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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 1543 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars If there is one band that has had as many highs and lows, it must be Yes. Prog fans usually refer to Close to the Edge, Fragile and Relayer as their Golden Age, but often disagree as to their appreciation of other albums. Some consider Tales from Topographic Oceans a masterpiece while others think they went over the top with it. Tormato and Going for the One are usually looked upon in puzzlement, whereas Big Generator, Union and Open your Eyes are laughed at.

Which brings us to Drama.

An oddity in the Yes discography, the line-up that recorded it only recorded this one (like the line-up for Relayer which included Patrick Moraz). So here we have Trevor Horn handling vocals and Geoff Downes playing keyboards instead of Anderson and Wakeman. But the Yes sound is still very much intact. If one thing, the album has a heavier sound than anything previously recorded by the band, and to my ears, this is definitely not a bad thing.

Opener Machine Messiah is among my favorite Yes songs (and the only one on which I will elaborate a bit). It has an energy to it rarely heard in previous Yes recordings. Howe's guitar work is very diverse from beginning to end, boasting heavy riffing at times as well as moody acoustic passages. Downes proves himself to be a very suitable and competent replacement for Wakeman with nice textures and beautiful melodies. And had I not know Horn sang on the album, I would have EASILY mistaken him for Anderson. Not only does he sound like him, but with Squire's support vocals to carry him it sounds as if the vocal duet that recorded all previous Yes offerings is still intact. I suppose Squire wrote most of the vocal melodies and harmonies.

As for the rest of the album, a few words can be used to summarize it : consistent, modern (for the times), interesting and a good load of fun to listen to. Those who snobbed this album because Wakeman and Anderson were no longer in the fold truly missed out on something ; Yes' best album since Relayer, and, also, the best before a long time. Probably the last great prog album Yes recorded. It would have been really interesting to hear what they could have done given another album or two. Instead, Downes went on to form Asia, and Yes went on to record 90125.

Though not a masterpiece, it definitely deserves four stars.

Melomaniac | 4/5 |


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