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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3011 ratings

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3 stars Relayer is another striking example of everything that is great and everything that is horrendous about Yes. In fact, for me, Yes is the band that always tread that narrow edge between geniality and desperate need for psychiatric help. After the more mellow and atmospheric Topographic Oceans this album is more eccentric and aggressive. Or should I say neurotic, with Steve Howe's guitar dominating almost every minute of this album.

The Gates Of Delirium. The title alone describes the music perfectly. This is what you would get if you let 4 over-talented musicians loose after a stint of 6 months in a mental hospital. And one way or another they pull it off. The inspiration runs free and especially Steve Howe fully entrances me here. Brilliant track.

If I didn't know I wouldn't have noticed this album doesn't feature Wakeman. Moraz sounds every bit as frenetic and annoying :) With one difference here; it fits the music perfectly. Also Alan White seems to shine brighter in this more rocking approach. And Chris Squire is excellent as usual.After 15 minutes, the track makes a beautiful shift from insanity into a gentle pastoral tune featuring excellent Howe guitar fade-in effects and Jon Anderson angelic harmonies.

Listening to this track, it is not difficult to see where Rush got most of their inspiration from. Both the quiet part and the main themes sound very much like Xanadu/Hemispheres.

Then there's Sound Chaser. Another frenzied track with heavy jazz rock influences. Even more then 20 years after I first heard this, it still hasn't really grown on me. It's just too crammed with ideas to make sense anymore. By contrast, To Be Over is a classic Yes track, a bit formulaic even, almost as if it could have come off Close To the Edge.

An uneven album for me with the brilliant Gates of Delirium and two more tracks that miss the mark. But as far as Yes and progressive rock goes, you can't skip this album. 3.5 stars

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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