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Yes - Tormato CD (album) cover

TORMATO

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.97 | 1414 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 75

'Tormato' is the ninth studio album of Yes and was released in 1977. It became for being the last studio album with the group's usual classic line up. In 1980 Jon Anderson left the group and returned only in 1983 with their eleventh studio album '90125'. After de departure of Anderson, Rick Wakeman also quit the band, because he believed that Yes couldn't continue without the Anderson's voice, which was one of the key elements of the band's sound. He only returned in 1991 with their thirteenth studio album 'Union'. 'Tormato' became a mark in Yes's musical career, because after it, there was no more stability in the line up of the band, with practically constant changes from album to album, in the future. This line up would only be joined again on their compilation album, 'Keystudio', released in 2001.

After 'Going For The One', it was also Hipgnosis who made the design for the art cover of 'Tormato'. However, the photographs taken by Hipgnosis for the album's cover were so impressive that Wakeman, displeased, decided threw a tomato to the pictures taken for the album. As the original album title was to be 'Yes Tor', due to a geological formation in southern England, the cover and the title of the album were adjusted accordingly to this new occurrence.

'Tormato' has eight tracks. The first track is divided in two parts 'Future Times' written by all band's members and 'Rejoice' written by Anderson. This is a good track, not as great as some others from their previous studio albums, but still is a track where we can even see some progressiveness. It's a good opening to the album and represents, for me, one of the best three tracks on the album. The second track 'Don't Kill The Whale' written by Anderson and Chris Squire is a very interesting song chosen to be released as a single with the aim of promotion the album. This is the Yes's animal rights protest song, the ecological message of the band. In those times, these songs had a respectable and important message when the environmental concerns were beginning to rise. The third track 'Madrigal' written by Anderson and Wakeman is the shortest song on the album but it's also an amazing piece of music. This is clearly a Wakeman's song where we can clearly see some influences of the medieval music. This is one of the three best songs on the album. It has great melody and it has also great harpsichord and acoustic guitar works. The fourth track 'Release, Release' written by Anderson, Alan White and Squire is also another interesting track. It's clearly a song influenced by rock, very energetic and with some interesting performances by all band's members. The fifth track 'Arriving UFO' written by Anderson, Howe and Wakeman is, for me, the most weird and weakest song on the album. It's an uninspired song that reflects the fascination for the star trips, so usual in those times, but that doesn't deliver in musical terms. I even don't like the way of singing of Anderson on the track. The sixth track 'Circus of Heaven' written by Anderson, represents another weak point of the album. I don't say that this is a bad track, but this is clearly an Anderson's song that shouldn't be part of a Yes's album. This song should be part of an Anderson's solo work, because has nothing to do with Yes. The seventh track 'Onward' written by Squire is a simple, calm and beautiful love ballad with excellent arrangement and orchestration, dedicated to his wife. This song is different, in style, of the rest of the album, because besides the orchestra there is few use of other instrumentation by the other band's members. The eighth track 'On The Silent Wings Of Freedom' written by Anderson and Squire is the lengthiest song on the album. It's the last of the three best songs, the third best track on the album. It's also considered the only song genuinely progressive of the album. It may be the favourite track on the album by some, perhaps due to its sound, which is more Yes than anything else on the album. It's a symphonic and a jazzy song with good individual performances by Howe and Wakeman, guided by the energetic drumming beat of White and the harmonious bass of Squire.

Conclusion: 'Tormato' is undoubtedly the Yes's album from the 70's less loved by their fans. Many believed that half of the album only serves to occupy space and others said it was a logical progression from 'Going For The One'. In my opinion none of them have reason. When the album was released I bought a copy and me and my friends liked the album. 'Going For The One' is one of the best albums from the band and 'Tormato' isn't as bad as many say. We mustn't forget that 'Tormato' was released in the high of the punk rock era, during which, Yes were seen as old dinosaurs of the progressive rock and were criticized by representing it. So, it's for me evident that Influenced by such musical ambient, they began to change some aspects of their sound and composing shorter songs, performed in a lighter style. So, it was born 'Tormato', a transitional album and an album that even the band's members themselves said that they weren't sure about some of the material on it. However, the album maintains the basic and unmistakable sound of Yes, unlike Gentle Giant's last studio album 'Civilian', where the band's sound is practically unrecognizable.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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