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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3177 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 8/10

"Relayer" is "Close To The Edge"s more savage, wild, and ugly twin.

Yes' previous attempt in approaching the audience wasn't as successful as they imagined; "Tales From Topographic Oceans" was their most controversial and difficult album to date, and was received averagely overall, even though it was successful chart-wise. At that point the band decided to return to the winning formula that brought "Close To The Edge" such high praises and use it again for their last album back in 1974, "Relayer", which ended up being one of the best and most recognized albums by Yes.

"Relayer" has been considered "Close To The Edge"'s evil twin, a more savage, wild, and ugly version of the magnum opus. If you like your Prog nice and calm with plenty of relaxing mellotron and flutes, a good chunk of "Relayer" won't be for you: many moments here are almost obnoxiously loud and quirky, the instrumentation messy, the overall feel is quite unsettling, even the calmer moments have a strong tension to them that build up, anyhow, to loud bursts of chaos. The melodies will however make "Relayer" a typical Yes album, and they possibly could attract cacophony haters. Even the softer, more relaxing pieces, thanks to the extravagantly lush palette of new keyboardist Patrick Moraz, are of a high song writing level, and highly ambitious at the same time. "Relayer" is, indeed, an album that twists the canons of Symphonic Prog, and bends them towards organized disarray, a disarray that consists of chaotic moments cleverly mixed with unexpected soft moments, as said before, but the balance between the two, even though not always consistent, gives always a pretty strong impression to the attentive and dedicated listener. Because this is not a listen that is either easy or accessible, and it could possibly be a grower, like it was for myself.

The strong opener is possibly one of the highlights of Yes' career: "The Gates Of Delirium", an epic twenty one minute piece that brings the listener to a wild roller coaster ride amidst Symphonic bliss and sheer madness. One of the most majestically constructed tracks by the band ever recorded, it stands as the center piece of the album, even though "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" aren't overshadowed by it: the second track is even more extravagant, with excellent musicianship and once again great songwriting. "To Be Over" is the final piece, mostly a calm, almost meditative song, as if the listener had already entered and exited "Relayer"'s red zone with the previous two tracks, and now he finds himself to have come back from reality. Once again though the musicianship and the sounds are lush and ambitious, that make this track yet another wonder.

An album that has gone down in history as one of the most successful attempts of a band in repeating a formula already used for a previous, successful album. But "Relayer" is also the most unique LP of Yes' discography, and one of it's very best. Any Yes fan proudly keeps this within his heart, but you don't have to necessarily be fan, if you're simply into classic Prog Rock.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |


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