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5 stars After the slating that Topographic received, Yes were brave enough to stick to their guns, despite the temporary loss of Wakeman. The title track is a tremendous anti-war piece, sometimes lyrical, sometimes brash and aggressive. The other two tracks are less strong, but Sound Chaser showed that Yes were willing to experiment - this track is not for the faint-hearted! Production, especially on the title track, is so-so.
Report this review (#13261)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars TALES is literally an ocean of music -- expansive, deep, immense as the sea itself. Over the course of 4 album sides, it explores more beauty and intensity than many people are willing to contend with, and it certainly is not forgiving of those with short attention spans. In its wake, RELAYER gathers all the band's mounting energy at their volatile and explosive creative peak, and blasts it out into space in one supercharged musical rush. I would liken it more to a sun going supernova. In these three pieces of music, there is more fury and beauty than most other "prog bands" could muster throughout their whole careers, and certainly the musicianship of RELAYER has yet to be challenged by anyone. Steve Howe's guitar work throughout is unparalleled within the entire progressive canon, period -- no other guitarist is capable of evoking the range of tones and emotions Steve does in even a single piece such as "The Gates of Delirium". Stinging scalar runs, dive-bombing pyrotechnics, cosmic sustain leads, the most beautiful slide-guitar tones ever -- it's all here. Patrick Moraz replaces Wakeman on keys and proceeds to rip out glorious synth excursions which carry the band beyond the confines of their previous classicism, while CHRIS SQUIRE and ALAN WHITE submit possibly the greatest rhythm section performance of all time. "Sound Chaser" pretty much sets the bar for guitar-driven virtuosic prog, while "To Be Over" manages to be as intensely beautiful as the previous two tracks are aggressive. Although Yes had quite a few more masterpieces ahead of them, never would the otherworldy plateau of TALES/RELAYER be fully revisited.

(Note to readers: the newly remastered 2003 release of this album is a VERY poor representation of the sound, and should be avoided. Whoever did the remastering should get his ears checked, and get another job. For discriminating fans the version to own is the HIGH-DEFINITION CD JAPANESE MINI-LP release which came out a few years prior and which features a crystal clear transfer straight from the master tapes. The greatest music ever recorded never sounded better than it does here.)

Report this review (#13284)
Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2003 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
2 stars One of the most overrated prog-rock albums (and definitely the most over-rated Yes album). A lazy, rambling, uninspired, almost nonsensical mish-mosh of quasi-prog-rock sounds and atmospheres, with little direction. It would be easy to blame it on newbie keyman (Patrick) Moraz, but that would be simplifying it. Equal blame must be placed on the rest of the band, who should have put a little more thought and excitement into it. Nice try, boys, but there's a reason this one is in the discount rack...
Report this review (#13292)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Defector

Well after that dreadful dreck of Tales, which provoked the first of a record string (Guiness world record) of leaving the same band, Wakeman was now gone defector) to make his own embarrassing drecks, and the band had to enlist a Keith Emerson clone (well at least in the Refugee project), but the Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz will indeed provide a good foot size to fill the empty shoes. Graced with an unneeded Sword & Sorcery gatefold album sleeve (beautiful enough not to crack out laughing out loud) from the now-usual Roger dean, this album represent one of the most difficult album of the h-group for the prog newbie, because it often goes over the top.

A monstrous album with 2000 notes to the second that only Birds of Fire(of Mahavihnu) can match, one that would even scare the shedding Al Dimeola. The 22-mins aptly-titled Gates Of Delirium (yes, they were close to its edge) is an important improvement on the previous album's sidelong "epics", but it is still not always fascinating, but sometimes extremely moving, like the Soon Oh Soon section, reminiscent of the I Get up or the And You And I passages in CTTE. The flipside is certainly not easier to "get", especially with the aptly-titled Sound Chaser (I'm tempted to speak of Music Hunter, here), as it starts on an almost-dissonant jazz-rock intro, but trouble really starts when the band gets ready for the noisy verses and chorus parts. Thankfully the middle section is much calmer, although you can still hear the band wanting to outdo McL's MO in the closing section. The closing To Be Over is a bit overshadowed by its two sister tracks, but it has its charms, not least being mellotron-drenched.

I don't know if you've noticed but Yes only managed to write 10 songs over four discs since fragile's release. The less jame has, the more you'll spread it over you bread slices. And maybe there is a parallel to draw with Jon's culture awareness. BTW, if you are interested in Moraz's works outside of Yes (coz, you've quickly made it all in this group) abd the then-awful Moodies from the 80's, his best stuff (but I don't know if it is available on CD ) is the soundtrack of La Salamandre, a black and white rebel but intellectual movie made by fellow Swiss Alain Tanner. Mainhgorse is actually better than that derivative Refugee album. Anyway, back to Relayer, now! This album is a little cold but it does have a soul. This demands your full attention, but then again, Yes was never music to fondle your girlfriend by. This is probably why Moraz went on to join the Moody Blunders in the 80's - to diddle some fresh young flesh with both hands on stage after having programmed his synths.

Report this review (#13278)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Gates of Delirium is a prog coneptual piece everyone should hear, though there were some similar epics thrown out around those years, I can recall ELP Tarkus for example: battlefields in which good and evil meet in exotic imaginary lands, I prefer Jon Andenson's effort to tight all four songs up, from Gates of Delirium to To Be Over wich by the way is one of my favorite yes tracks.
Report this review (#13267)
Posted Monday, February 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Just a masterpiece. Togeter with Tales and Close conform a Tour D'force.

Abot The Gates... I've read lots of comments either blaming Moraz and Jon or placing Patrick to high, but the other day my brothers and I where listening to it and found out that Patrick doesnt show to much there and is Steve, the one responsible for such a work of art. Sound Chaser for me is an extraordinary complex fugue, this time Moraz is the one. To be Over is just to mellow for my taste. Now I should mention Chris who is indeed the one that melt everything together and perhaps the best bass player of all.

Report this review (#13279)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was really brave after the panning that "Tales" got. I loved "Tales" but this was really something else. Was it ahead of its time? Yeah, maybe. Steve Howe's spikey guitar work is extroadinary on this is so raw in places. There is some awesome bass work from Squire on "Gates of Delirium" too. I really like "To be over" but my initial feeling was it was out of place on the end. All credit to them for sticking to their own ideas and not being swayed by the critics. I also think Moraz made them sound a bit more futuristic and a bit more jazzy (no offence to Mr Wakeman).
Report this review (#13277)
Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Replacing Rick Wakeman with Swiss keyboard whiz Patrick Moraz for one studio album, Yes produced RELAYER, their darkest, most savage statement, and one of their very best works. THE GATES OF DELIRIUM is a true sonic epic, full of bizarre sound effects, crashes, screams and general pandemonium, and the group's playing is magnificent throughout. SOUND CHASER is pretty much more of the same,sounding like some high-speed nightmare painted in sound, while TO BE OVER brings us down to a more tranquil level - the pleasant come-down after the mad high. The lyrics (as ever with Yes) may be rather nebulous, but who cares when the music is as thunderously exhilarating as it is here? This is a key work in the progressive rock canon of the 1970s, and it's Yes's most atypical venture of their classic first decade.
Report this review (#13245)
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The most original and jazzy album, among all the compositions by YES during their remarkable career, with the important contribution of Patrick MORAZ and the incredible instrumental excursion of "Gates of Delirium" (even though this latter is a bit prolix in some circumstances)... a special mention for the stunning scales by Steve HOWE, but honestly I don't like the kind of guitar sound and the distortions as well, he often uses. For this reason I can't give the maximum score to this recommended album!!
Report this review (#13246)
Posted Sunday, April 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First, let us mention here Wakeman is not the keyboardist. Moraz replaces him, and, believe me, he has nothing to envy from Wakeman: he can be very floating too, using a moving mellotron sound. "Relayer" is often psychedelic and experimental. Some bits are really fast and complex, while others are floating and relaxing! Anderson's voice is more in the background here. Steve Howe really experiments tons of miscellaneous guitar sounds and effects: I never liked Howe's electric guitar sound, but I must admit his omnipresence here is amazing. I think the very epic "Gates of Delirium" track is too long: it takes too much time to start: it takes 8 MINUTES to this track to really take off! That's too much! On this track, the progression is very interesting: it starts very chaotic, then very structured and fast, and finishes with a very spatial soundscape.

On the other side, the accelerated "Sound Chaser" is absolutely incredible! Howe's electric guitar effects are excellent, White's drums are fast and complex, and Moraz' moog solo at the end is absolutely Chick Corea-esque. The last track, The relaxing "To Be Over", has beautiful exotic elements: I know from what YES was inspired to write "It Can Happen" on the "90125" album!

My rating: 4.5/5

Report this review (#13332)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes is at their best when doing something massive, complex... epic. This is the height of epic, and the pinnacle of Yes. After bouncing between artists, and types of music, I always gravitate back to Relayer. There's something spiritual, uplifting, inspiring in The Gates of Delirium that leaves me in a "conquer the world" frame of mind. Great stuff, this.

Report this review (#13269)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Overshadowed by the ambitious works that preceded it, "Relayer"may well be the most underappreciated album in the YES discography. Taking its name from one of the more successful passages of "Tales From Topographic Oceans", this album features a full collaboration from all band members (which now included ex-Refugee keyboardist PATRICK MORAZ), and is a much more successful amalgam of sound than their last effort. The side-long "The Gates of Delirium" begins with sparkling keyboards reminscent of "Close to the Edge", but the song itself (which depicts a battle) is suitably more aggressive, with MORAZ' keyboards at times inviting comparison to JETHRO TULL's "A Passion Play". The real advantage here is the heightened presence of CHRIS SQUIRE and ALAN WHITE, who together forge the tight rhythm section that was the missing link to greatness on their last two releases. Similar to the peacfeful resolution to "And You and I", the song ends with a lovely segment that was later distilled as the album's single, "Soon." Under the influence of MORAZ, YES then branches off into jazzy directions for "Sound Chaser", an environment that (for all the labelling of him as a "rock" drummer) allows ALAN WHITE to shine. The band does crowd the listener with too much music on occasion (JON ANDERSON and STEVE HOVE adopt more abrasive tones in an effort to pierce through the music), but it's still a definite improvement over earlier experiments like "The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)." After so much tortuous music, the band deflates the pressure with the charming, dreamlike "To Be Over", and fans of the band's softer side will revel in this relaxed climate.

Although "Relayer"reflects the past - notably "Close to the Edge" and "Tales From Topographic Oceans" - it also represents a shift toward more rock-oriented arrangements, and thus provides a basis for their next album, Going for the One. In the three-year interim between those albums, the members of YES each pursued solo projects; though MORAZ would appear with HOWE and SQUIRE on their debuts, he was eventually replaced by the returning RICK WAKEMAN.

Report this review (#13275)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Organised chaos!

After the controversial "Topographic oceans" album, Rick Wakeman's decision to move on led to his replacement by the (at the time) relatively unknown Patrick Moraz. Moraz had effectively replaced Keith Emerson in The Nice, when they became Refugee, so his credentials were sound. His style however is somewhat different to Emerson and Wakeman in that Moraz has a much jazzier sound to his keyboards. He is less of a soloist, and much more of a contributor to the overall sound. This gives "Relayer" a different, but refreshing feel.

The basic structure of "Relayer" is the same as "Close to the edge", with one signature piece on side one of the LP, and two tracks on side two, each occupying half of the side.

When I first heard "The Gates of Delirium" (at the time of its release) I was considerably disappointed. The music seemed chaotic at times, and far less melodic that I expected. I have however over time come to list it as one of my all time favourite pieces not just by Yes, but by any band. "Gates of Delirium" is unquestionably challenging, requiring a significant number of hearings to really get it. The track opens in a similar vein to "Revealing science of God" on "Tales from Topographic oceans" perhaps with a bit more bite. There does indeed appear to be chaos as the battle section builds to an overwhelming crescendo. Just as it seems order has been completely abandoned, and the music has broken down into an enormous cacophony of unstructured noise, Alan White's drums authoritatively take control, then hand over the baton to Moraz and Howe to restore order. This leads into the beautiful section referred to as "Soon". This section was, in an act of folly, extracted from the track for the "Yesyears" compilation. The reason it sounds so great within the track is because of the way it contrasts with what has gone before. That effect is largely lost when heard in isolation. The track concludes with a similar section to that which ends "Revealing science of God" and indeed "The remembering" on "Tales.." A truly awesome composition, written in an almost symphonic classical way, but with a thoroughly modern sound.

As for the other two tracks, "Sound chaser" leaves me totally cold. Moraz jazz influences come to close to the foreground here, but the song also lacks a decent melody, and is sub-standard for the band.

"To be over" is a lovely melodic track, but it's a bit of a poor man's "And you and I". It straddles the line between melodic symphonic music, and schmaltzy commercialism. The track is one of those rare Yes pieces which loses appeal with repeated listening. It did however recently gain a new lease of life when Howe used it as the basis for his solo live spot.

"Gates of Delirium" alone makes this an essential album. While the second side is weaker, this is by no means comparable with say "Tarkus" in terms of the contrast between the sides.

The expanded remastered version includes the "single version" of "soon" plus studio run throughs of "Gates.." and "Sound Chaser".

Report this review (#13276)
Posted Tuesday, May 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very good album. I can't give a maximum note because there are few things about this album which displeases me (ex.: Jon Anderson's vocals in "Sound Chaser" and Steve Howe's distortion effects). But everything bad is covered by Squire's fenomenal basses and mainly Patrick Moraz's jazzy keyboards. Some prog fans may kill me but I like Moraz more than Wakeman. So RELAYER is a very injusticed album; there are Yes' real masterpieces here, essentially "The Gates of Delirium" and "Soon' (brilliant ballad).
Report this review (#13287)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars ''The Patrick Moraz Yes Album''. Includes the mighty 'Gates Of Delirium' which is the main reason for getting this.Here Alan White is in fine form and is to Moraz what Palmer is to Emerson in ELP.In fact this could be ELP in places (not a bad thing!) with it's freneticism and violence.(for reference compare the middle section to say 'Toccata').The other tracks are not bad either although 'Sound Chaser' is too jazzy for my liking while 'To Be Over' is too country.Interesting stuff though.
Report this review (#13288)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I consider this recording to be the pinnacle acheivement of Yes. Lacking the slow pondering nature of Tales and benefitting greatly from the installation of Moraz rather than Wakeman, there is no filler, no boring sections to get through, just 100% inspired music throughout. Nobody has ever done a song like "The Gates of Delirium", and for once you could even understand the lyrics. "Sound Chaser" is stunningly original, with lyrics that are more obtuse but decipherable if you are in the right frame of mind. "To Be Over" is a simple little upbeat song that makes a soothing counterpoint to the passion of the other two tracks. I could never understand why they sent Moraz packing, because I'm pretty sure he had a lot to do with the great success of this record.
Report this review (#13303)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a muscian, and an avid YES fan, I must point out one factor. No one, and I mean no has attacked the music based on a musical level. That is to say, no one talks about composition. I must say this, and not simply because I love YES, but I have never heard a band, progressive or not, that has as much form, compositionally as YES. No one ever talks about this. Their structure is sooo tight, and well crafted. They have a high sense of concrete form, that I have never heard in anyone other than classical composers. Their music represents the true meaning of COMPOSITION! The way they weave, intricate motivic segments through out a piece, connecting the whole is remarkable. Once again I go on record....I dare one to find a band with THAT MUCH SOLID STURCTURE. I love King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Genesis, Jethro Tull so on and so forth.....but I have not encountered such well crafted compositions as with YES. Relayer is a masterful album! I personally would have liked them to keep Patrick atleast for one more album. It would be interesting to see what they would have done next. There i nothing on this album that is weak.
Report this review (#13304)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I've just got the expanded CD of this album and I think it's time to review this seminal work of YES with new keyboard player Patrick Moraz replacing Rick Wakeman. Suppose that there is only one track "The Gates of Delirium" plus any other lousy tracks to fill-up the rest of 25 minutes gap of a 45-minute LP, this album is still worth buying. But this is not the case as you are very fortunate that this album also offers you with two other excellent tracks "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over". So, needless to say that this album MUST BE in your prog collection. (For expanded edition, there are 3 bonus tracks).

Well, I grew with rock music as my spirit to forward in life. I first listened to "Relayer" after I was familiar with "Fragile" sometime dated back mid seventies. It's much more complex, I would say, as it has many "unfamiliar" melody which was not easy listening at all the first time I listened to it. As comparison, try "Roundabout" of "Fragile" (YES' previous album), you would definitely like it the first time you listen to it. But, it's not the case with "The Gates of Delirium". I think, it took me 5 spins to get "hooked" with it. But it last forever, until now.

"The Gates of Delirium" intro part comprising "strange" keyboard sound by Moraz followed by lead guitar with relatively slow tempo. If I may refer, the intro music sounds like a boiling water. It's really nice. The intro itself has made an impression of complex composition. This bit flows naturally with tight bass playing by Chris until minutes "2:10" when Jon's voice enters the scene. The basic melody remains intact when voice part enters forward until couple of minutes. The bass playing creates another nuance and let you follow the tune nicely. Drum section is composed to accentuate the musical context as it helps to lay a solid foundation for lead guitar and keyboard sounds come into play. It's a very nice segment of music. At around minute "8:00" the beat starts to go up with dynamic solo guitar and keyboard. This goes nicely until it reaches minutes "10:19" where the music piece is dominated by dazzling bass sound excellently played by Chris followed by noisy keyboard sound. It's really cool .. This part for me is the part that makes me orgasm about this track until it ends at minutes "15:00 " when the music goes silent. Wow! What a wonderful piece here! The next is a slow keyboard solo that sets the tone for Jon to perform the legendary "Soon". Yeah my friend . I'm really delighted by this amazing music composition! It's so relaxing that the track ends nicely with a mellow "Soon". This track is my forever favourite song from the band.

The next is a heart beating track "Sound Chaser" where you would enjoy the dynamic drum sounds coupled with solo bass and keyboard, and punching voices. It's very uplifting tune. The roughly one minute musical introduction brings the music to vocals part performed by Jon backed by Chris and Steve. It's a very nice vocal part. The next is a solo bass guitar and guitar with energetic sound. The music then gives Steve to perform solo by himself with other instruments relatively "off" the music, except some punch of keyboard sound by Moraz to contextualize the track, I think. It's a brilliant solo guitar man! You would love it, for sure! The solo guitar is then ended with Jon enters the scene slowly with his damn clear voice! If you have this CD already, try spin this CD yourself. You will definitely agree with my statement. This is not an exaggeration after all.

The last track is a slow but heavy track. It's not definitely a pop music as I believe that the chords used in this track are complex. Opened with guitar with tiny keyboard sound at background this track brings you to rather an easy listening melody when Jon voice enters. It's cool, melody-wise. The tempo would then increase and all instruments were played dynamically during instrumental piece. When the vocal is back, the track is back to its origin of slow music. It's an excellent track.

So, my rating goes this way: **** for sound, ****** for musicianship, ***** for music composition, and ***** for performance. It sums up to FIVE STAR rating. Additional note is on composition. The album is structured tightly in term of composition. Various piece of melody and sound are blend together with smooth transitions between melodies. It's masterpiece album that must be in your collection. What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#13305)
Posted Monday, June 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was so amazed when I hear this album at the first time. I fell in love with its music and cover album. It's so artistic. Nothing to doubt with more impression, more complex, talented music, tough Moraz replaced Wakeman as melodic keyboardist. Once, and only for this album, Moraz gave good contribution with different colour. The Gate of Delirium is one of the sample of great song, long duration, like Siberian Khatru, Ritual, or Heart of The Sunrise. First, it started come down slowly, we hear the typical rhytm, it reminds me to album Close to The Edge, some guitar effect came out clearly with Jon's voices. But after the minutes, then the sound and music seemed race together. All of the instruments were roaring, flashing, the sound effects are everywhere. We might imagine that we are definitely in the battlefield, so crowded and noisy. And then after, the atmosphere changed to mellow, slowly and this is my fav excerpt of this song, 'Soon'. Jon sang it so nice. That's first great ending. Sound Chaser is like jazzy wild song, high tempo. There are also Howe's guitar solo and unique chords voices. It's so rarity sound piece. Unfortunately, that piece never be shown at the stage. To be Over has slow tempo. I like when Howe sliding his guitar, it's harmonize with its song and I call it as the second great ending. You should have this album, This is another concept album from Yes. I recommend with this one. Atang - Indonesia
Report this review (#13306)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars After listening to this I was totally blown away. More adventurous and less generic than the likes of The Yes Album and Fragile, it is my favourite Yes album. It is hard for me to explain how much I love this album. The Gates of Delirium has a great intense section with the keyboard and guitar sharing the melodies which fit perfectly together over the intense drumming and inventive bass. Sound Chaser is edgy and invigorating, and sounds like nothing else i've ever heard. Once again Howe and Moraz shine through, but White's pounding drums have to be what define this track. To Be Over is probably the most beautiful piece of music I have ever heard, with the flowing sitar introduction leading into the soft vocals before the music changes into the long end section. It has to be said that Patrick Moraz's keyboard parts fit in perfectly, and the whole band has worked a great sense of coherency into the music. Wow!
Report this review (#13310)
Posted Friday, July 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Of the classic Yes albums, RELAYER is second only to the controversial TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS in its ability to divide fans. Some love it, some hate it, but few are indifferent. Certain of the band's adherents seem to think that RELAYER is the greatest thing to have come down the musical turnpike since bread showed up sliced, while others wax almost vitriolic in their disdain for the disc. As an example of the latter group, my normally mellow (and always sincere) colleague Maani dismisses RELAYER as "the most overrated Yes album. A lazy, rambling, uninspired, almost nonsensical mish-mosh (sic) of quasi-prog-rock sounds and atmospheres, with little direction." Whew! (Thanks, Maani.) I have also known people who were not otherwise Yes supporters (or even serious prog listeners) to effusively praise this CD as "the only good Yes album."

Now, while I certainly can't concur with that last sentiment, I feel that it nonetheless provides valuable insight into this work. Non-prog followers, and many Yes fans, embrace RELAYER so strongly precisely because it is very different from the fine albums that came before it. There is a consistent "edge" to this one, both musically and lyrically, that is just not there, in such sustained fashion, on other important Yes recordings. My fellow reviewer Corbet said it very well on the Forums, when he wrote that on RELAYER, Steve Howe serves up "the scariest jazz-meets-rock skronking guitar work ever recorded."

Yes, this disc really rocks, and the overall harder edge is especially suited to the breathtaking side-long "Gates of Delirium" suite, which, through some of Jon Anderson's hardest-hitting lyrics, deals with the hellish folly of war and revenge: "Kill them -- give them as they give us. Slay them -- burn their children's laughter. On to hell!" The graphic words are disquieting, and rightly so, as Howe and his band mates skillfully provide an extended musical representation of battle that is a hallmark of Vietnam and Cold War-era "pro-peace prog" music. That yearning for earthly harmony is movingly realized in the final, lovely and uplifting "Soon" section, which, in marked contrast to what has come before, proffers gorgeous and soothing steel guitar from Howe, and some majestic mellotron from Wakeman's replacement Patrick Moraz (who, while not as "flash" as his predecessor, is still a keyboard virtuoso in his own right).

The second track, the frenetic "Sound Chaser," is for me the weakest of the three found here, and prevents me from giving RELAYER full marks. It is not a "bad" song, as such, and it features some particularly impressive axe-work from Howe, but I just can't reconcile myself to the jarring, frenzied group chant of "cha cha cha, cha cha" which rears its ugly head twice in the form of a "bridge" to link the disparate elements. I am sometimes tempted to skip this one, but I never do, because of the strength of Howe's playing.

Respite awaits, however, in the album closer, the genuinely beautiful "To Be Over." (Even my father, a decided non-rock fan, was moved to compliment this piece as "really nice" when he happened to walk into the room one time in my now-distant youth.) To heck with the nay-sayers: this is one of my favourite Yes numbers, and Howe's sparkling slide, and sitar-like sounds at the "outro" are exquisite! I'm not sure what Anderson means when he angelically sings "We go sailing down the calling stream, drifting endlessly like a bridge -- to be over" (he excels at penning lyrics that are "spiritual and profound in their obscurity"), but the words still make my soul soar. "To Be Over" never fails to pick me up when my spirits are flagging!

RELAYER is thus one of my favourite Yes albums. While not entirely flawless, it is yet essential listening for the band's fans -- with the regrettable exception of a certain Mr. Alterman (wink). RELAYER is a deserving addition to any comprehensive progressive rock library.

Report this review (#13312)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars By 1974 Yes had grown to be one of the best progressive rock bands of all time, especially with their album "Close to the Edge". "Relayer" continues a similar concept to "Close to the Edge" which opens with a side length epic and is followed by two songs lasting around 10 minutes long each. This would be a daring thing to do for any other band (except maybe aqualung's "Thick as a Brick" and Rush's "Hemispheres") to do, but for Yes this was no problem at all. However, Yes were missing one of their key ingredients, Rick Wakeman. Patrick Moraz serves as the keyboardist on this album and to be fair to him he does a damn good job filling in. Moraz is the bands second best keyboardist of their career in my opinion.

Relayer is probably the most underrated Yes album of their entire back catalogue, which is even pointed out in the booklet of the new remastered digipak version. Some Yes fans love it and some hate it, similar to Tales from Topographic Oceans from the year before. I personally can't see how some people think this is bad work for there is not a bad moment on the album. It is better than the previous double album due to the face that Tales from Topographic Oceans took too long to build up and lasted too long (even though the musical content was up to par). Relayer manages to pull the listener in from the very first few seconds just like The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge.

The album opens with the 21 minute "Gates of Delirium". This gives Patrick Moraz a chance to warm up at the begining but he really gets his chance to shine when the guitar and keyboard battle comes in, probably one of the best examples of this technique in their career. Moraz is able to proove that he can play to Yes' unique style and be a worthy successor to the legendary Rick Wakeman. Steve Howe is also incredible here as the band switches from the frantic battle and subtley starts to mellow out. Howe introduces some excellent emotional guitar solos with a sort of chiming effect, which are later reintroduced in "To Be Over". This beautifully progresses into Anderson's amazing vocals as "Soon" begins. This gently lulls the song to its close with Howes tremendous guitar work often creeping above Anderson's incredible harmonies. Gates of Delirium is a fine song that even gives "Close to the Edge" a run for its money.

Suddenly, the quiet ending of "Gates of Delirium" explodes into the alarming keyboard, guitar and drum thrashing intro to "Soundchaser". Alan White starts the show with a class Drum solo until Howe and Anderson step in. The vocals here are a good step up from the first track but they are definitly underrated compared to the last 4 albums. The sound that Yes make as a unit here is incredible though, this is the most rocking song since "Siberian Khatru" or some parts of "Ritual". The sound can only be described by the lyric "relay to set the scene", which it does brilliantly, as if each instruments sounds are bouncing off the walls and relaying across the room, and the listeners ears. The amazing solo's from Howe are top stuff picking up the strange vibrating and ringing effects. This leads into some quieter pieces lead by Howe's weeping guitar solo's. This quiet patch leads into a build up of drums and keyboards, taking the listener to new heights of Yes. "Soundchaser" may soun a little silly at times, especially with Anderson's "Cha Cha Cha, Cha Cha" which leads into something that sounds like an early game of Space Invaders. It is brilliant stuff and relative to the sounds of "5% For Nothing", "Cans and Brahms" and "Long Distance Runaround" from "Fragile". "Soundchaser" definetly goes off as one of the bands stranger moments but it definetly succeeds in sound chasing and relaying as the titles suggest.

"To Be Over" ends the album with an more impressive displays of weeping guitar solo's and great keyboard work from Moraz, showing off his mellower side compared to the huge melees on the first two tracks. Anderson definetly improves his singing here as he starts to perform up to par, like he did on his previous Yes works. This song does well in providing a mellow outlook yet having its more upbeat parts to give balance.

Relayer is probably the final yes album that can be described as a masterpiece as nothing after this came close to matching the masterpieces that were "The Yes Album", "Fragile", "Close to the Edge", "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and "Relayer". Even "Going for the One" didn't do it for me but that was still a good follow up. Relayer has elements from both Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans but mainly relies on its relaying sound technique. Having these elements will mean that Relayer will go down well with fans of Edge and Oceans, and for those who didn't like oceans, they will probably prefer this one to it because it of its Close to the Edge elements. Another brilliant piece from Yes. Don't let Rick Wakemans absence sway you from this album as Patrick Moraz really is brilliant here.

Report this review (#13313)
Posted Saturday, July 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars No, the RELAYER is not essential,but yet it's a masterpiece. The most refreshing part is propably the very special sound of Patrick MORAZ. You can hear the jazzy influences he gives to the album mostly on the "Sound Chaser". When I first listened to this album I thought:"Damn, did I really spend 10$ on this *%^", but after three or four more listenings I would say:"Wippy, I would spend 50 bucks on this fine music". Yes I know there are some bad parts on this, for excample the onholding violence on "Gares of Derillium", sonmetimes I asked myself "Where are those nice peace seeking musicians that I used to know!?", but the brilliant work of Squire and Moraz really cover the bad points. By the way, the keybord work on "Gates of Derillium" 11'45" is a breakthrough, everytime I listen to a solo of Jordan RUDDES i can hear the influence of Patrick MORAZ. Yeah for a real progfan this is a "must have".
Report this review (#13314)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars YES`S heaviest album. An underrated album, it is my second favourite YES`s album (the first is "Going for the One", and the third is "Close to the Edge"). This album has the most difficult drum parts played by Alan White in YES. Chris Squire`s bass sounds like "thunder" sometimes. Steve Howe played very heavy guitars, with "strange" scales and "high speed" lead guitars. Patrick Moraz played very good solos, as heavy as Howe`s, and Moraz is a very good keyboard player, at the same level as Wakeman or Emerson. It seems that Anderson also was in one of his "heaviest" periods, because his lyrics for "The Gates of Delirium" are a description of the contrasts between war and peace. "The Gates of Delirium" begins like the pre-war tension, like "speechs" against the enemy, first as threats, and then as a declaration of war. The war`s musical description begins with the heaviest part of the song, were White`s heavy drums and Squire`s strong bass are the "ground" were Moraz and Howe do their heavy solos. This instrumental section increases in tension (including the sounds of broken glasses and other musical effects) until the tension explodes into apparent tranquility, until the hope of the "Soon" section appears, ending this song with a sense of "new meaning to life". Here, Moraz and Howe create "atmospheres", and Howe`s steel guitar solo is accompanied by a very good mellotron arangement. "Sound chaser" is another "heavy" song, which begins with Moraz`s piano (a Fender Rhodes?) playing accompanied by White`s drum breaks. This song also has very difficult drum parts, and Howe plays "strange scales". Like "The Gates...", It`s "crazy", in places. "To be over" is melodic, peaceful, also ending with a sense of hope. Despite being an underrated album, I consider it a very good example of Progressive Rock Music. The cover is one of their best, too. But I have to say that the 1994 remastered C.D. has the end of the "Gates" and "To be over" cut by some seconds in comparison to the L.P. (the keyboard`s last note is longer in the L.P.). The C.D. sounds better in general, but the seconds cut in the end of these songs really spoil the enjoyment of the songs, in my opinion. I prefer the L.P. I hope that the recently remastered C.D. with bonus tracks has this mistake corrected.
Report this review (#13318)
Posted Monday, September 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Relayer really kicks from the epic ' Gates of Delirium' to the mellow ' To Be Over'. I think Patrick Moraz's influence and sound does distinguish this album from the Wakeman albums.' The Gates Of Delirium' is 22 minutes of slendour, chaos, disorder and dare I say it nirvana with Anderson singing out " Soon oh soon the light...." which also gave a glimpse of the the next album in terms of softer lyrics.' Sound Chaser' for me although I like it, is not up to the same quality as the rest of the album. Where ' Gates Of Delirium' delivered chaos successfully, ' Sound Chaser' does not and sounds a bit forced at time. Thankfully the album redeems itself again with the beautiful ' To Be Over'. This is an excellent album accompanied by yet again the finest artwork from Roger Dean for the sleeve,
Report this review (#13322)
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes' album covers seem to always represent their music. The gray, warning cover of this album fairly sums it up, just as the fragile earth sums up the delicate balance that is "Fragile" and the peaceful landscape on the inside cover of "Close to the Edge" sums up that album. What you can expect here is darker, harder-edged Yes. And it's a masterpiece.

The main song is "Gates of Delirium", moving like a calvary riding to war. The lyrics begin with a call to battle -- then the battle is fought. At this point, the music goes out of control, into a huge instrumental solo with battling keyboards and guitars held together by the bass. The band uses some strange percussion, banging pots and pans for effect. It climaxes in a drum solo, slowly descending into an ambient post-war soliloquy. "Soon..." Now THIS is well-constructed music.

"Sound Chaser" is a jazz-fusion extravaganza. There are many guitar solos, and sound effects, firing off and becoming very congested, but still wonderful. Patrick Moraz SHINES.

"To Be Over" is a forgotten gem. I love it. A soft ballad, but very intricate. "We go sailing down the calming streams..."

This album is much more hard rock/jazz-fusion than Yes' other work, and it is excellent. Patrick Moraz is probably my favorite Yes keyboardist, along with Tony Kaye. The sounds of his Orchestron must be heard to be believed.

Report this review (#13323)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars being basically a jazz listener, I don't care much about progressive rock ,but there are a few bands I love .Yes is one of them and 'Relayer' may be their finest work. 'The Gates Of Delirium' depicts an epic struggle that Howe and Moraz push beyond limits. 'Sound Chaser' is a blistering jazz-rock tune, displaying keyboards, drums and guitar solos. 'To Be Over' is a ballad that ends the album in dream-like mood. Of course, Jon Anderson is at his usual best, both in his singing and lyrics writing. Overall- a great album. Recently I saw the concert 'Yes live at QPR', recorded in 1975, that included all three tracks from Relayer. Unfortunately the sound mix was very poor, but at least it shows that playing 'Gates Of Delirium' live in its tremendous complexity is possible, if anyone doubted.
Report this review (#13324)
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I bought this record when it came out and from day one it has been my favourite Yes record.Up to then I listened mainly to Yessongs and Fragile but when I put the needle on the record I rested amazed until the last fading away of to be over. For sure it's to a great part emotional, you like some stuff you don't like other... I just bought the extended Rhino version and listening again to Relayer I tried to find out why I like this record so much.So, for one there is the pure dynamic force of this record. They are all playing and singing as if they got the devil on their tail! Then I think few Groups experimented so much in the boundaries of ProgRock. I wouldn't compare it to Jazz Rock, the harmonic material is quiet different even from Mahavishnu and then a lot of the themes are based around the lyrics, which is uncommon for Fusion/JR.Another point is the overall mood: there are few records which present a unity of style all over the record.Relayer is like one metal-molden block of pure energy. In the booklett of the re-release J.Anderson says that Roger Deans cover (my favourite RD cover with Grenslade) represents exactly the mood of the record,grey: mixture of granit and metal, and S.Howe said that "they were all jumping around in the studio".The only sad thing for me is that they couldn't go no further.I like Going for the one, but I was quiet disappointed nevertheless. It felt to me like going back and I saw them on stage in 1977 and the energy was gone.It seemed to me like they were conscious that they had passed a border they could never cross again.
Report this review (#13327)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hi guys !!! And sorry my bad english ! This is my first review in this site and I hope be reading... Relayer was the first prog album I ever listen (about 1981), and WOW! After my introducing in the rock world with 2 years of only Beatles (that stills my number one group) I made a fantastic discover: the world of classics (I knew it since 12 years old) and the rock could be mixed. And what a great beggining: THE GATES OF DELIRIUM ! It's my favourite Yes Song since them. Great lirycs, Squire's super bass, a keyboard full of dream nuances, and of course the master of the masters Maestro Steve Howe at his best. Yes, what a beggining! I remember that I heard it 3 times before went to the second and third tracks. After the "SOON" suite what more could I hear that day ?? Ok, Ok, "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" are great pieces of music but the album deseved the five star status because it has a six star masterpiece. Just a little suggestion for you that is reading it now: put it in you CD player, put your phone set in your ears and LET IT ROLL !!!
Report this review (#13328)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars When "Relayer" came out, I imagine some Yes fans said "Oh no, Wakeman's gone" and others said, "Yay, Wakeman's gone." I'd usually be more sympathetic to the latter, but I also remember losing interest in the MOODY BLUES around the time Moraz took over keyboard duties for them. Maybe he's the Ted McGinley of Prog?

Anyway, what is "Relayer"? Undoubtedly a 'classic' YES album, despite the absence of a few integral members and the exploration of some more aggresive tones. While the structure of the album is comparable to "Close to the Edge" (Side one: one song. Side two: two songs), there seems to be less structured movement and cohesiveness in the music. However, this is not the flowing abstraction of "Tales from Topographic Oceans"; this is an almost fusion-sounding wall of sound, a clatter of notes and rhythms that should please anyone who thought "Tales" was too dreamy. No less indulgent or meandering than the previous two-disc release, but somehow more 'progressive' in the sense that the band was trying out more varied tones and harder, jazzier textures.

All that needs to be said about the bass is: Squire's back. We mostly missed him on "Tales", and it's nice to hear that distinctive raspy rumble resume its prominence in the mix. While die-hards mourn Bruford's defection, White continues to prove that he's plenty drummer enough for YES. Anderson also maintains his unique command of lyrics and voice, although the trademark harmonized scatting ("Cha cha cha, cha cha") does get a bit overbearing at the end of "Sound Chaser". Howe delves a bit more into effects and treatments; he bends with his tremolo, fades in his volume, and actually uses echo and reverb for possibly the first time. He also does some tasty sitar-guitar on "To Be Over". On the other hand, where his noodling on "Tales" was often soothingly unfocused, his harshly overdriven a cappella parts on "Sound Chaser" sound more like disposable warm up excercises. However, his slide technique that follows sounds refreshingly different and unique, and almost redeems the song. Similarly, Moraz has a thin phased/ wah synth lead on "Gates of Delerium" that sounds like nothing before heard on a YES album, but nevertheless fits in perfectly- unlike the lead at the end of "Sound Chaser" (almost a 70s funk synth sound) which sticks out a little too much; his use of vibrato and bending throughout the album occasionally approaches sounding dated and laughable. I also have some trouble getting used to his electric piano work at the beginning of "Sound Chaser"- the Rhodes (or whatever he used) is not really a comfortable fit in the YES tonal palette.

It sounds like I dislike "Sound Chaser", doesn't it? Well, I can see where the jazzier prog folks might prefer it to the more 'hippie' sounding YES songs, but to me it's a harsh, unmelodic, and chaotic venture that I am glad to forget during the follower "To Be Over". I may well have a preference for 'pretty sounds', but "Sound Chaser" sounds almost like they threw it together in the studio from live improvisations. Even the far superior "Gates of Delerium" has some of that jittery, discordant quality, but it also contains just enough structure and momentum to carry the tumult. Luckily, "To Be Over", though equally quirky, is also blissful and triumphant enough to leave me with a positive impression of the album as a whole. Truthfully, there's nothing here that quite matches their earlier works, but just enough to reassure fans of the band that YES is continuing to explore and develop their sound.

Report this review (#13329)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes were certainly pining for a new sound when they came out with 'Relayer'. One should notice that, while still holding its jazzy rhythm section, were generally symphonic. This is obviously an attempt at more of a fusion album. What an attempt!

1. Gates of Delerium: 9/10 - Everything about this song is wonderful. The vocals soar into points surmounted only by the album, 'Close to The Edge'. There is a definite point in the middle where the percussion sounds like a battlefield. From this, it leads into the dark blue majesty of 'Soon'. Jon really shines through riding the jetstream along with Steve's super suspeneded guitar. My only concern is a more triumphant beginning.

2. Sound Chaser: 10/10 - I was breathless after the song. After Bruford, I always thought that Alan paled in comparison. How wrong I was. Never have I seen such an evidently beautiful interplay between percussion and keyboards. A quick little show by the always incomparable Chris, the theme sets in. Then a series of superb licks from Steve, the theme again, and I have just five words, "CHA CHA CHAAAA CHA CHA!"

3. To Be Over: 10/10 - Time to relax. This was quite a change from the off-the-handle jazz fusion of the prior two songs. Superior guitar work, excellent escapism factor, and my hats off to Jon on his Opioions. If there was a good connotation for the word soporific, this song defines it.

Report this review (#13331)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer, along with all of Yes' early stuff is one of my favorite albums. It is buy far the group's most experimental album. It starts out with the incredible "Gates of Deliruim", which in my opinion is as good as Close to the Edge. The first time I heard it I had mixed feelings, but as time went on it grew on me. Each time you hear it, you can pick out new parts and find different time signatures. The complexity of this song is bewildering. I the battle section of the song it possibly the most complex, intense piece of prog rock. To cap off the battle section, Moraz breaks through with a squigly yet strong synth that sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it (when played loud enough). The song ends in the beautiful "soon" which is also very well done. The album is worth it just for this song alone. Buy far one of the greatest prog rock albums out there, but everyone has their own opinion.
Report this review (#13233)
Posted Thursday, December 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Undoubtedly, Relayer represents this group's boldest undertaking; being fostered by some of Steve Howe's most brilliant and unrestrained playing on "The Gates Of Delirium" and "Sound Chaser", and by the appearance (alas, for this album only) of Patrick Moraz on keyboard. Moraz's playing infuses this music with a more free and jazzy feel which was missing with Kaye and Wakeman. Of course, Chris Squire anchors the whole album with his distinctive bass genius, and Alan White makes perfection sound easy on percussion. The work is highly instrumental, but Jon Anderson's vocals shine through at the appropriate moments. We can only guess at what this particular lineup might have achieved in subsequent recordings - no doubt it would have been extraordinary. Beware; this work is not for the faint of heart. It makes some pretty big demands on some listeners - it is definitely "an acquired taste" for many as there is much here to take in. But, if you persevere, you'll be richly rewarded. It is an important and enduring work - a rare gem indeed!
Report this review (#13235)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been a true Yes fan ever since Fragile came out, and even though I think that each and every album the band ever recorded since that period were absolutely great, Relayer remains my favorite. After the two years of touring that followed the album, the band took some time off, not only to record solo albums but also because they thought they had to slow down the big tours with tons of equipment and loosen up their music, and they never recorded anything like it since then. Patrick Moraz, the new keyboard man of the band is in top form and inspiration here, and I've read somewhere that he played his most beautiful performance on Relayer and, yes, I agree with that. Gates of Delirium! What a masterpiece, it was the quintet's most experimental era and you can hear it in the middle instrumental part, wow ! And the duo with Steve Howe and Patrick Moraz just before the Soon part comes, took me sometimes to make the difference between the pedal-steel and the synths... And what about the opening of Sound Chaser, Alan White at his best, and the keyboard solos and amongst the best I've heard for quite some time. And, naturally, comes the beauty and calm notes of the Dan Electro Sitar Guitar of Steve and the smooth sound of Orchestron for the beginning of what I consider one of Yes's most greatest love song ever, To be over. So, yes, I think Relayer remains to this very day, the band's best album of their carreer...
Report this review (#13236)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the two or three best YES albums and one of the best albums in the ambit of Prog Rock. The playing, particularly Steve Howe's work, has a bite and a sharpness that was missing from much of "Topographic Oceans." His electric-Spanish-guitar solo on "Sound Chaser" is a miracle and one of his best moments on record. Squire shines throughout, and he and Alan White lock-in on this album at or near the levels of Chris's earlier rhythm section collaborations with Bill Bruford. The bass and drum parts on the beginning of "Sound Chaser" represent some of the finest work of these two musicians. "Gates of Delirium" is a fantastic arrangement that tells more of a story than their earlier side-long epics. The "Soon" section at the end of "Gates" is one of the most beautiful YES pieces of music, with a sublime vocal by Anderson. I am in the minority among YES fans in that I prefer Patrick Moraz's keyboard work to Rick Wakeman's. I feel that his soloing was more varied and he had a jazz/fusion element in his playing that added a new dimension to the band. (I wish that he had recorded more studio albums with YES.) This album is a not-to-be-missed masterpiece for a YES fan. It's not the one to start with (I would recommend "The Yes Album" or "Fragile" for YES neophytes) but once acclimated to the unique YES sound, this album will provide years of enjoyment.
Report this review (#13239)
Posted Friday, January 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One day after finding out this is the only album I've heard for the last two or three days, and I still wasn't tired of it, I got it: Relayer is the best album I've ever heard. Why? Because of its amzing opening- impossible to play still very melodic. Because most will tell you not to start with it because it's complexity- it will chase you out of Yes. Because they are talking non-sense! It was my first Yes and it is so many levels higher then any other. Fragile is nice and easy, but can't shock me leaving my mouth open for 40 minutes. Because Gates of Dellirium unlike Close to the Edge, is not as repetitive- it is 20 minutes long filled with originality neto with each chapter tells you a whole different story. Because Alan White makes the drums sound so full and and emotional even in the part where requied zero technic. Because of Steve's Howe slow solo, which is sp slow yet you can't seem to find how 4 minutes gone so fast. Because nothing moves like Jon Anderson's high-pitch voice. Because all I wrote up to now is only about the first side! Sound Chaser is my perfect guitar song, so many solos merged into each other with Howe's great talent. Anderson's words never told much, espcially when he shouts "Cha Cha Cha" and eventhough this gets me high. To be Over. Though a pretty slow song, is no less then other. The best song to finish with, musicwise- the first part is equal to the greatest of the classical music, which a really great canon in so many voices. Its finish can't be defined with other words then perfect in a somehow religious, magical sequence.
Report this review (#13240)
Posted Saturday, January 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Yes album Relayer was my introduction to progressive rock. Before this album, the only song I knew by this group was "Roundabout." I remember seeing the album covers in the department store racks and thinking how strange they were. It's funny, I remember thinking how weird this album was to me at the time I first heard it and no matter how many times I listened to it I just did not get it, I was not ready for Yes in 1974.

