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Yes - Tormato CD (album) cover

TORMATO

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

2.98 | 1449 ratings

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baz91
Prog Reviewer
2 stars I could not take this album oh so seriously really!

If there's ever been a cringe moment, it's Tormato. On the previous album, we had the soaring Awaken. On Tormato, we have Don't Kill the Whale. FAIL! I honestly don't know how this sudden dirth in musicianship could have happened in such a short space of time. The liner notes of the Rhino remaster say that they tried to write more concise songs to emulate the Top 10 success of Wonderous Stories, and this could not have backfired worse. You know Yes, right? That band that's known for writing long songs and using symphonic arrangements? Yeah, they released an album of 'Top 10' songs, and it's a joke. It's a joke, but there are some entertaining moments though!

The first track, is a two-part song called Future Times/Rejoice, and I honestly couldn't care less about it. The entire song is grating on your ears, extremely squeaky, unmemorable, and downright unpleasant. What's more it's almost 7 minutes long and it seems to take forever to get through. Howe's guitar sounds horrible! There are moments of goodness, but they are extremely brief.

What you're probably here for is the single that somehow wormed its way into the Top 40, Don't Kill the Whale. In fact, this track actually isn't that bad to begin with. Howe's guitar intro is very memorable, and Squire's funky bass is simply sensational! The lyrics about whales are very silly, but somehow enjoyable. At 1:43 the band set off on an instrumental that doesn't sound bad at all, and you could see this song becoming a hit until 2:30 where it all starts to go wrong. The song just sounds completely weird, and rather dissonant. What's more, this is pretty much the rest of the song! There's no verse to finish with, just the weird instrumental thing. So they failed to even write a good single! This really shouldn't be that hard for the people who wrote 'Close to the Edge'. (By the way, if you want all your visions of Yes as an amazing band pissed upon, look no further than the music video to this song. That's right, a music video. Warning: Watch video at your own risk. Yes cannot be held responsible for any vomit on your floor.)

This album is going really well isn't it? Let's put on another wonderfully forgettable song! Madrigal is mainly based around Wakeman's harpsichord. This track is very short, and very inoffensive, and you'll forget it as soon as you hear it, due to there being absolutely nothing interesting in it.

Now we actually get to a good song! When I say good, I don't mean that it has the high level musical quality of songs like 'Heart of the Sunrise'. No, no, no not at all sir. This track is actually extremely entertaining, and you won't get bored of it or fed up. After the awkward 3/4 intro, the song turns into an upbeat rock-y song. The verses are extremely enjoyable! There is also quite a few time signature changes, which we all love. There's even a drum solo! I think it's quite cheeky that Yes decided to include the sound of a cheering audience in the background to this solo. It's like when a TV show uses canned laughter. However this is a minor quibble. I have to say, I just love this song for how silly it is. If you're going to hear this album, listen to this track first!

Next up is Arriving UFO, and this is Yes at their silliest. And I love it. Jon singing lyrics about UFOs is great, and you have such classic bad lyrics as Put your feet on the earth, it is green. The music sounds silly, but there are some good moments in there, and this song is really memorable.

You know how I just said Arriving UFO is Yes at their silliest? I lied. They set a new height of silliness with Circus of Heaven. However, this is mostly Jon being silly, whereas on the last track it was the whole band. After tons of extremely silly lyrics, the song actually starts to sound sentimental and serious, and it's actually slightly touching. Jon's 5 year old son even makes a guest appearance (awww)! Still I'd be a bit embarassed to grow up and live with the fact I was in such a silly song.

Onward is a song that is somewhat reminiscent of Time and a Word. This would have done much better as a single than Don't Kill the Whale. The one bad thing about this song is HOWE! What the hell is he doing? The song sounds so beautiful and peaceful without his constant plucking in the background. Completely ruins an otherwise beautiful track.

The intro instrumental to On The Silent Wings Of Freedom, is much longer than you expect it to be the first time you listen to it. Squire's signature bass is given a proper workout here. Actually it's only at around 2:30 when Jon comes in. Some of this track is extremely cool. Lyrics like On the back of your forty-second screamdown are sung very powerfully. If you have the patience to put on this song, you'll find that it is actually quite interesting most of the way through.

Tormato is undoubtedly Yes's worst album of the 70s. The tracks I enjoy the most, are only enjoyable because they are silly. Not only is the quality of the music poor, but the album is also terribly produced, with instruments sounding in the wrong place a lot of the time. This also marks the first time Howe has ever annoyed me! The Rhino remaster includes far too many unintersting bonus tracks. With the splattered tomato on the album cover, it is hard to take this album seriously, and that's probably how it should remain. As a result, my review of this album hasn't been too serious either. To sum up, this is a terrible album with some good moments.

baz91 | 2/5 |

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