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Yes - Keys to Ascension 2  CD (album) cover

KEYS TO ASCENSION 2

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 336 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ascension indeed.

After several average to bad records since the 70s, Yes finally pulls something great out of a hat! The classic lineup is back (with the exception of Bruford) and man,do they still know how to write. This two disc set is often an acclaimed Live offering, but what many people forget about is the equally grand Studio offering.

Indeed, the live offering is something out of a dream. Excellent live renditions of classics such as Seen All Good People, Turn Of The Century and a full extended rendition of Close to the Edge [CTTE] make this disc a must have for prog fans on it's own.

However, the real gem here is the studio disc. It seems that Yes wanted to make a rebuttal to their own music, and by doing such has come up with a modern song reflectant of some of their old greats. The album starts out quietly as Howe introduces MIND DRIVE with some slow, peaceful guitars until Squire and Wakeman intrude with some truly heavy stuff and the mind drive begins. Anderson proves that he can still deliver some hard vocals, some of the most aggressive he's ever put on tape, and the band proves they still know how to make speed changes. Reminiscent of CTTE, MIND DRIVE features some excellent soft bits and some excellent speed transitions. All in all, this is likely the best track the band has laid on tape since Awaken.

The rest of the tracks on the album are quite good as well. In the tradition of Roundabout, FOOTPRINTS opens with a mean bassline and uses it as the backbone of the song. Anderson's vocals continue to sound good, and the line ''My eyes see the coming revolution/My eyes see the glory of the world'' is sung so wonderfully that even the Anderson-haters have to give him some credit. BRING ME TO THE POWER and CHILDREN OF LIGHT are somewhat weaker than the previous tracks, but they both have good pace and are enjoyable none the less. However, they are what is holding this album back from a five star review. Luckily the album ends with the excellent (if short) instrumental SIGN LANGUAGE, proving that they still know how to do that kind of thing.

Each member of the band, both in studio and live, still plays to the best of their ability, and the half-life of vocals that usually haunts many singers doesn't seem to affect Anderson at all. Indeed, this album sounds like something right out of the 70s, and that's a great thing. So many bands try to recapture their old days, and Yes did exactly that with this album. Unfortunately, this is the last great thing that the band would release (to this day in Feb. '08), but it's still a great pair of discs none the less.

4 stars. Excellent addition to your collection. Recommended for Yes fans, especially the skeptical ones, and people who love good symphonic prog.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |

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