-y lyrics, and a fan favourite. The second song, "I Think I'm Going Bald" is allegedly about some Canadian guitarist or other, or homage to KISS' "Goin' Blind". Either way it really doesn't matter because the song is a funky mofo. It has this really head-bobbing 70s feel to it. Lakeside Park is a song written by Neil Peart about his an actual park (yes! an actual park! ) where he worked near and grew up. The song paints mental pictures memories of the festival on the 24th of May, which is a Canadian holiday (I actually forgot Rush were Canadian for a second. Isn't that weird??? It's like forgetting you have teeth). Great song, my 2nd favourite off the album. It's very chilled out, very relaxed and it reflects the "hippy" culture of the time. "The Necromancer" is a song that could be based loosely upon "Lord of the Rings", the three travellers being Frodo, Sam and Gollum in Mordor. Of course that's not the exact subject but it is clearly derived from it. It's quite a long song also, lasting 12:29 with 3 episodes. It tells the story of "the three travellers" venturing into the land of the necromancer in search of something. I think it's quite clear I haven't analysed it very thoroughly but I get the gist lmao. Very enjoyable though, I don't think there's a boring part (but such is Rush). At the beginning of each section there is a narrative by someone with a ridiculously deep voice, relaying what Geddy has already sung basically except rending it grimmer. I thought the musical arrangement was awesome. Really quite different, seeing as the music adapts to whichever theme the song is adopting. Also there are two killer solos in "Under the Shadow". The Fountain of Lamneth is a song which underlines Rush's brilliance as both story tellers and musicians. The lyrics are some of the best I've ever had the pleasure to read and I think that many different meanings can be derived from them. My favourite part would robably be Panacea. I don't feel that I can do it justice with my limited vocabulary. Singer skills? Geddy Lee's voice is awesome!
Overall Impression — 9
Most of the album is very Led Zep/'60s-'70s rock orientated, so I would maybe compare this to something like "Secret Treaties" by Blue Oyster Cult but as for the last two songs, they are in a league of their own, Rush classics. Think of a mix between "Fly By Night" and "2112" and you've got this album. I love the texture of the songs, how they try to make some parts of songs quite mysterious/ominous, using only their instruments and a bit of reverb on guitar and they make it work. I do'nt hate anything on this album, only that the guitar could maybe have a less annoying tone when listened to more than thrice! If somehow it were to be stolen/lost I would definately replace it.