Fast forward to 2003 and we have a remastered copy of this underrated and much maligned classic prog-rock masterpiece. I suppose many folks were upset because Rick Wakeman left the band and this person named Patrick Moraz stepped in to try to fill his shoes. He did not replace Wakeman; he did however make his one and only Yes recording a memorable one. Granted, they were not the same without Rick but they continued to make incredible music that nobody else was.

The previously unissued studio run-through version of "Gates Of Delirium" is alone worth the price of admission for this CD. It is much better than the original release. Steve Howe's guitar is amazing on this cut; it comes popping out at you with burst of power. Reaching a creative peak, the rest of the band is in rare form as well sounding more inspired than on any other track. God knows why they did not use this version as it really made this entire CD the great experience it was. "Soon" is a pretty song with a lovely melody. You will hear the single edited version on this package. You get the best of both worlds listening to "Sound Chaser" now, as the full album cut and single edit are available for the first time on the same album. It is interesting to compare and contrast the different versions.

This forgotten classic needs another good listen now. It will unquestionably develop new opinions this time around.

Report this review (#13243)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Perhaps their best after "Close to the Edge", "Relayer" displays a more epic style to it, not unlike the previous "Tales From Topographic Oceans" album although a bit earthier this time. The wonderful cover art gives a hint of what to expect on this album; adventurous and beautiful music with some really complex textures. Rick Wakeman left the band before this one, but was replaced by Patrick Moraz who does an interesting job here and gives the album a very nice flow without domenating too much. The musicianship is more or less flawless and the band sounds really fresh and in good form here.

The best cut here is no doubt "The Gates of Delerium" which is one of Yes' best tracks in their discography. This track has all a Yes fan can ask for, and competes with CTTE as the best Yes epic. "Sound Chaser" is another well-crafted track, this time with a more experimental style to it. A bit unusual, but it works extremely well. "To Be Over" is a nice ballad, though it doesn't really rech the heights of the two previous cuts, but still stands as a very good conclusion to the album. Overall, Yes fans should definitely get this one. Same goes for prog-rock fans in general. 4.25

Report this review (#13333)
Posted Sunday, February 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars YES return in an almost defiant manner. After the lambasting TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS took from the critics YES seemed to be challenging everyone around them with the ever more self indulgent. I applaud them.... "The Gates Of Delirium" like the four songs of TALES takes up an entire side. The result is 90% fab with 10% horror. I'm sad to say that Patrick Moraz is no Wakeman. He buries his parts under layers of keyboards that have very little beauty (except for two transcendent moments: 1:"Soon" and the end of "To Be Over") . "To Be Over" is beautiful and ends the album on a gorgeous fade of guitar and keys. However the sheer awfulness of "Sound Chaser" is both suprising and completely maddening. Like "The Ancient/Giants Under The Sun" on the previous album you get the impression that these guys needed someone to step back and rein them in. However RELAYER is still a very good album .
Report this review (#13334)
Posted Monday, February 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Easily the most experimental of all of the Yes catalog, "Relayer" is also a true progressive rock masterpiece that every prog fan MUST own. I must say that I really didn't like this album for about a year when I first bought it--it's an album that demands attention on the part of the listener, but once the listener gets accustomed to the incredibly complicated structures and melodies, it is completely intoxicating! "The Gates Of Delirium" is one of the five best progressive epics ever written, weaving excellent playing and singing around varied sections that express "War and Peace" musically. A musical thrill ride, especially in headphones, from the opening notes through the battle scene to the beautiful ending of "Soon." "Sound Chaser" is Yes going jazz fusion, and they do it well! Stunning playing through this piece shows the level of chops that all of these musicians had, including Alan White, who I've always considered inferior to Bill Bruford (and I still do, but Alan played great on this album). The closer "To Be Over" is again a tune that sucks you in--once you start listening to it you just get emotionally involved until it's over. This Yes album, along with "Close To The Edge," belongs in EVERY progressive rock fan's collection.
Report this review (#13336)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer was my introduction into yes and prog rock, I was 13 at the time and this album had just been released. I purchased it on recommendation and reviews of this band. To my amazement, when I first took it home and took out the disc, I thought I had been ripped off.....only 3 tracks!! how can that be?

However, not to be disheartened, I put it on my turntable and blasted the thing out to knigdom come. I must admit, that it took a number of plays, before I could get were Yes were all about, but in the end I was not disappointed.....I soon added The Yes Album, Yessongs, Close To The Edge and Fragile to my collection.

Personally, I believe that this album is much under-rated, and I feel that it easily stands up there with the best of the Yes collection.

Obviously after 'Tales...' Yes needed to come up with something and they couldn't really get any worse...and although the departure of Rick Wakeman was a massive blow, I think that Patrick Moraz's unique style makes for an intriguing highly-listenable album.

Report this review (#13338)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an unsung hero of the Yes discography.Some disagree, but they really should give the album a few more spins before they dismiss it. I particulary enjoy the Gates of Delirium. All the instruments are blended well but are nevertheless adequately showcased in this epic about war. There is great emotion in this song. Sound Chaser is equally brilliant. This nine-minute piece is very jazzy and showcases the vituoso drumming of Alan White. There is great use of Rhodes electric piano in this piece. To Be Over is kind of the black sheep of Relayer. It is definitely not as good as the first two tracks. I would suggest this album for fans of jazz rock that want to get into progressive rock. Musicianship and atmosphere are top-notch on this record.
Report this review (#13340)
Posted Thursday, March 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, to me represents the height of Yes's creativity, they truly went the perfect road of trying out where they COULD go. 'The gates of delirium' remains my favorite song of all time, although I have always preffered the 'Yesshows' version. It simply straddles EVERY emotion and avenue the genre has to offer and in turn stuns you with its complexity and structure. I always felt that the mere thought of someone attempting to cover this song is laughable, it seems to me that many other songs are totally coverable but this song would just be silly to even contemplate and almost a sin to try!

I think they complemeted it perfectly with the ultra - experiomental 'Soundchaser' and the more typical Yes 'To be over'. Patrick Moraz brought his jazzy connotations to the experimental table as Howe, Squire and particularly White extended their already impressive abilties to unimaginable limits. The bass and drumming in 'Soundchaser' are utterly unique. True, a band such as 'Dreamtheater' could play that stuff in their sleep, but it remains to be seen whether ANY band could come up with something as different, unique and imaginitive, but still retaining the same qualities as Yes did with 'Relayer'.

Just add that incredible sleeve and a masterpiece was born. I love that whole package so much.

Report this review (#13343)
Posted Friday, March 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another classic offering from this talented outfit. It's funny how times, and people's opinions change. I remember clearly, when this album came out, it was considered a big let- down; what? No Rick Wakeman? This isn't Yes! It almost became the 'forgotten' Yes album. And I remember when 'Going For The One' came out, and more than one critic, on reviewing it, said: "This is a welcome return to form after the disappointing Relayer!" Of course, now 'Relayer' is considered one of their finest, and quite rightly so. It ranks amongst their best, along with 'Fragile', 'Close To The Edge', and 'Going For The One'. And I still can't choose my favourite out of them! The opener here, 'The Gates Of Delirium' is superb. A simulation in music of a battle, complete with instrument-led skirmishes that bring to mind rearing horses and flashing sabres! (To me they do anyway, maybe I should keep taking the tablets!) the contrast between the first two thirds of this track, full of excitement and virtuosity, and the last third, with the beautiful melody that leaves its imprint on the memory, is a supreme example of compositional skill. Anderson's voice at the end is hauntingly soothing and shows just how well he can sing. Even the lyrics are semi- understandable! I love this track, right down to the last symphonic note provided by the mellotron as it fades and stops. Track two, 'Soundchaser' is another wonderful piece, yet probably my least favourite of the three. Some very melodic, if aggressive, themes are explored here, and the band again display their uncanny ability to meld with each other effortlessly. The third song, 'To Be Over', is quieter, and ends the album fittingly. Steve Howe's guitar work here is particularly impressive and the melody is again one that lingers in the cerebral cortex whether we want it to or not! Mention must be made of Mr Moraz's contribution. Wakeman fans usually shake their heads at this upstart, who was only, as the next album proved, keeping the maestro's seat warm until his return. Nevertheless, Moraz is in no way inferior to Wakeman, and provides wonderful sonic landscapes in the best Wakeman tradition, fitting in nicely with the traditional Yes sound. You can't always tell if it is Wakeman or Moraz playing, which shows the latter's versatility. He does well here, and should not be underrated. A classic album, that I consider the second of a pair of book ends, along with 'Close To The Edge'. Each album has three tracks, one on side one, and two on side two, and follows closely the same format. And to be honest, I can't say which I prefer, so I will again sit on the fence and give this 4 stars. Excellent album!
Report this review (#13350)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is the second essential masterpiece from YES to me, along with the "Close to The Edge" album. PATRICK MORAZ has a different approach to keyboards than RICK WAKEMAN, but I enjoy the electronic walls of sounds which he creates. I recall hearing that the epic which fills the first side of the album is about the first world war. But how does "The Gates of Delirium" relate with that subject? It could be from the viewpoint of a commanding officer, as they overdid drinking during the stalemate at the trenches! Well, the end sequence from it was cut as a pretty single "Soon", but that musical moment is more powerful within the original context where it was meant, as it creates a good contrast with the dynamic opening and the chaotic fighting sequence of that composition. The best track of the album is in my opinion "Soundchaser", a very fast, imaginative and moody piece. They used to play wonderful versions of this on the tours! The last song "To Be Over" is then much calmer tune, and ends the album beautifully. Also Dean's cover are nice, as a contrast to his colorful world, this painting is done with different tones of grey. My most sincere recommendations!
Report this review (#13352)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars Everything that the 2-LP "Tales From Topographic Oceans" lacked is on this album": power, ideas, excitement and, last but not least, ... an inspired keyboardplayer named Patrick Moraz, nicknamed 'The Swiss Poodle'. The epic track "The Gates of Delirium" features amazing shifting moods, biting guitar licks and sensational keyboards flights and the following "Sound Chaser" contains one of the most mindblowing intro's, what a propulsive guitar riff! The final song "To Be Over" is not really my cup of tea but this is a matter of taste. My last words in this review concerns the awful review from Robert LePlant: if your aim was to attract attention with your offensive language you got what you wanted but I hope that such a negative behavior doesn't belong to be rewarded in the future, Prog Archives! By the way, Robert, please go to a shrink, you need help before you will use other ways and places to let your hugh frustrations go....
Report this review (#13353)
Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars OK. I have to admit in the beginning that I am not objective to review the YES stuff but anyway I like to give 5*. What I love in YES is their originality, freedom, absolute mastership, perfect instrumentalizations and voices and mainly great melodies, and lastly of course the name. And all that is also here. Especially in the first track, which is another long one, but different from close to the edge. It is darker, harder, however, with an amazing catharsis in the Soon part. It takes some time to get into the story of this album but definitely it worthy trying. And that I recommend to all people who love music. CHA CHA CHA.
Report this review (#13354)
Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
el böthy
5 stars "Soon, oh soon the light, pass within and soothe this endless night..." I mean... just excellent!!! It´s all I got to say...excellent. I knew this album would be good, but this is too much. Even better than "Fragil", "Tales..." and...even "Close to the Edge"!!!!!! Well, at least for me. All the 3 songs are incredible. "The Gates of Delirium" is Yes longest song, but it´s so good that you even want it to be longer, it never get´s boring like in some parts of "Tales..." All thouse battle simulations that are done so perfectly by Patrik Moraz and Alan White, the violence, the disaster, the chaos and then... "Soon, oh soon the light..." the beauty and sadness of the day after the war...

"Sound Chaser" is one of the best fusion songs I ever heard, with some of Steve Howes and Chris Squire best work, specially Steve. That free solo, with the perfect amound of distortion, excellente work, it makes me remember "Heartbreaker" by Led Zeppelin, hehehehe.

And at last "To be over". This song is all about Jon Anderson, not romantic but close. Still a very good song, in this part of the album you can finally breath, because mostly of "Gates of delirium" and "Sound Chaser" are very complex, heavy and fusion like songs.

To rap it up, this album is a must have, very complex, fresh and excellent, just excellent... and I don´t know why this site just gives it 4 stars... it´s worth 6 stars minimum!!!!!

Report this review (#13356)
Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another peak performance by YES! This album sounds a little different than usual YES works. One of the reasons is definitely the new keyboard player Patrick Moraz. Howe's guitar sounds heavy and harsh at one times but also spacey and very gentle at others. Overall the music is a little jazzier, less polished and more daring. This is especially true for the middle part of the epic "The Gates Of Delirium" and also "Sound Chaser". It's a very interesting listening and it's nice to hear this band trying something different. However there are enough chanting vocals and sweet melodies to satisfy a classic YES fan. This album contains some of the most bold and original music ever produced by YES. Some other parts are also the most beautiful moments ever. A very contrasting work that may not appeal after first listen but grows ony you very much with time. I recommend this masterpiece to anyone with open ears who dares to explore a different YES! Essential!
Report this review (#13357)
Posted Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think the jazz/fusion sound here is great, and Patrick Moraz is a welcome addition. Wakeman clearly didn't like the direction of Tales, and his absence brings out the very best in Steve Howe. This is his finest hour, without question. "Gates" is YES's best musical composition. Absolutely brilliant! The songs on side 2 are also quite strong and beautiful in their own way. "Soundchaser" in particular is powerful and glorious; I wish they would perform this live from time to time.

All that said, what keeps this from being a true 5 stars is the sound quality. It is perhaps the worst sounding YES album, which is tragic since its music is the strongest of any album. As I noted in my Tales review, I wish they would rerecord Tales, trimming away the fluff and fat on the album. I wish they would remix and remaster this album because the music deserves better.

4.75 stars

Report this review (#13360)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favourite rock album of all time & believe me at 44 years of age I've heard quite a few. I'ts & furious & lacks melodies. Who the hell cares about nice melodies anyway. If you want to be serenaded then look somewhere else. Prog did'nt use to pander to fashion,cheesy smiles or your mothers disapproval. Then the second wave of punk arrived (first wave was in the sixties) & we were all dictated to by the record industry hiding behind jerks. The Yes musicians put everything & I mean everything into this music. I listened to it the other day & could'nt get over how much energy it contains. At my age it's probably dangerous to my health.
Report this review (#13361)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ever since "Close to the Edge," I think Yes has faced a difficult challenge---how to continue to create in such a way that maintains the level of quality set by CTTE, but also in a way that does not merely repeat the past and that allows the band members to evolve and take chances. "Tales" was a admirable attempt to do that, and overall I think the band succeeded with it. But at the same time, it became clear that they couldn't do something like that again. A different experiment was required. What emerged was "Relayer," .and it was good.

From the moment it starts, there is a different sound quality to "Relayer," something in the production that distinguishes it from all albums that came before it and even after it. I'm not sure what it is, but the sound has a certain tone or production effect or something. And this may be in part due to the lack of Wakeman and the prevalence of Steve Howe.

It's clear after a couple of listens that this album is the result of a close collaboration between Jon Anderson and Steve Howe. It must have taken many months to compose, draft, construct, and finally memorize these pieces. Overall, it is Howe that does most of the instrumental work here on this album. He is all over the album providing rhythm guitar, soloing on top of it, wearing out his volume pedal to create ethereal synth-like sounds. Anderson provides excellent melodies and compositional ideas---the ebb and flow of "Gates of Delirium," the radical vocal ideas of "Sound Chaser," the wonderful "To Be Over."

What also becomes more apparent the more you listen to "Relayer" is that Squire is less prevalent on this album than say the first five Yes albums, and not only his bass playing is missed but also his vocals. And the album suffers somewhat from this. A dimension is missing, one that won't return until "Drama." On "Drama" we hear again the Squire of old when the music thrummed to his bass runs and his vocal is distinguishable in the mix. (Though to be fair, his work is outstanding on "Sound Chaser"). Similarly Wakeman's presence is missed, and as a result there is too much Howe instrumental work that fills in the spaces that Wakeman would have filled in with his unique sound.

It must have been quite the challenge for Patrick Moraz. He had to jump into a group situation that had evolved into a very refined state. And while there are some keyboard moments that do stand out (e.g., the openings of "Gates" and "Sound Chaser"), for the most part they are somewhat buried in the mix, as if Yes did not trust him to noticeably assert himself.

But despite these criticisms, "Relayer" succeeds, and succeeds on many levels. One reason I think fans celebrate "Relayer" as Yes's best album is because it stands for an acceptance of change, an acceptance of a band that is doing its best to move forward, and not repeat itself, to let their intuitions guide the evolution of their sound.

And after Relayer, Yes was still in the same predicament as after "Tales;" it could not give us another "Relayer;" they would have to come up with something else, something as good but different. And they succeeded it again with "Going for the One," in my opinion. And that's the true test of a great band: Can they continue to create and evolve in a way that is interesting and compels repeated listening. ELP couldn't manage it after "Brain Salad Surgery" and (god knows) Yes has fallen flat in later attempts. But "Relayer" is a landmark in Yes's-and in golden age prog's-history. Five stars.

Report this review (#13362)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my opinion, this is THE BEST ROCK ALBUM EVER RECORDED! I just love it, it is powerful and beautiful and creative from beginning to end...I really don't find the right words to praise it.

Gates of Dellirium is definitely, and by far, superior to any other Yes epics: here we have these five guys at their best! The middle section, so powerful and evocative, with breath-taking bass line and...have you noticed the background sound efx? ie, explosions, machine gun shots, moanings, etc...the horror of war is there!! And then it comes Soon, one of the most beautiful, wonderful all-time pieces of music. It brings tears to my eyes!!! have you noticed the strange background voice that accompanies Jon's in some moments? it's like a ghost!

Sound Chaser, a mind-blowing experience, though it took me dozens of listenings to get it. Great riffs!! Both bass and guitar are so agressive, I love them!

To Be Over, wondeful middle section, when Howe is soloing and the mellotrons are at the back...and the ending is just moving.

This is my second favourite album(being the first Private Collection by Jon & Vangelis). I really think Relayer is not only a prog rock pivotal piece, but of the whole history of music.

Report this review (#13366)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars this album marks the last stage (last gasp?) of Yes' exploration of the 20 minute song structure and confirms the departure (forever, sadly) of the band's ability to create the kinds of works of depth, genius, and heart that marked their successes from 'the Yes album' through 'Yessongs'. Even so, the piece Relayer itself has within it enough glimpses (almost full appearances) of that genius to fulfill the Yes fan's desperate need to experience more of their beloved greatness. There are without question themes and guitar inventions that are memorable, and would be signals of a new greatness, were they to come from a new band. I have great respect for the piece 'Relayer' but only for the music - the lyrics unfortunately attain a new low in banality - the warrior lamenting and later rejecting his violent mission with the tritest of lyrics - sure lets all live in flowers. There are only three songs, and the second could be used in Guantanamo Bay to coerce confessions. So lets move on to 'To Be Over', which has a beautiful melody (it was actually in jukeboxes as a single in the seventies). The theme is well developed, varirations come along with promise of... yet in the end one is left feeling that the ten minutes was not so well spent as it should have been. I cant say I'd go out of my way to hear it again, but even thinking of it as I am now - that sweet melody comes flowing in from my memory (sigh). But the piece Relayer - every three years or so I can confidently let 'er rip and know i'll see some Yes genius genius again - a glimpse at least.
Report this review (#13371)
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Much better than "Tales...". Wakeman left, Patrick Moraz takes over, and this album is clearly an improvement over the boring double one that came before it. "The Gates Of Delirium" is a classic, I especially love the last section, but it is entertaining and well-thought all the way, even if it is too chaotic. But I guess that's the point. The other side is not as impressive, but "Sound Chaser" is a good attempt at King Crimson's sound and "To Be Over" is a good ballad, but not as good as "And You And I". Anyway, the production's not very good, as it the previous one, and it ruins it a bit. However, I like it, and I even thought about giving 5 stars to it, but I'm not THAT impressed by "Relayer".
Report this review (#13372)
Posted Thursday, May 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very interesting album. I agree that it is the most overlooked album in the Yes catalogue. But I see a lot of reviews claiming that this is the best rock album of all time. Hmmmm, not so sure about that one. I don't see this as a masterpiece. Yes's masterpieces were The Yes Album, Fragile, and CTTE, along with Yessongs. No doubt, this is a fantastic album. Gates of Delirium is a fantastic epic. But to call this the greatest rock album of all time? I'm gonna have to disagree.

When I first got a hold of this album, I listened to it voraciously and with high expectations, because of the reviews I had seen here. I'm not going to say that I was disappointed, but it did not live up to what I thought it would be. Again, it's a changing Yes, and again they succeed. I listened more and more and realized this.

Gates of Delirium - Fantastic epic. Great beginning, great verses, amazing middle instrumental. Does a good job at depicting the battle scene. And there is nothing to say about Soon that hasn't already been said. Beautiful section. Still, it isn't as good as CTTE (nothing is, for that matter) and it's slightly weaker than The Revealing Science of God from TFTO. As good as Ritual and The Remembering.

Sound Chaser - The moment I heard this opening, I knew I was in for something different. I love this introduction. A lot. Again, a new Yes. The middle is good. Not fantastic. But pretty good. And of course, who can forget Jon Anderson chanting "Cha cha cha, cha cha!"

To Be Over - Very good song. Beautiful at times, very calming to listen to. But, again, something about it fails to absolutely blow me away. It is simply a very good song. Also a great way to end the album. But beyond that, I'm not so sure.

Overall, I can't see this as a "must-own" for prog-lovers' collections. It's a solid 4. Not even like a 4.5. 4/5 stars.

Report this review (#13373)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Overrated. In terms of Yes albums I feel this marks the beginning of the end for Yes (despite a brief resurgence with Going for the One). I don't think the lack of Wakeman helped matters either.

Whereas with Tales the whole side long experiment was new and worked to a degree, Gates of Delerium seems directionless and rambling, and although there are moments that shine, Rick is sorely missed and there is just a sense of 'nothing new here'. Although the final part, soon is definitely a fine piece of work, but doesn't justify the rest of the song. As for sound chaser and To Be Over, I feel that they too lack much inspiration or direction, especially soundchaser, which just seems like pointless jamming.

I like Yes up to a point, but this marks the transition to the era when the means began to justify the end, and the result is an incomplete, incoherent piece of work.

Report this review (#35191)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In my book, giving this album less than a 5 star mark is a gigantic felony of underrate - I don't believe in death penalty, but I do believe in denial of bail, and I wonder what a sensible lawyer could argue in favour of his defended, anyway. Well. With the entry of Moraz replacing Wakeman and the solidification of White as Squire's partner in the rhythm department, Yes managed to articulate their recent jazz-fusion interests (born during their "Tales from Topographic Oceans"-era) into their main symphonic ground with a vengeance and supreme exquisiteness. The vengeance is well reflected in the ballsy interplaying and the aggressive sound of most guitar and synth solos; the exquisiteness is mostly provided by the keyboard orchestrations created by Moraz and Anderson's singing, which recovers the sense of energy he had clearly shown in the pre-"Tales" albums. "Relayer" succeeds in the same field that "Tales" failed - that is, the integration of diverse sonic sources into a cohesive whole that gathers the pompous complexity inherent to the typical Yes stuff and the adventurous excursions of jazz-rock, without losing focus and without falling into the trappings of self-indulgent chaos. The sidelong epic 'The Gates of Delirium' is one of the best Yes compositions ever, and definitely, one of the most brilliant cornerstones in the history of progressive music. It starts with an eerie overture, sustained on soaring rhythm guitar (courtesy of Jon Anderson, who now goes beyond his usual incidental percussion duties and adds rhythm electric and acoustic guitars, some audio generator, and also some fife somewhere in the entry passage of 'Sound Chaser') and spacey synthesizer textures, with Howe displaying some picked leads. Then, after a brief orchestral-like hard rocking interlude, the first main motif appears with the band in full swing, keeping a perfect fluidity in the links between the softer and harder passages. The multi-part instrumental section is majestic as it is fiery: Mahavishnu-inspired jamming by Howe and Corea- inspired keyboard layers and solos by Moraz give flaming life to the well articulated structure of this section, while Squire and White sustain the storm of complexity with full consistence - the last duels among the pedal steel and the synth are really metallic, despite them laying on a slow tempo. After a minimalistic second interlude, the pedal steel continues to assume the leading role while it kicks off the first lines for the 'Soon' section. One of the most emotionally charged Anderson-penned numbers ever, 'Soon' shines regally on its own: the overwhelming mellotron layers are the perfect landscape for this humanistic lament that refuses to lose all hope for peace and clings to a dream of a better world after the massacres of war. 'The Gates of Delirium' is a jewel that shines brighter than a thousand suns, and indeed, things will never get as good as this during the remains of this album - but again, the other two tracks are definitely nothing to be dismissed. 'Sound Chaser' is the jazziest Yes ever; this time, Squire and White are more highlighted in the mix, capturing the listener with their powerful interaction during the first implementation of the main motif. On the other hand, Howe takes the chance to explore his ever increasing fusionesque ventures further and steal the limelight for an amazing Flamenco-tinged electric guitar lead. He has so fallen in love with the pedal steel that he decided it should state the major guitar inputs for the main motif's reprise, while Moraz displays his absolute finesse in his solo for the funky-based jamming that takes place before the song's final act. 'To Be Over' goes to more serene places, with the electric sitar, pedal steel and organ painting shades of evening in a Hawaiian beach: the vocal harmonies and the intimate instrumental architecture bring back some of the old Yes magic from the days of 'And You and I' and the bucolic passages of "Tales". Anyway, a fusionesque interlude emerges somewhere in the middle: even though Howe seems to have earned a steady leading role, I must admit that, for this particular song, it is Moraz who impresses me more. The final chanting and pedal steel lines fade out, like carrying the listener straight to a realm of silent relaxation beneath the dark sky of a soft summer night. Unlike 'Soon', whose spirit is one of self-inflicted hope in a hopeless world that longs for peace, 'To Be Over' seems to convey the laid-back joy for achievement of peace of mind. A beautiful ending for a wonderful album: although this was Yes's only studio album with Moraz in its line-up, its grandiosity won't allow him to be drowned into oblivion - on the contrary, he will always be remembered as the keyboardist that was in the right place at the right time when Yes needed a clear focus for its post-"Close to the Edge" evolving path.
Report this review (#35449)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't like to get too personal with reviews, but in this case it's necessary to give some background. I've been into prog for many years, but never took to Yes. Dog knows I tried. I listened to just about every '70s-era album, and found the music very good, but I could never handle Jon Anderson's voice. It was frustrating, as their music is clearly top-notch. A few months ago I decided to give them one more chance. I slapped on 'Relayer', an album I knew absolutely nothing about. I WAS and REMAIN UTTERLY BLOWN AWAY. Even Anderson emits plenty of power and creativity here. I've gone back and discovered all the albums up to and including 'Big Generator', and I can now count myself as a Yes fan. There's just way too much to like. 'Relayer' remains my favorite, not because of the special value of being the one that made me a fan, but because it shows them pulling out all the stops and performing at the peak of their abilities.

"The Gates Of Delirium" is a fascinating piece of music, side-long and captivating at every turn. Patrick Moraz proves himself a worthy replacement for Rick Wakeman, I would even go so far to say that he's better suited for much of Yes' music. Steve Howe's open-chord acrobatics give the song a loose edge, while the rhythm section remains firm and focused. I hear a few parallels to Utopia's "The Ikon" in form, intent and sometimes even melody. Once the song climaxes to the amazing battle sequence, it becomes obvious where Rush might've gotten the idea for "By-Tor And The Snow Dog". And the incredible jams the build up to it are reminiscent of "Cygnus X-1". I admit that Jon Anderson sings in a most godlike fashion for the song's peaceful resolution (since extracted for live performance as "Soon"). Side Two maintains the wicked tension with "Sound Chaser", some of the best gonzoid performing in the band's catalog. Some moments rise to an almost Mahavishnu Orchestra level of playing. Finally, "To Be Over" offers something calmer, a welcome haven after the disorienting 30 minutes preceding it.

'Relayer' finds Yes at their most exciting and adventurous. When they play this well, no one can touch 'em. I'm glad I finally "get" Yes. But Starcastle still sucks.

Report this review (#35874)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Once there was a time in which "Relayer" was the most controversial album in all Yes cannon. Good old days! Ever since came "90125" (pop, but still a good album), "Big Generator" (poppier and almost ulistenable), "Union" (Rick Wakeman went straight to the point: this one should be called "Onion" - makes me cry, too), "Open Your Eyes" (this is by far the worst album they made). And everybody forgot all the buzz about "Relayer". Let's be honest: "To be Over" is as beautiful as "You and I", "Sound Chaser" has some great moments (although a bit boring in others) and "The Gates of Delirium" is a fantastic, marvellous epic and the closest thing to an unforgettable lyric Yes have ever made (I don't like Yes's lyrics - almost all their lyrics are confusing, pretentious or senseless). Patrick Moraz does a fine job, but his style is much different of Wakeman's, and all other musicians are on top form. So, what's wrong with "Relayer"? To many prog fans, replace Rick Wakeman in a band looks like Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding reforming "Experience" with another guitar player; in a word, SACRILEGE!!! Instead, if you are open minded, you will listen to "Relayer" with pleasure, although it's not as good as Yes's masterpieces (like "The Yes Album", "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge").
Report this review (#36045)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album really proves that Rick Wakeman isn't as irreplaceable as he seems. While Rick is the best keyboardist around (maybe second only to Keith Emerson, but that's a debate for a different time), Yes can still manage to make excellent music without him, even if this album doesn't have huge solos or majestic keyboards in it. Patrick Moraz does a fine job on the keys here, but I don't think this album is a classic.

The first track, Gates of Delirium, is a good but not great track. Unlike CTTE, which is one flowing piece with everything intertwining perfectly, I don't think that GoD quite manages this. Although the musicianship is still there, I think the song is quite messy and at times even incoherent. I know it is meant to depict a battle, but it isn't managed very well. The first 12 minutes are so are quite rambling, although they do sound good, they drag on for a while. The last 10 minutes are the best in my opinion, especially the beautiful Soon. Jon's voice is as good as ever, Chris Squire's bass sounds a little muted but otherwise good, Steve Howe's guitar sounds great but can grate at times - sometimes it ends sound a little too whiney since for a lot of the song he is playing quite high. Alan White, again, is superb. Next comes the brilliant Sound Chaser, with White, Howe and Squire giving some of the best performances possible. It does drag on a little towards the end, and more vocals would've been nice, but other than that, it is a great song. The final song, To Be Over, is a decent enough song, but I don't think that it is anything too remarkable. Good but not great.

I think this is a great album, but some of the songs have the tendency to come off the rails and some parts sound like a train wreck in musical form. These, however, are overshadowed by the brilliant parts of the songs, so overall, I give this 4 stars.

Report this review (#36409)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album has really grown on me over time, such that, huge Rick Wakeman fan that I am,I'd rate Relayer as second only to Close to the Edge.

The album went in the direction of a sort of "electric rock" and at first I just didn't get it; early Yes relied so much on melodies and tunes to underpin complex structures but, on Gates, it's all white noise, discordant soling from Howe, wailing keyboards from Moraz who, on this album, really fitted the part. The revelation underneath it all though is Squire/White - what a supreme rhythm section, thundering away, driving the track along; then after the piece builds to a climax mirroring the violence and pain of war, the armies receed and the music fades into the beautiful "Soon".

Sound Chaser that follows is a little too frantic in places for my taste! Then comes To Be Over, Yes back at their most melodic.

Relayer suceeds, like CTTE does but in a very different way, in linking three seperate peices of music into an overall style. It has its followers, but it deserves more appreciation than it gets.

Report this review (#36732)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This would be my favorite Yes album if not for Sound Chaser. It starts off with my all-time fav Yes song, The Gates of Delirium, which tells the story of a huge battle. From the strange synth/guitar intro, to the uplifting Verses, to the wicked main riff, to the whole battle section in which each member (except Jon Anderson) wigs out on their respective instruments, to the perfect emotional ending Soon, featuring slide guitar by Howe, the whole song is just fantastic. It gives one the same emotional feeling that you get at the end of songs like Rush's Jacob's Ladder. And you would think tht not having Wakeman would kill this album, but Moraz fits in quite nicely, and brings something new to the band. Sound Chaser, the second song, is really hard jazz. Now I'm not a big fan of Jazz, so this song didn't have much of a chance with me. Parts of it are good, like the Verse and the slide guitar parts, and each member plays really well, but overall, just ugh. I really hate that messed up 'Jah Jah Jah JAH JAH' chanting thing too. But the last song on the album, To Be Over, is fantastic and emotional. Great guitar, both electric and acoustic, and sitar played by Steve Howe. Just a great way to end the album. So The Gates of Delirium and To Be Over are just great for any fan of music, but Sound Chaser may be only good for jazz-prog fans, its still good though. All in all a must-have masterpiece from Yes.
Report this review (#37345)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Very similar to Close to the edge, 3 long musical pieces, i like CTTE a litle beter then Relayer thats the truth, but still this is a very good album, and it has no real flaws so it must be 5 stars The first song is the longest 20 min+ Gates of dilerium and its a great piece, perhaps the hardes rocking song YES have ever done untill the end wich is very soft and beautiful, a masterpiece. Then we have Sound Chaser and that song is a total mind F"#¤ the first time you hear it your brain will hurt, but after some lisenings you will undrestand the greatness. The last track is a great ballad one of the best YES ballads ever it gets a litle rocking in the middle but very soft. The new remaster have 3 bonus tracks, i dident think they where very intresting its alternative verisons on the songs on the labums studio run through and stuff, well if you dont whant to lisen to em its only to turn it off, all in all this is yet another great YES album thats essential for any prog lover.
Report this review (#38472)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favorite album of all time. Yes indeed. I think it is much better than Close to the Edge, and the best album in all of prog. It shows Yes at their most mature and energetic peak, whipping up a frenzy of badass lightspeed riffs. It is often spoken of as their most jazzy recording, but I see it as very futuristic, other-worldly and almost science-fictiony at times. But you can certainly sense the Return to Forever influence here. Between the monster chops is some of the most tender and emotional music in their catalog, "Soon" and "To Be Over". Every musician turns in the best performance of their career here. Squire kills, Howe kills, and kills again. Anderson's lyrics are his best ever. The Gates of Delerium is perhaps the only place where he shouts angrily, and to good effect. Howe's tone is shrill and biting. The battle scene is vicious, as White demolishes his set and a lot of metallic items, and has one of the most ridiculous bass solos ever before the grand climax. Moraz didn't get a chance to contribute at the composition stage, but he shines through in an unforgettable way, that will make you forget all about Wakeman. This record can't be appreciated with superficial demands your attention. Symphonic Prog should have just ended after this, because nothing else ever came close afterwards.
Report this review (#38475)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars mmm. one of the fave 3 yes albums of mine. It is very challenging to listen and some may not like it, but I find it amazing and the climax of their complexity/musicianship ... the problems are the sound quality, and soundchaser.

Gates of Delirium 11/10 (masterpiece rating) : my favourite song of all times!! this song is a rainbow of emotions and moods. IT starts with a majestic overture, then it gets melodic and a little poppy and contains a great synth riff that works. It gets tenser because the battle is going to start... then one side of the army are nervous and doubtful but they decide to fight and you then get one if the loudest and scariest musical sections ever put on record. It then calms down and concludes with a melancholic 'soon oh soon' part that is painfully beautiful.

Soundchaser 6/10 : this is the problem with this album, this is just a virtuosic jam that doesn't mean anything. It has good parts and bad parts. Still, along with ritual and gates of delirium, this is a song where you find Alan White at his best. I think the ChaChaChas are extremely silly, and pointless. They make me embarrased when I'm listening this song with someone else.

To Be Over 10/10 : This song is soooo beautiful at the beginning .. one of the best melodies done by Yes combaning a strange bass guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and sitars ... The middle of the song is full of wonderful dreamy melodies and melodic solos. The ending is as beautiful as the beginning with the same melodies as before and some chanting that stands out ... it feels like sailing on a boat... gorgeous ... Thank you, Yes.

I highly recommend this album for experienced progressive rock fans only ... it is very challenging music.

My Grade : A

Report this review (#39175)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is considered a masterpiece among many Yes fans. I don't know what they hear. I think it is lightyears from "Close to the Edge" and even "Tales..." is better than this (at least "The Revealing Science Of God") The best track here is "To Be Over" but even that is far from earlier efforts.

When listening to "Relayer" I feel like it is maily Steve Howe's album. Patric Moraz' keyboards are providing sonic structures to the music rather than being a lead instrument of it's own. Get the Yes albums featuring Rick Wakeman (and those featuring Tony Kaye from the 70's) before getting this one is my recommendation.

Report this review (#39360)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars A slight breath of air away from Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer is still a dense and atmospheric record, and the overall conglomeration of sound in this album makes it distinct to other albums. However, the album seems to carry an uninspring tone throughout it's entirety. It's more of a meandering album, more heavy on melodic exploration and freedom. It's an intriguing concept, especially when thrown into decently coherent structure, and it's definitely something different, but it just doesn't grab you. A lot of things can be found in this album, a lot of solo work and the notes involved can be head-noddingly interesting, but there's not much muscle behind the work here. The highlight of the album is definitely Sound Chaser where the entire sound of the album hits it's creative peak musically and instrumentally. However, I'd pay half of the price of the album on a disc that just contains Sound Chaser rather than the no-more-than-decent entire album.
Report this review (#39494)
Posted Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not a person to give 5 stars to any album. Relayer is worth it. Anyone who has even a slight affection to progressive-rock will cherish this one. As a fan of both prog-rock and heavy-metal I especially enjoy it - this is one of the heaviest productions by Yes.

How can you put such a magic into words?... Relayer has "only" three songs, but that's just enough: Gates of Delirium is a complex prog-rock masterpiece, Sound Chaser with the most brilliant guitar solo in the history of rock music, and To Be Over is probably the most memorable Yes song ("after all, your soul will still surrender...").

So if you're hesitating about buying it, you can stop right now!

Report this review (#39850)
Posted Wednesday, July 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
3 stars I was originally going to give this 4*, since it's a huge step up from the awful Tales, but I made the mistake of listening to it again after a couple of years of abstinence. And frankly it's a solid 31/2* affair - no better. Gates of Delirium is a very good long track - nothing like as good as Close to the Edge, but still better than most of their other stuff. To be Over is beautiful but Soundchaser isn't really my cup of tea. Patrick Moraz is a fine susbstitute for Wakeman and the drop in quality from CTTE isn't his fault, as he gives a very fine display. The rest play with their usual technical excellence but the music doesn't quite have the ability to grab your emotions. Finally, the sound quality of the album is also rather cold and exacerbates this. Still worth buying.
Report this review (#40647)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I heard the band Spiraling cover Soundchaser at CalProg 2005 which inspired me to listen to this album again (in fact I am going through most of the Yes catalog through the 70's) I have come to the conclusion that this one is the best Yes Album. It combined some great playing with Jon's best vocals. It seems almost like they were attempting to create another Close to the Edge because the format is exactly the same. One long Epic and two shorter ones with one being more of a standard song. Gates of Delirium is fantastic. Jon Anderson actually has a concrete subject he wrote about!! ;-) The music is a war between Howe and Moraz and gives the Epic its true conflict resolving in Soon and true release from the War. Great effort and if nothing else Steve Howe made use of the pedal steel guitar I believe the first rock artist to do that.

Soundchaser is aptly named. The sound of the instruments seem to be going around one in the lead here being overtaken by another there. Great bass by Chris Squire maybe some of his best and Steve Howe's solo is just fantastic. The last song To be Over is OK. Not my favorite off the CD but listenable none the less. I do not think I like this because Wakeman is not on it because I like Rick's playing just fine. I just think as a band they sound so tight here and they meshed with Pat Moraz for this one. Right at their peak. 4.5 stars

Report this review (#42392)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has taken a lot of bashing over the years, and it's pretty obvious that it's not to everybody's liking. I'm sure I'm not the first to admit that Relayer is an acquired taste, but, like all acquired tastes, it's one that you truly appreciate once you gain it.

After Tales, Yes intelligently realised that Close To The Edge, with its tight structure and form, was more successful than Tales, and reverted back to the structure of CTTE. This doesn't mean that Relayer and CTTE are similar, but they are comparable.

So, to the main track. I've always thought that Relayer shows Yes' technical prowess much better than Close To The Edge, and The Gates Of Delirium shows how far Yes can stretch their abilities. The first section has many thundering guitar breaks and mellow synth work from Moraz - who, might I add, is consistently superb throughout Relayer - which really adds to the mood of the piece. There's also some nice harmonies, but to be fair, the emphasis really is on the middle instrumental section. You can get the vibe of the entire song just by listening to the middle section. I'm not a big 'themes' or 'symbolism' guy, but you really can pick a lot out here: war, pride, chaos, and victory. And from a musical/technical point of view, the middle 11/16 (yes, really) section really is the most beautiful 'complex' rhythm I have ever heard. Add to this an amazingly moving synth riff in the penultimate section, and you get one of the best Yes instrumental performances ever heard. And just to top it off, there is the magnificent 'Soon', which was later christened so so that it could be released as a single. A brilliant end to a brilliant piece, with all band members excelling.

Then we move on to the frenetic Sound Chaser. I never really got the 'point' of the lyrics of this song; it's just a bunch of words that sound pretty nice in the context of the song. However, the best word to describe this song is 'energetic'; there's simply no let up in the energy here. Even in Howe's supposedly mellow middle section/solo, he still plays with fury and fervour. I personally don't have a problem with the "cha cha cha" s; they could get annoying, but they're really nothing to lose hair about. The highlight of this song definitely has to be Alan White; his percussion is intricate and accurate throughout.

On to the final track, To Be Over. Parallels have been drawn with And You And I, but I have to say I can't quite see the link. Just because they are both slow, melodic songs, they are mentioned in the same sentence frequently, and unfortunately but rightfully, And You And I comes out on top. Nevertheless, that puts no damper on To Be Over, which is wonderful for the fact that the band seem to control themselves as far as exuberance is concerned; they don't worry about being technically impressive or capable of using weird time signatures - they've shown us that already. Instead we're greeted with a beautiful opening guitar riff from Howe, which steadily introduces the rest of the band. In fact, 'steady' is a good word to describe this song. It just strolls along and does nothing that you don't expect of it, but it is still thoroughly satisfying and a great end to a mesmerising album.

In conclusion, if you're really into Yes and you like some of their relatively conventional - I use the term loosely - stuff (The Yes Album, Fragile), or if you're into the more symphonic stuff (Close To The Edge), and you want to see them stretch their boundaries a little, then Relayer is for you. It takes a bit of work to properly get into it, but it's worth it when you do.

Report this review (#42526)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A bit of a comeback for the lads after the noble yet ultimately failed experiment that was TALES. Rick Wakeman left in a huff, in utter befuddlement over the band's direction. In his stead came Swiss keyboard virtuoso Patrick Moraz, who had been in the somewhat obscure early prog-rock group Mainhorse, then aided the other ex-members of the Nice milk ELP's cash cow in the short-lived Refugee. Moraz is a more than able keyboardist, but at times his playing seems quite a bit excessive, even when compared to Wakeman. Oftentimes on this album it sounds like he's playing every keyboard in his very massive rig all at once, piling on overdub after overdub resulting in an impenetrable wall of sound. I rather prefer being able to hear the discrete tonalities rather than being pulverized by sound...but it's a minor point.

The group had returned to the tried-and-true CLOSE TO THE EDGE format of a long epic on the A-side and two mini-epics on the flip. Howe builds on the guitar-playing ideas he developed first on TALES, specifically on "The Ancient", resulting in a rather unique sound that appeals to me a good deal, but which has turned off some fans. It's definitely an aggressive, in-your-face type of sound for the most part. The album is on one hand like a miniaturized version of the best moments of TALES and, conversely, like it's evil twin; as sleek and knife-edged as TALES was torpid and dull. It's also as jazzy as Yes ever got, curiously after jazz-fan Bill Bruford was long gone. "Sound Chaser" is practically a jazz-fusion number!

