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Yes - Drama CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.77 | 1805 ratings

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3 stars The tenth studio album by YES, released in 1980 with a major change in the line up. This was the first YES album without Jon Anderson, while Rick Wakeman also decided to (again) leave the band. Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes took respectively the vocal and keyboards sections of the band. This marked a newer sound and music of YES, that was rather influenced by the new age ('The Buggles' influence) and hard rock.

I personally like the heavier rock feel in this album, which is pretty much driven by the heavier sound of Steve Howe guitar. Chris Squire's bass work is really great. Almost all tracks have fluid and melodic basslines. Geoff Downes keyboard and Alan White drum works are simpler but go very well with the album's tone. Trevor Horn vocal timbre is off course different, but I think his is what this rock album need it. So in short, this is not quite YES we knew. Perhaps 'Drama' is a real turning point of YES music towards more friendly arrangement and provide a new root for the next few albums to come, even with Jon Anderson returning to the line up.

As a highlight, the opening track 'Machine Messiah' is my favourite and I think should be among YES best songs. It shows the band's surviving capability in writing great composition. Steve Howe's into, and both first and second solos are killers, nicely melodic with strong rock feel. I think this is also his turning point to new style that he will make soon with 'Asia'. Geoff Downes keyboards bring a lot of timbres and can set the mood of each parts of the song. His solo and conversation with Chris Squire bass in the in the middle of the song is awesome. The adaptation from Widor's 'Symphony of Organ No.5' in the keyboard theme is really nice.

Other tracks are generally in upbeat tempo and with simpler arrangement. 'Tempus Fugit' and 'Does it Really Happen' have a complex bassline that shows Chris Squire dominance in the rhythm section. 'Into the Lens' is a vigorous track with complex rhythm. The song was written by Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn originally for The Buggles album. 'Run Through the Light' reminds me a bit to The Police's musical style, and perhaps one of the sign of prominent change in YES music.

This album is not very progressive, but there are good tracks that still representing virtuosity of the band. Too bad the tracks were barely performed live after Jon Anderson returning in the next album. The live album with YES performing tracks from 'Drama' was issued only since 2011 with Benoit David or Jon Davison as vocalist in the line up. Good album in the 80's rock scene, even not among YES' best work.

Mark-P | 3/5 |


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