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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3048 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I saw there were 999 ratings of the album, and decided I had to be rating #1000. After releasing the most controversial prog album of all time, Yes decided to go back to the relatively simpler format embodied on 'Close To The Edge', i.e. three epic tracks on one disc. They couldn't have made a better move, as this is yet another of Yes's masterpiece records.

Prior to this album, Rick Wakeman, being totally fed up of 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' decided to quit the band to pursue his solo career. Auditions took place, in which time Vangelis was even considered, but the band eventually settled on Swiss keyboard whizz Patrick Moraz, whose talents were a perfect match for the virtuosity of Yes.

The album starts with The Gates Of Delirium, which is possibly Yes's darkest track. Truly absent is the friendly Yes that was heard on 'Time And A Word' or 'The Yes Album'. Here is a band who know just how powerful and mighty they are, and playing their music accordingly. At 22 minutes, this is also Yes's longest track, and not coincidentally, the most epic track. It is based on Leo Tolstoy's 'War and Peace', and though I have not read the book, I can definitely hear 'War' and 'Peace' within this track. The first 8 minutes take the form of a prog rock song with dark lyrics, quite different from Jon Anderson's usual spread. Afterwards comes one of the most intense instrumentals in prog history, clocking in at a monumental 8 minutes. This instrumental has 4 discernible sections, each lasting approximately 2 minutes. At points this thunderous instrumental is experimental in nature, with the sound of crashing metal being heard in the background. With time signatures fluctuating frequently, you can rest assured this will be a prog rock rollercoaster you will not forget. The final 6 minutes of the song are devoted to the hymn entitled Soon. This is a beautiful section in which Jon's voice soars whilst Steve Howe plays the lap steel guitar. This is a very tasteful and calm end to such a stormy track. I'd have a hard time choosing between this and Close To The Edge as my favourite Yes track.

What I enjoy about this album the most is that it is unlike anything else in the Yes catalogue. Certainly nowhere else can you hear anything quite as bizarre yet thrilling as Sound Chaser. I find the title of this track particularly appropriate, as one feels that Yes were chasing sounds to create this progressive concoction. Alan White really pushes himself on the drums in this track, playing at break neck speed in many different styles. Indeed, if it weren't for this album, I'd have had a hard time forgiving Yes for letting him replace Bill Bruford. There are lyrics but they are few and far between, making this a mainly instrumental track. The centrepiece of the track is Howe's complex yet memorable guitar solo. At around 6 minutes, the song seems to start from the beginning again, but this time it takes a 5/4 turn. The track then continues to vacillate in tempo, interspersed with random chants of 'Cha-cha-cha ... cha-cha' until the exciting close. This is prog rock at it's wierdest, and I love it.

To Be Over is a much calmer song, juxtaposing the craziness heard in the previous track. Unfortunately, I've never been able to fully appreciate this track, as I find it rather bland and dull. While it is certainly aesthetically pleasing, I think Yes personally did a better job of this with And You And I. Not an awful track, but nothing to shout about.

Despite having one duff track, 'Relayer' is still one of the best prog albums in history, as it contains the transcendental Gates Of Delirium, which will always continue to awe me. Listen to this to hear a unique side of Yes that you won't hear anywhere else.

baz91 | 5/5 |


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