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Yes - Tormato CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.98 | 1393 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Some thing's.... not right.

Following close on the heels of the sound of their previous outing Going for the One, Yes releases this mixed effort. This is an album who's befuddled sound has, well, befuddled many listeners over the years. From it's confusing Hipgnosis cover art (Hipgnosis is great, but what was going on here?), to it's strange name (Yes - Tor as originally planned would have been much better even), to it's even more misplaced music this album is certainly a difficult to really "get". There is a bunch of good material on here, but this is definitely where Yes started to lose their classic sound.

Though some of the songs here are good, each one could have been much better. With inner-band tensions strengthening it's no wonder that the playing by the artists is not as tight as normal. Wakeman's keyboards and Howe's guitar, while normally beautifully synchronized and acting as one another's counterpart are, here, contrasting each other sharply. Tracks like Arriving UFO is a great example of this, as the synth presses forward and almost entirely hides Howe's guitar work. Don't Kill The Whale is one of the better songs on the album with it's catchy riffs and (now) somewhat tacky lyrics, but it still shares the contrast, not allowing Wakeman's playing to shine through at all. Madrigal and Circus Of Heaven both seem a bit misplaced on the album, and the latter is incredibly inaccessible, and somewhat strange with Jon Anderson's son giving in some voicing. Onward, though slow, is still a fairly well done track that all the instrumentation seems to work on, and perhaps it's low key speed is the reason. It seems throughout the album that syncing the instruments is the biggest problem here, wrtting some different, more corresponding parts definitely would have helped here.

(And so why 3 stars instead of 2 or 1 you might ask, well:)

There are some great songs here, and a couple overlooked Yes classics from the GFTO era. Some of the tracks here, including the great Future Tines/Rejoice and On The Silent Wings Of Freedom are truly great. A bit odd sounding to the listener, but they still all work as good Yes songs. These songs are the way the album should have worked, and though the instrumentation does still waver a bit on both, but both still manage to be the heavy, symphonic, imaginative band that we know and love from the early 70s. Release Release is also worth mentioning, a good track, if a bit scattered at times. It's too bad that these tracks got stuck in this era of Yes and weren't recorded earlier when the band worked truly well together.


Even with all it's ups and downs this still turns out to be a "good" album, definitely not essential, but when listened to while forgetting everything you know about Yes there is something to like about this album. 3 stars, a good album that could have been so much more.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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