The calm after the storm is reached in the soaring album-closer "To Be Over", announced on an electric sitar played by Howe. Moraz truly comes into his own on this piece, adding cascades of shimmering synthesizers which perfectly complement Howe's keening guitar tones. A fitting end to an excellent album.

Report this review (#43060)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This has to be one of my all time favorite rock albums. Listening to it is like a journey, and I must admit, I don't think I've ever heard anything quite like it, even in Yes's catalog.

If the only Yes you're familiar with is "Roundabout", BEWARE as this may be a little WEIRD for you, especially on the first go around. RELAYER is composed of sprawling soundscapes continuing in the fashion of Close To The Edge and Tales From Topographic Oceans. It is unique within Yes's catalog in that it is the only Yes album to feature Patrick Moraz on keyboards, briefly replacing Rick Wakeman. That didn't change the the band's signature sound much from what I can hear, but Relayer is also musically distinct from it's immediate musical predecesors: The pieces are more densely textured than on CTTE, and rock harder and faster than most of TFTO.

The 22 minute opener "The Gates of Delirium" is a good example of this, careening between structured more melodic sections of jazzy rock and frighteningly chaotic pieces of avant-noise, full of odd synth blurps and hair-curling guitar blasts from Steve Howe, before the drums come back in. This is followed by a softer, floaty keyboard solo before segueing into the poignant "Soon". The lyrics describe the journey of a soldier at war, at the beginning he talks as if he truly believes the wartime propaganda ("destroy for peace! etc.") Then at the end, after witnessing the massacres and destruction, he is disillusioned with the war, but hopes that "soon", peace will be restored.

"Sound Chaser" is a 9 minute slab of tumultuous jamming, not as memorable as "Gates", but there is some nice crunchy Zeppelin-esque guitar here, and of course the CHA CHA CHAs (which DO get kind of annoying I'll admit). In the wake of all this hullaballoo, the shimmering ballad "To Be Over" is a welcome gust of fresh air and a perfect way to close the album. Also contains some of Yes's most poetic lyrics, and the keyboard work gives this track an almost sacred feel.

All that being said, this is a very exciting and adventurous album. Relayer is not for everyone, but I highly recommend it for anyone interested in Yes or prog rock in general. Just don't expect "Roundabout".

Report this review (#43722)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the "controversial "(why ?)Tales from Topographic Oceans and the departure of Rick Wakeman Yes made a higly complex album , which is not everyone's cup of tea either. Relayer is the most jazzy and complicated album by Yes , but it's not feelinless and it's much more than just showing off. The Gates of Delirium is one of the best epics in the entire prog history.The final "Soon" section is simply breathbtaking. Sound Chaser is almost a jazz/fusion track and it's incredible. To Be Over is a gentle closing to this outstanding album it's more than "Poor man's ...And You And I".
Report this review (#43908)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is the album of Yes that I prefer. Difficult to explain why, but I find him(it) terribly melodic and tortured. According to me, one of big force of the progressive music is to propose long musical suites where alternate dense and strong moments, and more calmed moments. I find this state of mind in "Gates Of Delirium". It is indeed that an album as this one is so controversial just like "animals" of Pink Floyd ", another true masterpiece. A true timeless disc which crosses the decades with always so much force and of talent.
Report this review (#44232)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first Yes review, so I thought I'd begin with my favourite album of theirs. Recorded in 1974 with Patrick Moraz on keyboards (we all know that by now), "Relayer" is really something else. So unique, and yet so quintessentially Yes. The album, in contrast to the preceding TFTTO, has an extremely sharp edge, with the band making forays into Jazz fusion - an experiment which I believe works very well, but its unconventional nature probably make it a difficult listen and it is thus overshadowed by "Fragile", CTTE or even TFTTO.

Every band member is in top form on this album - Jon Anderson sings like he always has and his lyrics make far more sense than usual (which I will expand on later). Steve Howe has a sharp and almost snarling guitar, which is complimented by an equally energized bass from Chris Squire. Alan White's amazing drumming skills are on display, and in my opinion, "Relayer" is his best performance. In fact, especially in 'Gates of Delirium', the rhythm section are the core of the performance. If anyone needs an example of how powerful Yes' rhythm section could be they need look no further than this album. Patrick Moraz, on his only album with Yes, contributes some exquisite keyboard parts - it is worth noting that when he joined the band the album was already being written (the other band members intruded on what would normally be keyboard territory to help compose it), and therefore he does not dominate. However, his playing is excellent and compliments the rest of the band admirably.

In keeping with most Yes albums, the production is excellent. Not too annoying in places, and without an excessively overproduced sound.

'Gates of Delirium', based on War & Peace (apparently, but I see few parallels to be honest, but that's beside the point) is the album's centerpoint: Yes' longest epic I believe, clocking in at just under 22 minutes, it is quintessential Yes. Jon Anderson's lyrics, as I said before, seem to make more sense here - it is no secret that he was fond of word-painting, but with Delirium, since he had a clear lyrical goal in mind he managed to write lyrics which have a beginning, a middle and an end. Lyrically, it feels much more complete than other epics, but that is merely my opinion. The band's playing is just incredible. The piece goes through several different moods: first fairly slow and happy with some tinkly keyboards (the only way to describe them!), then intense and fast with some frantic guitar and drums, and then the piece ends with one of Jon's most beautiful ballads. The band's playing helps to bring the very essence out. In actual fact, I remember hearing someone say that TFTTO suffers from a lack of energy which they released when they recorded "Relayer" and I can certainly see where they're coming from. It is in this piece that I believe the rhythm section earns particular kudos: Squire and White really manage to propel the 'War' section of the piece along in a manner which really conjures up images of confusion and destruction - listen, and you will understand. Steve Howe & guitar rip their way through the confusion, and he plays with such intensity that I previously did not know was recordable! The war is brought to a conclusion by Alan White, who gives us an intense (!) drum solo - only so that Jon Anderson can fill the void with his beautiful "Soon" piece. Truly, this is one of Yes' most beautiful moments on record. Sensitive and profound, and yet with some serious energy behind it, I never tire of it.

"Sound Chaser" continues with the intensity displayed in Delirium. Certainly one of Yes' jazzier moments, Patrick Moraz's interest in Jazz fusion has obviously had quite an influence on the piece. Along with Moraz, Squire and Howe steal the show: their guitar playing is exemplary and quite frankly, insane. If one needs an example, about 3 minutes into the piece, Howe lets lose and plays his guitar all over the place like some sort of demon. What makes it ever the more impressive is the fact that each note, each chord, was planned. The piece is frantic - in just under 10 minutes, the band goes from medium tempo, to fast, to slow, back to fast. It really is an engaging listen, and it never bores or loses my attention. The ONLY thing which lets this piece down is the cheesy "Cha cha cha" vocals, which are quite bizarre to be honest and in a way they break up the piece's flow but oh well!

Last on the album, is "To Be Over" which is a nice gorgeous 'floaty' ballad, which lasts a good 9:19 minutes. Featuring some more tinkly keyboards, subdued guitar, and interestingly enough, some sitar! Whilst most of the piece is quite peaceful, it still has in some parts fairly aggressive overtones that harken back to the rest of the album. The playing is, quite expectedly, tight and accomplished. Alan White seems more restrained, as is Chris Squire's bass. Like I said before, Steve Howe's guitar playing is much more subdued, but it still maintains a strong presence. Jon Anderson's singing is brilliant, but what makes the song really worthwhile for me is Patrick Moraz's keyboards - so 'at peace', but still strong enough to carry a melody, it sometimes makes me wish this lineup recorded another album - but then again, they may have recording something absolutely atrocious, which would, no doubt, lower my opinion of "Relayer" somewhat!

To conclude, "Relayer" is a classic in every possible way. I don't want to gush TOO much, but I really must urge Yes fans who have not done so to give it a listen and form their own opinion. I hope they find it as rewarding a listen as I!

Report this review (#45329)
Posted Saturday, September 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes had to make quite an effort to keep up with their previous albums, especially having released Fragile and Close to the Edge in 1972, and their double album Tales From Topographical Oceans in 1973. Even in comparason with those albums, their 1974 effort, Relayer, certainly doesn't disapoint. The album starts out with their most accesable epic "Gates of Delirium". The almost 23 minute powerhouse of a song depicts a war. The beginning tells how they are preparing for the war, the wild instrumental in the middle of the song represents the war, and the closer leaves us with hope and an upbeat message even after the war is over. Gates of Delirium is definately much easier for a newer Yes fan to get into than Close to the Edge, which, though musically flawless, can be a strain on newer fans and leave them feeling alienated. The album continues with "Sound Chaser", featuring absolutely brilliant guitar work by Steve Howe. Though frantic and overwhelming at times, it starts to speed down towards the end, making the last song, "To Be Over", wrap up the album perfectly, with wonderful singing by Jon Anderson. All the songs mesh together perfectly, and it makes for a wonderful music experience, recommended for any new-comer or long time fan.
Report this review (#46136)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, even great bands make big mistakes. And undoubtedly Yes has made quite some mistakes during their enduring career but somehow always got back on the right tracks in time. Relayer was probably a first indication that they might loose their way somewhere in the years to come. It is a very unbalanced album, in my opinion, with two fabulous tracks and one absolute crap one. 'Gates' is Yes at their best. A truly impressive epic, with different moods, romantic passages interluded with heavy guitars and keyboards and sometimes heavenly vocals by Jon Anderson. The only critic may be that the differences may be a bit too much witin one song; to me that's no problem at all. But then, aarghhh, Sound chaser. I file this song among the worst Yes hads ever recorded. It is extremely hard to listen to, it has no catching melody, it is just crap. Sorry guys! Fortunately 'To be over' ranks amongst the best Yes has ever recorded. Beautiful vocals, beautiful guitar playing, rich layers, I really love that one! It is such a beautiful, haunting song that it hardly imaginable that it really is the same band as the one that played that horrible 'Sound chaser'. Yet it is. And therefore this album, indeed heavily overrated, gets only three stars.
Report this review (#47023)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some prog-rock fans may find this album difficult to like, mainly because of Gates of Delirium's war like environment. Then again, that was what the song was made about. The band succeeded in creating exactly what it wanted to do. Coupled with a very brilliant cover, this is a prog-rock masterpiece. Unlike Tales, this album is dominated by guitars. Other than the title track, To Be Over is also a brilliant soft number that drifts you away with magical guitar works.
Report this review (#47397)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars It's somehow a battle with "Relayer": I absolutely love it, but I do myself hard to give it the banner "masterpiece", even if I must compare it with it's more accessible successor "Close To The Edge", which got also only three long tracks and a similar full lenght-time. You can't compare these both records in a musical vein, especially because there is no Wakeman on here (even I love and sometimes prefer Moraz' simplier style), but "Relayer" lacks in throughoutly genius at times.

The record got it's biggest shining moments in "The Gates Of Delirium", which is a masterpiece, specially the ending part is possibly the most haunting of all work Yes ever created and as beautiful as it gets. (Track rating: 10/10 points)

"Sound Chaser" contains some lengths, which don't come down to the point. It's sometimes lost in total chaos, out of control, which doesn't mean it's not good - just frustrating at times. I am a big fan of complexity, but this track is for my taste too far over the bottom. It's technical brilliantly played, but in some of the jazzy parts too far away. In the atmospheric quiet part with phenomenal keys of Patrick Moraz and great guitar of Steve Howe, there is the magic Yes atmosphere back, but it's simply not memorable - about the ending part I won't say something, because it's too freaky for my taste. All in all, this track is enjoyable though and far away to beeing bad or just average - but clearly the "low-point" of the album. (Track rating: 8/10 points)

"To Be Over" is the title of the logical album closer and begins with a nice intro, which contains a good played sitar by Steve Howe, decent key-inputs by Patrick Moraz and nice Asian atmosphere. When Anderson begins to sing, you may hope this is a masterpiece track. it's very beautiful, the guitar work of Howe needs special mention here. The bass of Chris Squire is always listenable, but not as highly in presence than on "Close To The Edge" album. The instrumental part after five minutes is simply amazing, here shows the band all of their incredible talents. This is a great one, but can't reach the brilliance of the epic first track, but it's an fitting closer to the record and a small masterpiece. The ending part is my fave here, Anderson sings: "After all, your soul is still surrender..." and is followed by a memorable instrumental ending, where all instruments play their big part to end the record. (Track rating: 9/10 points)

There is a big discuss about "Relayer", maybe not as much as with TFTO, but is still unremarkably acclaimed by some prog-heads, which is questionable at times. Ok, I must admit that this isn't another CTTE, which had three absolute masterpiece-epics and was by far Yes's biggest and best observation. When you compare both records again (which is quite misplaced, but I do it), "Relayer" got an less powerful production, but all instruments are listenable, even some loud parts in the middle of "The Gates Of Delirium" and "Sound Chaser" sound terribly outbalanced. When we overlook all these few little low-points, there are still many excellent moments on here, also the instrumentation is top notch like always with classic period-YES. From the point- system "Relayer" gets 9 points, which would be five stars, for the mentioned sound problems I could take off one point, but the superb Roger Dean cover-art (one of the prettiest of it's time) counts "Relayer" up to a close masterpiece status. Not many bands played in one league with YES and "Relayer" shows that fact once more. It's more a small five star record, but it's still one and a must!

The true YES fans already have it, all others are very recommended to get it. But let be warned: It needs much time to open all of it's majestic beauty, which overshadow the lower parts by FAR.

Tracks rating: 10 + 8 + 9 = 27/3 tracks = 9/10 points

Yes - "Relayer": 9/10 points = 90 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#48096)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I know about the importance of this album within YES´ discography. "Gates of delirium" is considered by a great number of fans, Both YES´ and progressive rock´s pinnacle. I have to say I disagree with them. I really feel this song is largely overrated. The instrumental section in the middle, sounds like the most challenging and complex piece of music in the progressive world. It´s even hard and takes time to listen to it and assimilate all those intense and overwhelming sounds. Still, after you finally do....Or well, after I did, I could not ignore this instrumental is much more repetitive and monotonous than complex. Some may find it spectacular and exciting. I still can´t dig it and now, once I´ve discovered it´s nature, it just sounds annoying to me.

The development of the song until it gets to the instrumental, is somewhat interesting and entertaining. Although it´s always in the same mood and there is not an evident effort to expose diversity in it. It does manage to create a feeling of increasing tension but that´s about it.

The final part, that mellow and sweet part after the instrumental is probably the second best melody YES ever wrote. Only second to "Sweetness". I feel this part has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the song. I think it was just something YES did to make of this song an EPIC, with it´s 21 minutes of lenght. This final part is sure beautiful but just seems too forced to fit in the song. The 2 minute part between the instrumental and the final section is in my opinion the best musical detail in the whole theme. Along with the guitar in the "soon" part.

"To be over" is the equivalent to "And you and I". It even matches the former with it´s single idea songwriting. Nice and all, but overlong and pretentious.

"Sound chaser" has some instrumental aspects and some very difficult and impressive playing. However, the mood and the feeling in it make the least inspiring piece of music by YES from 1969 to 1974. It just doesn´t express any feeling to me. Jon´s voice here is flat and impersonal as it gets. The tones, sounds and the whole nature of the song lacks of texture. It´s just so mechanic. Plus, it repeats itself many times and those "Cha cha cha" choruses are the most embarasing thing to listen to in front of anyone who doesn´t listen to this kind of music. Probably this "cha chas" don´t mean anything to a non-latin person. To me "cha cha cha" is a clasical latin rhythm that has nothing to do with rock, whatsoever. Also, it sounds so cheesy and ridiculous.

I give this album a 2.5 rating. It is almost good only for the "Soon" part and for the splendid playing in many parts of the album. I really could not say it´s a good album. I barely can listen to it without the intention of skipping every song.

Report this review (#51094)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is where Yes truly confirmed their status as the leading Progressive Rock Band of their era. Some fans think this album is their worst of the 70s but I think this is the album which defines their greatness. It is YES and nothing else.

Perhaps this album was their creative time in the wilderness. When they returned for their next album, after taking a hiatus to pursue respective solo careers, "Going for the One", the last of their great 70s albums, was the much heralded result.

Yes is the simply best band of my memory.

Report this review (#57638)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first thing you will notice about this album is that Rick Wakeman has been replaced by Patrick Moraz of "The Moody Blues" The first track, the epic "Gates Of Delerium" starts off with some tinkly keyboard playing, along with Steve howe playing some nice guitar harmonics. After a while of this, Jon Anderson enters the fray with the lyrics "Na na, na na, na na na na" which gives me a chickens skin at the beauty of its sound. the subject matter is about standing, fighting and considering, which slips seamlessly into somebody pounding out the devils sermon. The track then goes into a heavy jazzy section, with parts of it being a little King crimson" like, and others playing around with weird sounds and noises, akin to some of the heavier stuff of frank zappa. If my ears are not decieving me, i can also detect a wee bit of "Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen" influence there too. The end of the track is simply beautiful and makes me cry bitterly and for many hours every time i hear it. "Sound Chaser" sees more manic jazz from those Yes lads, with all the boys on top form. Jon Andersons vocals are harder on this one, and reminds me of a prototype John lydon. The final track "To Be Over" is a bit too chinese sounding for my liking, although it has some nice guitar lines from Steve Hackett, and some pleasant vocal sections, along with some soothing instrumentation from the rest of the Yessers. All in all this album is a great one by the Yes, and if you like more complicated prog and "Bob Dylan" you will love this slice of tasty Yes cake.

Cheers Chit

Report this review (#58182)
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In a volume published in Italy in 1979 for 'Longanesi & C', titled "The Big of Pop Music", the famous musical reviewer Pier Tacchini wrote, in a long survey about the 'Yes', that the album 'Relayer' "was not up to the previous ones" and that this was mainly due to "the presence of Patrick Moraz at the keyboards" who had given rise to some regrets for the fair-haired Rick Wakeman, a much more important figure both from a musical and scenic point of view". Nevertheless, J remember that, more or less in the same period, J listened to the album for the first time, at some friends' home and J immediately got an excellent opinion as one of the best works of the famous English band. Today, more than 20 years later, listening again, with great attention and concentration, to the CD appropriately expanded and re-mastered by 'Rhino Records', J must confirm, without any esitation, my first impression. J would also add that with the passing of time the value of this work by the 'Yes' , dated 1974, has increased instead of decreasing. As a matter of fact, 'Relayer' can be placed, even more than 'The Yes Album', immediately after and very close to the tops reached by the British group with 'Fragile' (1971-72), 'Close To The Edge' (1972) and 'Keystudio' (1996-97, 2001). The contribution of Patrick Moraz, there can't be any doubts, is here excellent and distinguished, even because of the musical trend of the whole album pervaded with a jazz-like taste. Both Jon Anderson and Chris Squire as well as Steve Howe express themselves at a very high level as usual, while Alan White, unlike other performances which, in my opinion, were not completely convincing for the rhythmic solutions as in 'Going For The One' (1977) and 'Tormato' (1978), manages, here, to combine strength, vigour and power with smoothness, agility and creativity. Wonderful the pieces 'The Gates Of Delirium' (21:55) and 'Sound Chaser' (9:25), slightly inferior the third and last track 'To Be Over' (9:08). An impartial and objective evaluation would call for 4,50 stars, but, as the album has always been underestimated bacause of Wakeman's absence (whose talent and qualities are not under discussion), my proposal of evauation rises up to 5 stars. [English version revisited by Guerrino Maccaferri].
Report this review (#58288)
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, I have to say this without exaggerating. This album is probably one of the best albums of progressive rock ever made. Sure, there will be someone who will like Close to the edge better but in my opinion, this is the big cheese of Yes' albums and all of prog rock albums.

Sound chaser is probably my favorite. Keyboarding skills here are excellent. The song is very upbeat and exciting as you listen to it. Drumming is also very good. Howe's guitar playing on this album is also very good. Plus, congrats to the other musicians in this song, and for that matter, all of the songs.

The Gates Of Delirium is another really good song, but some will argue it's too long and dragged out. Obviously, length is a major factor of prog rock and most songs composed were long anyway. And some will say, it sounds too complicated, but then again, thats another factor.

If you like long songs, complex beats, rhythms, time signatures, and strange sound and compositions, this album is perfect. Also, Anderson's vocals are really great as well. Probably one of the best vocalists in the prog rock genre. Trust me, your collection is not near complete until you get this classic album.

Report this review (#60108)
Posted Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album must be given special credit. Losing Rick Wakeman was without a doubt going to be quite a challenge, but replacement Patrick Moraz lives up to all expectations. His unique jazzy style is both enduring and compelling. "Relayer" is just fantastic, it is an album that deserves a place with the best of progressive rock records. The album features only three songs (remind you of another yes album?) And they are all spectacular. Side one contains only one song "the gates of delirium", the intro to this song always catches my attention, Steve Howe's guitar playing in this intro is an utter delight, I'm sure most would agree. The track also proves to be a triumph for Jon Anderson, his lyrics making sense for the first time since the yes album and also, becoming slightly dark "slay them, burn their children's laughter, on to hell!". The vocals are easily as strong as they were on close to the edge. Steve Howe is on bitingly aggressive form (he must have listened to topographic oceans) and this may be his finest moment with the group. The rhythm section is so furious and intense that it doesn't really need the shouting and mayhem in the background to sound like a battle sequence!! (but does add to the atmosphere) all the distortion and volume in the world could never match its intensity, creating a fierce sense of excitement and energy. After 14 minutes or so the track begins to mellow down (Howe making proper use of his slide guitar) to become an acoustic guitar led finale that is simply beautiful. Jon Anderson's composition is nothing less than a masterpiece. Side two contains two more songs, "sound chaser" and "to be over". Both are excellent, "sound chaser" containing some excellent drumming and a great guitar riff, the song is led by the very talented Moraz and features an excellent outro, the song changing dramatically with an almost anthemic punch, it is altogether a very lively song, giving room for every member to shine. The albums closer is wonderfully melancholy and relaxing, giving the listener plenty of time to cool down after the the intensity of the first two tracks, the song is magnificent and contains one of yes' best middle eights, a beautiful guitar led theme. The lyrics to this song are remarkable and very poetic, "we go sailing down the calming stream, drifting endlessly by the bridge" it is the perfect song to unwind to, and again has a wonderful outro. "Relayer" is altogether a perfect example of how brilliant the band can be.
Report this review (#60112)
Posted Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the most overlooked Yes albums. It is much more well put together than Topographic oceans (which I personally think should have been made as a single album instead of a double). Relayer hosts a 20+ minute masterpiece of a track that is 'Gates of Delirium'. It goes through many changes all of which are terrific. this track is up there with other Yes epics such as Close to the Edge, Awaken, & Heart of the Sunrise. Side 2 of the album has 2 tracks which in my opinion are another 2 of the best pieces the band have ever done. Sound Chaser has in it one of Steve Howe's fastest & most diverse guitar solos he has ever recorded. To Be Over is the final track of the album which has a soothing start with brilliant vocals from Jon Anderson. The track then changes once again, (like many Yes numbers), to a more rocky sound. Yes pull out all the stops on this album & keeps my interest the whole way through. Unlike Topographic oceans which is fantastic in places but Yes seem to totally repeat exerpts from past tracks and tracks on the album. Topographic seems very drawn out in parts. I certainly think Relayer is a much better example of Yes at their best, even if they didn't have Rick Wakeman on this album & Instead Patrick Moraz, they make it hardly noticeable. If your a Yes fan & you for whatever reason have not heard this album, then your in for a treat!
Report this review (#60411)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Seeing that this YES album has been reviewed numerous times, I'd just like to add a few words. A glorious piece of prog! And you can blame Mr Howe if you're a fan of this album or not. This is definately his album, from beginning to end. If you key in on the guitar, you'll be surprised by how much he dominates. Could it be because Wakeman's not around? Could be, but then you probably wouldn't have such an aggressive, chaotic and flat out angry (for the most part) album in the history of this band. Right from the get- go, it's aggressive. "Gates Of Delirium" is YES's hardest rocking song ever with the "Soon" suite calming things down. "Sound Chaser" is one mother of a jamming track, with White's best drum work. "To Be Over" is such an under-rated track, just brimming with beauty. But like I said, listen to Howe's work, he drowns out Moraz for the most part, (except for the ending of 'To Be Over"). For fans Of Steve Howe, and for prog fans who want a little harder edged music by YES. 5 stars unequivically.
Report this review (#60466)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It pains me not to be able to give this album five stars. The Gates of Delerium rivals Heart of the Sunrise when it comes and construction to mood and Clsoe to the Edge when it comes to length, making it definately one of theg reatest musical pieces they have written. The lyrics are classic Jon Anderson, my favorite prog lyricist/vocalist despite his many detractors. Sound Chaser is an excellent showcase of musical ability with the vocals playing more of a rythmic role than a melodic one, something Yes (and bands in general) do not do very often. The only downside I feel is To Be Over. I've listened to this album countless times and still, I do not like this song. It's starting to grow on me, but I do not see it as having the same impact as the rest of yes's catalog. Yes and I hold a special relationship. While it may take several lsitens for me to understand Gentle Giant, Genesis or Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, Yes instantly works for me. The very first song of theirs I heard was Close to the Edge off of Yessongs and that instantly had me hooked to them inalienably. This song simply does not even remotely possess that kind of feeling. It feels as though they were trying a bit to hard to introduce Moraz into the fold by creating a near-clone of Close to the Edge, but tried too hard to create an effective And You And I clone. It is unfortunate. If things had been different, this may have been prog's number one album.
Report this review (#60865)
Posted Monday, December 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took me quite some time to get into this wonderful record. At first, I considered it to be much more complicated and less "musical" than its predecessor CTTE. But later on I realized that this album is not worse than CTTE but even surpasses it. Especially when we talkabout "Gates of Delirium" - one of the best songs from Yes and in prog rock as a whole (now I tend to like it more than CTTE title song). Other two tracks are also worth listening (bravo, Steve Howe). Rating: 5. Essential - a masterpiece of prog rock.
Report this review (#63965)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ah, Relayer.

I fondly remember the day I got this CD. It was Christmas Day 2004, and from the first notes of "The Gates of Delirium" coming through the headphones of my portable CD player, I was hooked. Relayer is not like any other Yes album- it introduces jazz fusion and sees them as more aggressive and tighter than on "Tales". Add Anderson, Howe, Squire, and White doing an excellent job and Patrick Moraz playing keyboards almost as good as Mr. Wakeman, and you get a sure classic.

The album hits the ground running with the 22-minute long "Gates of Delirium". Don't let the length fool you, the song is very fast-paced and one of the 'heaviest' Yes songs. From the beginning, it's clear we're not in the sluggish and muddled "Tales" anymore, as the "Boiling Water" (as one user above phrased it) intro starts. Jon starts singing "Stand and fight we do consider...", and for nearly fifteen minutes, the pace refuses to slow down. The war-themed lyrics are very unusual for Yes, take the "Burn their children's laughter" line for instance. This also introduces one of my favorite Yes lyrics, as Anderson explains that with mere Power Spent Passion, you can Bespoil a Soul Reciever. That makes no sense whatsoever, but it's Yes alright! Eventually, we get a long (and very good) jam session, culminating in a keyboard riff that is my favorite part of the album. The song calms down, allowing us to catch our breath, as a softer, sadder, and more beautiful part, released as a single as "Soon", begins. It's a breathtaking, incredible on it's own, but enriched even more from its stark contrast to the previous fifteen minutes. It's the perfect finish to a perfect song. "Gates of Delirium" is the best song I have heard, and Relayer is worth owning just for it alone!

But it's not over yet! Yes follows the superb "Gates" with the sonic insanity that is "Sound Chaser". This is the slightly wobbly leg in the table that is Relayer, as I find the slower parts to be the only weak spot in the album, and it's pretty damn hard to follow "Gates". But the rest of it is great, with jazzy and unpredictable music and completely incomprehensible lyrics (That's a good thing, though). The final minutes contain a groovy bass (Yes at their funkiest?) and the infamous "Cha-cha-cha"s, though I don't find anything particularly bad about them. "Sound Chaser" takes a few listens to appreciate, but it's a very good song after all.

"To Be Over" is the antithesis of "Sound Chaser", and what an antithesis it is. This is a calm, pretty, and slightly Eastern song, and is not given enough credit as it deserves. "Over" is absorbing to say the least, with romantic guitar solos and a moving vocal performance. I love the "Sonde, Sontura" part that finishes the album.

The remastered Rhino CD of Relayer contains a few bonus tracks as well. First is the aforementioned single version of "Soon", which actually hurts the album as it makes "Soon" sound like a seperate number rather than the excellent finish to "Gates. The B-side to "Soon", a shortened version of "Sound Chaser", is also included. "Sound Chaser", as it turns out, loses a lot in the jump from 10 minutes to 3 minutes. The final bonus is a very intriguing version of "Gates", which sports a much better intro than the album version. I'm willing to dismiss the effects of the bonuses on my score, as apart from "Pure and Easy" on the remastered Who's Next, these are rarely as good as the album that proceeded them.

All in all, Relayer is an excellent album. Don't let it be your first Yes experience, though, you might want to get Fragile or Going for the One first. But if you can handle it, you're sure to enjoy it.

Report this review (#64636)
Posted Friday, January 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Everything has already been said in the reviews about this masterpiece. It is complex and demands full attention, but it is also very rewarding. I listened to this album numerous times in the last 25 years and I was never bored by it. It also has a special story for me.

Somebody gave me a tape with CTTE and Relayer along with other tapes when I was 12 without telling me what was on the tape! I also never asked him! At the time I was into the emerging post punk and new wave music, listening mostly to the radio stations. For 3 years I listened to that tape countless times. I always liked side B (later I found out that on side B was Relayer) than side A. Many times I would just fast forward side A so I could listen to side B. I did not do any research about the band or the albums recorded on the tape (strange, isn't it?) probably because I knew no band or musician in my time could have done something like that. I thought that the unknown band was probably retired.I played the tape to some of my friends, but nobody knew about or liked that type of music. I thought that it was the greatest rock music ever written or played. Then I heard Owner Of The Lonely Heart on radio. In the meantime my musical preferences had changed and I didn't like that song, but that's how I found out that the band on the tape was Yes. Then I played side B of the tape to a school friend who was taking piano jazz lessons. Less than 30 seconds into the first song he said "Oh, my God, this is Relayer". And he laughed at my story. Later I bought the albums, then the CD's, but I still keep that tape around.

After all these years I still believe Relayer is better than CTTE, but both albums contain some of the greatest rock music ever. IMO, The Gates of Delirium is the greatest progressive rock piece (it can't be called 'song') ever written, and closer to classical music compositions than anything else in rock. Nobody has done anything like that after. Listen to this piece and realize how pointless is the revival of the 70's prog-rock by some bands in these days and why they were not able to create something as good as the greats of that decade.

What, you don't have this albums in your collection?!!! Stop whatever you're doing and buy this album right now!

Report this review (#66205)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer - Yes

Relayer is one of the Yes masterpieces and it easily equals the might and splendor of Close to the Edge and other progressive master works. With no Rick wakeman the band went in search of a new keyboardist and they held auditions. They pulled out the amazingly talented and ingenious Patrick Moraz (Previously from Refugee) who more than filled the shoes of Mr. Rick Wakeman. Relayer was a made straight after Tales From Topographic oceans which did not receive the great media attention befitting it (Even though it reached no. 1 on the charts.)

Relayer features one of the great Yes epics, The Gates of Delirium which is based around a lose concept which is depicted very well by the band, in particular Steve Howe how is amazing start to finish with his blazing guitar work. Patrick Moraz is also very good on the album and his keyboard playing in the middle section is different. Many say that this section is repetitive but if you look beyond this it is a very good song. The greatest part of the song, and one of the greatest moments in Yes's history is Soon, what a beautiful and emotional song. I have to say that this is one of Jon Anderson's greatest moments.

Sound Chaser sounds very much like a jazz/fusion song with the very amazing guitar work especially the blazing solo in the middle. The opening lyrics flow very well from the band when combined with the jazzy music. To top it off at the end of the song there are some Cha-cha's, what more could you want.

Last of all is To be Over which sounds very beautiful it reminds me of one of their later songs Hearts from 90125. The beginning starts off with a sitar (I think) which is played by Steve Howe and then the flowing of the song begins. Again Steve Howe plays the best he ever has on any album and he really shines in this album. Overall the album is worthy of five stars and the live version of The Gates of Delirium is well worth having.

Report this review (#68833)
Posted Thursday, February 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Whenever there is a survey of progressive rock in the Anglo-Saxon media, it is pointed out that, with TALES OF TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS (1973), Yes's career rapidly went downhill. (Sometimes it is added that they bounced back with GOING FOR THE ONE.) This really annoys me. TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS may have its longueurs, but half of it still sounds wonderful to me, and above all: in 1974 Yes recorded RELAYER, one of the most inspired albums in their entire career. True, GATES OF DELIRIUM and SOUND CHASER may sound aggressive and shrill, especially to those who expect the innocent freshness of YES ALBUM, the subdued 'classical' style of FRAGILE or the symphonic grandeur of CLOSE TO THE EDGE - but such brilliance! Such inventivity! Neither Steve Howe (oh, his extended guitar cadenza on SOUND CHASER!), nor Patrick Moraz (that Bachian minimoog solo just before the TO BE OVER finale!), nor any of the others ever sounded better. No folks, they just don't make 'em like this anymore.
Report this review (#69050)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Nothing more to say about this album,despite that this is a very underrated album(and not overrated ,probably because the non-appearance of rick wakeman) of YES.Yes i must say that this is a very difficult to listen album BUT this where all the magic is.At first listen you find that the whole compositions lack of inspiration and atmosphere and that the band simple plays whatever it comes from their minds,but with a second(or more) listen you find that the whole work is a MASTERPIECE(with no doubts) and it has nothing to be jealious from ''close to the edge'' .In my opinion this album is the most completed album of YES.HIGLY HIGLY RECOMMENDED

Report this review (#70144)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A friend of mine, a huge Yes fan, has yet to buy this because it doesn't contain the 'classic lineup'. I've played this for him once, but he didn't seem to soak it in because we were playing Cop Killer. I actually got a little mad at him for not really listening to it, that's how much I like this album. So far I've only been able to persuade one other person to buy this, but I hope this can add a few more to that list. Even though I'm just as big a fan of the "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" line-up as any, I think these guys are just as talented. "Gates of Delerium" is THE track on "Relayer". When I really got into this album, I think I listened to this track three times in a row once. It is an epic song I've had little chance to talk about with anyone. I can't believe some of the reviews I've read about this song and this entire album. I'll say that it's an aquired taste, but anyone who doesn't give this album the proper listening it deserves (the same goes for all other albums) is not a true prog fan. You have to be open to all forms of music because they might have a lasting effect if you give them a chance. This may not be my most favorite Yes album, but I have to give credit where credit is due, and I don't think there are a lot of albums like this one. Buy it. Listen to it. Listen to it again, and again, and again. Only when you properly hear this can you judge it, and it will get what it deserves.
Report this review (#75398)
Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars For those of you who still don't "get" Steve Howe, this is the album for you to listen to and gain your prog guitar education from. The nitty gritty about this epic is that the entire collection of tunes was pretty well mapped out before Moraz even plugged in his moog. Taking that into serious consideration, Pat did a fantastic job of plugging holes. The group was obviously being influenced by the rise in jazz fusion (from bands like Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra) and it's evident all over this recording. "Gates of Delirium" is noisy and disturbing to be sure, but keep in mind that they are recreating a battlefield in all of its stark gore and terror. They are not portraying a snowball fight so its brutal realism is not for the kiddos or the faint of heart. "Sound Chaser" is a funhouse of adventure in tempo changes and, more than any other cut, shows off Moraz' virtuosity. "To be Over" is Yes at its very best, showcasing the counterpoint melodies that set them apart from all other groups in the genre. The way they work their vocals against the uplifting musical crescendo in the finale is breathtaking every time I hear it. But above all else it is Mr. Howe that shines brighter than any other band member on this album. He is phenomenal in every phase of his performance from his steely, ripping break in "Sound Chaser" to his mind- penetrating steel guitar work on "Soon, the Light" that lifts that gorgeous song into the stratosphere. All in all, it makes for a stellar example of Yes in their most exploratory and adventurous phase of their career. Even the cover art gives the impression of crusaders bravely venturing into uncharted and mysterious territory.
Report this review (#75496)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm probably a fairly rare Yes fan in that this is my favorite Yes album. I know, sacralidge! No Bruford, no Wakeman. How could this be my favorite? Well, I'll tell you how.

Gates of Delerium is my favorite Yes song of all time, along with Heart of the Sunrise. This is their best epic in my mind, because it is very cohesive, flows well from beginning to end, has a very understandable concept that is consistent both musically and lyircally, and features outstanding performances by all band members. Anderson does his most rocking vocals here, singing lyrics that often seem more suited to a metal band than to Yes, yet work wonderfully in this song. Squire shows that he is a truely great prog bassist, while he and White seem to solidify their relatively new rhythm section into a force to be reckoned with. Speaking of White, this is without a doubt the best drumming of his career. Howe shines on this song like no other, and in fact this whole album features my favorite electric work by him ever. As to Moraz, he is no Wakeman, but he is equally great in his own fasion, and I don't think this album would have been possible without him. Fantastic synth work on this track by him, without a doubt. This song alone makes me want to give the album 5 stars, but thankfully the other two tracks on the album do not let it down by any stretch.

Soundchaser is a frantic song, and the most disjointed of the 3 tracks on the album. It goes even further in demonstrating the bands substantial technical musical prowess. A great song that really rocks out at times. Initially, I was put off by the "cha cha cha" vocalizing parts, but I have come to appreciate them (and they are understandable in the light of Andersons love of throwing in such vocalizations on various pieces throughout Yes' discography). A 4 star song.

To Be Over took a while for me to get a handle on. Probably because it is such a contrast to the intensity found on the rest of the album. But it is a perfect closer to this album, bringing the listener down slowly to a peaceful end to an outstanding album. A wonderful song in the tradition of And You And I. Another solid 4 star song.

A perfect album in my opinion. Every song strong. This is a masterpiece without any doubt in my mind. At very least, an album every prog fan should own.

Report this review (#75774)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Gates of Delirium is Yes' 2nd best extended epic after Close to The Edge. Sound Chaser suffers from Moraz' dated mid-70's synth solos, and To be Over isn't good enough to sustain repeated listenings. Worth it for 'Gates' alone.
Report this review (#76480)
Posted Thursday, April 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is pretty tough to write a review on an album that has already been reviewed 432964325234875634 times. But anyways- I feel I need to express my opinion as the other 4329....64- well- the many others did :)

This is my favorite Yes album, and I feel it's their best! I have been hooked on listening to the openening "epic" probably 10 times in the last three days. The Gates is truely an extrodinary piece of music- great writing-playing- emotions- well- EVERYTHING I could want in a great prog song. The rest of the album is OK- otherwise I would give it 5 stars easily- GREAT album!! The best of Yes.

Report this review (#76823)
Posted Monday, May 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just as good as Close to the Edge I think. This is the more mature Yes making music. Composition is great and more organised than in CTTE, all of the songs are amazing and none of the tracks are boring in any way....while....sorry you guys...I found And You And I was boring in some parts, I end up skipping it most of the time. Very good stuff here, the peak and as well the downfall of classic Yes. Get this, highly reccomended.
Report this review (#77038)
Posted Wednesday, May 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One reviewer says that this would be the album to introduce Yes to others; I couldn't agree more! This album was barely two years old in 1976 when I first heard it. Growing up with mom playing classical albums and dad playing jazz albums in the house, I fell instantly in love with the 'fusion' of the two musical styles, not to mention the rock influences that make it characteristically "prog." Anderson's vocals were (and still are) amazing, and Squire's bass playing reminded me of Entwhistle's inspired playing with the Who. I was familiar with Alan White's drumming from his playing on George Harrison's solo album in the early 1970s. I did not know who Patrick Moraz was, but wanted to know more (at that time, I did not realize that Rick Wakeman had charted out the keyboard parts before he split from Yes the first time). And that guitar playing - who was this Steve Howe? He was simply amazing, especially with his bits on the slide electric guitar that soared into the heavens. 'Gates of Delirium' is one of my all-time favorite prog songs; it certainly is the one I have enjoyed for the longest time (30+ years). I agree with others about 'Sound Chaser' - phrenetic guitar riffs by Howe and some excellent drum fills and solo spots by White. 'To Be Over' again utilizes Howe's slide guitar skills in ways that country-western music never could. Though this album did not score the success of 'The Yes Album,' 'Fragile,' or even 'Going For the One' for the Yes of the 1970s, it is definitely the one album that shows their versatility musical styles and influences which have characterized the band through all of its 1980s and 1990s permutations. An inspiring version of 'Gates of Delirium' even appears on the Yes Symphonic DVD (2002). I cannot say enough about the excellence of musicianship on this one album!
Report this review (#78292)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars another three-song album in the same format as thier masterpiece (Close to the edge): one song around 20 minutes and two ten minute peices. Unforutunatley it falls a little short

First: "Gates of Delirium" is a great song and there second-best epic. An excellent song with some of the best slide guitar ever. The exchange of keyboards and guitars is amazing (think "Any Colour You Like"). Much like "Close to the Edge" it contains another of the greatest jams ever. The slow build up (8 minutes), is a signature of a true epic song. The Opening and closing sections of lyrics and deep and provocative and perfectly bookened the central instrumental of the album

Second: "Soundchaser" is everything the title says it is, a fast-paced heavy song that blows your mind after the epic "Gates of Delrium" slows down to its end. Incredible drum that is some of the best from Yes

Third: "To be Over" the weakest song here (much as "Siberian Kathru" was on CttE), but still a great piece. The song has an eastern feel to it and after a nice intro with some acoustics it begins to fall a little flat.

Still a great prog album and essential for collectors of Yes

Report this review (#79223)
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
The Wizard
5 stars My favorite Yes album. With Patrick Moraz replacing Rick Wakeman, there is now a jazz feel to the album. This is the closest Yes came to making a jazz fusion record. The album is also very spacey and psychedelic. Moraz creates layers of bubbley synths, similar to that of Tim Blake (Gong). The rest of the adapts great to the new band. The rhythm section (Alan White, Chris Squire) sound like professional jazzers, and Steve Howe, already know for his jazzy guitar runs, adds some hard rock elements to his playing. Overall we can see Yes changing and experimenting, and all for the better.

Opening with spacey synth sounds, The Gates of Delirium is in my top ten of great prog epics. It's supposed to be about a battle in some sci-fi universe and it certainly carries a bite. Anderson has great lyrics for this, and not all of them are peaceful: "Kill them, give them as they give us. Slay them, burn their children's laughter On to hell." That is pretty intense, and not just for a Yes album. And the music is no exception. Towards the middle it reaches a climax of intensity, with synth and guitar battle over a jazzy beat. Then it all ends, transferring to 'Soon' a peaceful and reflective ending.

Sound Chaser is jazzy and intense, moving at an incredible speed. It's also very spacey. It's a bit like Mahavishnu Orchestra + Early Pink Floyd + Yes. The drumming here proves Alan White is no slouch and Steve Howe amazes and entertains listeners with telecaster runs. To be over is a reflective piece to end the album, with some great steel pedal guitar and atmospheric synths. It ends this great album on a bright note.

Relayer proves that Yes can experiment with there sound and still be Yes. I think it offers the most of the classic Yes albums and is very well crafted. 5 stars, every progger needs this gem.

Report this review (#80362)
Posted Monday, June 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Mine is the 270th vote so I can't change anything...but I can express certainly a good opinion about a masterpiece of Yes. If we compare this work with Fragile and also CTTE we can notice a great difference in the sound of the band...above all the sofisticated sound of the Fragile-era is ended out and a more simple and dinamic style dominates the whole album. CTTE was great and wonderful...the same for Relayer: 3 marvellous tracks. The atmosphere of Howe's guitar is unique and the voice of Anderson is almost angelic...Alan White is great and perfectly substitutes Bruford in this album, the only bad point is the absence of Wakeman. Gates of Delirium is one of the greatest prog suite: 23 minutes of pure and essential progressive sound that the band won't be albe to reproduce anymore...just fantastic
Report this review (#80602)
Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the creative achievement but critical question mark [Album11461,Tales From Topographic Oceans, Rick Wakeman departed Yes for a solo career, while Patrick Moraz, who would later become part of The Moody Blues, replaced him on the keyboards. In some ways, Relayer is a more focused album than its predecessor, but this album is also Yes at their most spasmodic. All three tracks, especially the 22-minute "Gates of Delirium," have many science-fiction elements that had not been expanded upon before. You can most definitely hear the difference between Moraz and Wakeman on the opening number in respective showmanship. In terms of format, this lines up like Close to the Edge, with one side-long track and then two extensive songs on the second side. "Sound Chaser" features excellent work from bassist Chris Squire (the only eternal Yes member) and guitarist Steve Howe. However, the finale "To Be Over" might very well be the best Yes song since Bill Bruford departed (thus disbanding the quintessential Yes lineup). Speaking of Bruford, replacement Alan White appears more consistent behind the kit, on Relayer, as his playing has a great sense of power behind it. Vocally, Jon Anderson remains strong, supported by more atmospheric harmonies (provided by Squire, Howe, and Anderson himself). Lyrically, Anderson still can be quite confusing and nonsensical (wait for Going for the One to see him go back to shades of early days). However, this factor does not bring down Relayer as much as it did TFTO, as the album format seems to support the lyrics more this time, if you comprehend it. Relayer might have some age behind it, but it remains a solid buy/burn for fans of progressive-era Yes.
Report this review (#80627)
Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Relayer" was Yes' answer to critics of "Tales from Topographic Oceans" - a combination of the complexity of TFTO and the tightness of composition of "Close to the Edge".

