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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover

RELAYER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.36 | 2060 ratings

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LakeGlade12
5 stars 5.0 stars. As dramatic and interesting as the album cover

This is my second tribute review which goes out to albums that have had a huge impact on me. Relayer was the first Prog album that I ever heard which had a harsher and more "metal" sound and to this day it is one of my favourite albums of all time. Thanks to Relayer I was given the confidence to tackle more metal oriented Prog bands. Just to be clear this is not a metal album in any traditional sense, but this is Yes at their most aggressive due to new band member Patrick Moraz injecting a lot of intense jazz fusion into their sound.

The album starts with the near 22 minute epic "The Gates of Delirium" which happens to be my 2nd favourite song of all time (only Genesis "Supper's Ready" beats it for me). The first 2 minutes or so are relatively subdued but there are jazzy flourishes and sudden changes in mood throughout the introduction. It acts as a warning sign to all listeners as if the song was saying "I'm unstable and unpredictable so you better stay sharp!"

Vocals then come in and the song takes an upbeat mood for a little while, well you would think it was upbeat until you listen to the lyrics, which are all about the build-up to war. These are not Yes's usual happy but vague lyrics and they have some blunt lines such as "Kill them give them as they give us Slay them burn their children's laughter On to hell". As the lyrics darken the song becomes more unstable and wild until eventually the time for talk ends and it's time for battle.

And my oh my what a battle this is and for me this is one of the highlights of the album. It starts on a jarring note with some frantic solos and the sound of steel clashing to give a mental image of the chaotic battle occurring. This gives way to the best soaring electric guitar solo from Steve Howe that I have ever heard until finally the energy decays away into ambience...

The epic closes with "Soon" which is one of the saddest and most emotional things Yes have ever created. Jon Anderson has never sung better and it's a real tear jerker, so beautiful. And that is track 1!

"Sound Chaser" is the perfect title for this song, because that's the frantic pace taken throughout most of this song. There is a slower solo from Howe in the middle followed by quiet vocals, but otherwise it has a take-no-prisoner, all-out attack approach and it is the closest thing Yes have ever done to Prog Metal.

After all of the power and energy of the last 2 songs the album winds down with "To Be Over". It starts with a fairly relaxed Middle East tune that lasts for a few minutes. Vocals come in a very dreamlike melody that lets you chill out for a while. The song regains some of the unpredictability of the last 2 songs and it then turns into a soaring melody, which for me is the best part of the song. Vocals return which brings things to a climax and then the song starts to fade away on a peaceful note.

Weak points? Very very few as this album is IMO almost perfect from beginning to end (hence why it's one of my favourite albums). I guess "To Be Over" doesn't sound as impressive if you haven't just listened to the other 2 songs first. Because without the adrenaline rush of the other 2 songs the final song can start to feel too slow and uneventful. But otherwise this is a masterpiece for me and one of the easiest 5 stars I will ever give. My only wish is that Relayer was higher up in the PA charts...

LakeGlade12 | 5/5 |

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