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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3021 ratings

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War and Peace
5 stars After getting hooked into YES by listening to Roundabout, I dug deeper and found Fragile and CTTE to be wonderful gems within the genre, the musicmanship and skill of each member of the band is mindblowing, along with KC, YES is my favorite prog band.

Relayer is IMO, the point where the band reached its height in composition, virtuosity and experimentality, the only thing in this album that's weaker than the ones I mentioned is the drumming, Alan White is a very good drummer however lacks the technique of Bill Bruford, who was YES's drummer from 69 to 72. Keyboards are much more present in this album, Moraz and Wakeman play very differently so it's a matter of taste since both are excellent, Wakeman is more known for doing solos and fills, but Moraz accompanies the other intruments and plays very differently in each track, being synth heavy on the first one, jazzy with the Fender on the second one and very mellow and melodic on the last.

1.- The Gates of Delirium (10/10): My favorite Yessong and overall song, this 20 minute side-long epic based on the novel War and Peace is the best thing that YES ever produced, every musician plays top notch, the agressive Telecaster of Steve Howe is played in such a mind blowing manner, definitely his best guitar work. The first 8 minutes are described as the preparation and delcaration of war, it has everything you could ever want from the band, symphonic as ever with beautiful vocals. The intensity commences to build up and we reach a point where war has broken out and a battle is fought on the LOTR fantasy landscape from the album cover (at least in my mind), this section is filled with memorable bass riffs (again Squire is at his best here), intense drumming, fast tempo changes, killer synth solos and frenetic guitar. This part is know for the experimental sounds the band used, representing a battle with explotions and firearms going off, this helps to develop concept of the song and adds identity as well, I quite like it. At the 16 minute mark Soon starts, the most soothing, angelic piece I've ever heard, all the instruments in conjunction create the most beautiful and calming theme, Steve Howe's lap steel guitar is majestic and Jon Anderson vocals are a contrast to the initial section of the song, where he is agressive/hard. This song makes the whole album worthwhile.

2.- Sound Chaser (10/10): This song is very jazz fussion and weird, but in a good way, the rythm section of White and Squire is astounding, if someone says that White is a bad drummer you must show him/her this song. The fast tempos and key signature changes are the highlight as well as the beautiful jazz keyboards in the intro and the fantastic moog solo at the end. The cha cha chas sure are strange but they have grown on me. Oh I'm forgetting the best guitar solo by Howe, very fast and ever changing, I even hear some bits of Mood for a Day on it.

3.- To Be Over (9.5): My least favorite track on the record, still excellent of course. It evokes a real wintery and nostalgic feeling to me, very beautiful and melodic indeed. The track is very mellow but it gets heavier where Howe does a solo and the vocals come in after. This is a Steve Howe song so if you are a fan of his work you'll most likely enjoy this song.

Again the constrast of this album is masterful, 1st Track : Mellow as well as Agressive/ Mayhem and Fast Tempos ( beautifully constructed chaos)/ Angelical and Soothing Finale, 2nd Track: Fast Rythm Section/ Fast Solo with brief soft moments/ Crazy End with every instrument colliding, 3rd Track: Mellow and Melodic.

This album is definitely 5 Stars and is one if not the best prog record, the most epic artwork with the best music ever composed, Yes magnum opus.

War and Peace | 5/5 |


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