As with most Yes albums, it took me quite a while to appreciate this; in fact I absolutely hated the whole thing for about three months...

"Gates of Delirium" is Relayer's equivalent of the title track on CTTE, with a jazzier, more chaotic feel, yet a clearer (for Anderson, almost comprehensible!) message against the follies of war. This is Yes at their absolute best, with a "Duelling Banjos" feel between Howe and Moraz and a truly symphonic song structure.

"Sound Chaser" this album's "Siberian Khatru," is a frantic dash to showcase Howe's virtuosity, and is perhaps the weakest of the compositions which just fails to engage, but is still a memorable adrenaline rush.

"To Be Over" likewise can be compared with "And You And I", a tender, beautiful, affirmative piece, ending the album on a mellow high.

I love CTTE, but "Relayer" is my favourite album of all time, and I could not possibly give this less than 5 stars; would give it 10 if possible...

Report this review (#81001)
Posted Monday, June 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After Yes had been Fragile, after they had been Close to the Edge, and after they went through Topographic Oceans, they came upon this album, in my opinion the jazziest album they ever created. Rick Wakeman had made his first goodbye from Yes after Topographic Oceans, and his replacement on this album, Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz, was no slouch on the keys. Gone was the bombastic and complex keyboard arrangements and in came more well-timed, better executed, and tastefully composed keyboard lines. Alan White, who made his debut studio album with Yes on Topographic Oceans (even though he was the drummer for the Close to the Edge tour), is at his best, in my opinion. His drumming is wild, very pattern based but at the same time very loose and improvisational. Steve Howe was at his noodly best, creating signature riffs and ascending runs on the guitar that could make any ordinary guitarist gulp in fear. Chris Squire is also very jazzy on this album, with a tighter and more concise approach to the bass on this one. And finally, Jon Anderson wrote some superb lyrics on this album, as well as sang his very best, so his performance should not go without credit.

The Gates of Delirium is the opener for this album, and it starts it off wonderfully. A very electronic feeling intro with some nice harmonics from Steve Howe breaks into a cohesive riff that takes the group to the better part of 9 minutes. The middle section of this song, known as the battle section, is a stunning 11/16 motif that is played with improvised bits of mixed percussion and "war sound effects" in the background. The ending is where the song hits its emotional peak and it really cannot get better from there. "Soon" (as the section and single were called) is a stunning section that features some great pedal steel from Howe and some overly emotional vocals from Anderson. The bass, drums, and keyboards work together cohesively and help carry the song to the end. Sound Chaser is the next song, and this is where the album gets jazzy. The opening ghastly keyboard tone from Moraz is complemented by manic drumming from White and superb bass runs from Squire. Howe also gets in on the jazzy action later in the song providing an out of this world guitar solo. This song is Yes at their experimental best and is a great counterpart to The Gates of Delirium. To Be Over is the weakest song on the album, and is a bit long for what it really is. The riffing and melody created is nothing very memorable, and the vocals are a bit on the weak side. It's the only thing spoiling this masterpiece of an album.

In the end, Relayer would be the debut and the finale for Patrick Moraz, as Rick Wakeman would take the keyboard helm for their next endeavour, Going for the One. This album is a bit of a timepiece for Yes, in that they never returned to this sort of sound, nor do I believe they ever wanted to. Two out of the three songs are masterpieces, and the finale is a bit on the weak side. I can't complain much, so I'll give this album a 4.5/5.

Report this review (#81128)
Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The ultimate prog rock album. 'Gates Of Delirium' is a huge masterpiece from the beginning to the the ending which makes me dream ("Soon, Oh, Soon, The light..."). Nothing else to say. 1000000000000/5.
Report this review (#81727)
Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer

Yes's seventh studio album and was released in 1974. I have got the CD with the three bonus tracks, Soon, Sound Chaser (both are single edit) and The Gates Of Delirium in studio run through edit. The structure of the album is somewhat similar to the one of the very best progressive rock album, Close To The Edge. The album consists one 20+ minutes epic followed by two shorter pieces, about 8 to 10 minutes.

One important thing about the album is that this is the only album without Rick Wakeman, the keyboardist. On this album, Patrick Moraz was the keyboardist. Amazingly, he created the same genius album as Rick Wakeman made with Yes. Other thing is, as far as my opinion, songs on Relayer are more technical than songs in other album, means that the solos are qualitatively better, and also, there are more solos to hear. The other other thing to notice is the CD cover, which I think is the best Yes's CD cover besides Fragile and Keys To Ascension. The artwork was produced by Roger Dean, who also produced Fragile's cover.

Personally, I think this is one of the best Yes's album, well, the third best Yes's album for me, after Close To The Edge and Tales From Topographic Ocean. So five stars is what really this album deserves.

The Gates Of Delirium - The strange thing is, this 20 minutes long epic was not divided into parts like many other long epic songs. So the song starts of with a very "Yes" intro guitar solo, just like Close To The Edge, followed by a light music with first verse. "Stand and fight we do consider, reminded of an inner pact between us." with a nice acoustic guitar as the background sound. This first part of the song is a really calm and "jazzy" style, without much of improvisation. As the second verse comes, we can hear nice riffs from the keyboard, which the octaves increased. Now here where I would break the song into parts, the second part would start with the lyric "Listen should we fight forever, knowing as we do now.", since the style is pretty different with the first part or the part before this. The instrumental section is this song is just amazing, a great combination of guitar, keyboard and bass with a dynamic drum lines. So the next part would be an instrumental part, after "The pen won't stay the demon's wings, the hour approaches, pounding out the Devil's sermon." The last part would be when Anderson started to sing again with a really great lyric - I think its called "Soon" as there is a Soon single edit - , simple yet profound, with a calming music. "Soon, oh soon the light, pass within and soothe this endless night." combined with a simple but beautiful guitar sound effects. This is really my favorite part of the song, very beautiful.

Sound Chaser - The song has a really jazzy style with a great drums and bass combination for the intro, White was really a great drummer. When the vocal started, the song got even weirder, with a strange beat and time signature. However, with these weird things, the song was still under control, that is the best thing about Yes's songs. What should you really listen on this song is the bass line, really amazing, and was the foundation of the song. So when the guitar and keyboard did the solo, these amazing bass lines were still in place. Other thing is, and probably the best thing on the song, is Howe's classical guitar solo with "volume swell" effects. Well I can compare it to Erotomania's solo by Petrucci (I am a progressive metal fanboy!!). Then the last half of the song has somewhat the same structure as the beginning of the song, with even greater solos.

To Be Over - The whole song is pretty slower and calmer than the other two songs, with beautiful guitar - bass sound. The thing to notice is, again, the great guitar solo at the fourth minute or so. After that, the vocal starts again, with a nice back sound from the instruments, sounds very "majestic". However this song is not my favorite cause the structure of the song is not that great (compared to the two other songs of course!)

Five big stars for this amazing album, great musicianship, great lyrics, great concept, last but not least, great CD cover!!

Peace On Earth With Music!!

Report this review (#84514)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an essential prog rock album.

At first I was hesitant to give this one a chance, as TFTO didn't really grab me, and I was unsure of how the band would be without Rick Wakeman. I was certainly suprised when I listened to one of the highlights of the Yes catalog.

The album begins with "The Gates of Delirium", a side long epic about war. The music is at times chaotic, but also very atmospheric and complex. Moraz's keyboards prove to be one of the selling points of this album, rather than a weak spot. His "battle" with Alan White in this track is engaging. The "Soon" section breaks through at the end of the song and is probably Jon Anderson's finest vocal performance.

"Sound Chaser" is best described as a symphonic jazz rock tune. The highlights of this for me are the awesome reocurring bass riff, and a great Moraz solo. Alan White's drumming is very good, as is Steve Howe's guitar playing. Howe has an interesting unaccompanied solo toward the middle of this song.

"To Be Over" is a slower song, with nice keyboards. It is an excellent song, but is probably this album's weakest song.

The reissue includes some interesting, if unnecessary, bonus tracks and nice packaging.

This should not be overlooked by any fan of Yes, symphonic prog, or fusion. Five stars.

Report this review (#85477)
Posted Wednesday, August 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars After seven albums, YES somehow managed to finally ditch Rick Wakeman and acquire a real keyboardist. (Unfortunately, they brought Wakeman back for their next studio release, 'Going for the one'). The short-lived marriage between swiss keyboard virtuoso and YES produced 'Relayer'; an album of unparalleled aggression and beauty among YES' output. Moraz's dynamism can be heard throughout this quite astonishing album. His swirling textures and demonic synth lines, stabbing chords and electrifying virtuosity dominate the opening track, the aptly titled 'Gates of Delirium'.

Apparently based on Tolsoy's 'War and Peace', Jon Anderson's lyrics have never been so direct and chilling as on 'Gates'. Over a constantly shifting bass and bass drum pattern, he sings "Listen, your friends have been broken. They tell us of your poison. Now we know. Kill them. Give them as they give us. Slay them. Burn their children's laughter on to hell. . ." Words that are, sadly, so relevant today they send a shiver down one's spine. Contrary to popular misconception, there is no "jamming" on this track. (or on the whole album, for that matter) To the uninitiated ear it might sound like chaos, but believe me it's not. Everything is perfectly integrated as the music is driven closer and closer towards the abyss, only to be pulled back by a mighty ritard that catapults the music into a majestic theme in 11/8. The piece end with the immortal 'Soon, oh soon'; a beautiful moment of tranquility that emerges from the devastation, and rises like a phoenix from the ashes. It's so beautiful, it works it's magic like a healing balm..."All we move to gain will reach and calm".

The next track 'Sound Chaser' is the closest YES ever came to playing Jazz rock, although, it's much more original than that. Once again, this is a very aggressive song, musically speaking. Lyrically, it's somewhat metaphysical. One of it's highlights is the excellent guitar cadenza by Steve Howe, who apparently still rates it as one of his best creations. The album ends with the beautiful 'To Be Over', which features some lovely guitar work from Howe, and a sublime synth solo from the truly wonderful Patrick Moraz.

This is a "must-have" album, without a doubt.

You have been reading the ramblings of The Mentalist.
Report this review (#87265)
Posted Monday, August 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars Each time I see a review of this album extolling it's virtues I have been prompted to go back and listen again. That's the last time! It has never mattered to me what other people's opinions are - all that is important is whether or not I like the music and I do NOT like this at all. I got into Yes via "Fragile" and "Close To The Edge" and then bought all albums before and since. "Relayer" was one of the last and up to that point "Tales from..." was my least favourite Yes release. This beats it hands down. It is a cacophonous, sprawling mess. Steve Howe gives his worst performance - messy and undisciplined, sounding like he is playing without rehearsal. There is nothing at all to attract or interest me.
Report this review (#87288)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars At first I went with the mass and praised this album. I don't know, but somehow the athmosphere of this album fails to captivate me. I always find myself sleeping after this album.

The streched epic "The Gates of Delirium" is the highlight here, but it just lacks the so called "sunshine" of Yes and gets even kinda boring in the middle section. The beginning and the end are both great, but still not even close to the greatest Yessongs.

Sound Chaser is a more rocker, nothing special here and To Be Over is a calm (sleepy one) streched mini-epic.

I don't really listen to this album anymore, maybe I should give more tries when I have the time. A good album, but non essential.

Report this review (#87329)
Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
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

Report this review (#87577)
Posted Friday, August 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars not so sure about this one. After hearing so much about it on this site I finally picked this album up about 2-3 months ago and I still don't understand the hype. Normally I listen to an album around 10 times before reveiwing it, but I have to make an exception here. I cannot imagine listening to this album all the way through a full ten times. I have listened to it four times now and I expect one or two more tries. Most of it seems boring at the time and then completely forgettable.

The pros - 1. this is a better Anderson album, although I find his voice annoying at times it is really limited in comparison to their other releases. 2. Sound Chaser is a very good song clearly the highlight of the album and quite possibly a 5 star song. 3. Soon is good as well, but still not essential. I own "Highlights- the best of Yes" which soon is on, so soon wasn't a surprise.

Other than those things I can't think of a good reason to listen to the album, I prefer Fragile, The Yes Album, 90125, Going for the One and maybe even Close to the Edge to this album. Good but not essential describes Relayer perfectly

Report this review (#88345)
Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Is it really productive to add another voice to the 100-plus reviews of this album, which many seem to consider one of Yes's finest moments? Why not, after all? As a longtime fan of the band, I feel the need to have my say on this somewhat idiosyncratic episode of Yes's almost 40-year-long, variegated career. My opinion may diverge from that of the majority, though, in that I don't consider "Relayer" to be a classic in the same way as the marvellous triple-whammy of "The Yes Album", "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" are.

As a matter of fact, my first introduction to this record (way back in time, probably some 25 years ago) was not exactly positive - as impressed and intrigued as I was by Roger Dean's spectacular cover artwork, possibly one of the best album sleeves ever. In comparison with the aforementioned trio of albums, and even with its follow-up "Going for the One", I found "Relayer" positively boring - in some ways, even more so than the notorious TfTO. Obviously, my judgment had nothing to do with the overall musical level of this offering, extremely high as usual - it was rather that I had issues with the songwriting, which in this case I found lacking the memorable quality of tracks like "Yours Is No Disgrace", "Roundabout" or even the monumental CttE suite. It took me years to decide to give "Relayer" another chance and listen to it with more mature, experienced ears - and the experience was definitely much more rewarding.

In true golden-era Yes style, "Relayer" only features three tracks, one of which is unquestioningly one of prog's defining moments. Making the most of Patrick Moraz's jazzier, spikier, more aggressive keyboard style, "The Gates of Delirium" (loosely based on Lev Tolstoy's "War and Peace") runs the whole gamut of moods and sonic textures in order to describe the novel's subject matter. Chris Squire's bass sounds heavier and more upfront than ever, and Howe's guitars seem to scream and slash the air. The song's middle section sees a particularly intense, chaotic moment in which Alan White bashes the hell out of his drum kit, as well as out of other assorted pieces of metal; while Moraz's synths swirl around wildly in an almost graphic rendition of a battle. This is possibly the closest Yes got to creating their own version of heavy metal. The beautiful, lyrical "Soon" depicts a vision of the empty, corpse-strewn battlefield, with an absolutely heart-rending vocal performance by Jon Anderson delivering words of healing and peace. A true epic masterpiece, no doubt about that.

Of the remaining two tracks, "Sound Chaser" is Yes's own take on jazz-rock, with the rythm section of Squire and White switching into overdrive and Howe launching in one of the most celebrated solos of his career. Definitely not easy listening, though certainly a brave move on the part of the band. However, album closer "To Be Over" is, frankly speaking, a bit of a letdown after the brilliance of the two preceeding songs - much mellower, more melodic and easy on the ear, but in a way much less distinctive too, and certainly not on a par with such classics of the same kind as "And You And I".

As everybody knows, Moraz did not last long with Yes, which is in some ways a pity, as the development of the band with a keyboard player so different in style from Wakeman's romantic grandiosity would have been no less than interesting. Follow-up "Going for the One" was a return to more typical soundscapes for the band, as well as being a definitely more accessible effort. As to my rating, I think "Relayer" deserves no less than four solid stars, and it is highly recommended to every self-respecting prog fan - though I would hesitate to call it a masterpiece.

Report this review (#88415)
Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've been reviewing a lots of album on PA and finally, I think it's time for me to review my #1 FAVORITE ALBUM OF ALL TIME !!!! In my 3000 + CD that I own, Relayer is my top!!!!

I remember, long time ago, before knowing what Progressive music really stand for, and knowing only Genesis, Supertramp and Harmonium, I saw the cover of Relayer in a record shop. The first thing I said to myself... "Wow ! What a beatiful cover, it must be cool to like this band, because if the music is as good as the cover for it, than it must be very, very good!!"

10 years passed and I was discovering Yes. Everybody that I knew how like Progressive music, where telling me that Yes is a major band and if I liked Genesis, ELP and King Crimson, there was no reason for me to dislike Yes. They were wrong, even trough i'd own Yessong, Fragile and The Yes Album, i could not really understand why people like this band so mutch ?!? But, after my first Yes concert, witch was Union, I was hook ;) After that I started to buy everything from the band including Relayer witch, I didn't like at first but, after a couple of listen, it was good but not essential.

7 years after that, I got the chance to see the 1975 live a Queen's park concert on VHS... INCREDIBLE !!!!! I was now hook on Relayer big time :) The version of "Gates of Delirium" on the Queen's park concert is so good, even if the sond is very bad at time, that I could't stop watching it. So, when I got back to the album, everything that I didn't like about the album, was now the opposit :)

Relayer starts with the 21 min long "Gates of Delirium" witch, IMO may be the most perfect track ever recorded on a album. The song starts very softly with a strong melody that you will ear a lots during the 21min. Acoustic guitar, bass and keyboards enters with Anderson singing "Stand and fight we do consider, Reminded of an inner pact between us, That's seen as we go..." The first part of the song, was something I didn't like at first. I trough that the melody sang by Anderson was too wierd, rhythmic wise. But when you finally understand it, it puts the song in a total new perspective, the build-up before the battle section. And when that starts... your in for one of the best ride, music wise, of your life ;) Everything appens here, Anderson and White goes crazy with all sorts of percussive sound to highlight the superb riff that Squire and Howe are doing. The highlight for me starts right after the cacophonic part... Moraz solo that transform into Howe Lap Steel works... AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, OUTSTANDING !!!!! The song end with "Soon" that for me, send me into heaven, Anderson singing is perfect... WOW!!! Paradise does exsist ;) 11/10

"Sound Chaser" is a very energetic song. Squire and Howe shine in this one. Just listen to the guitar solo in the meddle part of the song, if Steve Howe is not one of the greatest guitarist of all time then, guitar is not a musical intrument, just a piece of wood with strings attach on it. Althrough "Sound Chaser" is my least favorite track of the album, it still deserve a 10/10

"To Be Over" is after "Gates...", my 2nd favorite Yes song. The best guitar parts i've ever had the chance to ear in my life are in that song. Howe, i repeat, is one of the GREATEST GUITARIST of all time !!!!! The Lap Steel parts on this song are the best i've eard in my life, nothing can beat Howe and is Lap Steel. Again, Anderson singing is perfect and the song end the album in a heavenly way... 10/10

So, in conclusion, the maths are easy to do here, 11+10+10= 5 Stars, Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music and music altogether!!!

Report this review (#88438)
Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the most transcendental and important bands of means is without a doubt some YES, somebody once said is obvious that you do not know KING CRIMSON and reasonable that not even you find listened to speak of TANGERINE DREAM but not to know YES it is like not knowing the progressive one at least, without a doubt it is a forced reference and the way that all person must know to go to the sky (progressive), the alignment to my taste as the best one is and is Jon ANDERSON, Chris SQUIRE, Alan WHITE, Steve HOWE and Rick Wakeman, in addition of which the discs whom but I like are they like a constant that even predominates until day of today, but of something good to left the different people which they have integrated this legendary band to tie time of the times, that are many names like Peter BANKS, Tony KAYE, Bill BRUFORD, Trevor HORN, Geoff DOWNES, Trevor RABIN, Billy SHERWOOD, Igor KOROSHEV and clear Patrick MORAZ each in a stage or stages of the band leaving each one a mark sometimes of painful form and other so many very memorable, this is the case of Patrick MORAZ who as many were not but that somebody that I participate in YES, since some of the ex--members had later participation or happened to comprise of others. "Relayer" is without a doubt one of those works that please by different things, the power that without a doubt is an inheritance of its brother "Close To The Edge", but with a touch of its predecessor "Such From Topographic Oceans", but the best thing is than it contains elements but it is not the same is another sample of very a well prepared work for Patrick MORAZ, who shows without contemplation of which it is layers, the piece where is the absolute truth of this good combination is "The Gates Of Delirium" with samples of its customary virtuosity that make us think seriously if a work thus left present, that homogenous mixture of talents finishes in a good symbiosis of musical passages and rates, in somewhat perfect conjunction, quite often YES makes things in which almost anyone says I I had made it equal, clear that they cannot leave of side the spiritual side and conceptual base of this band and if is not it becomes when happening through the hands of these magicians, "Sound nonsingle Chaser" is a piece of stuffed of the disc partly is a passage and sample of virtuosity for Steve HOWE and "To Be somewhat fresh Over" to finish to this épico trip all the work this done very well, one very well obtained combination of the members, with the customary level of this band, would say that forced of the band, but which discs are not it, haaaaa clear but or knows as no, good clearing that slip or they know that YES is base and important pillar of this style.
Report this review (#88655)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars RELAYER and TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS are the very best YES has ever done. Essential addition to any collection. The musical dimensions explored here only skim the surface of what could be done. There is still so much progressive rock left explored, artistically and technically. 1974 is a good while ago and modern instruments are so much more electronically sophisticated, as well as digital recording so much beyond what we could do back then.

The positive moods of this kind of work, RELAYER and TALES... have far greater potential than any of the more negative or darker works that have been produced by other bands, past and present.

Virtuosos of their craft!

Report this review (#89188)
Posted Thursday, September 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars The only thing I really don’t much like about this album is the first seven or eight minutes of “Gates of Delirium”. The first few times I heard this album I was only a young teenager, and it was just a bit too ‘out there’ for my tastes. Over time I’ve come to appreciate the beauty in the complex and sometimes chaotic arrangements, particularly the really violent middle passage where the band (especially Steve Howe) seems to be almost purposely trying to sound as if they are all on different musical plains. I was struck early on by how little Jon Anderson actually sings on this track, but was not really disappointed as I didn’t find his vocal style all that appealing at the time. But when the discord finally clears and he rises above Howe and Moraz’ mellow unison with the ethereal “Soon……”, the whole monstrosity of this work really comes together.

Speaking of Moraz, he certainly came as a welcome improvement over Rick Wakeman for me. I’ve always found Wakeman to be extremely talented, but he also seemed to want to just kind of play his own music around the band instead of being a part of it. Moraz blends in much better to create a more homogenous sound, albeit a much less grandiose one. On “Sound Chaser” especially the music seems to be a bit jazz-infused, with even Howe getting into a more extemporaneous mood than he did on Close to the Edge. For years I much preferred the back side of this album to “Gates of Delirium”, although in recent years when I listen to this album I find myself actually playing ‘Gates’ more than the other two tracks.

That said, “To Be Over” is still probably my favorite on Relayer. The very slow buildup where Howe finally emerges with some truly virtuoso guitar is a welcome respite from the band’s previous few years of great but often pompous compositions. This is probably mostly attributable to Moraz’ more complementary style of keyboard playing, but on this track the blended vocals are also a nice progression of the band’s music. The fadeout ending is a bit of a letdown, but this is a minor point at best.

This certainly isn’t my favorite Yes album (I much prefer The Yes Album actually), but it is in some ways a welcome change to what was becoming a bit predictable over the previous few years. Unfortunately the good times were coming to an end for many of us Yes fans, and after Going For the One everything seemed to go down hill pretty quickly.

If you’re new to the music of Yes and want to pick just a couple of albums to start with, this one and The Yes Album are two pretty good ones to begin with. Another four star work, but sadly the last such from the band in my opinion. If you play the last five minutes of “Gates of Delirium” today, it almost sounds like a requiem for this best incarnation of the band. Too bad.


Report this review (#89311)
Posted Friday, September 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars I'm quite sure that "Relayer" was released in Brazil before "Tales." and what could be considered a serious mistake proved throughout the years to be very interesting 'cause "Relayer", a fair-to-good album, still keeps YES on the top, while "Tales." shows the locomotive beginning to descend the climb. So, the optima sequence seeing from a point-of-view located more than 30 years later should truly put "Relayer" soon after "Close To The Edge" as the band's follow-up studio album.

YES line-up presented a different keyboardist, with the flamboyant Patrick Moraz replacing the charismatic Rick Wakeman that left band to look for a career as wizard or magician. Moraz is a fine musician but apparently much less a band's man than Wakeman but surely due to his debut in the band he behaved himself from the acrobatics that characterized him further. Other members continued their jobs in an appreciable manner even when they show a certain abhorrent attitude - many passages in "Relayer" tracks sound as they had been heard before; in fact, in many parts of the album YES seem to be copying. YES!

'The gates of delirium', opening track, is a typical YES song, done specifically to demonstrate members skill and musicianship, hence some segments are really fine (soon, oh, soon...) while others are simply boring, notably the first minutes which brings no good impression for listening to the extent of the album. Considering the track size (20+) we feel longing of other pieces of the same range, be them either from GENESIS or EL&P or either from YES. Jon Anderson, whose voice isn't exactly my preferred, has a pleasant performance and synth sounds in the second half are enchanted and agreeable.

'Sound chaser', in spite of its almost chaotic tunes, may be considered a very interesting song especially in the moments where the band act like an ensemble and they go stratospheric - it's YES in their best. Members' musicianship is great but Anderson's singing goes from near celestial when he whispers with the single guitar accompaniment to the edge of inferno when he does a kind of cha-cha-cha choir. The song itself is consequently very irregular alternating strong and weak points.

'To be over', the last and most unknown track of "Relayer" is nowadays my album's favorite. The ever-present soft tunes instead of giving a sensation of lull provides the song with a melancholic farewell feeling, like saying that the golden days of the first wave of progressive rock are finishing. The band contributes largely playing altogether in a convincing form, the resultant being a highly and fairly audible track.

General production, arrangements, art cover, etc, are great since in that period YES were situated in the pinnacle of the music. For rating purposes we may say that "Relayer" isn't a masterpiece but nevertheless a fine addition to any prog-rock music collection. Total: 4.

Report this review (#89833)
Posted Sunday, September 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Gates of the Delirium has everything one would want in a prog epic. It's complex musically, has beautiful textures and images, gorgeous lyrics and concept, original rhythms and percussion and an absolutely astounding, moving climatic end. You may even shed a tear at Soon. Sound Chaser is very interesting and fun and creative, with fantastic musicanship as well, and wrap up the somewhat short album with a really moving and (sometimes) tedious soft epic called To Be Over. The melodies and lyrics are quite beautiful, but not overly lingering. The album is still worth buying, though the bonus tracks of the special edition will seem superfluous to anything but the most devoted die-hard Yes fan, which I am not. Very influential, very moving music can be found here, and altogether it is a beautiful album.
Report this review (#89982)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I still don't understand the excitement for this album. In my opinion, Yes had long forgotten how to create true songs. The three songs in this album seem to be laking of real conviction towards style, mood and feelings. I have the impression that they wanted to make some Epic tracks no matter what. And the result is nothing but a mixture of random ideas, styles and moods. "Gates of delirium" is supposed to be a piece of art but I find it rather inconsistent. In the first place, the instrumental part gets to be not only very repetitive, but also cacophonic and even anoying. It is supposed to represent a battle or something but all you hear is a thick noise created by layers of either random guitars, bass, drums and a lot of sound effects. I mean, to show a battle they could as well have presented a very inspired, colourful scene rich of moods and textures. But no, they had this never ending passage of literally NOISES. About complexity and musicianship, well, I just can't hear it !!. Whatsmore, I find it rather clumsy, like in those parts where they suddenly change the "melody" (in the instrumental) to show a different passage. They do it so carelessly and with such a lack of imagination that it sound like they had cut the tape and pasted another right after, with not any interesting idea in mind. The first part is somewhat entertaining but nowhere near the true inspired "Astrall traveller" (An overlooked gem in Time and a word. When they really knew how to write songs with true emotions). The second part of the song is a very beautiful tune, very repetitive though. Mixed with the firt part just to make a long track in an attempt to create an instant Epic.

Sound chaser has to be one of the most horrible songs by Yes. If you are looking for some inspiration, don't bother trying to aquire a taste for the horrid "CHACHAS" in the middle. Not only that. This song is very repetitive as well. Most people may not notice it because the rythm of the song is so fast. However, pay attention and you'll listen to the same sections over and over throughout. The playing is interesting in a technical level, however, creativity, true passion, style, songwriting and imagination are luxuries Yes were no longer able to aford in 1974.

"To be over" is one of many Prog-pop song (Well, this would be a regular pop song if it wasn't overlong) by Yes. Including Close to the edge, And you and I, Roundabout, I've seen all good people among a lot more. This "to be over" song however, doesn't have one half of the spark of some many pop songs by Yes in the past. ....I wonder, where and when Yes lost its capability to write true inspired songs like the ones in their first 3 albums?. This album is largely overrated and I have no guilt in giving it a solid 2 stars rating.

Report this review (#91041)
Posted Friday, September 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Relayer" along with "Tales From Topographic Oceans", "Fragile" and "Close To The Edge" is the best of the 1970s Yes and my favorite Yes album. Theres some truly amazing playing by everybody involved on this one. Patrick Moraz's keyboards are refreshingly different than Rick Wakeman's, more jazzy, less bombastic with a different melodic sensibility and he really blends in well with the band. What a shame that he left after this one album. Steve Howe plays with a savagery and abandon I've never heard him play with before or since, he's remarkable: creative and muscular. Fantastic drumming by Alan White whose contributions cannot be over praised. I think Alan came into his own on this release. Chris Squire's bass playing is wonderfullly nimble, jazzy, yet still retains a lot of rock muscle. Jon Anderson's vocals are impeccable, the melodies emotional, and the lyrics which actually make sense(!) are at times quite moving.

The album starts with "The Gates Of Delerium" a song that depicts musically the start, middle and end of a battle. The middle section is the most violent Yes I've ever heard as they imitate the clash of swords and the chaos of war. The final part of Gates of Delerium, the sad aftermath of the battle is breathtaking in its emotional impact. I can't praise Moraz keyboards enough. He perfectly complements the other guys and adds considerable atmosphere. Simply wonderful. The next song "Sound Chaser" is aptly named. Its an insane, mostly instrumental workout that sounds like "Close To The Edge" meets Mahavishnu Orchestra. Its a savage, jazz-like rock masterpiece with some truly spastic and creative guitar and drums. In the middle of the piece is a solo distorted electric guitar interlude that is a melding of classical with rock electricity. That's followed by some almost funky, yet sizzlingly fast jazz rock keyboard pyrotechnics by Pat Moraz. This song has odd changes of meter and tempo, wicked solos, some tribal chanting and just cooks. The last song "To Be Over" is quite simply one of the most beautiful things Yes has ever done. Its delicate yet strong and is a welcome respite after the assault of the previous two songs. There is some fine guitar from Steve Howe and wonderfully subtle keyboards from Patrick Moraz. The song builds to a slow glorious vocal melody. Some very nice keys and guitar ensue and the song ends with two different repeating melodys played on guitar and sung that gradually fade out like a majestic sunset changing to purple night.

Relayer is one of best and most unique albums in Yes' discography. Due in large part to Patrick Moraz' keyboards, it contains some of Yes most spirited almost violent playing. If you like "Close to the Edge" or "Tales From Topographic Oceans" you will most probably like this album.

Report this review (#91894)
Posted Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Relayer is one of the most impressive records ever released. But only for ¾ of its running time. That's the bitter truth! Is very difficult to describe or to put in words the wonderful epic "Gates of Delirium". So many people and reviewers have posted their opinions in this site. Since I'm not really a "huge" Yes' fan, I fear I cannot add nothing new to that incredible amount of comments.

The first side, along with the superb "Sound Chaser" (and its jazzy vein brought by new keybardist Moraz), is the epithome of "SYMPHONIC CHAOS". "Chaos" is the word used sometimes to describe this album by certain reviewers and I personally agree with them. The music's structure is unpredictable from the very first minutes up to the warm and sublime section "Soon".

It seems there is no scheme fixed, apparently. This is a peculiarity that manage to wrong- foot the listener and it's certainly a very good thing. At least what many prog aficionados are searching for: wonderful passages and changing of tempos, great use of electric "mad" guitar, inceasing (and idefatigable) drums, fast bass lines and excellent keyboards, synths and other "vintage" electronic stuff.

The only problem with Relayer is the closer "To Be Over". I really don't understand its presence here... it appears as a "special intruder". Good but not enough to guarantee a full five stars treatment. That's my humle opinion. By the way, as I remember before, the first ¾ of this record's running time is at the masterpiece status! Hurray!!

Report this review (#94002)
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The album Relayer features a heavier sound for Yes, and is extremely creative in nature. The Gates of Delirium is a powerful piece that lyrically tells of the beginnings (politics), middle (the battle itself), and end (a lone soldier dies) of a war. The shinning instrument on this track is definitely the guitar. Extremely technical. And I don't think that Patrick Moraz does to bad of a job with the keyboard side of things. The song is very focused which is good.

On side two you get the manic, chaotic, creative, and interesting Sound Chaser; and also the calm, peaceful, and refreshing To Be Over. Sound Chaser has so many musical ideas that it is insane. I hear in this song jazz fusion, classical guitar, space rock, soft rock, and frighteningly fast rock. For me, this track gets to be a little unenjoyable towards the end. It gets to be a little too frantic. To Be Over is a good track, but nothing too special. It is calm and peaceful all the way through which balances the other two tracks. The track really starts to shine towards the end, but the first half meanders for a little too long.

Overall I think that this is a great Yes album, but something about it doesn't carry the same impact that Close to the Edge has, or even Going for the One for that matter. Maybe its the absence of Rick Wakeman? Either way, this album is very creative, and worthy of a listen, especially if you enjoy Yes' other music.

Report this review (#94802)
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A definite improvement from Tales, but it appears the brilliance of Yes has timed out.

The beginning has much promise, almost sounding like a fusion of the intro to CTTE with harmonics on the guitar. At around eleven minutes in, it appears the band lost songwriting ideas and is just "going with the flow" as they say. An entirely too long middle section over-extended with already used ideas and little direction to them. Anderson's voice towards the end saves the song from falling on its face.

Sound Chaser is my favorite from this record, but still lacking the brilliance I found on Fragile in tracks like Heart of the Sunrise. However, I think this song marks as some of Howe's best playing along with the choices in CTTE. The band really hurts without Wakeman's effect on keyboards. Moraz lacks the touch that Wakeman seemed almost born with.

To Be Over is a rambling of prog like sounds with little cohesion to them. It just kind of ends after 9 minutes are up, and you are left wondering what the band intended to accomplish with the song.

Overall this isn't a record I particularly enjoy, and not where I would start for those looking to get into Yes (that is if you already haven't). I find Fragile and CTTE much better, Yes's real classics.

Report this review (#95299)
Posted Saturday, October 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Final part in Yes' masterpiece serie, starting from The Yes Album. Relayer starts from major work of art, The Gates of Delirium, which fills the whole side of LP. Lyrics, basing on Leo Tolstoi's War and Peace, are pure Anderson, difficult to understand, but still whole lot of easier than what it was on TFTTO. The song splits clearly to three different parts, first one's about politic mess before the war, then comes the war itself. This war-part really is mind-blowing, Howe's on fire and Patrick Moraz on the organs does a great job, Wakeman's place on the band is hard to fill, but he does it creating a real chaos-feel with his flashy melodies and from channel-to-channel moving keyboards. Squire's heavy and streaming basslines have always been the cornerstones of Yes-sound, that's exactly what they are here, too.

Second song, Sound Chaser, is the most challenging song on Relayer, but it's starting to make some sense when you listen to it more. Those a capella parts are great, even better if played loud (well, what music wouldn't...). Howe's weird riff is brilliant, fitting into chaos, but it still pops out from somewhere.

Easiest song, To Be Over, is a perfect opposite to Sound Chaser, including Howe's easy riff and Anderson's lyrics are really making sense here, even I can sing along with them.

Even the cover of album is just fantastic, great package indeed.

Report this review (#95648)
Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This underrated masterpiece is one of my favorites from all of YES albums..

After the gigantic, exaggerated "Tales From Topographic Oceans", Anderson and Co. return to a disc-structure much like that of "Close to The Edge": an epic, 20 minute opener, followed by two short tracks (again, "short" for YES' 70's standards. Even the songs' characteristics share some common idea: both epics, as epics go, are broad, multilayered, with long instrumental passages, with returning themes; and in both albums, one of the "short" tracks is a fast, show-off one, and the other a more relaxed, atmospheric one. They used a similar pattern in the order and general mood of the songs, but the music in itself is completely different.

Gates of Delirium, (9/10), a very long track that features one of the best intros I've ever heard for an epic: a repeating ride cymbal pattern under psychedelic keyboards and guitars; it almost seems there's a violin around, the way Howe plays (for me, his best album); after some scale playing by all instruments, vocals finally erupt in typical YES fashion: grandiose, dominating. After a rather calm section, the middle instrumental is really outstanding; Moraz plays great here, as does Howe and the always forgotten Squire. The music builds to a climax that finally explodes, leaving place fot the final section. Over acoustic, electric guitars and almost organ-like keys, Anderson performs one of his best vocal parts in all of Yes. The song starts beautifully yet with unearthly sounds, it ends with beautiful, peaceful ones. Great track. Only complain: could've been one or two minutes shorter.

Sound Chaser (9/10), another piece of art. It's really the show track for Moraz, who quite frankly proves here he could not only fill Wakeman's shoes, but even that those could be too tight for his feet. The name of the song is perfect: the guitars and bass seem to be always persuing each other, and both chasing the keys. Another brilliant element of this song (and of this album) is the fantastic use of counterpoint: Yes' members didn't sleep when harmony was to be learned. This track starts with a jazz-like blast and from then on it turns, spins, returns always in a perpetual sound chase between the three instruments; there's a wonderful middle section with an amazing proper solo (no more instruments) by Howe. The end of this song is rather rocky, regular rock in odd time, with some psychedelia thrown for good.

To be over, (8/10), a great track but the one that doesn't do it 100% for me. It starts with a really pastoral-like moment, with violin-sounding guitars over keys, percussion and acoustic guitar; the acoustic guitars continues to be the main riff provider during the vocal part, one full of emotion and soul. The middle section is pure prog-rock.

A masterpiece. How can I give it a 5 when I didn't give a 10 to any of the songs? Because as a whole, the record is a work of art. As a whole it has absolute equilibrium. And, also, because as ratings are a way of recomendating someone to buy an album he doesn't own.

Report this review (#95880)
Posted Thursday, October 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another album in 'epic' format. This album mirrors close to the edge, but is far less grandiose in it's music. This album is much more frantic and busy. It's almost a little too busy, especially the intro. If your in the right mood it's great though! Track one is a little 'rough' bur progresses nicely and ends beautifully. Track 2 has some awesome howe guitarwork. Track 3 is beautifull and catchy, but still progressive and very yes sounding. This album aspired to great heights, but did not quite get there. Close to the edge remains undefeated. If this album was a little more structured and less busy, I would probably give it a 5, but taking it as it is and considering the magnificense of close to the edge, I give it 4/5. sadly, wakeman is missing! I guess that bumed me out a little too.
Report this review (#96208)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Relayer" by Yes is definitely a drastic turn from the signature sound of the previous albums. I must say that when I first heard the opening measures for "Gates of Delirium", I thought the sound was vivid; technicolored; vibrant. Now, early Yes albums have a niche for letting fans assume that "acoustic" atmospheres parallel spiritual inquiries in music. What I mean by "acoustic" atmospheres is that there is an ultimately calming presence when listening to "Close to the Edge" or "Fragile", even "Tales from Topographic Oceans". "Gates of Delirium" introduces fans to a heightened experiment in, dare I say, synasthesia. The composition: lyrics and sound, generated in me an incredible simulation of combat, warfare, anxiety, and the like. The song definitely allows your imagination to explode narratively, thanks to the progression from the act of conflict ("In glory, we rise to offer..."), the quality of hope ("Listen, should we leave our children?"), uncompromising decisions ("The pen won't stay the demon's wings/The hour approaches, pounding out the Devil's sermon"), the long battle, and finally reflection and the unbroken hope ("Soon, oh soon, the light...").

Steve's guitar playing emulates the feelings of surmounting attack, rage, counterattack, victory/defeat,

Thanks to keyboarding by Patrick Moraz, spiritual cognition does not have to remain in a staple prog concensus. Instead, unfamiliar atmospheres become vitalized to be incorporated to that spiritual coalescence. Overall, this track produces an accelerated- era of prog soundscape.

"Sound Chaser" is absolutely something. That is exactly how I can only describe it right now. The introduction of this track would already put high anticipation into another accelerated tempo. Indeed, the vocals and what I think is electronic sound bites (let us not forget the keyboards, bass, and guitar) have that flavor of dissonance, and it works, as if jazz was on caffeine. Steve Howe's electric guitar solo is unique. To take such a chaotic, heavy sounding instrument and literally tame it is worth analyzing only by ear, simply the ear and nothing more. I was quite focused that I would like to call it meditation. Later, Patrick's solo incorporates a danceable tune, whose scales influence an embrace of joy.

"To Be Over" is definitely quiet, and I guess it serves to sonically calm you. The lyrics seem to be wanting to go to the background for me - my guess is that the lyrics want you to do that with your "self" - to deflate the ego that utilizes material and psychic objectifications that can elude us from a highly abstract truth.

To sum up, "Relayer" is monumental in sound and direction the band took. I compare it to "Awaken" as the type of music that takes a paradigm shift on how to amass listeners and reveal that deep-rooted desire for unification.

Report this review (#97040)
Posted Friday, November 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best Yes album in my eyes (or ears?). They repeat the succesful formula of one epic and two shorter tracks (still fairly long, both of them clocking in at over 9 minutes) from Close to the Edge. Gates of Delirium is a great epic that sounds like a intergalactic battle at some times to me! Sound Chaser is a very technical and fast song, maybe even better than Gates of Delirium. To be over is a slow song and not too interesting, but not bad either.
Report this review (#97133)
Posted Sunday, November 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars another amazing album from our beloved yes.

what makes it so wonderful is that it shows two completely different sides of the Yes' music which are the virtuosism, the great songwriting and the astonishing musical talent together with the emotional singing, lyrics and melodies. So this record is far from cold, but also very surprising in musicianship, and it has a new, heavy sound that strikes you from the beginning of the album. Maybe Wakeman's leaving the band gave Steve some more space to show his playing skills, as the classic "duel" is no longer here. His solos are impressive, specially one similar to "Mood for a day" in style, but with the electric guitar. White's drumming is great, though I'll always prefer Bruford. Jon is singing really passionately, with great energy in the heavy parts and particular beauty in some others, like the wonderful "Soon" at the end of the 1st track. Moraz keyboards are featured for the first time here, and they have a very special style, widely different from Wakeman's, which gave this record a totally renewed sound, compared to previous releases. Chris bass is perfect as always ;)

The album consists in three tracks, the epic "Gates of delirium", that starts with no introduction (meaning like ctte's introduction) into a blast of heavy music, in the theme of war, violence, and finally peace, ending in the most powerful way possible with Soon. Next is "Sound Chaser", that starts as some kind of "futuristic jazz" (very good really) and finally "To be over", maybe similar to Soon, specially at the first part.

5 stars really, one of my favourite albums.

Report this review (#98342)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One the same level and probably a little bit better than Close to the Edge, Relayer is certainly one of Yes' prime albums and a massive accomplishment.

Gates of Delirium is one of the most atmoshpheric, perfect epic I have ever come across. The instrumental work is top notch, and the writing of both arrangements and lyrics are superb, anderson really shines. (well, when doesn't he?) Gates also has the best climax of all Yes albums, delivering a immensely satisfying eargasm to the listener. One of my top ten tracks, ever.

Sound Chaser is possible Yes' most bizarre, its almost jazz/rock fusion, but leaves behind the pretentiousness and just straight delivers unhuman solos. It's raw, fast and ridiculous!

To Be Over is just, with one word, beautiful.

If you have already enjoyed Close to the Edge, Fragile and The Yes Album, make this your next stop.

Report this review (#101419)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Relayer marks the first studio album without keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman tickling the ivories. His replacement was Patrick Moraz, a gifted player who rarely gets the credit he deserves. Relayer, as it has already been stated, is the most experimental album in the Yes catalogue. The album reflects Close to the Edge's three song format, but it fails to capture the glory of that opus, though it just barely misses.

