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Yes - Tormato CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.98 | 1399 ratings

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TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
1 stars Tormato Rare album to actually lend credit to the 'I just couldn't make myself listen to it more than once to make this rushed knee-jerk reaction review' standpoint. The name itself is, or should be, a combination of torment and the ancient Sanskrit word for festering yet shiny dung. Obviously the band would be much too technically gifted to produce an utterly meritless turd if it weren't for the combination of terrible production and serious lapses in taste on the part of every band member.

Wakeman is here shinier and generally less pleasing than an arse-pimple. Squire has somehow acquired an utterly vapid, gutless tone, White's bag of tricks are a cheap and transparent plastic covering thrown over the stained furniture of the album's rhythms, Howe is more or less unremarkable and his trademark tones are draped over directionless parts. Anderson's chant-y and rather unmemorable melodies are here slammed into a number of songs with no real focal points, which robs most of his power. While Yes have hardly been the example par excellence for hard-hitting lyrics which are simultaneously accessible and guttural, Anderson's lyrics have never been so insufferably dumb or lazy as Tormato's and nor are the vocal arrangements very special.

The ultimate failure of Tormato doesn't come down to any failure by any particular member, but to the fact that everyone (except White, who's trying as hard as possible not to impress us) is trying to show off simultaneously with no particular concern for the actual songs. And the production and tone choices mean that all these separate half-arsed attempts to impress us fall flat in an overly busy mess. Future Times/Rejoice is an upbeat little number with a bit of vaguely countrified drumming and hideously messy and shiny production. The synth choices are hardly great, and Wakeman somehow manages to make even the organ sound wimpy. On the plus side, you can look forward to the Future Times when Tormato will have stopped.

Don't Kill The Whale. 'Our last heaven-beast' is sadly betrayed by Jon's moodless and thoughtless writing. Much as it's become the figurehead for the album's criticism because modest commercial success from short songs isn't OK, I genuinely think it represents the album's best musically. Fairly punchy, hilarious harmonies and a sort of balance within the piece that's not really around anywhere else here. Also, whatever you think of the song, Anderson singing 'dig it dig it' could've made music hall.

Madrigal comes from another world where Yes aren't the world's most tasteless band in 1978. Harpsichord, lush classical guitar and Anderson's vocals fit together very well. If 'Celestial travelers have always been here with us', they're probably now leaving early with a mumbled excuse and downcast eyes pretending not to know mystic J.

Release, Release ? the instrumental noodling will probably be considered a highlight, and for moments it's not that bad ? the transition at about 4 minutes in is pretty cool, the opening is solid, Squire has some funky bass near the end. Howe doesn't really pull off rock and roll, and added cheering doesn't lighten a bland drum solo or make it feel live.

Arriving UFO. Wakeman's uncharacteristic bit of organ echo fiddling lightens this unmemorable bit of trite Anderson writing. On the plus side, hilarious and the aforementioned organ. On the minus, the chorus melodies and a lot of the writing is banal.

Circus Of Heaven ? the inclusion of a child's voice deflating Anderson's maddening list of adjectives was slightly funny, but the song is otherwise pretty unredeemed. Anyway, using irony does not a good song make.

Onward: a bit of supple vibrato doesn't disguise a very boring melody and a general lack of instrumental writing. The keyboards (presumably Wakeman) are admittedly a fairly uncanny imitation of a dire over-orchestration.

On The Silent Wings Of Freedom is not a lost classic, nor is it really progressive rock of the calibre we expect from Yes. The awfully thin (as much the fault of the production as anything) rhythm section focussed opening is redeemed only by a couple of Howe's more liquid solos though neither of these seem to actually be aiming anywhere.

The problem with the whole is that there's nothing remarkable, surprising or (thank god) particularly memorable about Tormato. The problem with the individual parts is that they are, basically, Yes parodying itself.

Save the somewhat redeemed Don't Kill the Whale and Madrigal, an awful, awful album that the die-hard Yes fan will buy anyway. Recommended for anyone working on an incentive program to stop online piracy. Another positive thing about Guantanamo Bay's closure is that this album no longer has a place in the civilised world.

Rating: One Star. But not a very shiny star. 4/15 Favourite Track: Madrigal or Don't Kill The Whale

TGM: Orb | 1/5 |


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