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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3225 ratings

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5 stars When I first heard Relayer in full, I was utterly blown away. (Of course, I was blown away upon hearing Sound Chaser on Pandora as well, but that's what induced me to purchase the whole album in the first place.) This album, in my opinion, beats any other Yes I've heard in terms of sheer energy. This isn't to say that other Yes albums didn't have energy, and certainly songs such as Siberian Khatru and Roundabout excel in this aspect. But sections of the songs on this album are packed with such a chaotic atmosphere that they appeal to me in a unique way. The crazier parts are then padded with more lyrical pieces such as "Soon" or "To Be Over", which are impressive in their own right. And the new keyboardist Patrick Moraz really makes this album, with sounds ranging from the tranquil to the bizarre.

"The Gates Of Delirium" is the sidelong effort on this album, and it is a fascinating song. The initial prelude consists of good musical themes and produces an effective mood. While the overarching theme seems to be heroic, various sounds scattered throughout occasionally make it seem off-kilter or disturbing. Near the end, the section seems to enter a sort of apocalyptic mood, with Howe's guitar howling, Anderson yelling, and everything leading up to a climax.

And it's here that "Gates" really hits its stride with its middle section, "The Battle", at which point everyone goes crazy. The vaguely audible sound of cheering (or screaming?) in the background does wonders for the chaotic feeling described earlier. Besides this, Alan White's furious drumming (including a strange metallic, percussive crash in the middle) drives the piece onwards at a breakneck pace, with the parts jumping between Howe's guitars and Moraz's rapid synthesizers, until the whole thing is topped off with a triumphant synth fanfare, and the piece finally calms down.

After this, the listener is given a break with the peaceful "Soon", filled with Mellotrons and reverberating guitar beside Anderson singing. It finally fades out against a somewhat eerie background. I'm not as impressed by this section, but it still is pleasant to listen to, and provides a nice pause in the madness before it returns with...

Sound Chaser, the track that first led me to this album. And unlike many people, I think that this piece tops even The Gates Of Delirium. The only significant fault I see is Steve Howe's guitar solo in the middle that goes on just a bit too long, but apart from this the song is a fast-paced and exciting tune that goes through many different metamorphoses. And finally--although this seems to be a point of much contention indeed--I think Jon Anderson's sudden "cha cha cha"s at the end sound really cool, especially with the weird grinding background noises, for just a few seconds before it falls back into the main melody.

The final track, "To Be Over", is certainly a very pleasant tune, and peaceful, but it doesn't stand out as much as the other two. The sudden appearence of Steve Howe on slide guitar is a bit jarring, but then I've never really been fond of slide guitar. Still, although this track may be the weakest link in the album relatively, it's still a great song by itself. Overall, this may be my favorite Yes album (jockeying for its position with Fragile). Highlights include the midsection of The Gates of Delirium and Sound Chaser. I kind of wonder what would have happened if they'd kept Moraz in their lineup.

Zargasheth | 5/5 |


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