The Gates of Delerium is another 20 minute epic begins as heavily as the blasting intro of Close to the Edge, only without the ethereal introduction. This song should dispel any doubts of Moraz's ability, since he shines throughout. The lyrics of this song are some of the deepest in Yes' career: they cover war, rage, hope, despair, and musing. Steve matches the feel of the song with his atmospheric playing. Howe really knows how to flaunt talent not by soloing wildly, but by crafting almost tangible sonic progressions.

Sound Chaser follows the epic with nearly Maiden-esque galloping led by Chris Squire, who unleashes his finest bass performance on this track. The song is a showcase of the talent sof each member of the band, from Chris' wild rythmn to Alan's drumming to Moraz's speedy prelude to Jordan Rudess to Steve's great solo. The lyrics, however, are a bit silly, especially coming off of their deepest song yet.

To Be Over recalls the soft reprieve of And You and I. The band backpedals from the talent flaunting of Sound Chaser to more subtle melodies. Overall, a fine wayto close the album.

Relayer is a sleeper success than many did not forsee upon its release. Today, its validity as a Yes standard provokes much debate in many circles. Relayer is one of Yes' final triumphs, the other being the follow up posthumous release Waiting For The One. The album is not perfect, and it is not a good place to start, but it is an album that prog fans should own eventually.

Report this review (#101749)
Posted Tuesday, December 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars My opinion is that this album is one more of the second part of the history of the band. Yessongs finished an excellent period, and then it seems like if they had lost that key which makes the difference between a common band and a band like the YES we all love. Gates of Delirium maybe is the principal problem with Relayer. It's supposed to be an epic like Close to the Edge, but ends far away from that. Although, I enjoy a lot the instrumental part. Sound Chaser has the greatest moments of the album. You can't stand indifferent while hearing the "cha, cha, cha." But only those chaotic moments, and the rest of the song goes just like filling. About To Be Over, I don't have much to say. Again a song that cannot impress me.

After all, I give this record only two stars, because like a fan of YES you will surely find reasons to applaud, but only a few reasons.

Now, considering the almost masterpiece rate it has, which I can't understand, I conclude that Relayer (as well as Tales From Topographic Oceans) is midway to the late seventies and eighties period of YES, and I really don't like some of the changes. But it's just a matter of personal appreciation.

Report this review (#104593)
Posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Exit Wakeman, welcome Moraz ! This is the second earthquake in the line-up (the first being Bruford's one when he left the band between the release of "Close" and the supporting tour for it which will lead to "YesSongs". This YesAlbum starts with a YesEpic : "Gates Of Delirium". Of course, after the Topographic adventure (which I quite liked by the way), the number of epic YesSongs had significantly increased, reaching now the number of six (at least in lenght since "The Ancient" from TFTO was quite weak and dull).

"Gates" is one the best though : complex and difficult to enter into during the first listenings if you are not a die-hard Yes fan (but I am since November 1973 and my discovery of their wonderful repertoire thanks to the wonderful "YesSongs"). Rick's departure could have been a disaster but it isn't : the whole band is just wonderful. Moraz holds the keys like a master. Steve does a fantastic guitar job and needless to say, the rythmic part of the band with Squire and White is on par. Vocals from Jon are good but scare on this lenthly and almost instrumental track. It ends with one of the most beautiful YesMoments : "Soon" : a shivering five minutes closing section full of harmony, beauty, melody and tranquility. One of the most emotional YesSection ever written. The first time I listened to this track (back in ... 1974) I was almost crying (physically) when hearing to this part and I spinned it an awful lot of time on my pick-up (lifting and dropping the needle on the colour change in the vinyl showing where it starts).

"Sound Chaser" is even more complex to enter into. It sounds quite jazzy during the intro and closing section but the middle part is really good. Great guitar work from Steve (a bit of flamenco, a bit of classical influence starting from 3'30"). I had a hard time with this song : it took me quite a long time to be able to appreciate it as it deserves. The third and ... oops already the last song, is my favorite one here. The most accessible, definitely. I always have appreciated this side of the band : melodious vocals, tranquil intrumentals. It is not so often that a whole YesTrack is built on a quiet tempo ("And You & I" and "Time & A Word" are the only example I can think of). With no "weird" solo nor break. It is the case with "To Be Over". Little performed in their live sets, I like it very much.

There is a fantastic remastered version of "Relayer" including three bonus tracks of which an alternate version of "Gates" which is IMO superior to the original one. Specially the "Soon" section which is quite different and even more beautiful (is this possible ? YES ! it is). The other two are very interesting as well : an edit for "Sound" which makes it more bearable for the average Yes fan (does this exist by the way ?) and the single version for "Soon" which allows you to avoid what I was doing more than thirty years ago : play with your needle (the one of your pick-up of course) to listen to this portion of "Gates". It is a solid YesAlbum, but definitely not the one to start with if you are new to the band. It is also obvious that the band tried to reproduce "Close". The format : three songs. A long epic ("CTTE" / "Gates"), a rocking tune ("Siberian" / Sound") and a melodious one (&Y&I / To Be Over"). My judgement will be the same. Five stars for the remastered edition (I would only rate the original vinyl LP four stars though).

Report this review (#105320)
Posted Tuesday, January 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Great progressive album! Certainly the most technical Yes work ever. The 1st track, "The Gates of Delirium" is an epic with a powerfull keyboard work and a beutifull melody in the end. "Sound Chaser" is probably the most dificult Yes song to be played. This track has a great keyboard solo by Patrick Moraz, a crazy drum by Alan White (proving his excelent technique) and beutifull vocals. "To be over" is the sweet moment in the album, a beutifull ballad with a long guitar solo and a remarkable keyboard solo.

Relayer is like a Close to the Edge II, following the same format (an epic, a technical track and a ballad). A truly masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#105447)
Posted Wednesday, January 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars YES' punk album?

4.5 stars

YES' most ferocious and jazzy-esque release! Patrick Moraz is a good remplacement of Rick Wakeman and deserves all honors. The record consists in three pieces, one of 20 minutes and two of 10 minutes.

"The Gates of Delirium" is the best and the most ambitous track from YES with "Close to the Edge". With this epic piece, the band did not stay at these gates, they entered them. It starts with ambient spacey synthetizers, to let the guitar plays a catchy psychedelic melody, taking you directly in the frontiers of an imaginative place. The guitar theme is very efficient and inspired. Then takes place a sonic maelstrom, an instrumental storm, an epic battle of tortured guitars and trippy keyboards ! As mindblowing as the "Thunderstorm" section of Mike Oldfield's Hergest Ridge Part 2 (released the same year). After the rain, the sun: the melody calms down and becomes mysterious and spacey. There have been nearly 10 minutes of intrumental, Jon's voice reappears as to sing the rests of this great battle. Superb, one fo the most progressive musical piece ever.

"Sound Chaser" begins with an ambient spacey introduction to deliver a catchy melody with fast guitar and bass playing, which recalls Dick Dale's solos and flamenco style. The mellotron calms down the game ans sets down a spacey atmosphere. Nearly 5 minutes of instrumental. Moraz's playing is sometimes reminiscent of GONG's "You" (released also the same year) and Greg Howe's guitar moments ressemble to Jimmy Page's. The song ends with faster and faster music in an explosion. It really rocks!

"To Be Over" is the weakness of the album. The sitar introduction is good, but the rest of the song tends to be lazy and cheesy.

This album is neraly flawless. "The Gates of Delirium" is an incredible 20 minutes epic piece which MUST be heard. Guitars and keyboards solos are well placed and make forgot the desperate efforts from "Tales from Topographic Oceans". I was completely blown away. My favorite YES album. Their most imaginative, spacey, rockiest and jazzy-esque.

Report this review (#108243)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris H
2 stars I personally like to think of this album as the little brother to Close To The Edge. "Relayer" strives to be like "Close To The Edge", but really does fail. Falls flat on its face, to put it bluntly. Where as "Close..." is riveting, on the edge of your seat powerful, "Relayer" is just some really good background music. They play this in the elevators at Virgin Records, I heard.

The A-side is one twenty minute epic, but unlike many Yes compositions it is not divided into working parts. "The Gates of Delirium" starts off with the keyboard stylings of Patrick Moraz and goes right into a slowed down guitar performance from Steve Howe. The vocals kick in and then they continue in this fashion for about 15 minutes. After all of this, silence preludes another keyboard outing before Jon comes back to finish off the song and end the A-side. Although this is an excellently composed piece of music and I really respect the musicianship of the players, the whole concept just flopped, in my opinion. Trying to replicate the concepts of "Close To The Edge" and "Tales" in one was a terrible decision.

The B-side starts off with the nine minute "Sound Chaser". Remember when I called this album background music? This song is anything but. They are jamming right from the start, with Chris Squire contributing his signature heavy rhythmic bass lines and Alan White pounding away in the background. This may all seem like musical bliss, but don't get me wrong because it really is not. Although there playing commands attention, it is only for the sheer volume instead of the musicianship. They lost all of their creativity from "Gates of Delirium" and substituted it with noise. Lots and lots of noise. Jon Anderson's vocals are the worst of his career, maybe even his life here. The stupid "cha cha cha cha cha" thing drives me up a wall every time I hear it. "To Be Over" is the next track, and what can I really say about it? There isn't much to say, as a matter of fact because it really just kind of fades away into the background and the more you strain to find some concept in it, the more it starts to vanish.

I may be in a very small boat on this opinion, but to me this album sounds like 5 excellent musicians working at their own pace. Nothing flows, everything is made over- complicated and the whole entire package comes across as boring to me. If you are looking to be held on the edge of your seat, find another album. Put this on while washing the car or doing the housework.

Yawn, 2 stars.

Report this review (#112807)
Posted Tuesday, February 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I wonder how much pressure Patrick Moraz felt in replacing Rick Wakeman ? Regardless, he more then passed any expectations that may have been put on him. His presence also seemed to add some energy and enthusiasm to the band, much like Bruford did when he joined KING CRIMSON. Moraz would also later play on Chris Squire's solo album "Fish Out Of Water" along with Bruford, Mel Collins and Jimmy Hastings. The only YES records better than "Relayer" in my opinion are "Close to the Edge" and "Fragile". I just love the sound of this record.

"The Gates Of Delirium" opens with an abundance of heavenly sounds. It all seems to have a higher pitch, which is in part because of the Fender Telecaster that Howe was playing instead of his usual lower toned Gibson guitar. It's hard for me to describe but you can really get lost in this song, and the last 4 minutes are nothing short of beautiful. This is perhaps the best song that YES has recorded.

"Sound Chaser" has a jazzy intro that turns into an instrumental display of virtuosity.The short outbursts of drums, bass and guitar are amazing ! Great keyboard solos from Moraz ! I have to say White does an incredible job on the kit as well. Check out the show that Howe puts on after 3 minutes. "To Be Over" opens with 2 minutes of instrumental music before Anderson comes in with his fantastic, almost dreamy vocals. Some uplifting guitar melodies as well in this mellow tune that is like the complete opposite of "Sound Chaser".

When I listen to this record it's like being in the company of an old friend. It just makes me feel so good, it's hard to put into words.

Report this review (#114139)
Posted Sunday, March 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh yeah, YES again!! After the monumental "Tales from Topographic Oceans" Squire & Co. try one more time the way of "Close to the Edge": three long songs. It's clear that the result is not so outstanding as was for "Close...", but, however, it is another masterpiece! Yessound is at his best in the instrumental section of "Gates of Delirium", in which three or four melody lines intersect without any contrast, as if the thousand voices of humanity claim their being to the world. Stunning tunes in "Sound Chaser" and in "To Be Over", that conferm the versatility of this legendary group.
Report this review (#114541)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is probably one of the most overrated works in the "Progressive-Rock" genre. It gets more irritating with every audition. Utterly uninspired almost in its entirety, thematically incoherent, with long, tedious and jarring instrumental sections full of repetitions, with high- school tunes posing as serene melodies and with synthesized, ambient effects desperately trying to mask the complete poverty which characterizes the musical composition. Even the infamous "cha"-nting in the "Sound Chaser" suggests an inclination for jesting rather than intensions for serious music-making.

The only exception is probably the appealing theme introduced on the synthesizer through an inspired modulation in the latter part of "To Be Over". However, that suggestion of lyricism is left utterly unexploited. Instead of developing that theme and its melancholic undertones the band simply prefers to use it as the basis for uninspired improvisations.

I unreservedly recommend this work to anyone who wishes to understand what mediocrity in "Progressive Rock" means.

Report this review (#114736)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I'm often amused when reading 5 star reviews for albums. How many times do we see a reviewer state that they love the album apart from say 1, 2 or 3 songs that they just don't like. In looking through masterpieces listed as part of PA top 100 all time, or top 20 in genres, we come across this too often. So I'll give you my opinion of Relayer. Used to have the LP. Got rid of it. I love Sound Chaser & if someone puts on To be Over, I won't be the one asking for them to turn it off. So ... so far, so good, so what. Gates of Delerium - well ,words can't make sense of a song that I can't make sense of. I got rid of the LP because of it. When I bought the Yes box set (35th anniversary), I anthologized the songs I didn't already have (Fragile.CTTE, TATO) onto a CD, & I kept Sound Chaser. I then went online & purchased To be Over to include on this same CD. So we have more than half an album's worth of music that I couldn't & still can't enjoy. Do I give it a 4 because I love 1 song, like another & abhor the 3rd one. No, I give it a 2. Wouldn't you ?
Report this review (#115782)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, I must admit that this album has grown on me immensly. In The original review I wrote, I gave the album 3 stars, "and all for Gates of Delerium". This is an error I'd like to revise!

Of course, comparisons to Close to the Edge are obvious; "Gates.." Is the opening epic track, followed by "Sound Chaser", (the Siberian Khatru parallel) and then "To Be Over" (the And You And I" stand-in). But because of Moraz's jazz influence, these comparisons are quite limited. "Gates.." does have a lot of the frenetic jamming contrasted with serene beauty, just like CttE, but here the agression is that more pointed and the "Soon" section perfectly coda's the peice... oh hell, you could compare the two all day long, but "Gates..." certainly can't really be faulted, unless the repetition of that musical phrase gets on your nerves, which it shouldn't.

The departure in style is most evident on the track "Sound Chaser", its agressive, angular sections enthuse a jazz style mostly unheard of in Yes's work, and I bet Bruford would have been much more at home drumming on this album! The sharp contrast in style would put off long time devotees of Yes's "classic" lineup (as it did me), but if you've listened to other more esoteric jazz influenced bands such as VdGG & King Crimson, rather than more pastoral bands such as Genesis, you probably will get much more out of this album.

My opinion of "To Be Over" has changed quite considerably; I originally thought it was a bore and let the album down, but now I think it is a classic, easily on par with "And You And I". Go figure. I guess that reviewing prog is sometimes something you shouldn't do on first impressions as Prog is always going to be more complex and layered than is first apparent.

Bottom line, If you liked CttE (and who doesn't??) and are aware that there is a stylistic change toward the jazzy, freeform jammy kinda style (and you like that sort of thing), then there is no reason why you shouldn't listen to this album and like it!

Report this review (#116079)
Posted Friday, March 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars There are a few albums that go beyond being just music and become something greater." - Australian; August 18, 2006

Violence, peace, violence, peace. The cycle of humanity's bloody history is here enshrined in three seminal Symphonic Progressive Rock pieces. This crucial time for yes, in which the master Patrick Moraz replaced the then-bored Wakeman on keyboards, created a masterful album. The symphonic integration of jazz and classical organization is reminiscent of modern composers and jazz artists. It is a perfect Symphonic album of experimentation....

I. "Gates of Delirium": The famous synth opening unfolds into a "bubbling" sound, the bass and drums in along with it. There is no slow build-up or fade-in; it is immediately there when the guitar drops itself into the mix. The drums are amazing in the first few minutes, Alan White going all the way this time; Squire's Rickenbacker bass guitar is full of growling treble. Off the bat, even with Anderson, Squire, and Howe's peaceful harmonized vocals in the background, one is given the impression of violence. A very nice acoustic guitar backing picks up with the vocals, as the drums and synthesizers stay strong and full of power. Before the listener knows what has hit, Yes is off on a tangent of accelerating vocals from Anderson, smashing drums from White, and tortured guitar from Howe. Anderson's vocals become more prominent after six minutes of build up, with rather violent lyrics for the angelic voice he possesses. With the line "the pen won't stay the demon's wings; the hour approaches pounding out the devil's sermon", the entire song goes into overdrive.

Moraz starts becoming what can only be described as "insane" on the synthesizers, and Howe's overdriven and distorted guitar creates a violent whirlwind of music. From 8:30 to about 14:00, for six minutes there are no vocalizations, simply pure warlike battles between the percussion and bass, and the synthesizers and guitar. It is an immense and disturbingly beautiful spectacle to behold, and makes this album what it is. Around the 15:00 mark, the battle of utter destruction ceases and the tempo falls until the 16:00 point. Here, one of the most beautiful and uplifting sections of Symphonic Progressive Rock occurs: "Soon". It consists of mellotron, Anderson's voice, and other heavenly synths that seem to be rise up from the carnage of the previous few minutes. This piece is one of the milestones of the Symphonic Prog movement, and makes "Relayer" truly what it is.

II. "Sound Chaser": Avant-garde jazz stylings from the insane Squire and Howe. There are more bubbling synths that just have to reappear since the conclusion of "Gates of Delirium". The mellotron makes its appearance in 1974, as well, and really adds to the precise, skilfull drums played by Alan White. The influence of free, cool, and art jazz are easy to hear in this song, and while it may be abrasive to listen to at first, it definitely grows. It is amazing to hear a band in its prime surging together jazz techniques with classical structure. The result is just an indescribable batch of music from the bass, dissonant electric guitar, synthesizers, and percussion. Anderson's infamous "cha-cha-cha" vocals don't bother this reviewer in the least; in fact, they add a unqiue 'tinge' to the amazing guitar soloing. Howe's top form and especially his influence from Andres Segovia shine through in the experiments of intensely speedy playing. The piece slows down for a few minutes half way through, but this only serves to highlight the re-entry into fast, great playing later on.

III. "To Be Over": Surely this piece must have been blasted before as "boring" and "pretentious", but I see it as one of the more beautiful ballads by Yes. A subdued synthesizer opens up this piece, contrasting the preceding tracks by introducing a pastoral beauty. Bass and electric guitar are soon added, just as subdued, and a sitar is brought into the forefront! The subtle effects used by Moraz and Howe on their respect electr(on)ic and stringed instruments are beautiful and an otherwordly tone. Anderson comes in with the drums, speaking of sailing down streams, drifting beneath bridges, and generally being in peace with the world. There are many quiet arpeggios of bubbling synth, adding a sense of calm and philosophical conceptualism to the air. Some power is added by Howe on some distorted soloing, adding a chilling jazz-like feeling, a point which is achieved throughout "Relayer". Moraz comes back to Wakeman-style heavy mellotron use, and does it extremely well! Eventually the piece forgoes its pastoral wandering and idealism, and becomes strong; thus, the listener is carried out by Anderson's confidence, Howe's power, and Moraz's atmospheric keyboard skill.

As stated in another review prior to this, "Relayer" truly goes beyond music. In this reviewer's beliefs, it creates a try story, a story to be remembered by all Symphonic Prog. Definitely one of the seminal releases of 1974, and of the genre. 5/5! Buy now!

Report this review (#116329)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes' Relayer is truly a masterpiece. Not only is it an essential Yes album, but also an essential in the progressive rock genre. The album opens with the epic "Gates of Delirium". Weighing in at a 20 minutes +, "Gates" is certainly no radio single, yet with Patrick Moraz's brilliant synthesizer work, and Steve Howe's unique phrasing, this one is worth the listen. After the energetic intro, and the rather rambunctious middle section, the ending, somber piece of the musical puzzle is completed. "Soon." shows the end of the battle portrayed in "Gates" and peacetime arrives. Track two is "Sound Chaser". This one is so beautifully unorganized, that if it doesn't provoke any emotion, it would at least keep you curious and listening. Steve Howe and Patrick Moraz have a party on this one while Squire and White "drive the tune", and Jon Anderson makes it perfect with his "Cha." chanting. After this rather intense ballad, we have "To Be Over". The occasional slide guitar work and volume pedal use by Howe in this one alone would be great, but his overdubbed synths by Moraz make it even better. Alan White also shines on "To Be Over" as his constant crash cymbals and snare drum are always refreshing. The happy part of Relayer is here, and for good reason. Relayer marked the end of an era for Yes, as after this (which lacks virtuoso keyboardist Rick Wakeman.), Yes would take a break period for solo work and then with the "classic" lineup release Going For The One. However, Going For The One would not even come close to Relayer musically, as not much out of the Yes catalog does, with the exception of Close To The Edge. While I don't think many albums deserve a 5/5 rating with the exception of very, very few, Yes "brought it to the table" with Relayer, and overcame the crushing blow of the departure of Rick Wakeman, and produced an amazing progressive effort. Relayer is a must have.
Report this review (#118412)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars First of all, let's get the ink and paper part out of the way: most beautiful cover art in the Rock category (not just prog) winner all time. Numero Uno. Roger Dean simply outdid himself here, giving his usually precise and majestic drawings a perfect color scheme, where gray- emerald tones simply amplify the awe. Owners of the vinyl copy (and the posters) know exactly what I mean. Even though I hate comparing albums for fear of stressing what should have been as opposed to enjoy the moment, in Relayer's case, the changing of the guard on keyboards from the illustrious but rowdy Rick Wakeman (was he a bad boy, or what?) to relatively unknown Swiss wizard pat Moraz was a possible curtain call (Zeppelin without Bonham syndrome) that thankfully never happened. So much for context. The music quality rating is just under Close To the Edge and level with The Yes Album but miles ahead of Fragile. With Squire, Howe , White and Anderson on top of their craft , all eyes (and ears) were turned toward Moraz, who to his absolute credit, wastes no time to infuse his own very original technique and tone to the mix. His shimmering, glimmering, whistling and whining synth work alone is testimony to his talent. To open right off with a 20 minute plus epic "the Gates of Delirium" is tantamount to being cocky and confident. This is my favorite Yes track, as it combines all the classics elements that made this band so crucial: grandeur, subtlety, atmospherics, contrast, heat and beauty, all held together by a bass guitar that is now legendary and Alan White's arrival as an equal to former kit William Bruford. By the time the majestic "Soon" segment makes the listener comfortably numb, you know this is a classic, regardless of one's sub-tastes. Moraz distinguishes himself by adroitly not showing off his chops too overtly (not out of respect for Wakeman, but rather to engineer a unique sound instead of a professional technique). Kudos to you, Monsieur. "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" are equally masterful pieces, revered by fans worldwide. For those who do not like this album, I suggest to play it loud, turn off your PC, "dim the lights and you can guess the rest" (lyric from Roxy Music). If that doesn't change your mind or rating, perhaps a massive dose of various opiates fueled by a fine bottle of Port may do the trick. If that still leaves you immune, try Country Music. 5 batons
Report this review (#118415)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I will just write a few impressions since most things have already been said about this album. To me it deserves 5 stars (although it is IMHO not as perfect as Close to the Edge). Gates of Delirium is such an epic wonder, full of different atmospheres and musicianship excellence. One of the best longs in progressive rock to me. Sound chaser is such and adventorous track, a nice fusion experiment, and To Be over is a pleasant song, highlighting the great Steve Howe talent. Even the Roger Dean cover is remarkable. IMHO, this album is a MUST for any prog fan.

Report this review (#120781)
Posted Saturday, May 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is one of those albums you don't hear as revered as some of Yes's other creations. Well, there is a good reason for that. While it exhibits everything traditional Prog fans look for, it does not leave the listener with a sense of musical accomplishment. In other words, this album needs a denouement. After "To Be Over", I am left waiting for more music and always find myself saying, "why does it end that way?"

The epic "The Gates of Delirium" is a ~22 minute push of musical chops and singing that really isn't that memorably melodic except at the 9 minute mark, instrumental fury is unleashed, quite nicely, and then again during the "Soon" section, which is very catchy. Sound Chaser is a very good piece of music, cusping on the fringes of jazz. Up tempo and flashy. But like much of TGoD, it lacks memorable melody.

The talents of Yes are not at all missing from Relayer. What lacks in this release is a sense of purpose, a reason for being. It almost sounds like they recorded it for the sake of releasing something. For true progressiveness, this album ranks upwards of 4 or maybe 5 stars. But because after listening, little stands out as the great melodic Yes we all love, I would have to give it 3 to 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#121207)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "the sun will lead us"

After the stunning career highpoint of "Topographic Oceans" fans must have wondered if Yes had anything left. They certainly did. While we can argue about which Yes album is best, "Relayer" is almost certainly in the top 3 or 4 of just about every Yes fan.

"The Gates of Delirium" is the 6th 20-minute epic delivered over the past three albums and it takes no prisoners. Passionate and fulfilling it is a masterful track on all levels in my opinion. It is more aggressive than past material and the loud and chaotic jamming is just spectacular. The lyrics even deal with violence which is not something we ordinarily expect from the flower boy Anderson. The "Soon" portion at the end calms the waters perfectly. Great song. As with CTTE which has a similar album structure, the long track is a near masterpiece while the two shorter ones are not quite as good.

"Sound Chaser" features Yes showcasing their instrumental prowess, flexing their muscles as they try some jazzy material with relative newcomers White and Moraz. This kind of flash could have proven disastrous had they failed to make the song a compelling vehicle that adds to the album. Howe and Squire are particularly awesome in their wizardry but Moraz makes a good case for himself too.

"To Be Over" is somewhat dreamy and mellow compared to the manic twists of "Sound Chaser" and returns the listener gently to the Earth.

Relayer also features some of the most beautiful Dean artwork and Anderson lyrics to date. It also carries the dubious tag of being Yes' last classic album. While there would be nice moments on the next two and a solid effort on Drama, Relayer was the last truly killer release from Yes. 4.25 stars.

Report this review (#122783)
Posted Saturday, May 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tales from a Topographical Ocean was a much more experimental album than any Yes had released before, and I'm not sure they sold many copies because of that. It seemed like they decided to experiment with new sounds on this album, but not nearly as much as tales. The result is a much more accesible album.

Out of all the "Epic" 20 minute long songs that Yes came out with, Gates of Delirium is by far my favorite. Every minute of the song is enjoable and there are no weak points. The best part of the song is "Soon" Jon's voice on that song is extremely good. For those of you that don't like his vocals, you deffinately wont enjoy this song.

The next song "Sound Chaser" has some overly chaotic parts that seem like way too much noise thrown together. But then it has some incredibly good guitar sections that make the song worth listening too.

To be over is a very good song with a nice Sitar and Moog intro, then a very mellow vocal melody. Its a song you would listen to right before going to sleep. Extremely relaxing. Then there are some guitar riffs that seem to explode out of the speakers and the song becomes quite a bit more upbeat. I love when songs change their mood partway through. It makes the listen alot more unpredictable and enjoyable.

The bonus tracks aren't really neccesary. Especially that entire studio runthrough of Gates of Delirium seems like a waste of space on the album. Take out the sound effects that are present on the regular version, and make it a poor recording quality, and there you have the runthrough. Its not as good as the final version, and its not really worth listening to after hearing a better version just 15 minutes before on the same album. This takes away from the quality of the whole album, and thats why I deleted this song when I loaded the cd onto my computer.

Other than the chaos of Sound Chaser and the unneeded studio runthrough, this album is very good.

I reccomend this album to any Yes fan. If you haven't heard the band before, you should start with the album Fragile. Its much more accessible and gives the listener a better idea of how Yes sounds.

Report this review (#124794)
Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Is it just me or does Jon Anderson's vocals and lyrics begin to wear thin on TFTO and really start grating on this record?... I enjoyed his different style of abstract imagery on my first Yes record "Close To The Edge" but on these ones it seems like he's just rehashing the same old words and images. In this album, that is the main cause for being non-enamored with it. Jon brings nothing new to the table lyrically or vocally. As far as the music goes I will say it is quite good in parts. ""Sound Chaser" especially sounds awesome in a musical-show off way. I love Alan Whites tom work on this track, it made me respect him as a drummer more. (I've always thought that Bruford was the ultimate Yes drummer) As far as epics go, "Gates of Delirium" indeed is good, however, "Close To The Edge" seemed a little bit more clear and to the point. Good, better than the meandering "Tales" but not as good as the earlier stuff.
Report this review (#126325)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

After the release of TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS, there was some unrest around the band, but also within. RICK WAKEMAN was not satisfied with this album, but never understood why because i think he is figured prominently through the double album.......and for the first time in YES history all 5 members were credited for the writing process.

But i guess WAKEMAN had at this time ambitious solo projects and thought that the world was only waiting for another of his concept projects like KING ARTHUR, but with misfortune following, he will be back.

So here we have a French Swiss PATRICK MORAZ , relatively unknown at the time taking the seat of WAKEMAN. Of course, the sound of YESmusic will change quite a bit as MORAZ is more jazzier and less classical-trained than Wakeman.

The album is constructed similar to CTTE with one long suite on side 1 and 2 shorter tracks on side 2. No more double albums!!!! The very best of RELAYER is side one with THE GATES OF DELIRIUM a 20mns long thundering epic that shows all what is great about prog music. And for the first time, we will have a mean, scorching band trying to destroy everything; The build up of THE GATES never ceases to amaze me when listening to it; you wouldn't think that YES was capable to play with so much energy, and even anger. This is music to bring on medieval bloody battlefields films, everybody shouts at everybody, the 4 instrumentalists play and act like lions released in a roman arena. YES is, yes violent, chaotic, thundering but this is still YES, there is not one lost note and the whole musical charge is well thought of every second of it.

And then like after the battle comes the soothing SOON, a beautiful ANDERSON tune, only him can come up with and a majestic way to end THE GATES OF DELIRIUM, one of the greatest opus of prog.

Do we gonna have a 5 stars album? not quite as for me the 2 other tracks are a let down for me.I know a lot of people like SOUND CHASER, but it doesn't sound like YES for me .MORAZ plays like a demented jazzman, SQUIRE i don't know what he is doing with his bass and to kill the whole thing, we have this CHA-CHA-CHA......weird YES for me. TO BE OVER: not bad, but not great, nothing special to remember.

So for me .it's only 3,5 stars, rounded to 4 because of the magnificence of THE GATES. Last cover of ROGER DEAN for a while!!! (a nice one again)

Report this review (#126690)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars

The album format is similar to Close to the edge (3 songs with first one ~20 minutes and the last 2 ones ~ 9minute). I would say that the changes on the band lineup are evident especially on keyboard where Patrick Moraz replaced Rick Wakeman. During the audition performed for finding a replacement for Rick Wakeman Vangelis was one of the possible replacements but this wasn't happened. Nevertheless Jan Anderson had some collaboration with Vangelis later. Also this time Jan Anderson voices evolved somehow and it doesn't have that superficial aspect like on Fragile or Close to the Edge(from the instrumental point of view I consider this one their masterpiece). On Relayer the sound is much more spacey and experimental. Steve Howe experiments with his guitar are simply amazing.

For me it is simply hard not to give 5 stars to this release because it is almost perfect in every way: technicality, progression, melody, composition...everything.

Report this review (#126979)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maybe Yes' most aggressive and progressive album. seem's his drumming fit's perfectlyl to every beat, I would rather have Alan than Bill on this album, period. Everyone is up to par musically and Jon's lyric's are as alway's spacey and aimless.

The Gates of Delirium- A typical Yes epic, clocking in at just under twenty two minuetes, it give's one they're most aggressive and furious jam sessions, to a very heartfelt and soothing ballad-like ending. It starts like a pink floyd song, but in fast forward with spacey noise and small guitar fill's, then becomes more organized and introduces Jon's amazing vocals helps define the voice of prog rock giving us a kind of a pre battle speech. Telling us to stand and fight, then three minuetes later telling us to leave our children and kill our friend's, then talk about chopping off demon wing's =), if that isnt Yes please tell me what is. Afterwards they move into a raging jam session, just to go into another, and then to another. complete with a guitar solo, steel guitar solo, crazy Moraz synth solo, and lot's of weird percussion by Alan. Then the third part of the song comes in with very soft keyboards and a very sweet steel guitar sliding along as Jon sing's his heart out about seeing the light. Nothing bad about this song! Masterpiece! 5/5

Sound chaser- A song that I believe should have been an instrumental, but I guess mr. Anderson is just that good! Start's kinda jazzywith electric piano and some crazy bass fill's by another prog legend Chris Squire, but this is all blown away by a tom gilled solo by White. After a bit of singing Steve gives us a solo that goes from aggressive to soft to aggressive ect. until it lands soft again with Jon's singing. There on out a jam session with some very new ideas from Yes, the yelling of CHA CHA CHA CHA CHA! 5/5

To be over- This song is basically a ten minuete long ballad that might have some meaning (is this possible?), I'm not sure what it is, but it touches some nerves unlike any other Yes song. After nine minutes though it finally picks up... but not for long 4.5/10 4 stars!

Report this review (#127672)
Posted Friday, July 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer. Wow. D*mn. I bought this album not long after I had been completely hooked by the one two punch that is Fragile and Closer to the Edge. I needed more! I don't live near any fancy record stores so I decided to go out on a limb and just buy Relayer becuase it was there. I had heard some scary things about it from freinds and in my foolishness entierly neglected to read any reviews on it before purchasing it. But I thought, hah, if I can listen to Closer to the Edge nothing can stop me. I hadn't heard enough music then nor have I heard enough now to be able to judge the accuracy of such a lofty statement. What I go was much similar to my first experiences with Closer to the Edge, an fortress of sound. I was stunned. Where was the Yes from Closer to the Edge? I only later learned that Yes had undergone some serious changes before proceding to Relayer. When asked about it by my freinds I lied I said it was really good. The truth was I just didn't get it.This time I had a little more experience though and before sulking I remember how Closer to the Edge did the same thing some months earlier. This time I found the parts that had been the hardest assaults on the ears the first time through to be the coolest things I'd ever heard. Relayer and especially Gates of Delirium always makes it into my rotation. To tell the truth I have never been terribly paartial to the "Soon" portion of Gates, but the middle section which I like to call the racket might just be the most indespensible part of any Yes song I have so far hard the pleasure of hearing. The moral of the story (and I apologise for its windy qualities) never ever listen to a Yes album or for that matter a progressive rock album just once. I don't mean listen while you do home work or while you drive I mean listen and nothing else.
Report this review (#128294)
Posted Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Even if there was no more Wakeman (and you can hear it), Yes managed to publish another masterpiece. I wouldn't have said that, but we reach Close to the edge's level. I think Moratz is a really good substitute and Gates of delirium is simply outstanding. The band said they worked a lot to arrive to 40 minutes, but i think the sounds are not some "filling", but there' still Yes' style. Great, great, great!!! An historical LP
Report this review (#128308)
Posted Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer features the keyboard wizardry of Patrick Moraz, who replaced Wakeman's first of what would turn out to be many departures. Moraz had a different style of playing than Wakeman and it is very obvious on Relayer, showing a much more jazzier and complex feel than on previous Yes albums. This is also the first studio effort to feature Alan White, replacing Bill Bruford on drums. Although White did not possess the skill that Bruford had, he nevertheless is one of the better drummers in prog rock history and is often underrated.

Relayer, like it's predecessors, is an affair in long extended compositions. Like Close to the Edge, it contains just three tracks, and also like that famous album, Relayer's three musical exercises are quite amazing. It starts off with the 20+ minute Gates of Delirium, a musical assault like nothing Yes had created before or since with some incredible interplay between Steve Howe and Moraz. Sound Chaser is just insane, containing multiple time signature shifts. They end it with the pleasant melodies of To Be Over. A beautiful album.

Relayer may take some time getting used to. It's often chaotic, sometimes dark, and Steve Howe's guitar work almost seems sloppy in places (but fits the music perfectly). After repeated listens, the charm of this masterpiece shows itself. In fact, I would consider this to be as great of a masterpiece as Close to the Edge, maybe even better. An essential masterpiece and one of the top 10 best progressive rock albums ever released. Five stars.

Report this review (#129143)
Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I listened this album, i was not fan of the progressive rock. I was listen Sex Pistols, The Clash... Well all punk music, but wen this album came to my ears, open mi mind to anothers styles of music. Of course i was made an impression by the guitar of Howe, the drums of Alan Withe, Squire's bass, and Moraz's keyboard. I not talk about of the voice of Anderson (it is of saying more than that voice is gorgeous). This album mixes tree styles of my taste: Jazz (Sound chaser, Alan Withe is a exelent drummer of jazz, Squire makes a good base of rithym, the improvisation of Howe makes a beautiful piece of Jazz) Rock (well i say: Yes got Rock 'N' Roll, if you think not, listen Yes Album) Lyrics (The lyrics of Yes, deep, a little too much of philosophy, a bit of critic to the human race and social-political) Well This album, the drawings of the front, the music, the titles (gates of delirium, jejeje), everything makes this album perfect. But it's more than perfect it's celestial. Is one of my fovourite albums, of course this album i listen always alone in my pioneer of the 71. I recomend this album, it's really shockin'.
Report this review (#129503)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Relayer has its share of good ideas in it, but falls short of real Yes masterpieces. Whereas previously in their catalogue like "Close To The Edge" you could marvel at the holistic nature of the composition, on Relayer I find myself being captured at moments, lost and found again throughout the album. My biggest complain here are the keyboards. Firstly, especially on "Gates of Delirium", the keyboards play almost no substantial role. They seem to be added in as an afterthought like a garnish to make the piece a little prettier. Secondly, Moraz doesn't fit well into the Yes machine. To put in a better perspective for younger readers, it reminds me of when Sherinian joined Dream Theater. Moraz has talent no doubt, but his style of playing and choice of tone just doesn't fit Yes' need.

I really like the hard-edged, chaotic sound they experimented with on "Gates", but before the middle battle section the track does very little for me. The opening gives the air of a second rate "Close To The Edge" and excluding a few good melodies I really don't see the point for the first 13 minutes. I just can't appreciate the cohesion and flow of the track like I can "Close To The Edge". The closing "Soon" section almost redeems every shortfall the song has though. Pound for pound it's probably the most moving thing the band composed.

"Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" make up the second side of the album. The former has some nice jazzy elements and the only really good keyboard work from Moraz on the album, but Howe's leads leave fall short of their usual quality here. The latter fades in without much notice and fades away with an equally small amount. There's not much to it.

A good album with some great moments, but much less than you expect from Yes. The band seems a little tired at this point and fails to really deliver a complete song.

Report this review (#132431)
Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having been a huge Yes fan for many years I always considered this album as a unique piece of music. To my mind it is quite diffrent from all the stuff the band have invented. The main reason for this change could be the departure of Rick Wakeman and the arriving of new Yes keybordist Patrick Moraz. With Moraz on the board the band composed music that could be described only by one word: modern. And indeed it is . Almost every sound on this album seems to be coming out of the 21-st century. The CD consists only of 3 songs. First of them Gates of delirium( loosely based on Tolstoi's War and peace) is one of my all time prog classics. And the ending theme SOON is Jon Anderson's finest moment. altough Gates is such a great song what follows does not dissapoint you. Sound Chaser is the jazziest piece tyhe have ever recorded. Driven by Moraz Hammond riff the song develops strangely towards pure avangard. Album ends up with the beatifull ballad To be over. To sum up it must be said that altough RELAYER is not their best CD its still worth buying as one of the prog classics. My rating 4.5 stars
Report this review (#133658)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first Yes review. This was the band who introduced me to the progressive music world and "Survival" was the song! Yep, that one from their shabby debut. And I still remember, like it was yesterday, been stunned just by that bass intro... pretty much a "you had me at hello" sort of thing.

The point that I'm trying to make here is simple: If there's a reason to "Relayer" not to be consider an essential masterpiece, is that's Not suitable for beginners at all.

Say, "Close To The Edge" may be their most classic and definitive album, but the absolute peak in their own game got to be this tour de force right here!

About the album itself, I think the other reviewers made it quite clear. The intricate epic "Gates" based on Tolstoy's War and Peace, the jazzy "Sound Chaser" and the beautiful, laid back and very Yes like "To Be Over".

Enough said, this may not be the album I'd recommend right away for those who want to became a serious prog enthusiast, but once you get there, this gem will be waiting for you.

Report this review (#134304)
Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars During those two years a PA member (senior member in fact) I didn't try to meke Yes reviews because is my favourite band and it's very hard to write something impartial, leaving my emotions behind, about any Yes album.

I have to recognize that Yes discography during the 80's, 90's and 00's is very irregular but still they are THE BAND in the top of my preferences. So tonight I decided to leave my fears behind and write something about Relayer, my personal masterpiece into Yes discography.

I don't want to mention details. There's about 100 or 200 reviews about this album consider by many of you as a masterpiece or at least necessary in any music collection. From my point of view is the climax of Yes career (don't shoot me, Wakeman fans!) because the three songs of the album reach the perfect balance between some kind of hard rock and the classic beautiful progressive Yes passages leaded by Jon's voice, specially in that monumental epic called Gates of Delirium, one of the greatest prog songs of all history: awsome lyrics, powerful guitars, keyboards that sound as an earthquake, the solid bass sections of Chris Squire and Alan White in his best moment as drummer. A caothic piece that takes you out of your mind to put you into the middle of a musica hell until the well known Soon enters to bring pace and harmony.

This song is enough to give Relayer five stars but Sound Chaser and T Be Over just confirms what I said before: This is THE ALBUM made by Yes during the 70's, completed by two songs full of intrincated changes where every musician can show their talents.

Honestly, if I have to choose just one album to listen for the rest of my life, it's probable that I will choose Relayer... For me, is THE PROGRESSIVE ALBUM of the 70's...

Report this review (#135679)
Posted Saturday, September 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having already lost Bill Bruford to Robert Fripp in 1972, Yes was forced to press on with another key loss in their lineup. This time it's the highly popular Rick Wakeman who splits from the band. Filling in his Sideshow Bob-sized shoes is Patrick Moraz, who actually makes you forget the absence of Wakeman at many points. Moraz takes a much different approach to playing keys, but end result is one of Yes' most original and satisfying albums.

Appearing on the album are three songs, with the focus being on the mammoth "Gates of Delirium". Supposedly inspired by "War and Peace", the twenty two minute epic could have easily strayed down the wrong paths that so plagued "Tales". Instead, the band delivered a very strong song, both musically AND lyrically (which is often a weakness with Yes). The song changes just enough to remain interesting throughout. There are a lot of instrumental passages, often filled with chaos (these are enhanced by Alan White, who takes the Jamie Muir approach to percussion by drumming on scrapped car parts), but these sections seems to serve a purpose here, where they just seem to take up space on the previous album. The listener glides from section to section as intensity builds and then, just as subtly as it grows, it drops off and floats to the ending section, a beautiful piece entitled "Soon". With this, Yes proves their (often unexplored) ability to put emotion into their music, which is usually mainly cerebral.

"Sound Chaser" is perhaps the most unique song recorded by Yes. It highlights Moraz's delicious talents and penchant for jazz and fusion. Unfortunately, it suffers from a weak middle section. The closing song, "To Be Over" is good enough, but isn't consistent as a whole and also loses strength along the way before ending on a good note.

Final Analysis: Despite missing two crucial members of it's most popular lineups, Yes bounces back with a highlight in their long history. It's a shame this would be it for Yes' collaboration with Patrick Moraz, who would in turn leave and be replaced by a returning Wakeman.

Rating: Four Stars.

Report this review (#136443)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars With only three tracks, one has little choice with the songs in this album. Sorry to say, but there is no real winner in this hodge podge. Gates of Delerium is 15 minutes of four-star noise and then 8 minutes of impatience. Sound Chaser is pretty cool in many parts, but it tends to meander a bit more than necessary. To Be Over is rubbish. This could have been better if it was more coherent, dense though it may be. Deffinately Progressive though.
Report this review (#137692)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Looking back, it is easy to understand why so many people at the time started to label progressive groups in general, and Yes in particular, as boring old farts. By the time Yes released Relayer their music became too much abstract and complicated to win over the general public like they did before. Remember: Yes even had hit singles! And the edited Soon (the final part of Gates Of Delirium) was one of them.

After the massive Tales From Topographic Oceans everybody was expecting something more like their earlier stuff. And they got more of the same. The whole album has just 3 tracks and only Gates Of Delirium, a massive 22+ minutes epic, had any lasting impact in their career. Yeah, it is a classic and it has a less oblique lyric from Anderson which is quite good and even if some parts still sound a little chaotic, it is still a fantastic epic and it works. Gates... to me is pretty much the whole of the album (that is good). Or almost. The remaining tracks, Sound Chase and To Be Over have no real song structure, no catching melodies, which is a shame. Yes music was always elaborated and groundbreaking, but it was also accessible and melodic. Tales... and Relayer changed all that. And I don´t think it was for the better really.

