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RELAYER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.36 | 2169 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Australian
Prog Reviewer
5 stars What is music? Well, basically it is a form of entertainment, but to people like me it is more than just simple entrainment. There are a few albums that go beyond being just music and become something greater. But not everyone shares the same opinion of music, and some people I know say that the music I listen to is complete crap. I always laugh inside when I hear this, for I know exactly what they listen to, and it makes me almost pity them. "Relayer" is one album that goes beyond just being a few pieces of music. I think I can assume that many of you know what I'm talking about when you love a piece of music so much words cannot describe it. For me "Relayer" is one of those albums and it's joined by 'Close to the Edge', 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', 'Thick as a Brick' and 'The Snow Goose.' Sure, there may be albums you really like, but there are just that handful which are almost supernatural to you.

Rick Wakeman left Yes following the tours for 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' which reduced Yes to four members. The band then went in search of a keyboardist to replace Wakeman, many people auditioned, most notably Vangelis. Vangelis was almost recruited into Yes, however declined eventually in order to pursue his solo career. It really makes me wonder what Yes would have sounded like with Vangelis, I daren't think. Moraz was the eventual replacement who left Refugee (after just one album) to join Yes. Without Moraz I don't think "Relayer" would have been as great as it was, because he added that cutting edge to the album. It also makes me wonder what "Going for the One" would be like if he had stayed in the band.

The Concept for the great epic "The Gates of Delirium" is based around "Tolstoy's War and Peace." Jon Anderson had the idea of incorporating this concept into the song. There is even a battle scene in the middle of the song which is simulated by synthesizers and wild percussion. The percussion is some of the best in any Yes album, and Alan White, through Jon Anderson and Chris Squire acquired many pieces of old cars from a junk heap which was used on the recording of the album. All the pieces of junk was assembled on a rack which was pushed over, and is the loud crash in "The Gates of Delirium."

"The Gates of Delirium" starts off with an incredibly odd fusion of music which is heavy (lots of guitar, not loud in sound) with guitar and odd sparkling synthesizers sounds and percussion. The bass is also very strong, but not overpowering. Steve Howe shines out in "Relayer" and this overture is a testament to his mastery of the guitar. The first eight minutes the scene is set, and the visions the music inspires are very real. You can just imagine the two armies meeting on a wide battle field. The middle section would most likely be the actual battle; this section is hectic and chaotic. Moraz really shows his skills here and the percussion is also amazing by Alan White.

The next section which is referred to as "Soon" follows the battle and it is a beautiful lamenting song as the war is over and the dead are strewn across the battlefield. This is one moment which makes "Relayer" amazing, it is difficult to describe properly the feelings the section invokes. The ending of "The Gates of Delirium" consists of beautiful floating string mellotrons and slow chords on an acoustic guitar; this ending is perfect for such an epic song.

"Sound Chaser" follows "The Gates of Delirium" and it is described as being in interstellar overdrive. The opening few minutes of the song is a strange mix of furious Bass, guitar and percussion as well as otherworldly synthesizers. There is a long extended guitar solo starting about the third minute, but what a solo! Steve Howe is basically showing off here, but it is a wonder to listen to and it leads well into the last section of the song in which the music reverts back to stuff like the beginning of "Sound Chaser." This time there are a few time changes and some cha-chas and stuff towards the end.

The last song "to be Over" is probably the most underrated of Yes's repertoire. The song opens with beautiful sitar accompanied by synthesizers and keyboards before leading into beautiful flowing lyrics. When listening to this song, you can just imagine floating down a stream on a boat in very calm water with a gentle breeze blowing behind. In parts the song sounds vaguely reminiscent of "The Gates of Delirium", except gentler and quieter. Steve Howe again has several spine tingling guitar section on the backdrop of synthesizers and quite percussion and bass. The ending to the song leaves you satisfied, and hopefully smiling at the forty or so minutes of top quality music.

The remaster of "Relayer" comes with a single version of "Soon", "Sound Chaser" single and a very interesting original studio run-through of "The Gates of Delirium". I must say that the single of "Sound Chaser" isn't very good and it no middle solo. The special edition packaging is exquisite and the CD booklet is very informative. I've always liked the "Relayer" cover art; it is very J.R.R Tolkien - like. There is a poem that goes with the album, buy the album and see. "Relayer" achieved great success in both American and England reaching released number 5 and 4 respectively and selling gold.

1.The Gates of Delirium (5/5) 2.Sound Chaser (5/5) 3.To be Over (5/5) Total = 15 divided by 3 (number of songs) = 5 = 5 stars Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Of course I could describe every aspect of "Relayer" to you, but you may as well just go and buy it instead and see what I'm talking about. I may not seem to be a masterpiece at first, but trust me eventually it will be (don't blame me if it isn't.) I recommend "Relayer" to absolutely everyone, but of course being a proud and patriotic prog listener you already own it don't you? What a good person

Australian | 5/5 |

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