This is not to say Relayer or Tales... are bad albums, they are not. But they have their share of problems. Much of the early winning formula of mixing virtuosity and simplicity had gone to endless noodling, overcomplicated arrangements and a general lack of direction. Sometimes you hear sparks of creativity and some beautiful parts are present. But that is not enough for such a talented and bright band which had delivered such masterpieces like The Yes Album and Close To The Edge.

Rating: somewhere between 3,5 and 4 stars. I decided to change my old rating because there is no doubt that this album was important and, in some ways, popular at the time. But I do not recommend it to a newbie.

Report this review (#137795)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album contains the longest Yessong - "Gates of Delirium", which is also the most difficult one to listen to. It's their most demanding song to play live. Best version of this song live is performed on Symphonic live 2001 with the orchestra. Sound chaser is Yes' best song in term of energy and power.It's totally buffed up!! after I listen to it, I feel I can lift a M.A.N. truck with my bare hands :) Moraz is also showing us what he can do with his 10 fingers... To be over is the mellow track from the album.It's totally contrast to the first two tracks. I think that this album was a copy of close to the edge. It has an epic Gates of delirium/Close to the dege, mellow love song To be over/And you and I, and a killer power- song Sound chaser/Siberian khatru. But that's my opinion. make of it what you will... Bye
Report this review (#140346)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dear Prog listeners: this is a masterpiece. Searching the roots you can see how Yes Relayer and whole YES discography influenced them all since late 60´s. Gates of delirium, sound chaser, soon . Patrick Moraz plays great keyboards and Steve Howe plays a distant sound slide guitar, just amazing. Very Jazzy and mellow sometimes: Long tracks but never get tired of listen to it. NEVER. At the end of the record it sounds like a glorious morning sunrise in glory, joy and personal redemption.
Report this review (#141276)
Posted Sunday, September 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars this album is one of my favourite Yes albums, along with Fragile and Drama. Although only half as long as Tales, i think this is the better album. The Gates Of Delirium is stunning and amazing. Plus, no other band can make pounding on old car parts sounds nearly as good as White can. Next is Sound Chaser, which is one of my favourite Yessongs ever. the speed of the song is mind- blowing, and the music is technically impressive. The extended guitar solo by Howe is really cool, as is the slide guitar part later on in the song. The album closes with To Be Over, and it is a very good song as well. Overall, this album is just about perfect. 4.5 stars.
Report this review (#145913)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The perfect counterpart to Close to the Edge

Yes are one of the all time great prog bands releasing some of the most cohesive and beautiful prog ever written, they'd still be one of the all time greats if Close to the Edge was the only album they ever did but here in Relayer after the controversial Tales From Topographic Oceans album they have engineered an album that takes the Close to the Edge album format and imbues it with a very different eclectic kind of musical approach.

'The Gates of Delirium' is the side long epic opening the album and it is the crowning glory, it starts off quite slow paced and nice in a yes sort of way before descending into a jam at around the 6 minute mark from which the song kicks into overdrive prog mode with some exceptional guitar work from Howe. The middle part of the song after the 8 minute mark is my favourite, it's very pacey and interesting and quite dark, then the crazy funky part kicks in just when you thought things couldn't get better. Things then resolve themselves and end very nicely with a beautiful outro passage with Howe again stealing the show with his amazingly diverse guitar abilities.

Sound chaser is the most eclectic song of the 3, it's quite technical and abrupt with the powerful fast end section of particular interest. To Be Over is a nice quiet song to round out the album with some great mellotron work and powerful choruses.

Relayer is a lot different in style to Close to the Edge but in my view it is the perfect counterpoint to it because of that fact, the 2 albums are both exceptional, share the same format and were recorded at the peak of the band's career and like sun and moon they are in perfect contrast. Highly recommended for any prog fan.

Report this review (#146707)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Despite my reservations about Yes, I bought Relayer when it came out. I hoped that it would be an album more like "Close to the Edge" or "Fragile" than the awful "Tales from topographic oceans". In that respect it was a far better record and came close to recapturing my attention. Gone was Wakemam replaced by the competent if uncharismatic Patrick Moraz. This record has a lot going for it , starting with the epic and impressive "'The Gates of Delirium" which takes up the whole of side one. This has many passages and some really interesting Keyboard sounds , some of which were cutting edge. Side Two consists of just two cuts "Sound Chaser" (9:25) , which is ok and To Be Over (9:08) which is a little less impressive. This is a much more disciplined and interesting set than Topographic oceans which sucked big time. Gone is the endless scales and the meaningless Lyrics are better , if still seemingly meaningless they don't make you cringe. This Record has dated better than any other Yes recording and still manages to sound interesting and challenging 30 + years on. For a short time I liked Yes again and hoped that they would continue to record pretty decent progressive rock LP's. sadly I caught them live about 3 months after this release and I was put off by the over the top nature of the show. How can you take men dressed in pom poms seriously ? I can not have been the only person who was starting to doubt that progressive rock as played by the likes of Yes and the floundering ELP was all that it was cracked up to be. A new generation of Musicians were becoming frustrated by the closed shop that seemed to have formed around these groups and the age of the super group was growing very incestuous. Yes above all the Bands with the exception ELP prehaps seemed to embody all that was bad about Prog. Without a doubt there was also a feeling in the record companies that these groups had become to big for their boots, and so a revolution was inevitable. Of course there was a tendency to throw the baby out with the bath water and much good music was lost but many bands couldn't get contracts at the time unless they sounded like Yes, which in retrospect is ridiculous. Despite being a good record "Relayer" could not be described as a band progressing, indeed it is more formulaic than any other YES record up to that point. A conscious attempt seemingly to remake a "close to the edge". This is the last good Yes record and it would be some years before they produced anything that was not utterly dreadful. It earns 3 stars but probably deserves 3.5.
Report this review (#150298)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A real recovery by Yes, this is an amazing counterpart to CTTE. The gates of delirium is more like a musical journey than the tighter structures on Fragile and CTTE, and what a journey. This is actually the song by Yes that gets plagarised and referenced more than any other. The whole album is atmospheric, and perhaps could be a good touchstone for Post-rock: this does not sound like a rock band. Sound chaser is far more dynamic, and presents a great contrast, and To be over is a graceful way to end a graceful album.
Report this review (#152907)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of Yes's best albums, even without wakeman and bruford. neither Alan White Nor Patrick Moraz can match their predecessor's style, they each add new elements to the Yessound. Relayer is one of their more intense albums, but stil manages to be one of their more inventive ones as well.

Gates of Delirium: A bubbling intro full of synths and guitars that misleads for what is to come. The lyrics telling of a battle suit the song perfectly, seeing as how the instrumental break is a battle between the guitar and keyboards for control. Steve Howe really shines here with amazing fills and runs, plus coaxing the most gorgeous tones out of his slide guitar in the gorgeous outro, "Soon". this song is absolutely perfect, good dissonance contrasting with beautiful melody. One of my favorite yessongs.

Sound Chaser: Amazingly complex jazzy intro with superb bass, drums and keyboard. vocals are not prominent until after the guitar solo. this is an intense song, but slows down majorly for the free form jazzy solo by Howe. I love his tones and textures on this solo, and the way it flows back into the intense main part. for a second here, Yes seems to borrow a trick from gentle giant: the 3-4 part vocal lines, but where Gentle Giant used words, they use sounds. Overall a crazy good experimental song.

To Be Over: A nice closer after all the excess, but if it had been similar to "Soon" it would have been a better ending to the album. Still quite good though, a nice ballad with sitar sounds from Howe.

Overall, Yes showed they could make it with the trio of singers and some different drummers/keyboardists. A good answer to the some what confusing Tales from Topographic Oceans, and completely different from anything else they have done since or before.

Report this review (#153283)
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yet another wonderful and amazing Yes album. I wouldn't really say it is their best, but it is a great one nonetheless. What really separates this album with all of their previous albums is the absence of the more classical-minded Rick Wakeman and the (temporary) entry of the more jazz-fusion minded Patrick Moraz, and really this album seems to have somewhat of a fusion flavor to it overall. The incredible epic The Gates of Delirium sounds quite lacking in direction at first. I used to think some of it was random made up on the spot jamming but with about a dozen or so listens, it became quite clear how ingenious it really is (yes, it is really that complex). It remains my favorite Yes song along with Close to the Edge, and yet even more delightful is that it is actually longer. The ending of the album (spliced out as track on the Very Best of Yes compilation) fits so well as an ending, so "enlightened" sounding, as usual for Yes music. The next two track are really good as well, though it sort of reminds me of 2112 how they are somewhat dwarfed compared to the epic, but not as extreme as that. They are still exceptional songs, and I can kind of here the writing already leading somewhat to their Tormato and Going for the One albums. I like this album mainly for it's uniqueness compared to other Yes albums without losing innovation nor going a bit too far with it (as with the preceding album). Another excellent Yes album that any progressive listener, especially that with fusion/eclectic tastes.
Report this review (#154950)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I never considered myself a true Yesfan and that has to do with the few masterpiece tracks they have produced over the years. Even in their highlight years (70's of course) they composed less than 10 really good songs for my taste. And that's far less than Genesis for instance and I'm not even a real Genesisfan either so that explains.

It's also clear with this album to me. Gates of Delirium is a fantastic epic but the other two are hardly worth mentioning to me. And I gave them a fair try recently to convince me of the opposite but they haven't succeeded. To be Over and Sound Chaser are obviously not two of the 10 songs I was talking about. Gates of Delirium on the other hand is a convincing rival for Close to the Edge as best Yessong ever ! This composition is more complex and almost more brilliant too but that is a tough call. Both epics will never tire or disappoint me no matter how often or in which mood I will listen to them. And there are not many songs that have the same effect on me so we are talking about the highest standard here.

And because of that greatness it fully compensates the two weaker tracks for me and makes me decide for 4 stars in the end.

Report this review (#157604)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this, along with Close to the Edge, is one of Yes's masterpieces. Comprised of only three tracks, like Close to the Edge, with the first one being the longest and the other two being relatively the same length. However, musically, it is very different. I think this is Yes at their most intense, and they make use of much more dissonance than usual. Patrick Moraz does a fine job replacing Rick Wakeman, and he brings a different feel to this album. The classic Yes elements are all here, but I think here they just take it to another level with experimentation and a rougher sound. My favourite track here is the opener, the epic Gates of Delerium, clocking in at about 22 minutes. It's an intense track dealing with the issues of war. For the first seventeen minutes or so we are treated to all the technical prowess we have come to love about Yes, and then they close it off with the section entitled Soon, which has a ballad like form. Sound Chaser is another intense piece, with some jazz and some more avant garde elements thrown in, and is overall a great track. Relayer closes with To Be Over, which mellows things out a bit, which is a nice contrast to the intensity displayed in the first two tracks.
Report this review (#160005)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars RELAYER is Yes' best album. A masterpiece, really. What makes it so good, you ask? Well, I will do my best to explain my feelings on the matter in the paragraphs below.

First of all, allow me to set some things straight: Firstly, Yes is not the greatest prog rock band of all time, furthermore, ''Close to the Edge'' is not the greatest prog rock album of all time, and while RELAYER isn't either, it certainly much better than any of their previous works, and is absolutely better than everything else the followed it combined. What makes it so great is the album's attention to detail, and the little intricate things that make it special are often overlooked by the more casual listener. Once you hear what makes RELAYER so special, however, it is one of the best listening experiences you will ever have.

Patrick Moraz takes the place of the highly overrated Rick Wakeman on this album, and frankly, gives the best keyboard performance ever found on a Yes album. I say this simply to let anyone out there who may be putting off Relayer because it doesn't feature the supposed 'classic' line-up know that this is the best line-up Yes ever had, and it should have stayed this way, but Jon Anderson wanted Wakeman back, and Steve Howe didn't want any jazz-rock influence in the band, so alas after only one album, Moraz was let go by the band members. But we get to hear just how wonderfull he is on this release, which is by far Yes' magnum opus.

''The Gates of Delerium'' - The opening track for this album is also the best one; completel with epic classical-style playing by the band as well as some great jazzy stuff from Moraz. It begins with a type of overture, if you will, leading into what becomes this story's sort of 'main theme', a twice-repeated four note combination that just send shivers throughout my entire body. The way the instruments are played on this track sounds as if how a classical orchestra would sound if they used electric instruments- - hardly any 'rock'-sounding melodies to be found here, which is fine by me-- it's about a 'symphonic prog' band played something that sounded symphonic. What gets me is how so many people seem to think that this album is merely aimless jamming, when it is clearly much more than that; clearly a classical music-inspired song, it features many 'movements' that are found in many orchestral arrangements. This song tells the story of an ancient kingdom and an ultimate war that outbreaks. The vocals on this track are exceptional, and the guitar playing is as always supurb, but Moraz'a keys really add an extre depth to this music.

Anyway, on we go through the epic tale, as each musician shines in each of their respective parts, causing the song to build and build as the feeling of drama and tension becomes stronger and stronger. While the melodies at the start of the song are rather placid and beautiful, the entire thing becomes much more aggressive and dramatic in presentation and structure. Soon we are sent into a section of the song in which the music becomes possibly the most aggressive that Yes has ever written (which frankly isn't saying much, folkes). Patric Moraz then breaks out an unbelievably beautiful keyboard solo that becomes a sort of 'battle march' as it were. leading the troops (All of the other instruments) into battle. We now hear the intruments literally have war with one another. This section could tend to sound random and out of place, but it is actually the most original moment on the record, and we hear Alan White's ferocious drums attack Steve Howe's powerful guitar leads, while Moraz and Squire create the backdrop for the fight. At one point (around the 12:47 mark)we hear a thundering crash, and we are now launched into another very powerfull moment led by none other than Moraz, with Howe also contributing to the franzy. The work from Moraz here is simply phenominal, and I'm very serious here when I say that this has impressed me far more than anything Wakeman has ever done on a Yes record. Okay, so after a few bars of that, Howe then takes over the responsibility playing this epic tune, and finally both Moraz and Howe traid off the duty, all while Squire kicks ass as usual on his ricken' and White proves that he can match Bill Bruford's technique any day. Soon, the excitement dies down and the seeming aftermath of the epic battle starts to show it's beauty as the smoke clears. Moraz once again plays a key role here in creating a wonderful ambience that will ultimately set the backdrop of the upcoming section of the song entitled ''Soon''.

Okay, nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing Yes has done before or since will ever come close to the power of this section of GATES. Moraz takes care of the synth parts while Howe does some amazing side guitar and acoustic work, both of them backing Jon Anderson as he gives his all in his best vocal performance ever recorded. The lyrics are lovely, the melody is beautiful beyond compare, and the entire experience of hearing it has actually brought tears to my eyes. How anyone can listen to this song and not like it is beyond me. It just continues to build from here and become more and more perfect with every note. Absolutely nothing in this entire song is flawed, and especially the ''Soon'' section holds a form of unknown emotion and quality that Yes has never matched again. I don't suppose even they knew how they did it. The track in total comes to just four seconds shy of twenty-two minutes. Yet, much like every other truly great prog epic, it doesn't feel long enough! I myself wish it would go on forever, as it brings some of the most amazing emotions out of me. Truly great stuff.

''Sound Chaser'' - It's the jazz-rock moment on the album, and while some may think it just doesn't fit Yes, I personally love it. Like I say, this is 100% due to Moraz's inclusion in the band, and had he stayed with them, I think they could have continued to make some truly unique and wonderfull music. Instead, they got worse and worse from this point on. A sad thing, really; Moraz was Yes' saviour and they didn't even know it. Anyway, this song has some really great moments, especially from Chris Squire, who displayes his speed on the bass guitar without showing off at all. Of course Howe can keep up with him as well, and finally he, Squire and Moraz all three jam together. Then we get to hear some truly great jazz-meets-classical soloing from Howe; once again one of his best moments in Yes history. Just a little over the six minute mark, the song become much heavier and starts into a very groovy breakdown that is the closest thing to a get-up-and-dance song you're gonna get from classic-era Yes. Once again, Moraz steals the show with a very funky, fusion-esque keyboard solo wich is then interrupted by the vocal chant: ''cha cha cha, cha cha!''

''To Be Over'' - So, did you think that jazz-rock was out of place for a Yes album? How about southern rock? Does that top jazz-rock at all in terms of unlikelyhood? I think so. Don't worry, there is enough synth work here to still make it a significantly progg-y track, but it doesn't really become 'rock' in any sense until abut the 03:50 mark, and even then it's only Steve Howe speed-laying overtop of a more- or-less basic backbeat. The song then slows down once again and makes way for a great vocal harmony section. Eventually we get into a very impressive groove section once again, and quess who is the star once again? Yup, Moraz is definately quite a musician, and as far as I can tell based on his efforts on this album, the fanboys can have Wakeman for all I care. The song and album ends with the theme of this particular song (Which is absolutely beautiful, by the way) repeateing several times over as the fader goes down, closing the most epic and impressive chapter in Yes history for good . . .

Now, I personally find no flaw anywhere on this record, but many people feel like it is useless doodling with instruments and not having a real clear direction. I beg to differ, and feel like it Yes' most solid effort to date (and most likely, ever). Other complaints about the record pertain to the fact that the final track feels out of place when compared to the first two. Personally, I think that is just silly, because the greatest albums of all time are all built around constantly changing tempoes, directions and moods. To say that ''To Be Over'' is out of place on RELAYER is like saying that butter is out of place on toast; these two elements, soft and aggressive, just go together so well in progressive music, and this album is an especially good example of how a great quite track at the end of an exhausting album is the perfect way to end a masterpiece, which this is.

As far as I am concerned, it's essential. No progressive rock fan should be without this album, but many dissagree with me, so therefore it is really up to you, the individual. Give it a try and see if you can hear the same things I do in it that make it a very special record. Ten times the record that CTTE is in my book. A perfect 5 out of 5. Yes' masterpiece.

Report this review (#160989)
Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ahh... such perfect music.

CttE is pure progressive bliss, and manages to contain all of its beauty and intensity in by far the most accessible of the next three albums. TfTO is deep and epic far beyond anything ever written; it has so much beauty and intensity that people are driven off by it because it is superior to their own existence. In comparison to its predecessors, Relayer has a lot less beauty, but they make up for it by DESTROYING THEIR INSTRUMENTS. It's almost like hard rock without being heavy at all. Hands down, this album has the best rhythm section of anything. Ever. Period. John Paul Jones + John Bonham= incredible; Geddy Lee + Neil Peart= incredible; Greg Lake + Carl Palmer= Incredible. Chris Squire + Alan White= better. You have to hear it to believe it. It's as if the band had to control themselves to allow Rick Wakeman into the mix, and then once he left it was just, alright everyone, play as hard, loud, and long as you can. MINDBLOWING guitar. The solos in all three songs are up there with the best. Steve Howe must be the most emotional guitar player. He doesn't just play the guitar; he becomes one with the guitar and uses it to express is inner God. And believe me, he still plays fast, hard, and high. Blistering.

I used to not like this album. I used to strongly dislike it. I loved The Yes Album, Fragile, CttE, TfTO, GftO, Magnification, and even 90125 to some extent, but I just could not get into Relayer. I don't know whether it was the nonstop DESTROYING which scared me off, or the lack of a lot of vocals, but whatever it was I just wasn't a big fan. This changed. I liked To Be Over and listened to it a lot. Then I started getting into Gates of Delerium. THAT was a lifechanging moment. From then on, it was obsession. I actually listened to this album on repeat more than a hundred times in a row. I remember, because I wouldn't let anything else touch my ears. My friends and family were getting very sick of it by this point, but I couldn't have cared less if they disowned me as long as I got to keep my Yes.

So, after this long rave review intro, let me just set myself straight and say that Relayer isn't my favorite Yes album, CttE and TfTO take those honors. But it's damn good. Rick Wakeman's gone and it didn't even matter. They just changed their style. Patrick Moraz fills in for Rick, and hardly fills all the space that Wakeman did. It doesn't matter, though, it fits in with the formula. Any more keyboards and it might seem like it was intruding on the rest of the band's omnipotence. And Moraz gets a couple of solos. He plays a big part in the Soon section at the end of Gates of Delerium, and he even has a little solo in To Be Over.

1. Gates of Delerium- 11/10: Yep. More than ten. It's the only real epic on the album, and an epic it is. It kicks off with an intro of cymbals, keyboards, and inaccessible guitar and bass. Certainly different from the intros of Close to the Edge, Heart of the Sunrise, and Ritual. This is probably what turned me off to the album initially. But believe me, it's not bad, it's just different. After about two minutes, the song really starts. Jon's voice cuts through the sound and soars. Very good lyrics (Far more well-written then War and Peace, which this song is supposedly base off ;-P). We are introduced to the main riff, very simple. The vocals are incredible (Jon is an angel). However, as they keep singing, the music intensifies around them, and segways between the main riff. The rhythm section drives this song and helps build it up. Then they go back down a little bit around six minutes in. This doesn't last for long though. Give them about a minute before they really begin destroying. This is essentially the start of the ten minute solo, the start of the buildup, even though there are more vocals sung after this point. The solo officially starts about eight minutes in. It is VERY dense (Rick's keyboards would NOT fit into this song). Chris and Alan begin their wild rampage, and Steve and Moraz switch off playing in unison and just having Steve DESTROY on his instrument. You really can't understand and appreciate this solo after one listen, five listens, ten listens, even twenty listens. It takes much more than that. At first you only really hear the melodies (and at first not even those because it's so dense). You really need to UNDERSTAND the rhythm section though. The drums get pretty intense and violent after the eleven minute mark. Alan White deserves a Nobel Prize for his work in this song... Or at least a lot more acclaim than he receives. Most bands would need two, if not three drummers to make this much noise. Then at around twelve minutes the solo kicks back in full force, to build up to the mindblowing climax, beginning at about 12:45. Steve's steel pedal guitar comes to life and explodes out of the atmosphere, while the bass chases it and soars along with it. Meanwhile the drums are pounding like an engine keeping the song going while the guitar proceeds to get higher and higher. And even when you think an instrument can't possibly go any higher, Steve Howe makes it happen. At about fifteen minutes, the guitar flies out of the atmosphere. We are now in space. The drums stop and we are left with keyboards and guitar. Then the high pitch guitar cuts through the haze. We are found. This part of the song is titled Soon. and is arguably the most beautiful part of the album. Jon's voice takes control here, and it is one of his finest moments, rivaling his efforts in Awaken and And you And I. I love the outro to this song as well. The drums come back in, subdued, while the keyboards continue to be the backdrop, and the guitar takes you higher. Then a fadeout. Beautiful, and quite a relief after the violent intensity of the rest of the song. A flawless epic.

2. Sound Chaser- 9.5/10: If you thought that the band's intensity was spent after Gates of Delerium, think again. The rhythm section is possibly even better in this song. This song is boundless, wild, and crazy. It is blazing fast. It has little melody, just speed. The song starts off with a few seconds of keyboard to trick you into thinking that it is a relaxed song. Then the drums come in and rip you apart. The drums in most of the song are incredible and seem like a drum solo in many places, while still serving to back up the rest of the band. The bass kicks in too, and is also mindblowingly fast. This is possibly, dare I say it, Chris's finest moment (Alan's being Gates of Delerium). He is great in Heart of the Sunrise, Close to the Edge, Gates of Delerium, Roundabout, and Starship Trooper, but this might be even more virtuous. The rest of the band kicks in and Jon comes in with a few lines (this song is mostly instrumental) before letting the band take off again. This time the guitar takes you above the lightning rhythm section. Then everything else stops and Steve solos for a minute and a half or so. It is one of his best solos too. The one in the previous song, Yours is No Disgrace, America, and Siberian Khatru are also in the same ballpark. After the solo, it's Jon's turn to say some words. He says a few lines with keyboards in the background, then the drums and bass come back in and shut him out. The keyboards serve as a great soundscape in this song, as the bass underlies the whole ending. The guitar solo here is exceptional again. VERY FAST. However, the Cha Cha Cha part that Jon sings a couple times is still a bit annoying and doesn't add to much. This song is more of a chance to showcase their omnipotent virtuousity and their blistering intensity then to be pretty or have any discernable melody. Very dense and inaccessible. Very progressive.

3. To Be Over- 10/10: Ah... the calm after the storm. A beautiful keyboard and guitar riff starts off the song. The song placement on this album is perfect, because this song would not have been as effective anywhere else on the album but as a closer. After about a couple of minutes the vocals and drums start. To Be Over has some of Yes's most beautiful vocals, and the best lyrics on the album. After the first verse, Steve gets a solo. Don't worry though, it doesn't ruin the mood, it is just beautiful, with keyboards and cymbals in the background. At the same time, though, it is very fast in some parts. At about 4:30, the song becomes more epic and dramatic. The keyboards do a lot of the drama while the guitar solo continues. About a minute later the vocals come back in, continuing the desperate, dramatic feel. Very pretty. Nothing surprising in the rest of the song. There's a short keyboard solo, which is refreshing after having none of that for over a half hour. One more verse, and the last line be ready to be loved leads the way to a beautiful outro, one of their best.

I tried to make this not be a rave review. I don't think I did a very good job of that, but what can I say. Honestly though, the musicianship on this album rivals (and beats) that of anything else I have ever heard. Jimmy Page plays his guitar faster, but that kind of playing would be out of place on a Yes album. While still playing insanely fast, and technically sound, the band sacrifices very little of the emotion that made CttE and TfTO so good.

5 stars. ESSENTIAL. A MASTERPIECE of progressive music.

Report this review (#163256)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9.0/10 Incredible

At the opening of Gates I felt the new sound of YES, or the changed sound...I heard it sleightly in Topographic but now we are really in a new time for the band. Relayer, though, is almost perfect. I love Gates to death, and find To Be Over to be their best track since And You And I from Close to the Edge. Now, Gates while incredible and great does not compete with To Be Over...To Be Over is another alien moment where Jon Anderson must have been given permission by his leader on their planet to indulge in his alien intellect. I would like to know those mysertious lyrics very bad.

So, This is greatness again and definitely feels more constructed and concise than Tales from Topographic. It is much shorter and clearly put forth with 3 easily seperated tracks. Sound Chaser I do not really like, though, it is OK. This is where I have to take my points of: Sound Chaser and the terrible keyboard work of Pat Morass, excuse me Moraz, who takes enjoyment in using terrible sounding synths and streamlining them over the greatness of all the other members sounds. To Be Over is just so good that his solo can't damage it really, but whenever that solo kicks I always just want to cut it out and get a nice Wakeman one in there or something, maybe on an old fashioned Moog with some nice ripping sound.

A great album, a bit more fluffy sounding and much further away from the Close to the Edge sound of the old days now, but still excellent. Check it out!!!!

Report this review (#163520)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very good album (even if I don't like Sound Chaser and his 'chachacha chacha' chorus line). Only three songs, and the best of three is the longest (21 minutes) The Gates Of Delirium, well-named, because it's really delirious by moments (the beginning). The cover art is magnificent (or, in french, sublimissime). Not my favorite from Yes, and I still prefer Rick Wakeman than Patrick Moraz, but a very good release. Not for Yes-beginners, though.
Report this review (#163915)
Posted Friday, March 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Opposite end of the same spectrum.

Relayer is a very different album by Yes. Most easily comparable to their grand masterpiece, Close To The Edge [CttE] (thanks to the structure of the album) the sound on the disc is more different than anything they'd ever done before. First ad foremost, while normal Yes is characterized by lush soundscapes and incredibly clean melodies, Relayer is defined by a sound that's almost hollow and almost electronic. That is not bad by any means, but listening to it right next to CttE points out a lot of differences simply in tone. The band's standard long-symphonic compositions are still there but don't expect something warm and welcoming like their previous outings -- indeed, expect something almost cold.

Like CttE, this album is home to three sprawling compositions, one side long and two mid-long. The styles of these are, again, much different than most other things by Yes. As mentioned before, while Yes usually structures everything to the -enth degree, Relayer comes off as more jammy. Especially the second track, SOUND CHASER, which starts with a full minute of chaos before starting the song which, as it turns out, is simply organized chaos. This is the song that really epitomizes the album in terms of style. If you want to listen to one song to get the gist of Relayer -- this is the one. A great track, this is one that's kind of hard to stomach for those that are used to the incredibly clean style of symphonic music that Yes normally plays. Even the soloing bits in the middle feel a lot more twangy than Howe's parts on other albums.

However, the main attraction to the album is still the disc's opening track. THE GATES OF DELIRIUM is a 21-minute sprawling epic which proves that Yes could still keep people's attention with the longer stuff. Wakeman isn't there to add his copyright sound, but Moraz proves that he's good enough to fill in the gaps. Same goes for White's take on the gap left from the departure of Bruford. Really, it seems that these two members are what changed the sound of the band so much, with Bruford's jazz and Wakeman's classical influences gone the music started to take on an almost mechanical state. This is still good, however, and THE GATES OF DELIRIUM remains an essential Yes track from start to finish. Especially notable is the ending segment SOON, which would go on to be used as a single to promote the album. Quiet and reflective, this is the part of the song that brings back the usual YesSound, if only for a moment. Excessively evil and down to earth in terms of lyrics, this is a song that's truly at the other end of the Yes spectrum from their normal works... and it still sounds good.

Closing off the album is one of the slower pieces put on tape by Yes. After the chaotic SOUND CHASER, TO BE OVER seems almost out of place with its ethereal approach and delicate guitar and synth melodies. If there was a hint of CttE era sound left in Yes by this point this is where it shines through. Including all the lush sounds familiar to YesSongs. Still fairly out of place because of it's brother tracks, TO BE OVER can come off as a bit tedious when one wants the same kind of energy released on the first tracks. However, after a few spins this song sinks right in. Howe's bluesy guitar and Moraz's synths blend nicely over Anderson's subdued vocals to make a very blissful track that has some heavier moments coming right into the center. (Including some decidedly classic Howe soloing.)

To conclude:

Very different than Yes's previous works to this point, Relayer still stands near the top of the genre despite the criticism it sometimes receives. Certainly not one of Yes's best albums, this is still a classic that deserves 4 shining stars for overwhelming creativity and musicianship.

Report this review (#164970)
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A BRILLIANT fusion of rock, jazz and symphonic.....a MASTERPIECE of the highest order...........FAR, FAR ahead of its time.

I bought the LP(yes, the vinyl record) back in 1976, when I was in HS. I hadn't digested all of Close to the Edge and Tales and was arriving two years late to the Relayer world. I can recall my initial listen with much detail: I thought Relayer was ugly, abrasive and just horrible. I may have listened to it twice and put it away for several years. Over the next two decades I dabbled heavily in jazz-fusion, classical and experimental music of all sorts. I came back to Relayer about ten years ago, in CD form, and whala! It all makes sense to me now. Thirty plus years later!

Relayer is the closest Yes ever got to jazz-fusion. But it's not warm, fuzzy, jazz. It's hard-edged, piercing, whaling and at times squawking. Some of Howe's ES175 tones are downright DIRTY! Steve's solo on Sound Chaser is an electric spanish guitar piece that would make Andres Segovia roll over in his grave. BRILLIANT!!!

This is a DEEP, DEEP album that requires infinite listening sessions to digest. After 30+ years I'm still learning about it and from it. It's mind-blowing ear candy. I can only be grateful for music like this; that can be enjoyed for an entire lifetime. I'll be listening to this one when I'm 80 years old. Having seen Yes perform this entire album in concert is yet another highlight of my music listening life.

For my critical listening I use high end headphones connected directly to a CD player. I enjoy the production and mixing of the CDs much better this way. After carefully, and patiently, listening to Relayer I refute what some have said about the album's poor production. In fact, the production is some of Yes' best. Take some time and listen carefully to the drumming and see how each individual piece of the kit is easily distinguishable in the stereo spectrum. Some of White's rolls are so beautifully crafted and captured by the recording process. At times it sounds like multiple drummers are playing.

The drumming and percussion is some of Alan White's best ever and highlights his masterful cymbal skills(which can be heard right from the first few seconds of Gates and persistent throughout the record). This cymbal work is completely absent on most everything else White did with Yes. Perhaps that's what turns some off from this record; it doesn't rock with thumping snares and kicks.

Chris Squire is in fine form on this album playing the entire neck of his Rick like on no other Yes record. You will hear him constantly counterpointing and answering most everything that's going on around him; but quickly coming back to anchor the groove. Squire puts down a virtuoso performance on Relayer and quite possibly this may be Chris' best work of his entire career(that's saying a lot!). Listen to his shredding on the battle section of Gates and throughout Sound Chaser. I urge you to listen to the CD(not the mp3s) and if possible via tight headphones that have no leakage and retain proper bass response. You will be blown away by what Squire is doing.

Perhaps the most angular elements on this record are the guitars and synthesizers. Steve Howe and Patrick Moraz chose harder tones than on any previous Yes release. With the exception of the beginning of Gates(where Moraz adds some low end synth lines, from what sounds like a Minimoog), the rest of the synth are played in the top registers with piercing, glassy tones that shift the overall mood of the album to help create a cold, hard atmosphere which is seemingly what this concept album was trying to achieve(the stark, cold, gray cover art is perfectly suited for this music).

Jon Anderson is less prominent on this record than the previous one(that was meant to get some laughs!). He must have felt somewhat embarrassed by the hideous reviews that Tales received and decided to tone it down a bit on Relayer. The results are perfect. On Gates he said what he had to say and got the point across in less words than ever before. He also got his opportunity to do his space ballad toward the end of Gates. So, he got his two cents in but allowed the band to play! Thank you, Jon!

1. Gates Of Delirium (22:55): A classic progger that begs for headphones and deep concentration. An absolute masterpiece of progressive music. Impossible to fully appreciate after a few listening sessions. A symphony of chaos and jazz-rock. This is what The Mars Volta and King Crimson tries/d to pull off, but Yes did it MUCH MORE elegantly, without having to resort to screaming or excessive atonality. In fact, Gates Of Delirium may very well be the epitome of symphonic, hard, chaotic jazz-rock wrapped in a tuxedo.

2. Sound Chaser (9:25): A more accessible piece, but just as complex as the opener. Howe's guitar work on this one is nothing short of COSMIC. Nothing he's ever done has come close to touching what he pulled of on Sound Chaser. Listen to it and concentrate on what he's doing in the BACKGROUND. Amazing!

3. To Be Over (9:08): A friendlier song than the previous two, having some parts which are easier to tap your foot to. BUT, don't let the smooth opening bars fool you. This one is a progressive composition, but mellower and more restrained allowing the listener to wind down and catch a breath or two before the album ends. A perfect song to end this classic album.

I put Relayer on the same level as Close To The Edge. It's not better, or worse, but different. Relayer is the evil twin brother of Close To The Edge. It gives us a duplicate of the three song format, with the songs clocking in at almost identical lengths. But, the similarities end with that. The differences are more poignant: a new drummer added a completely new dimension and Moraz's edgy synth work gave the music a colder ambience than what Wakeman provided on CTTE(with his fat Moog lines and Pipe Organ grandiosity).

Relayer is BRILLIANT on so many levels that a decent review would have to be several chapters long. TEN STARS....ooooops.....not allowed on PA.......OK, FIVE STARS.

Report this review (#167861)
Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Very complex, powerful, and challenging music showcasing everything that is amazing about classic Yes (sans Wakeman... who in my opinion really isn't that amazing). Relayer is the anarchic companion to the ambrosial Close to the Edge; modern, edgy, and savagely noisy, it is by far the most unique album in the band's library, and holds its own when compared to their other classics.

Appropriate to the song's subject matter, Gates of Delirium is an explosion of chaotic, dizzying melodies and soloing, Anderson's lyrics painting a picture of war and destruction. As the central piece to the album, a lot rides on this epic's effectiveness, and it certainly delivers the goods-- but it may take a few listens. The tone of this extended song takes some getting used to; it is very metallic, with an emphasis on treble timbre and explosive creativity. Howe plays with much more slides and effects than on previous albums, while the inclusion of Moraz (over the cartoonish Wakeman) lends a completely different sonic tapestry to the song's background. All in all, probably the band's finest extended work after Close to the Edge.

Side B is just as different, with Howe and Squire's manic display of dexterity and virtuosity on Sound Chaser setting the bar impossibly high for follow up albums. Very jazzy, filled with great soloing and grooves, this nearly instrumental song has a solid energy as unique as the opener. The closing song flirts with a few new sounds, especially Howe's use of twang (and sitar?), and closes this album with a memorable and peaceful melody.

Not as good as CTTE in my book, but this largely instrumental album is still a knock-out, and a worthy addition to the classic prog fan's library.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#168623)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Visions relayed to Anderson by his goldfish after pot pourri is sprinkled in the bowl

Must admit I am not really a die-hard Yes fan but if challenged, could name sufficient tracks culled from their output up to circa 1974 to fill out a single CD with 80 minutes of fantastic music.

That said, this is probably my favourite individual Yes album and although the reasons are many fold, they might summarise down to these:

PATRICK MORAZ - a vastly underrated keyboard player who suffers from unfair comparisons to Wakeman. They both have chops a butcher's dog would die for, but Moraz has jazz in his digits whereas the Caped Crusader, for all his merits, does not. The hirsute Swiss plays some very tasteful and subtle stuff here, and although not 'in yer face' in terms of heroic Moog soloing as heard on previous outings, his reticence in this area may have been a case of:

I'm the new boy, best just make sure I don't tread on toes first

Although difficult to prove, the spacier, jazzier and more chromatic feel of the album may be in no small measure down to Moraz's influence? What he chooses NOT to play is just as important here as what he does i.e the creation of space within which to ENHANCE the other parts of the music.

STEVE HOWE - indisputably a brilliant technician, but it is not inconceivable that if asked why he crams 200 notes into a space sufficient to house a comfortable eight, he might reply:

Because I Can

For me, his guitar sound on the previous Yes albums is quite wretched. A tinny, twangy and fizzy squabble that despite some inspired note and scale choices, usually ends up cluttering the already overwrought arrangements. However, here on Relayer some bright spark technician (Offord?) must have approached the maestro with a tremulous:

Your guitar sounds like an angry ukelele in a jam jar Steve, try this setting man

Voila!...his Gibson semi-acoustic at last sounds rich and full bodied, like Kenny Burrell with balls.

ALAN WHITE - a drummer who deserves great credit for stepping into the daunting sneakers of Mr Bruford. After the nightmare of 'Piles from Pornographic Lotions' he appears to have settled comfortably into the drum-stool and his new found confidence is exemplified by some fantastic playing e.g. the dizzying break early on in Sound Chaser

CHRIS SQUIRE - Author of one of the most sought after but difficult to replicate sounds in prog, the overdriven bass. It truly is a wondrous phenomenon and conspires to be both gutsy and cutting and sumptuously bottomy at all the right times. A very good singer in his own right as evidenced by his excellent solo album Fish Out of Water I am surprised he wasn't allowed to take over on lead occasionally. But wait up...that's because of.....

JON ANDERSON - the 'Crushed Velvet Sergeant Major' may have been chastened by the reception Tales received, so he appears to 'lighten up' a little here and let the others take over some of the control. Mercifully, his habitually opaque lyrics are a touch more secular this time around, and there are moments when Mr Anderson almost appropriates English. (but that might be just my Scottish speakers playing up)

A truly gifted singer with a vocal texture and range that almost DEFINES the sound of Yes. Such a shame that he spent so much of his free time with his head firmly up his backside.

All three compositions presented here are excellent, and the lessons learned from Tales result in arrangements that although busy and detailed, exhibit a willingness on the part of ALL the band to recognise 'the bigger picture' and not just their own little part thereof. With grandiose concepts of performing live telecasts suspended from a custard lake on Uranus in lederhosen temporarily shelved, the new line-up just got on with creating innovative rock music and what is probably the last great Yes album.

From here on in sadly, the band's output degenerated into a rigidly conservative brand of anodyne MTV 'rawk' which is a disgrace to their inspirational and carefully wrought cultural heritage.

Shame about the lederhosen and custard though.

Report this review (#169577)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
4 stars Review 49, Relayer, Yes, 1974 StarStarStarStar

I have spewed my thoughts on how 'over-rated' this album is all over the forum. However, I must admit, I do actually like it. It's an interesting progression in the Yes sound, with the added jazzy (rather than atmospheric) keys of Moraz. That may do it for some people, even if Wakeman was more to my taste. My 'problem' (for want of a less extreme word) with the album is The Gates Of Delirium. The other two tracks, especially Sound Chaser, are excellent, reaching the heights I'd expect of Yes. The Gates... occasionally gathers together the parts of Yes that I don't particularly like. Nonetheless, the album is overall a fairly sturdy construction, I do enjoy listening to it, even if I'm a little more partial to the second half than the first. Additionally, it's definitely progressive, rather than simply extended, and also features some dazzling playing. Very good, but not, for me, the masterpiece that it is often made out to be.

The Gates Of Delirium has a few essential problems. Jon Anderson's attempt to go for more tangible and physical lyrics doesn't really pay off, I think (lines like 'kill them/give them as they give us', for instance), and I feel he's more competent and capable with his more surreal/cerebral lyrical content. Second, it only in instants really hits the lyrical content for me. The battle section is simply unconvincing, and the build-up is broken up a little unhelpfully. Finally, though I'm perhaps being enormously hypocritical here, I feel Yes tried too hard to spell out exactly what they were doing without the spark that their previous albums had. The drums-keyboard battle is a case in point. I simply don't get much really cerebral out of it, and it doesn't convey the battle at all, just a pair of chappies on keyboard and drums.

On the plus side, the basic content is excellent. Chris Squire is the highlight player with a typically fluid and distinctive bass part. Alan White doesn't handle himself at all shabbily, either, showing his sort of synergy with Squire and a number of interesting percussion choices. Moraz' keyboards do definitely add something new, and even though I'm more of a fan of Wakeman's dense and subtle atmospherics: a jazzy tinge, especially in the central section, as well as a denser organ sound and superb use of the moog. Steve Howe displays his abilities as a killer soloist and player, though not throwing in his guitar when he doesn't really feel it's necessary. The vocals, perhaps, do not have the instant charm of previous Yes-work, but they're not bad, per sé. All in all, the various musicians merge excellently to create an interesting, superbly-played end product, even if it's a tad unconnected at times, could have been abridged without much serious harm, and has its weaknesses.

Of particular interest is the reverent and haunting section segueing to Soon, where I feel the whole atmosphere bursts in, and that entire concluding part, with its rather mixed message, crossing tragedy and loss with the need to go on, stunning vocals from Anderson and keys from Moraz, as well as a carefully ebbing bass from Squire (not too unreminiscent, oddly of a softer Floyd song). Howe, as always, is right at home on the acoustics, as well as a glowing electric. A gorgeous and emotive piece of music.

Sound Chaser is a more chaotic and overtly jazzy piece, with standout performances from all involved, especially Moraz's electric piano and organ and a jaw-dropping (slightly pseudo-Spanish on electrics) solo from Howe. The rest of the men are adapted very well to the jazz playing. Anderson's more upbeat harmonised vocals suit the fluid atmosphere, and the cross of the sheer noise of the full band pieces, the darker edges (mostly contributed by a classicalish drumming style from White) and the more careful (one could say pastoral, but in a very Iberian way) sections is handled with no slips.

Additionally, though the atmosphere is given less real obvious focus, it's very present throughout. The much maligned 'cha-cha-cha-cha' section is one of my favourite Yes moments because of the slightly rougher backing vocals and drums. The whole piece is consistently brilliant, impressive and enjoyable, and Howe's solo, especially, is not to be missed.

Finally, To Be Over rounds off the album. It, too, is a decent composition, though initially rather too hesitant for my liking, and occasionally the keyboards seem a little wallowing rather than concise. I feel that the introduction would have benefited from a touch of trimming, but the worries of the piece are lost by the vocal entrance, with another entrancing harmony, an interesting twist on the classic ballady drum-beat that we might more expect from Rush, as well as a decent solo from Howe, which turns into a slightly stronger backed solo (though I can't help but feel the backing is a little normal). The 'after all... your soul will still surrender' area shows some of the more successful efforts of this song, merging more gentle and positive sections with edgy attempts. Alas, the end is somewhat riffed ad nauseam. Not a bad effort, certainly, but it's pretty emblematic of the album's merging of positive and slightly weak ideas, and I won't get the urge for it as I might for something like Close To The Edge or South Side Of The Sky.

The bonus material has the same issue as Tales. It basically regurgitates things from the album in an unpolished format. Perhaps more of interest to those who really like this album, but there's nothing really to detain me after the obligatory To Be Over. A single version of Soon feels rather out of context to me, and I can't really enjoy it so much having heard the thing in context first. The edit of Sound Chaser similarly feels a bit like obligatory bonus rather than interesting bonus. The run-through of Gates is actually quite interesting in showing a couple of the early ideas in the piece, and the drumming is a little more vicious, I feel. Not a 'you must get the remaster for this track alone' bonus, but not too terrible if you're getting the album for the first time.

'After all, your soul will still surrender...'. Perhaps not, in my case, but I think that you can't miss this album. Some wow moments, some not so wow moments, but great playing throughout, and a solid Yes album. They clearly produced a unique album that Yes could not have really done with Wakeman, and with a real gem in the middle. Probably essential, especially if you're less whiny about lyrics than I am.

Rating: Four Stars Favourite Track: Sound Chaser

Report this review (#174380)
Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Quite the thrill.

This album took a while to grow on me. I had listened to The Gates Of Delirium and Sound Chaser, and couldn't get over how.... noisy and loud it was. Where was the Yes that I loved from Fragile and Close To The Edge? But, once it grew on me, I realized that Yes were in completely new territory with Relayer, and I loved where they went.

On this album, you will find some of the most aggressive, thrilling, furious, technically out of this world music that Yes ever produced. The Gates Of Delirium and Sound Chaser are great Yes music in a completely different light. To Be Over is what you would call the calm after the storm.

Don't take my word for it or anyone else here. Every progressive music fan needs to hear this album. A masterpiece in every sense of the word.

Report this review (#176840)
Posted Monday, July 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Real layered

The Gates Of Delirium is one of Yes best longer pieces. It is a true masterpiece of progressive rock! It builds from an interesting start to a fantastic instrumental workout and it ends with a beautiful symphonic ballad; so powerful, so emotional, so perfect! It is not up to par with Close To the Edge, but nothing else in this world is!

Steve Howe's guitar playing is very much to the forefront on this album. But even if he is great here, this is not the album I would say best represents his unique and distinctive sound. Some parts feature his most aggressive playing ever, and there are several times where Howe plays all by himself with the rest of the band being silent. This does not always work out for the better.

Patrick Moraz, being the new guy here, is often pushed to the background providing more sonic textures - or layers - to the music than being a lead instrumentalist in his own right. But there are several parts where he is allowed to shine, and when he does, he shines brightly. Comparing him with Rick is pointless - they are simply different players and both are great in their own special way! Alan White also further proves himself here, and drums away in a frenzy on the jazzy Soundchaser.

In my review of Tales From Topographic Oceans I complained that the songs, or movements, were too long. Paradoxically, it is the two shortest songs on Relayer that are slightly too long for their own good.

Still, I think that this album is close to a masterpiece, and yet again a very special album by my favourite band. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#176979)
Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars -= One Of The Greatest Prog Rock Masterpieces Ever =-

So amazing, so fantastic, so progressive, so drive, so artistic, so epic, so charming, so ..... i even have no words for describing this inimitable masterpiece of progressive rock music. It has huge potential for being one of the most memorable prog rock work in this genre ever. The 40-minute album has only 3 tracks but that's enough to listen to it more anf more times. The Opening track Gates of Delirium is my favourite Yes song ever and one of the most ingenious epics i've ever heard. This song tells the story spawned by the influence of Tolstoy's War and piece about the brave troopers fighting for their native land and stand up to death. Melodic intro changes to vocal section. But the best piece is the instrumental battle part. It's no sence in describing it you must ONLY HEAR IT!!! The third part called Soon is a charmibg section and so epic, it's not for giving in explanation cuz it's a real fantastic thing!!! My rate - 10/5 - really, i can't describe fow genious this epic is!!!!! It's expanding the borders of my сonsciousness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The second one, Sound Chaser, describes band's real technical stule and experience. It's not of my favourite Yes songs but not bad to listen. 4/5 The third track called To Be Over is my favourite Yes song after Gates of Delirium and Awaken. Steve Howe's guitars is sounding charmfull and so ambitious. Great memorable one. 5/5.

No doubt, genious Yes work, my favourite album after 90125.

Report this review (#177610)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Here's why this record has been a staple in the bargain bins since 1975. It looks like a YES record in the mould of 'Close to the Edge', given the Roger Dean cover, the side-long epic and the two ten-minute tracks on the reverse side. But it sounds nothing like a YES record.

This might well be a good thing. All great artists reinvent themselves from time to time. However, I'm far from convinced by the music on this record, and believe its place in the bargain bins is well-deserved.

'Tales From Topographic Oceans' was roundly panned by music critics, and became a scapegoat for the genre. In reaction, the band stripped away everything melodic from their sound and issued 'Relayer', an angular album filled with avant-garde, hard-edged sound. Not a moment of beauty (save one, which I will refer to later), not even a hint of symphonic rock.

'The Gates of Delirium' is the album's flagship track. I can see why some listeners rate this as YES' finest work, but for me it doesn't achieve what the band intended it to - that is, stand as YES's anti-war hymn. Trouble is, the band tried to make the music as much the message as the lyrics. Usually a protest song uses the lyrics as the message, and the music provides the hook to draw the listener in. Here, however, the music itself deliberately sounds like war. Harsh, discordant, with sound effects intended to evoke the battlefield, and even a discordant 'battle' section where the band howls at each other. Sacrificing melody for cacophony is absolutely essential for the theme of the track, but it doesn't make for pleasant listening. Sadly, it also makes for trivial listening: contrary to what some believe, I see this track as the most simplistic of YES's epics. The first eight minutes introduce the main theme, a somewhat jerky, irregular thing with the vocals in unison with the rhythm, unlike the band's usual gloriously complex counterpoint. When they do bring out the odd moment of counterpoint - witness the second 'verse' in the section at 5:50, when SQUIRE does something interesting with his bass - it comes as something of a relief. This first, rather bland section finishes on the supposed 'highlight' of the 'devil's sermon' lyric, and leads into an extended 'battle' section, which is nothing more than a jam session, devoid of rationale any more complex than 'let's make war noises.' I note the -er, triumphant? surely not? - section at the 13 minute mark, so badly out of place in a paean against war. Unless the lads are secretly enjoying shooting their guitars and drums?

So what's the problem? Has the band forgotten how to do beauty? Have they lost the gift of raising their listeners into the heavens? Have, in fact, the aliens released possession of the band and b*ggered off back to the planet Proggadocia? Nope. Rather, this is what you get when a concept overwhelms the music.

They can still do beauty. The rightly-acclaimed' Soon' section taunts us with their talents, showing they can still mine the depth of human emotion. This section is filled with sweet curves and gentle rolling hills, fine fare after the brutish angularity of what preceded it. This, of course, was the band's intention, and it works - we get the point, lads - but my complaint is that it is all too simple, too obvious, too overwrought. You're a complex band. You are capable of anything. Why would you make a song about war, one of the most complex of human endeavours, so ridiculously black and white? I remain so desperately disappointed by this. YES were very wise to stick with their alliterative, onomatopoeic lyrical nonsense between 1971 and 1974: as soon as they start making sense (step into the witness box, 'Tormato') they reveal themselves as so incredibly shallow. Please, I beg you, go back to being enigmatic. Let us at least imagine you're clever.

So there we have it. 1) Declaration 2) Battle 3) Hope. Not as sophisticated as it looked, and not a demanding listen. Very much, for me at least, a case of the concept becoming a straitjacket smothering the outrageous talents of the band.

Speaking of outrageous, 'Sound Chaser' is up next. Directionless avant-jazz, thoroughly out of context here. Lots of clever playing totally wasted by an absence of any attempt at coherence. Melodies? Who needs them? The song's lyrics are a manifesto of sorts, an attempt at justifying the music. But again I feel nothing but bitter disappointment. The wonderful HOWE guitar work beginning at 3:00, for example, ought to be an integral part of the song, counterpointed by something else, but it's here on its own, blowing in the wind like a single sock on a washing line. The band accidentally rock out for a moment at the 6:30 mark - it must have snuck past the editors - but ANDERSON takes care of it by cha-chaing the band into the realms of derision. Again, this is not accidental. The band deliberately sought this harsh alternative to their now-abandoned glorious sound. Change I can take, change I embrace, but not change for the sake of change. If you're going to throw out a sound you've evolved over the years into something world-leading, you'd damn well better have something even better to replace it with. 'Sound Chaser' isn't it.

'To Be Over' slips past in nine flaccid minutes. There's a pretty tune of sorts, and some things happen, though I can't remember what. At least the two preceding tracks had some bite, however much like a mouthful of hot gravel they are to listen to. This is just insipid. And oh, please, put the steel guitar away, STEVE. That was just ridiculous. One of the most evocative sounds available to a guitarist and you dare noodle with it?

Did I mention that WAKEMAN had left and was replaced by PATRICK MORAZ? No? No wonder: it's totally irrelevant.

So why, given the radical departure in sound, did the label package this thing as though it was 'Close to the Edge II'? Why on earth did the band allow it? How many more ways could they have set 'Relayer' up to fail? Talk about a career-killer. While this was by no means the end of YES's glorious output, it signalled the end of their commercial viability for the best part of a decade. Utter foolishness.

I can understand why this album attracts its fans. I'll occasionally crank out 'The Gates of Delirium' myself, when I'm in the mood for a post-rock pastiche. But in my view the album delivers neither intellectual nor emotional satisfaction. It's a dud.


Report this review (#178838)
Posted Monday, August 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars All i have to say is Gates of Delirium. Anyway, this and Close to the Edge are two debatable epic songs, each having their own pros and cons. People tend to overlook this album because (A. This is the debut album for Alan White and Patrick Moraz, which means the departure of two prog icons, Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford, legends. And B. this is much more experimental, and people dislike the virtuosistic keyboard harmonies and undecipherable drum fills, for reasons i have no idea.) This album can be summed up in many ways, but one way is simple, pure experimental chaotic genius, sometimes surpassing CttE and Fragile, depending on your mood. But IMHO it is very overlooked.
Report this review (#181161)
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Patrick Moraz on board!And another genius deja vu!Relayer is so much near to Close to the Edge in its energy and power.Of course, it is quite more avantgarde than Close to the Edge.The structure of the album is the same - one big composition and two long ten-minutes songs.The album is extremely progressive and I like that!That makes it so delicious.The role of the relayer in the album Relayer is credited to Patrick Moraz.His involvement in the project is really important.He is the main factor for this album.The keyboards are divine on this release.The most important thing I want to say is that this album is something like game for the band.They are like children who want to play their game.They know this is the game they are the best in.They are virtuosos and are trying to experiment.The name of the game is progressive rock.And the name of the winner is Yes!
Report this review (#184123)
Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes - 'Relayer' 5 stars

A regressive progression.

While Yes has continually developed their album further and further since the debut, after 'Tales of Topographic Oceans' they fall back to the same album structure as the landmark 'Close to the Edge'. Except the music contained within is an entirely different animal. The music contains a lot of jazz, thanks to the new virtuosic Patrick Moraz and Steve Howe's gift of playing in any style of music. While I prefer Rick Wakeman by a large margin, Moraz left a lasting impression on Yes's progressive era.

'Gates of Delirium'. This is one of Yes's best pieces, right up with 'Close to the Edge'. The track has another scenic opening but is followed by a beautiful melody played by Steve Howe. There are different melodies throughout the piece contained in each the verses and chorus. While the accessible melodies are played, there are plenty of fast paced rhythms, jazzy interludes and avant-garde passages. The song is ended by one of their most crowning moments, the section of 'Soon'. This section is led by Jon Anderson's sweet vocal lines and Steve Howe playing another very beautiful, accessible melody on the lap steel guitar.

'Sound Chaser' is the strangest song of the Yes progressive era. The entire beginning is a fast paced jazz section with a leading bass line by Chris Squire, later accompanied by Steve Howe. Most of the song is in the same vein except for a short guitar solo in the middle accompanied by a symphonic background on the keys similar to what Rick Wakeman would do.

'To be Over' is basically a ship sailing out to sea like the 'Lord of the Rings'. It is a sad and beautiful piece indeed. Mostly carried through by Jon Anderson once again.

This album was Jon Anderson's largest input. The man has a serious taste of good music and composition despite his limited instrumental skills. I can recommend this album to anyone, a bit difficult to digest 'Sound Chaser' perhaps, but this is in no doubt an essential album in my book.

Report this review (#187010)
Posted Sunday, October 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Generally speaking, RELAYER is one of Yes' best albums, yet there are several problems with the majority of the music on the disc that stops this album from being a masterpiece in progressive music.

From the moment I began listening to this album I wasn't expecting much, considering the overdone nature of TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS and the fact that Rick Wakeman was no longer in the band at this point. For the first 5 or 6 minutes of The Gates of Delirium I wasn't overly excited, yet it didn't detract overall from the piece, considering the most impacting part of the song, the long instrumental section was a wake-up call to the true nature of this song. Patrick Moraz I admit does add a lot of keyboard work on this album and though his style differs from that of Wakeman, he holds up quite well when compared to the former member. My only other gripe with Delirium is that even though the long instrumental section is one of Yes' best and most defining, I was beginning to miss Anderson's vocals and that the final 4 or so minutes of the track was stretched way too long. All in all, Delirium is probably one of the better epics, following in the shoes of Close to the Edge and Awaken. 8.5/10

Upon listening to the other two tracks on the album, I was very impressed with the song-writing behind them. Sound Chaser is probably the better out of the two and it was much easier to listen to then To Be Over, yet both songs hold up very well, especially when being compared to Delirium. 8/10 for Chaser and 7/10 for To Be Over.

Overall, this album holds up very well and is their best album since CLOSE TO THE EDGE, and was their last piece of classic quality work. Overall it receives a 9/10. Close to perfect but not quite there but is still a more than excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Report this review (#189692)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Using a similar album setup to Close to the Edge, Relayer features one long piece followed by two shorter songs. The first two of these make this album one of the noisiest Yes has ever given birth to. From the "battle" sequences in "The Gates of Delirium" to the barrage of the rhythm section in "Sound Chaser," the mood has the frantic feel of a locomotive with no brakes. This is not to say that the album is without respite; some of Yes's most beautiful work appears on this album, in the form of "Soon," a soft and uplifting section that concludes that chaos of "The Gates of Delirium," and the final track, "To Be Over," a gentle "sailing down the calming streams" that leads to one of the greatest closures in all of progressive rock.

"The Gates of Delirium" One of Yes's longest songs opens with a misleadingly calm part: Shimmering keyboard and electric guitar harmonics. But just under two minutes in, there is a loud indication of where this piece will be heading. Jon Anderson sings lyrics partly inspired by Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace that build until the long and loud instrumental section. There are a number of well written themes recurring throughout this song that do run the risk of being repetitive, but they are played with enough variation (especially in Chris Squire's bass) to stay fresh throughout. Anderson singing "Listen" begins a different melody that is reminiscent of the bass guitar in part of the introduction, and it allows a meditative break to reflect on the collateral damage of warfare. Then, after eight minutes, there is a full seven minute instrumental section that frankly requires some degree of fortitude to listen through. It is loud pandemonium meant to depict a chaotic battle sequence. Drummer Alan White added a rank of junk from a junkyard to batter away at during this segment, and at one part, even pushed the entire rack over. Thunderous as it is, it is a well-orchestrated part that finally gives way to the peaceful and steel guitar-laden "Soon." Typically, a good epic piece would end in a climax only befitting such a long song, but here, as they have done successfully on previous records, Yes ends the song delicately- first mournfully, and then on a note of hopefulness.

"Sound Chaser" Intermixing Patrick Moraz's ghostly keyboard runs with cacophonic bashing from White and Squire, this one kicks off and rarely lets up. It has a great vocal melody, and crazy guitar work. Speaking of which, there's a solo spot for Steve Howe in the middle of this one, although this time (unlike "Leaves of Green" from the album before), he plays various runs on a crunchy electric guitar, and it is more of a cadenza than a transition. There are a couple of parts (like the "cha-cha-cha" bits) that serve as ridiculous transitions; these should have been omitted, really. Later, Moraz gets to properly demonstrate his abilities with a synthesizer solo over a chunky bass riff.

"To Be Over" Even when parts of this song lead the listener to believe that they are in store for yet another heavy instrumental section, they taper off to reveal another layer of musical finesse and beauty. The song fades in with quiet guitar and sitar, repeating the theme several times before the singers enter, singing some of the most relaxing lyrics in Yes music. Howe exercises both his abilities on electric guitar and steel guitar, while Moraz gives his best synthesizer solo heard here. The Mellotron is lovely, as are the vocal harmonies the appear here and there throughout the song. The last lines are amazing: "After all, your soul will soul will still surrender; after all, don't doubt your part- be ready to be loved." The song ends with vocals over the a spirited variation of the beginning. This is one my favorite Yes songs.

Report this review (#193848)
Posted Monday, December 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got this one back in 1974. I immediately liked it because it started off very lively, not unsimilar to Close to the Edge. I also noticed that the construction was of masterpiece proportions on Gates of Delirium. What was cool about the tune is that when they did the first verse, they changed the music around during the second verse and moved toward new musical ideas. This would continue through the song. For me, Gates of Delirium was the best epic tune I had ever heard. Every musician worked together as a unit. There were no single stars shining. The whole band was the shining star. I remember hearing Jon Anderson saying this was the first tune he wrote that was complete when the idea came to him. I just wonder what would have happened if the band didn't take a break after that album. Who knows what would have been. For those who don't know, each band member recorded their own album and none of the albums were as good as the band efforts. After they returned with Going for the One, Yes started going down hill as far as the epic tunes go. The exception being Mind Drive, but that was still inferior to this tune. For myself, I would have liked to see them continue to make album length songs. It would have delighted me to no end. Sound Chaser is also a masterpiece. The band is killer here. They have it altogether and it is a joy to listen to. To Be Over is on the slow side. I would have liked them to mix it up a little more than they did, but it too is an excellent work. The guys really outdid themselves on this one. I have to say this is the MUST HAVE Yes CD. This is their truely peek period.
Report this review (#197377)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember when I first bought this album. It was 4 months after taking a long train ride down to New York City listening to Close to the Edge (Album). At that time, Close to the Edge was it for me, I mean, I didn't think Yes would ever be able to out do such a finely crafted piece of music. After deconstructing every little aspect of that album, I went out and purchased Tales from Topographic Oceans and did the same thing. TFTO has a different flavor than CTE, but man, its a great album too! (that will be a different review).

So one day I wanted to see what Relayer was all about. I was upset to read that Rick Wakeman left the band and was replaced by Swiss born Patrick Moraz. Not knowing much about Patrick Moraz's style and not having high hopes for Relayer without Wakeman, I went out and bought it anyway. On my way home I put it into my CD player and waited for it to begin...............

THIS ALBUM IS YES' BEST PIECE OF WORK! Relayer has three tracks: The Gates of Delirium, Soundchaser, To Be Over.

The Gates of Delirium: This song is over 21 minutes in length and is Yes' Magnum Opus...yes, even more than Close to the Edge. One can break the song down into three unmistakeable parts with the final section Soon being a staple in the concerts. Trying to explain the beauty and sheer force of this song will not do it justice, just listen to it.

Soundchaser - Sounds like the band went crazy! There has not been a Yes song like this before Relayer's release. Steve Howe has a nice broken down section with his Telecaster (this album is ALL Telecaster) while Patrick Moraz blows up the end of the song with one of the craziest synth solos you will ever hear.

To Be Over - The greatness of Yes is the fact that they not only know how to break it down within a song, they can also break down whole songs. To Be Over is a fantastic song that starts off soft and dreamy. The inclusion of a Sitar provides a worldly feel to the introduction of the song and the music intensifies as it reaches its peak in the final minutes of the song.

Folks, do yourself a favor, go out and buy his album. Listen to it and grow to love it as I do. And for you Tool fans, this is Danny Carey's favorite Yes Album, why not give it a try?

Report this review (#197406)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Don't get me worng, this is a very good album, but one song does not an Essential make. Gates Of Delirium is certainly a fantastic, brilliant effort that ranks among YES' best songs but also remember that there are two tracks that follow this, two dull, drab efforts that should disappoint any YES supporter. It is because of the general malaise brought on by Sound Chaser and To Be Over that this falls, in my ranks, to 5th among YES albums. The golden age of YES' began in 1971 and in many ways ended right in the middle of this album when Gates Of Delirium ends, because they would never again create a complete album. When you have a run of such exceptional brilliance you do become a victim of your own success and while Sound Chaser, To Be Over and the album Going For The One are alright prog works themselves, they do not meet YES standards and don't hold up well in comparisons with many of their prog contemporaries better works. Gates Of Delirium makes this an excellent addition to any prog collection but I can't see going above 4 star for this album because of the lack of great supporting tracks.
Report this review (#197416)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer is one of the Yes materspieces.

In this album meet the feelings, the different worlds and they're making up a fantastic medley together: lyrical and abstract parts are varying continuously.

Jon Anderson and the musicians (Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Alan White and Patrick Moraz) show excellent accomplishment from the first to the last minute.

1. Gates of Delirium - Very monumental, frenetic virtuoso and beautiful song. One of my favourite Yes songs.

2. Sound Chaser - Amazing and special jazz rock song with wildness and calm.

3. To Be Over - First peaceful, then enlightened. Perfect end for this album.

It's a hard challenge to write wrong about this album. It's artlessly five stars.

Report this review (#199425)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars With Relayer Yes showed the world that...even without Wakeman and Bruford, there was still life in them...Bruford already left the album before but Wakeman had his belly full of it, after Tales. No matter how fantastic Tales was....Wakeman was replaced by Moraz...and I can't help thinking how this might have sounded when Wakeman was still a part of the band.

Having said that...I must say that Yes here right away shoots of with in my eyes the only piece they ever created that could compete with Close To The Edge, what I think is Yes's best or second best depends on what kind of mood I am..The Gates Of Delirium, love or leave it, is a fantastic piece of music....chaotic in its own charm......and highly skillfully made..this is really something. In the beginning I only knew Soon, which I heard on Yes Years...and I think eventually because of that small edit..I decide that Relayer should be the next album of Yes in my collection...The Gates Of Delerium struck me right from the beginning, but Sound Chaser and To Be Over.....left me with a double feeling. Too experimental...too far over the the top.......and it took me alot and alot of spins to get used to these as we'll. Perhaps the band itself also had double feelings, cos both the songs were not even remained in the set untill the end of the tour and already soon dropped. Eventually it changed and could begin to see a certain beauty in it...but I always kept keeping the feeling...that The 2 last songs are completely overshadowed by the greatness of the first. I think that first is great...but most of all I like the end Soon is beatifully song by Anderson, supported by some great guitar of is he getting such high notes........I was so happy I could see Yes perform the entire song during the Symphonic Tour...what an experience was that...

Sound Chaser is a song that starts of as a Alan White show off piece that sound results in some amazing Squire / White interplay...all along the sound what keeps on being going on the the extremely dominant and fast bassing of Squire...sometimes joined by Howe, who also contributes substantially that sometimes more sounds like a connection of improvisations that goed from one into the other. What often struck my hearing is the very very suddle underlying kepboardwork of Moraz...never dominant but always underneath the playing. Although there are some moments during the song....that will give time to the listener to regain his breath...most of the song is quite agressive, and only towards the end ends out into a harmonic melody...however already soon it turns into another line and the chaos is released again.

To be Over starts much more quite...and gives the impression that it builds up in a typical Yes way....some very nice Citar here. When after a intro of 2 min, the vocals eventually kicks in...the melody of the song remains beautifully slow and never gets agressive....Its much much easier to digest than Sound Chaser....

So all in a all a great album as long as you give it the opertunity to grow on you.....Dont give up to easy.

Report this review (#201449)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes' last masterpiece and the only album with Patrick Moraz. A very special album, at least for me: my favourite Yes' song is in it. Contrary to what many people say, Yes is not 'lost' in this album, and surely is not without inspiration !

To Be Over: the calm and melodic song from this album. It has a different sound from everything that Yes did; maybe because of the electric sitar. Moraz gives us a soft and great solo. Alan's drumming is very technical. The guitar notes are gentle. It surely isn't one of my favourites, but it's a good song. 4,2 stars.

Sound Chaser: one of the heaviest Yes' songs, it is fantastic. Mainly because of the instruments, very well executed. Alan White shows us some of his abilities: at the beginning, some great syncopation. Through the song, we can hear a very technical and rhythmic drumming. It reminds me of Bill Bruford. I can't play this song on drums, it's impossible ! Only for great drummers !! Chris Squire shows us some of his great and very fast abilities with bass. What a bass line ! Steve Howe shows us a very fast solo, played perfectly ! And Patrick Moraz shows he is as good as Rick Wakeman: a great, fast and elaborated solo ! Near to the end, Howe plays a very melodic Pedal Steel Guitar, the same used in 'Gates'. The 'cha cha' parts are very cool, and in the end, when the song becomes faster and faster, it's very exciting ! Well, great song, 5 stars.

Gates Of Delirium: I must admit: my favourite Yes' song ! It is VERY complex, the lyrics are great, the musicians are perfect on this track, it is pure feeling. Alan's drumming is, once again, strong and fast. Howe's guitar techniques are innovative and amazing. Jon Anderson sings it with a special feeling/emotion. He said that this song has a message: 'the war is not necessary' (Symphonic Live, 2001). Genius. The part from 7:58 to 10:20 is really cool and exciting ! The drums and bass keep a great rhythm, whilst the guitar and the synthesizer present their own shows ! Then, the song changes immediately the rhythm. This part is full of effects and the time changes are nice. This is kept till 12:26, when the drums stop and begin to do fast fills whilst the other instruments lead us to a musical orgasm. Then, comes the super-solo by this great keyboardist. That's my favourite Yes' keyboard solo; simply fascinating. The synthesizer sound is amazing, and the drums and the bass keep a nice rhythm while it is played. Moraz's style here is very similar to Wakeman's, I don't see much difference (except for the Jazz influence the first has). Then, Howe shows us the magnific sound of the pedal steel guitar, leading us to a totally different melody. It is 'Soon', that beautiful piece included in Gates of Delirium. Amazing, touching. This song is entirely perfect. 1500 stars.

Yes, the last perfect work, but not the last GREAT one. 5 stars.

Report this review (#202545)
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would rate this album as 5 stars for the Gates of Delirium alone. This is a phenomenal work that sounds incredible on both this studio album and live recordings. As others have commented, it is a musical representation of a battle with different themes representing waring factions. You get a brutal guitar slicing and hacking its way through the centre of the piece dueling against dirty bass and soaring / dive bombing lead synth lines. The chaos of the battle dies away with gentle guitar swells leading into the high pitched echoing slide guitar of Soon. The absence of vocals from the central part of this work makes the final section and resolution of piece all the more beautiful. The inclusion of Patrick Moraz gives this album a very different feel to other yes albums. The keyboards he uses have a softer feel to the sharpness of Wakeman's moogs and his playing has a jazz fusion feel which contrasts with Wakeman's classical style. The second side of the album has two contrasting pieces. Sound Chaser seems to follow from side one with the harshness of Howe's guitar centre stage. To be over provides a change of mood/pace and nice contrast to rest of the album. For me, this the third masterpiece from Yes following Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans. One of my favorite albums.
Report this review (#202759)
Posted Saturday, February 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Bye Bye Wakeman, and hello Moraz, recruited after the band experimented with the idea of hiring Vangelis, who Anderson would later successfully work with for a number of years.

This is Yes, Jim, but not as we know it. The feel and velocity of the music is a million miles away from its overlong predecessor, and this is not a bad thing by any means. Rumour has it that Anderson wanted to produce another very lengthy concept LP to poke two fingers up at all the critics, but was withheld from doing so by wiser band members.

The main attraction is, of course, Gates of Delerium, and it is utterly brilliant. A quiet introduction belies the cacaphony that follows, almost as if the band were turbocharged on speed. It is, though, incredible, and as much as I love Wakeman, I wish Moraz had done a bit more work with the band, because his swirling and pulsating keyboards contribute a huge amount to the instrumental section at the heart of the piece. When the war is over, the track descends into quite the most lovely guitar solo from Howe (this man is amazing) and Anderson's deservedly famous Soon sequence. You experience all of the horrors of war in the main section and then absolutely feel the relief at the coming of the light at the end. A five star track if ever there was one.

I noted the equally high quality of the second side of Close to the Edge. I do not, however, think that the flipside of Relayer anywhere near matches the main event, and it is for that reason that I award the LP four stars overall.

Sound Chaser, in particular, is far too jazzy for my tastes and is certainly not a typical Yes track. I do, however, adore the relaxed and sonically lovely To Be Over, which hints very much at some of the direction to follow in the next album.

A very good LP which definitely helped restore the reputation of the band after the critical mashing they had with the predecessor LP.

Four stars.

Report this review (#204582)
Posted Friday, February 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars RELAYER is a very interesting Yes album; song structure wise, it resembles CLOSE TO THE EDGE in the fact that it consists of one sidelong piece followed by two (relatively) shorter pieces. Sound wise, Yes have delved into the possibilities of jazz fusion (thanks to newcomer Patrick Moraz), and IMO, a much deeper venture into pure classical music. Are these ingredients for a prog masterpiece?

My answer is mostly yes, but there are moments that slightly tick me off. Particularly, ''Sound Chaser'' just sounds like the band wanted to show off their virtuosity to the world without taking extreme consideration in how to do so. Sure, the last three odd minutes are gold to me, but it gets a little too long in the mouth when Steve Howe gets to his solo without any accompaniment.

The focus of the album is definitely ''The Gates of Delirium'', a twenty-two minute opus that sounds like Yes wanted to stand amongst the greatest classical composers with this one. Unfortunately, the first eight minutes of the piece tend to drag and sag, leaving me not as satisfied as I was when I first heard it. Sure, the instrumental insanity afterwards is absolutely great (I really love that 11/4 victory march) and ''Soon'' is absolute beauty, but this is not 100% awesome as I've found ''Close to the Edge'' to be.

For me, ''To Be Over'' is one of my favourite Yes pieces overall, let alone off of RELAYER. It has the perfect combination of sheer beauty and musical awesome-ness, all in nine minutes. I very much get the feeling that Yes made a great composition here, even if the themes are bit more guitar-dominated than most other Yes pieces I've heard. Still, if I was to pop in RELAYER into my CD player today, ''To Be Over'' would be the primary reason I'd do so.

I once gave this a masterpiece rating, but I was too blinded by my absolute lust for Yes to see through some of the over-pretentions here. Some moments here see Yes get a bit too carried away, but this is definitely one to check if you're a Yesfan or prog fan.

Report this review (#205743)
Posted Sunday, March 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an essential piece of music right here, for progressive lovers.

There are 3 songs on this album, which gives you a clue that they're all probably very long and epic. Personally, the longer the song the better in my opinion, I love hearing those long and epic songs.

The Gates of Delirium is indeed extremely long, it's 21 minutes, and is an amazingly artistic song. It begins with a nice prelude and it reminds me of crystals and lakes... the keyboards just have that very colourful sound to them. The lyrics come in and speak about it seems like war topics. It's very mystifying and around the 8 minute mark, the song suddenly goes into an extremely progressive jam session that sounds very chaotic and surreal sounding... sort've like the Mars Volta, although the Mars Volta wasn't around back then... but it sounds a lot less punk sounding and more surreal. There are sound effects of random percussion. The story goes that they went to a junk yard and purchased random things that they brought into the studio and just hit, and in the end, they pushed the whole shelf of them over, which is an audible crash in the recording.

After the chaotic part, it goes into a very quiet and soothing progressive part that's entitled Soon and was released as a single. It's a very beautiful section that takes you to other worlds and has wonderful keyboards and leaves you very satisfied.

Sound Chaser is a chaotic progressive jam session much like the middle of Gates of Delirium, alternating between chaos, quiet ambient sounds, and strange vocalisations. The chaoticness gets boarderline psychedelic as you're blasted with beautiful keyboards.

To be over is a lot slower than the previous two songs, but no less progressive. It features wonderful melodies that are generally happy sounding, and like all of yes's other stuff, it takes you to surrealistic places.

This album is an amazing album, if you like progressive rock, go out and buy it.

Report this review (#207268)
Posted Sunday, March 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars ok, new to the site, but here we go. 1. wakeman hated topographic so, let's get some fresh blood. 2. let's make it percussive, slightly jarring, and sonically insane. oh...and a tad funky. 3. we will let alan finally come into his own by granting him total percussive freedom. 4. we will let steve go completely inward and play a telecaster throughout, but only if his treble settings are pegged. 1. 5. jon shall bang out a side-long masterpiece dealing with conflict, battle, and ultimately resolve and utopian resolution. 6. it's 1974 7. we (being yes) will play our biggest shows to date, and open our set with an instrumental that confused everyone. 8. this album will be dark, nervous, frantic, unsure of itself. (much like the mid 70's) 9. we shall have our friend roger create a sleeve cover that fits the mood in a way that is offensively perfect. 10. after all this chaos, a tranquil, calming song will end the madness. 1. a fender pedal steel will be available.

i love relayer not only as an adventurous piece of music, but also as a picture of a band moving forward. i adore 'close to the edge' and i'll do a topographic listen-down any time. but it is. it's the heaviest yes. it's the proggiest yes. and to me it's the most melodic and emotionally satisfying work. it's all here.

Report this review (#208895)
Posted Friday, March 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars One of the first true prog rock records I ever bought, Relayer showed me just what bands could accomplish in 40 minutes and how they could make sounds I had never even concieved before.

The album is a real progressive rock treat, it of course contains the grand ol' side-long epic The Gates Of Delirium which is quite obviously the record's highlight. The track is well-composed and flows greatly for all those twenty minutes never once getting boring, the excellent playing of every band member involved is to blame for this. The epic ending is one that progressive music fans have always found so enchanting and it is nothing short of it.

Sound Chaser is great basically instrumental track that is quick paced without ever being too "out there" and it is really actually quite soothing on the ears despite how complex it is.

To Be Over is basically the ending of The Gates Of Delirium part two and it really closes the album out majestically yet thoughtfully, definitely one of the best moments of the record.

The album does have it's flaws though, it's kind of long for me doing too much of the same thing all through it which for some isn't a bad thing.

Still a solid four star record.

Report this review (#211776)
Posted Sunday, April 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Trying to Get Back to the Edge

There are many on this site that rate Relayer above Close to the Edge. The comparison is completely natural as Yes modeled the structure of Relayer after their masterpiece, hoping to get back on track after the polarizing Tales from Topographical Oceans. And in that they succeeded in their goal. Relayer is an expansion on the CTTE formula based on the more expansive (and indulgent) explorations of TfTO, reined in to more digestible size.

By Relayer, the boys have lost the legendary talents of Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford and replaced them with the extremely solid Patrick Moraz and Alan White. This doesn't slow down the sound at all, and if anything the music is crazier than ever. Steve Howe, especially, is allowed very wide berth and he is at times explosive and at others beautifully lyric. In fact, I think that one's opinion of album lies in your taste for exploration and tolerance for improvisational meandering. Those who like it will think Relayer is CTTE with more fire. Those who don't are going to hear too much indulgence, too little of the magic interlocking genius that made CTTE what it was.

Not that the compositional brilliance is gone. There are still sections of uplifting beauty where the band touches that little piece of the other plane that we all love them for. Scattered in the "Gates of Delirium" are true doors to another existence. But you almost feel the band clutching to keep the channels open, frantic in a way, trying perhaps too hard once they take hold of that light. Alas, when that light hits you, you have to just ride while it lasts. The "Soon" section of the opener comes closest to that magic, and rightfully remains a mainstay of the live set. But even that is not quite the transformative experience of the CTTE title track.

"Sound Chaser" ratchets up the energy and tension of the band's sound to an even higher degree. Driven by Chris Squire's busy bass line, Howe again gets both Rockabilly-on-smart pills solos and atmospheric moments. Though the song is more intense, I get a sense that the piece doesn't have quite as high ambitions as the opener, and thereby better succeeds in its goal. Complete with a "cha cha cha" vocal interlude that makes perfect sense in context, the song is indeed a road race in a sonic candy store. The newcomers get a chance to stretch out also, and both more than keep stride with the veterans.

The disc ends with "To Be Over," a slower, more melodic piece. The composition is more structured, the instrumental parts more classically complimentary. Steve Howe gets another extended solo spot, his pedal steel a little more spunky this time. The song is a bit bland, however, especially given the intensity of the rest of the album.

Relayer is a good 3+ album, in my opinion. I don't often get a desire to play this disc specifically, but it's certainly in rotation when I go through my Yes phases. It's surely part of the Yes canon and a must for serious fans of the band. I think any prog fan would enjoy this, and so the "excellent addition" is more apt than "non-essential."

Report this review (#212750)
Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is progressive rock at it's best. Yes had, prior to RELAYER, received some negative press for pretty much the first time in their hugely-successful careers thanks to the bombastic, four-track double-album TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS. Rick Wakeman, unhappy with the overall direction of the band, subsequently left, and soon his place behind the keyboard-castle was filled by ex-Refugee man, 'The Swiss Poodle', Patrick Moraz. The band located to Switzerland with producer and sixth-man Eddy Offord, and the idyllic surroundings helped develop the Glorious RELAYER. A glistening, jazzy joy, this is Yes at their most experimental, fusing their trademark symphonic sound with Krautock and electronic influences, to stunning effect. The 21-minute opener 'Gates Of Delirium' is the highlight. Based on Tolstoy's 'War and Peace', it's a jaw-droppingly inventive piece of music, the kind of thing the word 'Epic' was invented for. Not to be undone, the jazz-themed 'Sound Chaser' and the celestial beauty of 'To Be Over' brim with the same magical exuberance, polishing off an album from a group cruising confidently at the peak of their incredible powers. To try and describe in detail the plethora of magical sounds on offer would be doing this remarkable album an injustice. From beginning to end it resonates with a beauty only found in this genre; an album of unequalled bliss, it's a joy to behold. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009
Report this review (#215496)
Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars If there was ever an album in Yes's vast discography that came close to the awe and majesty of "Close to the Edge" yet still brought new sounds to the table, it was 1974's "Relayer". This was the last true masterpiece this band put through, though "Going For The One" would end up with a few coatails of creativity before losing what made them special and interesting in the first place after 1980.

And to those who would label this a "rambling mess": Just because Anderson, Squire and co. took a few cues from what Miles Davis and Coltrane had been doing since the 1950's doesn't mean there's something wrong with the music. Ya' see, there's this genre of music that relies on improvisation and instrumental chemistry called jazz, which is *GASP* not as accessible as your favorite neo-prog artists! OMGZ!!!!!11

A perfect album bar none, even if it doesn't appeal to some of the more close-minded folk here at progarchives.

Report this review (#218121)
Posted Monday, May 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Incredible album by a band of masters, that is one way to describe Relayer. This is often referred to as a quintessential prog album, and there's definetely a reason for that. The biggest reason is the track "Gates of Delirium" which takes up the first half of the album.

Gates is a flawless composition featuring most original Yes members and Alan White on drums with Patrick Moraz on keyboards. Through the entire composition (not song may I add, because unlike many prog compositions, this one is hugely symphonic in structure), the listener is flung through an emotional journey of both bombastic chaos and immense sorrow. It begins innocently enough, but grows eventually into a giant technical and complex middle section with the keyboard sounds crashing all around. It finishes off in the touching "Soon" section, and Steve Howe's guitars become so soaring that it will bring prog fans' tears to the eyes.

"Gates of Delirium" itself is good enough to be a masterpiece of itself, which is why this is essential. The second half of the album may be slightly dissapointing though. The dense jazzy "Sound Chaser" may sound to some like a technical mess, with the band masturbating their instruments. There's a section where it is only Howe playing his guitar by himself, just note after note of wankery. It is a wonder how such a master player in the previous composition loses his tact and loses it in this song.

"To Be Over" is nicer though. Blends of different guitar esque string instruments at a slow pace make it a nice progressive 'ballad' type track. Absolutely beautiful, wonderful way to close the album.

Relayer is a masterpiece album, if only for "Gates of Delirium". The other tracks, while not flawless, are good tunes that a prog fan should enjoy. If not, the first track should suffice for them. It is essential for any prog fan.

Report this review (#218554)
Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The sun will lead us, our reasons to be here.

Still a month ago i didn't like this album at all. I thought the only reason to buy the album is because of the beautiful cover and "To Be Over You". But these last weeks i've actually spinned it quite alot and now i actually see what other people seems to see in "Gates of Delirium". It's actually quite astonishing track to be honest.

Steve Howe really shows his technical prowess on this album, Andersons vocals are extremly beautiful in the end of the first track, and Moraz and White seem to be fitting in quite well in the mould. There's still one hole in this album that i cannot fill, no matter how hard i try, and that's "Sound Chaser". I've tried and tried to understand it, but i just can't. "Gates" and "To Be Over" are extremly addicting tracks in the long run and very beatuifully composed of different musical passages and modulations, but "Sound Chaser" is just "mish-mosh". For me, the fact that it's very technically hard to play doesn't really make a case. Even the most skillfull things have to be in order to be good.

Relayer is still a good album in my opinion, and that's because the two other tracks. Not a masterpiece, but still easily worth 4 stars in my book.

Report this review (#220384)
Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A fantastic display of fantasy themed progressive music. A gem!

The Gates of Delirium is probably more medieval then any LotR movie could be, more dynamic than most prog epics. At moments it can be more crazy in musical experimentation than the likes of Koenjihyakkei. Still it can be a great influence to more younger bands like The Mars Volta (check out Octahedron's fourth track). The beggining is promising, the "battle scene" is superb in rythm and "voice arrangement", and the ending is sublime.

The second track is an interesting fusion experiment. I must confess i do not like Howe's guitar tone here. Usually his Telecaster based quack tones work well with Squire's Rickenbacher and the other member's sound textures. Here it has a bit too many highs.

"To Be Over" is a melllow and touching. Very beautiful song. Simply beautiful.

Report this review (#235284)
Posted Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars After coming under critical fire for their self-indulgent, pretentious and overblown 1973 leviathon Tales From Topographic Oceans, Yes continued to push the envelope with Relayer which was released a scant 11 months later in November 1974. With keyboardist Rick Wakeman having baled out in disgust with the music direction the band was taking and Swiss-born Patrick Moraz now in the fold, Yes acquired a more devious quality with shades of The Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson and Stockhausen.

The tighter, more metallic sound was a deviation from their brand of progrock which, unlike contemporaries such as ELP or Gentle Giant, tended to have a "pretty" countenance to it. Relayer was certainly their most mathematical work beset with counter-tempos, counterpoint and speed of light instrumental passages that bordered on jazz rock fusion particularily on Soundchaser, which was based on a guitar/synth cadenza and which also became their show opener. This can be directly attributed to Moraz`s entry into the band with his improvisational prowess which also gave the band ethno textures in the form of South American elements. The philisophical lyrics were still in place, however, as were choral sections and disjointed song structures on the side long showpiece Gates Of Delerium which was unequivically a return to the form of Close To The Edge. A war & peace theme is established on the closing section of Gates Of Delerium entitled Soon The Light and was resumed on the album closer To Be Over. Ironically, in the conext of the rest of the album these two captivating pieces with their intense lyrics and meliflouous melodies are perhaps the "prettiest " compositions to be heard in the etire Yes lexicon..

In 1974 progrock was still in vogue and the addition of Patrick Moraz further consolidated Yes` faculty to progress within the framework of the genre. Although he would not stay with the band for long, Moraz`s contributions gave the band another dimension that most definitely would not have surfaced had Rick Wakeman, who was adamant about not wanting to have anything with free-form jazz explorations, remained with the band. Nonetheless, Relayer was the last Yes album to be true to the spirits and traditions of `70s progrock until the The Ladder was released in September 1999. A fan favourite of many, Relayer is a Yes album that stands alone and offers a darker more contemplative aspect of the Yes collective.

Report this review (#236306)
Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1974 is a very big year for progressive rock, probably the best. The new typesetters Switzerland Patrick Moraz (Refugee) will respond immediately to the group on "Relayer" and given the best of himself. Nine sounds emerge, with a high dynamic scale. Yes has its own studio and can work and his music more calmly with Chris Squire. The 1st song "The Gates of Delirium" lasts 22 minutes, with dexterity and incredible mastery. The evocation of a battle here with sounds of a rare violence yes, and the battery Alan White who want wild and inaccurate. Jon Anderson sings with a voice from heaven, peace at the end of the track "Soon, oh soon ..." it gives hope somewhere a lot of people around the world as "Relay" is a big international success. the title is majistral and great beauty. "Sound Chaser" he breaks the shackles outright, insanity wins music in perpetual motion. The guitar, not granted by Steve Howe is shocking to see unleashed, but beautiful, so original. "To be over" revives a classic own group, afi nd not to frighten the listener of this opus Yes if volcanic. "Yes" signs a progressive album has the pure state, with extreme violence and gentleness, the group achieved a masterpiece
Report this review (#236341)
Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Beware, might cause Delirium....!

Now this again is my favourite, along with Close To the Edge from YES... I can't say which I like better, each has its own purpose - this for the emotional power(extatic sometimes!), speciality and contrasts, CTTE for its sheer musicality and integrity. The album's structure follows CTTE, one longer and two shorter songs. Some parts of Tales from Topographic Oceans already showed the change of Yes sound to a more rhapsodic, experimental and sometimes harsh sound. I sometimes think that the sound is even more genial than the music itself (the notes). However, we still get symphonic edged melodies with classical development.

"The Gates of Delirium" This song is like riding heaven and hell, really...! (and Earth of course, that's the first part!) It comes with a very bright opening, buzzing synth notes, chirping guitar passages and very soft drumming, a bit like sounds of nature. Sometimes it stops suddenly and from this stop emerges the Main Theme of the song, a strange rhytmic chant. I thought that the first vocal parts are not memorable, but this is mainly an instrumental song I think, completed with some lyrics (about war and peace). The very good chords, tricky bass lines and Moog-passages take the course of the song, and in the chorus a banjo-like guitar tremolo. As second theme appears a powerful, heroic guitar melody which goes through some sequences (classical development!) After the returning of the first theme, they bring the song to climax, and the middle part begins, entirely instrumental. This is in double tempo (3/4 to 6/8 to be precise) with overwhelming power, many time changes, fighting themes between guitar and piano and crazy sound effects. After a while the melodies disappear and there are the agressive chords with extreme noises... This second climax leads to an extatic part, like a celebration after a won battle, I think this is what they wanted to symbolise... The harsh music goes further and further, finally decreases as if it disappeared in the distance... I like very much as it flows afar. Of course after war there is peace. After a brief silence, a slow guitar theme appears in a (somewhat reverbed) solo, it's like from Heaven. Soon... oh soon the vocals start, a flowing music as it has almost no bass and drums! The march theme reappears in a very calm, transcendent manner. To make it even better we have a good cadence of 9 chords at the end... like a romantic film it ends, no? What could this be? A miracle...?

"Sound Chaser" This is not a serious song like the former! In fact, very crazy and modern, you feel at the first dissonant passages of glockenspiel, replied by heavy drumming and guitar chords. This song is again very instrumental, only a few verses are with a melody resembling The Court Of The Crimson King, but with a churming instrumental with repetitive guitar and lush keyboards. It contains a long guitar cadenza, seems like half-improvised, with few bass and organ notes. Sometimes very sour and dramatic. The verse after brings a moment of peace in the song, and then the reprise, now the vocals replaced by the ferocious "Cha-cha-cha!" rhythmic chanting (very strange time signatures!) And the keyboardist gives a jazz-influenced moog solo at the end. Very powerful, tumultuous ending.

"To Be Over" is the last song, a bit melancholic one, the too many repetitions make it less good than the first two ones, but still what a beautiful fragile melody... Just keyboard and guitar, a slow intro of deep melancholy, followed by relaxed vocal parts, with drums joining. The guitar takes up a faster tempo, but still dreamy and relaxed. The second part is more powerful and symphonic, and joined by one of my favourite keyboard solos of Yes, and then the return of the first melody, now a powerful reworking with guitar octaves and vocal chanting. This repeats many times, they could have made a better fade-out.

Yes. One of the most recommended albums, extraordinary if I can say... Please enjoy and do NOT overlisten, to keep fresh for yourself this special recording!!!

Report this review (#238981)
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably one of the cooler Yes albums. This is the first one to feature new keyboardist Patrick Moraz as Rick Wakeman left the group. Patrick isn't the greatest, but he is very good and does have some nice speed when he plays. The group's overall performance is stunning here, on the whole album. There are some amazing drum and bass parts, thanks to Chris Squire and Alan White, they have some great musical chemistry together. Jon Andersons vocals on this recording are stunning, and twisting in some places, even frighting, with some serious emotion in in his vocal style, which might sometimes be rare in higher singers. The whole album is really interesting, though might not be as good as the high and might "Tales from Topographic Oceans" its very close, in second place so far.

So, the album starts off with one of the best songs ever, "Gates of Delirium" and its just simply suberb. The performance of Alan White on drums is stunning, he lays down some of the best beats to work off of, and he is much more focused than on "Tales" and he is much higher in the mix at this point. The bass guitar is nice and distorted in most parts, and is very upfront, though not Chris' best basslines ever, they are still very inventive. The lyrics are very mystical, though I don't know what they mean (of course) they just work well with the muisc. To me, it sounds kind of Chinese, or Japenese themed to me, I don't know if i'm right or not, thats just me. The song ends with one of their most beautiful passages ever. The part "Soon" (released as a single part of the song late rin 1974, the year this record was released) is so stunning. The Lap Steel guitar performed by Howe is awesome, and it adds some of the best atmosphere in any song. The vocals are pretty good, though its not as "choral" as the rest of the song, because Jon is the only one singing. The whole song is near perfection, and it holds some of the best guitar parts and riffs ever known to man. "Sound Chaser" is probably the best drum and bass guitar song for Alan and Chris. They are working together so well and making some of the best rhythms ever, it's really good. The bass solos by Chris are so good, they are really fast and are pretty good, some of his best. The whole song is a showpiece for everyone, the instruments are very well played, a great song. "To Be Over" is a good song, its very slow for me and it goes on slightly too long, but its not too bad. Some good vocal passages are held, but nothing else is really sparkling except for that and the guitars the Steve has put together. All in all, its a decent tune, not needed though.

This is one of prog-rocks best albums that is definatly needed in every single collection, whether your not the biggest Yes fan, you need to have this in your collection if your not and if you are a Yes fan.

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Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The excesses of Tales From Topographic Oceans was a step too far into self indulgency for even Rick Wakeman and he jumped ship, but returning one album later for Going For The One. In his place is Swiss keyboard wizard Patrick Moraz. Whether it was some new blood or wanting to let off steam after Tales... I don't know but on Relayer Yes play with incredible fire producing some of their most powerful material ever.

Perhaps after the lukewarm reception Tales.. received Relayer takes a step back to the format of their highly regarded masterpiece Close To The Edge and comprises of three tracks. One sidelong epic (on the vinyl version) and two shorter but still substantial pieces on side 2.

The Gates Of Delirium is an incredible 23 minutes. A roller coaster ride of a track, which covers the ground between incendiary instrumental workouts and sublime beauty. After the early vocal passage the tracks builds into a battle section with one of the bands longest and most stunning instrumental breaks. Moraz and guitarist Steve Howe trade licks in wild abandon as Alan White and Chris Squire underpin it all with a driving 3/4 rhythm with some particularly impressive bass work from Squire. As a total contrast to the dense and chaotic battle section Soon is Yes at their most sublime with a lovely vocal from Jon Anderson.

If the instrumental interplay of the first piece wasn't noisy enough for you then Sound Chaser should nicely do the trick. Yes venture into jazz territory on this brutal track. Howe plays at his most ferocious with jagged and angular riffs as if he really has something to prove as he plays with incredible speed. It also features some of White's best drumming ever and a fantastic keyboard solo from Moraz.

As if any more of this potent musical brew might be too much for the listener To Be Over is a total contrast with its sweet melodic tones. There's still room for an excellent Howe solo however and Jon Anderson excels in the vocal department.

It's a pity that Relayer was the only Yes studio album to feature Moraz. As much as Wakeman is an integral part of the Yes sound, and most of their best work would feature him, another album of this inventive intensity would have been very welcome. No Yes collection is complete without this excellent album.

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Posted Friday, October 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Relayer is another striking example of everything that is great and everything that is horrendous about Yes. In fact, for me, Yes is the band that always tread that narrow edge between geniality and desperate need for psychiatric help. After the more mellow and atmospheric Topographic Oceans this album is more eccentric and aggressive. Or should I say neurotic, with Steve Howe's guitar dominating almost every minute of this album.

The Gates Of Delirium. The title alone describes the music perfectly. This is what you would get if you let 4 over-talented musicians loose after a stint of 6 months in a mental hospital. And one way or another they pull it off. The inspiration runs free and especially Steve Howe fully entrances me here. Brilliant track.

If I didn't know I wouldn't have noticed this album doesn't feature Wakeman. Moraz sounds every bit as frenetic and annoying :) With one difference here; it fits the music perfectly. Also Alan White seems to shine brighter in this more rocking approach. And Chris Squire is excellent as usual.After 15 minutes, the track makes a beautiful shift from insanity into a gentle pastoral tune featuring excellent Howe guitar fade-in effects and Jon Anderson angelic harmonies.

Listening to this track, it is not difficult to see where Rush got most of their inspiration from. Both the quiet part and the main themes sound very much like Xanadu/Hemispheres.

Then there's Sound Chaser. Another frenzied track with heavy jazz rock influences. Even more then 20 years after I first heard this, it still hasn't really grown on me. It's just too crammed with ideas to make sense anymore. By contrast, To Be Over is a classic Yes track, a bit formulaic even, almost as if it could have come off Close To the Edge.

An uneven album for me with the brilliant Gates of Delirium and two more tracks that miss the mark. But as far as Yes and progressive rock goes, you can't skip this album. 3.5 stars

Report this review (#245364)
Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Once again the lineup shifts; this time, it's keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman who takes his leave, joining Bill Bruford in the camp of 'not liking where the band is going'. The remaining members of Yes continued to develop their next album, eventually bringing in keyman Patrick Moraz, from Switzerland.

The album they would come out with was Relayer. They had a section in Tales from Topographic Oceans where they sing about a Relayer, and one thing they said in that section was: "Relayer, we advance we retrace our story."

That is exactly what Yes is doing here. They are retracing the format of Close to the Edge (one sidelong epic + 2 half side tracks) but advancing it. This may be the technical peak of Yes as a band; while their playing is almost always excellent, it is not always this complex. Steve Howe in particular shines on this album, but respect must be given to the entire band for their amazing playing on this album.

This was actually my second Yes album, after 90125. I had enjoyed the former and, looking through the Yes section at my local record store, saw this and Close to the Edge. I was fascinated by the format, although I had no idea what prog rock was at the time or what I would be getting myself into. I picked this album over close to the edge because I liked the album art better (remember, CTTE has a green to black gradient on the front, the awesome Roger Dean art is on the inside). That night, I put it in my CD player, and gave it a spin. I clearly remember thinking the following: "I am listening to music crafted by genius."

It would be years before I would have any sort of grasp of the album, and in a sense this gave me a chance to appreciate it anew a second time.

The album starts with Gates of Delirium, a song about the ravages of war and how people are effected by it. And not just those whose homes and lands are ravaged by war, but also those who do the violence themselves. There are many Yesfans who prefer this track over Close to the Edge, and it is not difficult to see how.

Patrick Moraz' keyboards sound excellent in this track, and once again Yes finds themselves growing thanks to their newest member. The textures and sounds Moraz produces are quite different than those that would have been on the album had Wakeman been behind the keys, and as much as I love the albums with Rick, I can't imagine how this album would have sounded with him.

The song starts off strongly, with war sweeping across the land. Then the wronged become warriors themselves, with one of the most chilling lines Yes would pen:

"Kill them give them as they give us Slay them burn their childrens laughter On to hell"

Their is a large instrumental cacophony representing the battle, with some more excellent and great sounding playing from each member of the band, before the battle is over, and suddenly Yes is in softer territory, singing Soon (which would be released as a single on its own), looking over the destruction wrought by the battle and feeling sorrow that it came to this, but optimism towards the future now that the battle is over.

With a track that strong, Yes really could have ended the album and earned a five star review. But no, Yes said, we can do more. And so they did.

Sound Chaser is a breathless, frantic, forward moving piece. There really aren't words to describe it; all the band is shining on this one, but this, to me, has always been Steve's song. He has some of his most frenetic playing on this track, moving forward with such speed, only to slow down, before speeding up again. He is often given a lot of space, playing guitar alone with either bass or no instrument support, with the other instruments popping in at just the right time.

Somehow, the lyrics to this track seem almost wistful and gentle, despite the frenetic pace of the rest of the song. "As is my want I only reach To look in your eyes" Despite this, they don't sound out of place with the music at all.

If Soon was the quiet section of Gates of Delirium, To Be Over is the quiet section of the album. In a sense, it is a sad song, for Yes would never reach quite as far as they did with this album again either; it is almost a lament to their most experimental era. Nonetheless, it is a peaceful way to end an album and bring it to a close, and fits perfectly with the other music presented here.

Overall, this album is Yes' masterpiece...even more so than Close to the Edge, in my opinion, although I'm sure that many disagree. There is no question about what this album deserves. It is a five star album, all the way.

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Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Relayer' - Yes (96/100)

Imagine you are somewhere, whereupon you meet two beautiful women. From the onset, it's clear they are sisters; both of them are alike in their beauty, intelligence and sophistication. Although they're both among the most gorgeous women you have come across in your travels however, as time goes on, you find yourself slowly gravitating towards one over the other. Even if the other one might ultimately prove to be more popular, the younger of the two sisters strikes you as being more adventurous, risk-taking and intellectually provocative than the other.

For a long time now, this has been the way I've thought of Yes' 1972 classic Close to the Edge and her younger, more adventurous sibling Relayer. Don't get me wrong; Close to the Edge was as impressive as albums come, and well-deserving of its status as Yes' de facto 'essential' album, but with Relayer, they took the formula and went somewhere even more exciting with it. It's undeniably more uneven and rough than its spiritual predecessor, but that's part of what makes it so damned good; this is Yes at their most uncompromisingly creative, perhaps trumped only by Tales from Topographic Oceans in terms of its genius.

I'll say this first and get it out of the way: I stand by "The Gates of Delirium" as the greatest progressive rock epic ever made.

If the epic cornerstone of Close to the Edge had married rock and classical music together in some glorious fusion, "The Gates of Delirium" added jazz to the melting pot. Basing a progressive epic on Tolstoy's "War and Peace" may be tantamount to a prog cliche both now and when the album released in 1974, but Yes have by no means tied this epic to its source of inspiration. Really, the epic can be interpreted more broadly to reflect a battle; before, after, and in the midst of it. "The Gates of Delirium" opens up sounding remarkably spacey (even by Yes' standards!) but- as was the case with Close to the Edge- the overture eventually consolidates itself into a firmer structure to accommodate Anderson's vocals. Even if Jon Anderson's performance here retains its trademark optimism, the mood is instantly tense; the tempo is fed with a drive and expedience far removed from the leisurely pace of Tales from Topographic Oceans, as if the music has been spurned forth on a forced military march into battle. The tension continues to build until the music sounds like a symphony fed through a distortion box. By the time the famed instrumental 'battle' takes place, "The Gates of Delirium" has already built a frightening momentum, and a perfect precedent for what is possibly the most impressive passage ever written in progressive rock.

The intensity and catharsis of a battle is a fertile ground for respectively intense music, but there aren't all that many pieces of music that truly capture a battle's chaos and rupture. "The Gates of Delirium" isn't only one of those few pieces to come forth from rock and its subgenres; it is the most cathartic battle music I think I've ever heard. Yes' sound is usually padded with symphonic warmth, but here, the instrumentation is cutting and sharp. The mood is epic, cinematic and large-scale, but almost overwhelmingly so, as if the catharsis one may have expected from a battle proves to be too much to bear, and overtakes the listener (and would-be soldier) in its impartially brutal grasp. Although Alan White's 'interesting' choice of percussion during this sequence - he pushed a rack of junkyard car parts over during the recording- seems like a crude and risky move, it fits the tone so damned well; in a battle, I don't imagine there would be time for subtle, refined percussive techniques, and Yes acknowledge this fact well.

The epic's beautiful denouement "Soon" is a steep contrast to the chaos it succeeds. One gets the picture of a quiet aftermath; there are no victors, none to reap the victories of warfare, none who have even survived the ordeal without deep scars, in body and soul. It's too mellow to have warranted Atlantic Records' decision to use it as a single, but it wraps up the epic with a signature tenderness the rest of the work was intentionally left without. Anderson's voice here is at its most beautiful, and Steve Howe's guitar tone sounds like it's actually weeping, it's that gorgeous. There's far more I could say about "The Gates of Delirium", really, but it's enough to say that it's possibly the greatest work of progressive rock I've ever heard, classic and contemporary alike.

In its wake, the second half of Relayer feels like an addendum to the main attraction; "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" are nowhere near as powerful or perfect in their writing or execution. Like the proggy-mellow dichotomy enjoyed between "Siberian Khatru" and "And You And I" respectively on Close to the Edge, these two pieces contrast each other, this time to an even greater degree. While "To Be Over" is one of the most aesthetically beautiful things Yes have ever composed, "Sound Chaser" is sporadic chaos incarnate, in performance and especially in its composition. Thanks in large part to Patrick Moraz's recent addition to the band as keyboardist (Wakeman had grown tired of the band's direction on Tales from Topographic Oceans and made like a tree), there is a strong jazz fusion kick to the music, in a space that would have usually Wakeman's high classical influence. The introduction to "Sound Chaser" is pretty mind-blowing and surprising, especially upon first hearing it. It's really unfortunate that the song doesn't serve to ultimately do something with that momentum; before long, the chaos has died down, leaving Howe to noodle away at an extended solo with no accompaniment, somewhere along the lines of what Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page may have done live during a twenty minute instrumental break. "Sound Chaser" does get back on its feet in time, but there are a few minutes there that feel too aimless for their own good; even Tales from Topographic Oceans felt like it was thoughtfully constructed the whole way through. Moraz steps in for a fusion key solo towards the end, but it feels sort of underwhelming, given the context of a patchy song structure, and the brilliance the album's first side had to offer. "To Be Over" honestly bored me when I first heard it, but it's one of the most tender things Yes ever created. As if Yes are intentionally trying to balance out the miasma of "The Gates of Delirium" here, "To Be Over" sounds like resolution and tranquility manifest in a song; really pretty sounding stuff, even if it doesn't serve to match the genius of the album's epic.

Relayer is less balanced than Close to the Edge, Fragile and even Tales from Topographic Oceans, but it's that experimental, choppy nature that keeps me engaged. Like a classic painting placed underneath blacklight, Yes took their masterpiece formula and put a frightening, alien and penetrating spin on it. Even "Sound Chaser", when overlooked for its obvious structural weakness, has the ability to surprise and shock more than most more conventionally structured works in prog rock. Even so, the album's greatest strength is blatantly obvious, and while I would normally condemn an album for being so one-sided in my love for it, Relayer continues to challenge and provoke me a listener. If anything, it's that quality that makes the album among the best this band has ever done. Second only to Tales from Topographic Oceans, but even then, nothing on that album could match the best parts of this one.

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Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a true classic. Of course, there are standards when it comes to Yes, and everyone should already know half of "fragile" just by listening to the radio. That doesnt mean they aren't as good as that album has many highpoints for these guys. The very first two albums contained very nice song's, not as progressive or experimental, but very good song- writing and firm musicianship for such a young band. The Yes album and fragile made them big in america and its not just because of the memorable sounds of 'runaround' or 'roundabout' that you cant get out of your head, but because they showed versatality compared to what they were doing the first two albums. With andersons vocals, I found that people either usualy love them or hate them, as he does have a pretty distinct sound, but some say he sounds way too feminine. Not the case with me, i feel the stuff after these albums like 'topographic' and 'relayer' his fantasy-like sound fit perfect with the more fantasy- like music. These guys eventually developed this talent to create such moods in music, going from the extreme low to extreme high during the course of one song, and many of them started becoming very long in length, ex: gates of delirium. I'd love to see other bands cover this tune, it has been one of my personal favorites. I am a huge wakeman fan, but Yes after Rick did not let down in the slightest for at least 5 years. His work with them was great, and a lot of his stuff after he left was good too, as was Yes' work. To make a point, if you're new to Yes, realize they, like, most bands in the world, went trough stages and sounded a little different in each time period. But, to get a good idea of what the band is you can pick any album from the 70's. Just like genesis, I feel these guys came out with good music, progressed so much and really made excellent music in the 72'-77' period, made some decent stuf afterwards a couple years(but of course, proved somewhat disapointing in the 80's) what the heck is it with the 80's that killed bands of this caliber? I mean, owner of a lonely heart? give me a break, one of the corniest songs ever recorded dont even try to argue. Sound chaser is great, odd timing, chants, good key work by patrick....and to be over is beautiful. With an album that has only 3 songs, it is one of their best in my opinion. Gates of delirium really is one of the best progressive rock epics written. 4 1/2 stars
Report this review (#259747)
Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Listening to Yes releases chronologically starting with 1971's "The Yes Album" (The band's first to feature axe-genius Steve Howe) you will undoubtedly begin to see a progression and growth in their sound and approach. Having it's height in the classic masterwork "Close to the Edge" in 1972, the progression and growth began to falter with the release of "Tales from Topographic Oceans" (the band's first with drummer Alan White) in 1973, and continued downward with the departure of "celebraty keyboardist" Rick Wakeman (replaced by Swiss born Patrick Moraz) and subsequent release, 1974's "Relayer."

The record consists of three epic tracks: The 20 minute plus "The Gates of Delirium," the 9 and a half minute "Soundchaser," and the album closer "To Be Over," also around 9 minutes.

"The Gates of Delirium" would be a song worthy of five stars by itself if some of the fat were cut out. The first sequence is breathtaking. Steve Howe really shines here, as does Alan White. But then it reaches a repetative "jam section" (for lack of a better term) that seems to wear down my patience. I feel like the arrangement was lackadaisically thrown together after somewhere near the 9 minute mark, despite some interesting sounds that make me think Steve kept dropping his guitar repeatedly (it's actually Alan White hitting a rack of assorted automobile parts). When the "jam section" finally subsides, it morphs into the subdued "Soon" movement, which is beautiful and powerful, and stands well as a song on it's own -- for those of you familiar with the limited single release, 'The Very Best of Yes" compilation, or the 2003 "Relayer" remaster.

"Soundchaser" is my favorite song on this album. It starts brilliantly with White's snare drum geniusly turned OFF. It goes from frightening horror movie prog sounds in an extended intro, to a more upbeat and positive verse section when the vocals come in. Then Steve Howe gives us a fantastic unaccompanied guitar solo! Chris Squire really asserts himself and his Rickenbacker in "Soundchaser," and this is the only song on "Relayer" that is really arranged well and that takes me on that journey I seek when I put in a good progressive album. "Cha cha cha, CHA CHA!"

"To Be Over" is awesome quiet background music for having a conversation with someone. There is really excellent guitar work, and the whole song is kinda pretty, But I am bored with it. The keyboard solo is fairly pointless if not misplaced and I have to fight to maintain my attention span during this piece. Mind you, I am a huge fan of the Mars Volta and Metallica, and most slow quiet Yes songs will do this to me. Overall though, the musicianship is classic Yes form which is always a pleasure to listen to.

Despite my desparaging comments, "Relayer" is still a great record. It is after all, still Yes. However, something is definitely missing, and I think that something is called Rick Wakeman. Sure, Pat Moraz does his thing, and does a pretty good job at creating the atmosphere and adequately filling the space left by Wakeman. But what "Relayer" lacks are Rick Wakeman's classical sensibilities to contrast with Alan White's harder edged rock approach.

"Relayer" stands well on it's own without having to be compared with "Close to the Edge" and "Fragile." But the fact is, it has no choice but to be compared to those model specimen's of classic Progressive Rock, and thus, gets a solid 3.4 stars -- rounded down -- from this reviewer. If you are a Yes fan, you better already have this. If you are just getting into Yes or Progressive Rock as a genre, "Relayer" is not a recommended starting point.

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Posted Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
4 stars Relayer is Yes's seventh studio album. It shows a new band formation, because of Wakeman leaving and Patrick Moraz joining for this one album only. The change in style can be clearly heard. Patrick Moraz's keyboard playing features lots of pitch bends and is more jazzy than Wakeman's playing. This had a big effect on the album, and makes Relayer a pretty jazzy Yes album. Also the album is not as symphonic as let's say Close To The Edge. There is a more experimental sound to it, with several parts that aren't very symphonic at all.

The album is built up the same way as Close To The Edge, and begins with a lengthy epic. "Gates Of Delirium" is one of Yes's most experimental pieces. Featuring lots of experimental solos, interesting effects and a drummer smashing on car parts. The song opens quite symphonic and very powerful. It moves through several instrumental parts as it progresses, with the highlight being the haunting istrumental middle part. This isn't the Yes you've heard before, this is much less symphonic but very, very experimental. I'm sure not all fans would appreciate this sound, but I definitely do. After the massive outburst, with many climaxes, we move to the final part of the epic. "Soon" is a beautiful piece of music, which is very delighting. "Gates Of Delirium" in my opinion is among Yes's strongest pieces.

The second half of the album features two 9 minute songs. "Sound Chaser", which might be even more experimental than "Gates Of Delirium", and the more gentle "To Be Over". I'll start with "Sound Chaser", a 9 minute song which turns direction many times. The song is very chaotic, yet I really enjoy it. The song opens with a mysterious intro that segues into some of Yes's best vocal parts. After that the song takes the listener through several jams and a pretty unusual slide guitar and vocal part. The song's climax is Patrick Moraz's jazzy synth solo, which also closes the track. "To Be Over" is a very mysterious song. It starts out pretty gentle, with some nice keyboards from patrick Moraz and great sounding guitar playing from Steve Howe. The second half of the song sounds much more epic though, and features several great solo parts. I find "To Be Over" the weakest track of Relayer, though it still is a very fine piece.

Relayer is a very good album, featuring three great pieces of music. It is a very experimental album as well and is less symphonic than some of Yes's other albums. This might be a reason for some people not to like it. I wouldn't call Relayer a masterpiece of progressive rock, but it's a fantastic album for sure. Therefore I rate it 4 stars.

Report this review (#261102)
Posted Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Since I joined ProgArchives back in 2004 when the century was still young, have reviewed almost 400 albums, and obviously the best releases of popular Prog bands like GENESIS, YES, ELP or PINK FLOYD were the first ones that I selected, probably because those were the ones I was more familiar with, being that I grew listening them.

But always was afraid to review "Relayer" despite it is probably my favourite YES album, the reason is simple, the album is so complex and unusual for the band, that if it wasn't for the annoying voice of Jon Anderson, I could have swear that it was an album by an excellent and unknown band that played in the limits of Symphonic, Fusion and Avant Garde....And honestly, trying to describe this in words is a challenge.

Now the reason why this album is so different has a name "Patrick Moraz", a fantastic keyboardist at least in the level of Wakeman, but with a much smaller ego, that allowed him to really interplay with the band, unlike The Cape Crusader, who is mainly a soloist who adds lush and elaborate keyboard passages to an already elaborate work. In other words, I feel that Wakeman is the cherry in the top of other YES releases while Moraz is one important piece in that complex machinery called Relayer, maybe less brilliant and surely less egocentric, but the responsible of the change in the sound of the band.

In Relayer, Moraz blends his keyboard with Howe's guitar and Squire's bass in such a natural way that during long passages the great trio sounds like a strange and complex instrument instead of three individual ones, creating for the first time in Yes story a dense atmospheres and a really aggressive, almost brutal sound that hits the listener instead of the usual friendly mood in which Jon Anderson adds the amicable and pleasant (for some) trademark of the band with his almost feminine vocals.

The album starts with he 22 minutes epic "Gates of Delirium" and the a soft keyboard intro that doesn't allow the listener to even imagine the brilliant cacophony that YES dares to present. from the first moment is obvious that when Wakeman played all the members tend to leave him alone to do his stuff while Moraz invites all the musicians to join him to create a complex but well oiled piece of machinery in which every element is as important as the others.

After a short vocal section in which Anderson well backed by Squire dares to be adventurous as never before, comes the festival of madness with Howe as clear leader but always complemented by Moraz, Squire plus an unusually strong and accurate Alan White who seems more comfortable with the freedom this album allows him.

Around the sixth minute to the end, you can simply expect anything, when any member is trying to do a solo, another member irrupts in a well intended chaos, as if they shared the control from one to the other, as never before the vocals contribute to this pleasant assault to the senses, while Howe, Squire and Moraz create a wonderful conflict of sounds that seems incredible to YES, with radical and unexpected changes, fugues and violence, this is the YES I like to listen because they challenge the listener in a level few bands dare, just perfect from the soft start to the complex development and brilliantly closed with the delicate "Soon" that puts the note of sanity in this breathtaking song.

Unlike the previous track, "Sound Chaser" begins deranged without warning, some sort of Jazzy Prog nightmare that is a wonderful attack to the senses, almost seems as if every musician was allowed to do whatever they want in some kind of Free Jazz, but if you notice carefully, there's a very elaborate structure in which every sound and note has a reason to be there, except for the disturbing "Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha" that seems a sign of Jon Anderson's usual cheesiness. But not even this unpleasant section takes merit from an otherwise perfect song.

The album is close by the friendly "To Be Over" that brings us back to reality and allows us to listen the amiable YES we are used to, with Jon Anderson taking the lead, but again the instrumentation and arrangements are so well done that can't affect the dark mood of the album and of course the vibrant coda closes the album with the perfection with which it started.

It's true I don't like disturbing "Cha Cha Cha" and that "Soon" is not my cup of tea, but the rest of the album is so brilliant and audacious, that nothing can damage the perfection achieved, so I believe that less than 5 stars would be a crime against music, because this an unparalleled, chapter in the history of YES that deserves absolute respect and recognition.

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Posted Thursday, February 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The very first Yes album I ever bought was "Relayer"; I was thirteen years old and this was back in the days when I didn't even know what progressive rock was. My record collection at the time probably amounted to no more than eight or nine albums; a couple by Queen, Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", a Kraftwerk album, "Status Quo Live" and another live album by the Stones. It was all just rock music to me but I'd heard that Yes were a "good" band and I bought "Relayer" purely on the grounds that I liked the cover. Well, nothing I had listened to previously even remotely prepared me for what I heard when I got it home; music of extraordinary complexity where uncompromising squalls of angry guitar and otherworldly synths are set against wonderful angelic melodies. When the final notes of "The Gates of Delirium" died away and I had to turn it over I took a moment to inspect my mind and found it to be well and truly blown. To this day it is still my favourite Yes album and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise!

This is an incredibly dense album in places and there are times, (most of "The Gates of Delirium" and the beginning and end of "Sound Chaser"), where the instruments seemed to be locked in some brutal astral combat as Steve Howe's guitar and Patrick Moraz's keyboards vie for supremacy against a backdrop of pounding bass and drums. There are other parts of this album however that are almost impossibly fragile and beautiful ? "Soon" which is the closing section of "The Gates?" and "To Be Over" the final track on the album. Over the three tracks you'll hear folk, metal, experimental music, funk and fusion - often all at once.

To give you a bit of historical background, Relayer comes between the shockingly rubbish "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and their "last great" album "Going For The One". Wakeman had vacated the keyboard stool to pursue his solo career, (although he returned for GFTO), and Swiss keyboard virtuoso Patrick Moraz had been drafted in to take his place. The other relative new boy was Alan White who had replaced Bill Bruford on drums for "Tales?" Bruford having departed following their career high-water mark "Close to the Edge" to go and play with King Crimson. Yes were keen to re-establish their credentials following the critical mauling they had received for "Tales?" and it's no accident that "Relayer" repeats the format of "Close to the Edge" in that it has three tracks one of which is a side long with the other two taking up side two.

"The Gate of Delirium" is the monster opening epic, (it's over twenty-one minutes long) and is worth the price of admission on its own. Right from the start it kicks in with a sort of overture section bristling with Howe's muscular guitar runs, shimmering with intricate keyboard work and under-pinned by Squire's signature bass sound and White's alternately delicate and blistering drumming. Then Anderson comes in with the vocals. You either love or hate his unique voice, which I recently heard described as "a pixie on helium" but I love it, and I also love the harmonies which are there in abundance.

The lyrics are tosh of course but that's a Yes thing. They always have been rubbish and always will be but they are a part of the Yes "sound". To be fair there does seem to be some narrative drive to this song in that it seems to be about a battle or a war and certainly that's where the music takes you, particularly as you get into the instrumental section of the song where Howe and Moraz fight it out solo for solo while in the background con be heard screams and crashes and what sounds like a full blown sword fight. About ten minutes into the song they slip into a super-funky riff while around them the battle rages on. This morphs into a victory march which eventually gives way to the lovely, wistful ballad which ends the number, by which time you'll probably need to take a couple of minutes just to get over the musical emotional switchback you've been riding for the last twenty minutes. It leaves me feeling wrung out even now and I've been listening to this album for over thirty years.

Track two, or the first track on side two of the original vinyl, is "Sound Chaser " which is probably the most "out-there" track Yes have ever produced. It starts out all fusion then drops into a pounding fast, spiky and syncopated riff that would leave The Mars Volta feeling tolerably pleased with themselves. This gives way to an eastern tinged, totally deranged guitar solo before pounding us with the riff again just to make sure we've got the point. This track really does showcase a bunch of musicians right at the top of their game.

"To Be Over" is the third and final track and following the previous number it's like a lovely hot bath after a punishing day at the coalface. Gorgeous melodies weave around each other in a gossamer textured introduction which leads us into a total bliss-out Yes ballad of ravishing beauty. Howe really gets to show off his chops in this number with some lovely slide guitar, sitar-guitar and all manner of other guitar related instruments.

Taken as a whole "Relayer" is a masterpiece. Where Wakeman was all flash and whizz- bang, Moraz brings truly innovative and imaginative sound design to the band. Sure, he does solos and they're excellent, but it's the palette of sounds that he uses which sets him apart from his predecessor and I often wonder what might have happened had they kept him on. It's fair to say that this is a much rockier, more guitar dominated album than their other work, again this is probably due the Wakeman's absence. If you're only going to own one Yes album get "Close to the Edge" but if it's going to be two then get "Relayer" as well, it's a work of genius.

Report this review (#267496)
Posted Monday, February 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The existence of "Tales From Topographic Oceans" was an always popular as one masterpiece work for the fan and the listener. The album with a grand composition in which the thought and the philosophy were remarkably reflected one would be challenge and be attempt for Yes.

The content of "Tales From Topographic Oceans" took pride in one top and perfection as symphonic Rock as fan and listener's opinions. However, there was an opinion made to have discharged the opinion and everything made to have completed it too much to some degree as the music character at this time that Yes expressed, too. It might be an opinion thought about compared with this album. The situation that they reach this album and a chain of flows are certainly the well-known facts.

The time of 1974 from 1973 will certainly have been time of the revolution for Yes. However, a new wind caused by a certain kind of sense of relief and the member of this album might appear remarkably in this album if it thinks about the perfection of the work by taking it up. And, if the situation and the flow from which they were left as some respects that can be taken up in this album at that time are considered, the listener will be able to discover a little revolution to be in the music character of Yes.

This album is said that the plan of the content started in February, 1974. The creativity of Jon Anderson develops from thought to construct with "Tales From Topographic Oceans" and a philosophical element further in this "Relayer". The method of the performance of "The Gates Of Delirium" and the band that uses War and Peace as a theme might also have some devices.

The action of Rick Wakeman that secedes for a musical dissension and the keyboard player's election are the well-known facts as their histories. Patrick Moraz chosen as keyboard t person as a result has begun rehearsals since July, 1974. And, it is said that it worked on "Sound Chaser" for the first time in August, 1974. Or, the method of the performance by Telecaster by which Steve Howe worked in this album might twine well as a taste of the album, too. New wind that Patrick Moraz that had absorbed a variety of music characters brought in to band. And, the composition of the album by three to which the same composition as "Close To The Edge" is taken again flows. These would have been symbols of the sound of freshness and the band that developed further for the band.

It was time when the performance of Alan White that decided the rhythm of Yes was established to the band. Part of idea of member who used new performance method and theme there and performance. The element of symphonic that Yes thought about never shrank. Because a certain kind of sense of relief and Patrick Moraz joined, the band might have been involved a good influence and the derivation the form of the performance. The music character done till then and the idea might be splendidly absorbed and be opened in this album.

As for "The Gates Of Delirium", the sound of the guitar that produces the melody and the anacatesthesia of the keyboard with a transparent feeling is impressive. Part where fast and slow was put on part with grand composition power. Part of melody and song that produces sense of relief. The part with the dash feeling and the rhythm and the melody that develops one after another might be splendid. Line of Bass that pulls Solo and tune of guitar. Melody that produces tension and sense of relief while developing grand melody. And, it flows by the faithful reflection of the theme in the tune. The atonal element might gone out a little in the part where the keyboard and the guitar are taken an active part. However, the overall composition power and the expression are overwhelming. And, the part of the song with a beautiful melody and a transparent feeling in the part of "Soon" might be splendid.

"Sound Chaser" produces a complete dash feeling and the tension. Part of keyboard and drum that listens to overwhelming technology. The processing of a complete guitar of Steve Howe might be splendid. Patrick Moraz to make the band introduce a new sound gives good atmosphere. Element of complete symphonic. And, Solo with the guitar will enchant the listener enough. The part of Rock that appears in the latter half might succeed as a composition, too. Development that puts fast and slow is a new challenge for the band.

The progress of the melody and Chord with expression of feelings of "To Be Over" is impressive. Also to the melody of Steve Howe that performs Sitar and a pastoral song twines well. The sound of the brush caused by Alan White is also effective. Melody that continues transparent feeling. The obbligati of a grand keyboard that supports the sound of the guitar might be also splendid.

It is likely to exist as a work with the part where the situation of the band that exactly revolutionizes it was splendidly projected to the album. It is an album that leads to much very much in their works.

Report this review (#269110)
Posted Sunday, February 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I just love Relayer. The reason yes got away with making it so dangerously similar to 'Close to the Edge' in format, is because musically, it takes a different approach. This album is considerably more jazz-fusion influenced (in no small part due to new keyboard tinkler Patrick Moraz) and delivers a sound that remains symphonic, but is harder and angular; JUST what the band needed after surfacing from an all too deep ocean...

'Gates...' is in my opinion, Jon Anderson's most maturely constructed masterwork. The compositional skill here is worthy of the post-romantic Classical composers; Stravinsky, Sibelius, Debussy, I could go on. Even just within the overture-like introduction itself, we witness (well, hear) a host of themes and counter-points, with varying dynamics, timing, and timbre (again, partly down to Moraz's unique keyboard rig). The verses, choruses, bridges and various other passages and breaks of the first eight minutes, also retain this modest and mature approach. The guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards are gratifyingly mixed to near- equal levels (after all, the BATTLE hasn't started yet) and develop in a non-pretentious yet very progressive way. Jon's lyrics also show an improvement; they remain at times cryptic, but have more focus and resultant strength on this song (and the rest of the album). The battle section is by and large, one of the strongest, most effective, and most interesting passages of music EVER set to portray war. It defeats Floyd's 'Saucerful of Secrets' with it's complex maturity, yet sacrifices no power and energy whatsoever. It wipes the floor with Fripp's 'Lizard', blending themes of different moods and timbres at a constant high-speed rhythm (Alan's percussion on Relayer is easily his best). This section also probably boasts the greatest number of overdubbs on a Yes song, and boy is it busy! But the overcrowdedness works. It escalates into a mind-blowing, ear-shattering, floor-rumbling battle of sound, prefectly capturing the extremitites of combat itself. And with a diginified crash, the fight is over. 'Soon' is beautiful, wonderfully contrasting with the chaos preceeding it, and displaying an emotion that is as powerful as any operatic aftermath. It's a song on it's own, but of course works more effectively at the end of this story.

'Sound Chaser' is jazz rock fusion of the highest calibre, with cross-rhythms and syncopations that would make Bill Bruford and his Crimson line-up very jealous indeed. The last 3 minutes is groovy as [%*!#], and changes speed and key more frequently than 12-tone serialism. Not for the faint-hearted. 'To Be Over' is welcomingly calm and a favourite of Howe's. This steady tune brings the most mature Yes album to a fitting finish, with detailed passages of soft guitar and mellow synthesizer. There really is nothing to ask for after that.

With 'Relayer', Yes solidified their reputation again. None of my appraisal comes from the first hearing though. This one takes time. The sound is as full as ever, but facing in a slightly different direction this time. Such is what prevents 'Relayer' from ever becoming dull.

Report this review (#278049)
Posted Thursday, April 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes Relayer !!!!! Of the completly progs albums ( in wich i dont include Yes album and Fragile, for different reasons) these is clearly the one i really love. I find to be flaws in every album but i find a little bit pretentious both "Close to the edge" and "Tales..." in comparation with "Relayer". First of all, ! you can undesrstand the concept!. Second the melodies are bilissfull for the most part of the album. Flaws: It saws sometimes a little bit of the generic sound Yes would adquire later, especialy in the last song. Great things: It have some of the nicest psychedelic sections i,ve heard!. "Gates of Delirium" is easy one of the deffinitive prog-rock sypmhonies. The music is just heaven: The first part with its catchiness and sometimes hard sometimes delicate sound. Then the battle were monster sound is display ( so great with the synth making like the marching really grabs your attention, almost visualy.) It goes into a crescendo with bumping rityhm and then chaos and the end. Next we enter in a psychedelic monster paradise! Thats when it goes into "Soon" ....!Separate this section of the song could be consider the crime of the century!, if you split it you dont understand nothing, im sorry but it have to go in there! When it sounds together into the song it elevates you into a beatifull and emotional climax.

"Sound Chaser" wich many people dispisse i find great and irresistible. C, mon! is a prog anthem about a the sound chaser delighted as another twist of the rityhm comes.......and the song have a joyfull lot indeed, also it have all the things that come together in prog: speeded up jazz, heavy monster psychedelic riffs, some demi-classical section ( in one of those appear like a non-elavorated skech of "awaken") , joy and of course...weirdness (Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha).

"To be over" the weakest point i find it funny, withs its chinesy air of the begining, and all the rock cracks of the pastoralness of the song, the soul dreamer section is great and majestic.

One of my false theorys is that its like a joke, a elevating of the nose to Wakeman because they did the most epical album ( what he wanted to do instead of the noodling of "Tales...") when he went. So thats why he decided to come back! He choose badly.

So in one word essential!!!!

Report this review (#279453)
Posted Monday, April 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Interesting...when I first heard this album way back in high school, I hated it. Discordant, noisy, too jazzy, no melodies, etc... And here it is many years later and I find it to be one of the best Yes releases! Amazing how as we age, our taste and discrimination grow and mature with us! This is a near perfect release, (only the "Soon" section bores me, but it is not enough to destroy the album). All the adjectives I thought of when I was young actually fit in places here...this album is discordant at times and jazzy and noisy, and way cool! I don't think any other Yes release had the same sound or feel as Relayer. This is not CLOSE TO THE EDGE, it's not FRAGILE, and it's not TALK (Thank God). It is what it is, and it's a classic. 5 stars. (This is a review of the regular album, sans bonus tracks.)
Report this review (#280623)
Posted Wednesday, May 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes was one of those bands that whenever they put a new album out, I had to have it. I have owned over 20 of their albums in vinyl, cassette, and CD. So that means I have bought each release approximately 3 times. I have also owned 4 different videos by them. I have been a loyal fan. Out of all those albums I owned, "Relayer" is my favorite. Nothing else they have done comes near it, except for "Close to the Edge."

"Gates of Delirium" is the definition of prog, as far as I am concerned. The song construction is killer! I love the way the band will state a musical idea, go on to something else, then come back to the first idea and restate it in a different way, so as not to grow stale, like so many other prog tunes do. If any of you prog heads out there want to play prog right, study this song!!!!!!!

I am so glad they didn't have Rick Wakeman on it. I am sure "Gates of Delirium" wouldn't have been half as good. I am going by what he did on their previous release, "Tales of Topographic Oceans." Patrick Moraz was the right choice. He is simply full of fire throughout the music. He wails away. "Gates" just keeps getting better and better as it moves along. It should be required listening.

"Sound Chaser" is another killer tune, with Moraz making himself known in new and exciting ways on the keyboard. Steve Howe also does some amazing things on the axe.

"To Be Over" is the slow song. It is like the band have worn themselves out with the fast stuff and are taking it easy on this. The song is moody and beautiful. It doesn't have as much going on as the other two songs though.

I am giving this album 4.75 stars, only because I think overall "Close to the Edge" is the better album. With that said, "Gates of Delirium" is one of the best musical pieces I have ever heard. It easily out shines "Close To The Edge."

Report this review (#281215)
Posted Monday, May 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars MORE LIKE 'GATES OF DE-DREARY-UM'. This is just dull 'technoflash'. There's not even an attempt at crafting songs, it's just fancy instrumental work for the most part. Very tough on the casual listener. The music is totally directionless, pointless and uninteresting. The vocals are rushed and lack feeling, and even if the lyrics mean something, they don't make any impact. Sometimes the vocals get buried in the mix anyway, so you'll have to listen carefully, really carefully, to hear what John is saying.

It's to Patrick Moraz's discredit that he contributed to this, since he made such an impression on the music of the 'Moody Blues' in the early 80s. That said, his keyboards are taking a back seat to the guitar work on this album. They actually are very much in the background on here, with the guitars being the main instrument, the bass is usually the second main instrument. Poor Patrick, he is always treated poorly by these bands!

"The gates of Delirium" is a 20-minute exercise that has a nice, fantasy ballad at the end, "Soon", but the opening 15 minutes is mindless, endless soloing. Actually I like it from about 12:50 onwards. "Sound Chaser"? It chases sound but only ever achieves 'Noise' and 'To be over' is nice, growing on me, but wasn't this sitar thing done on "Tales from Topographic Oceans" anyway?

These songs feel like nothing more than an 'exercise' in making long songs. It's not bad music but an average, inspiration-less prog album, and there are so many good ones out there, so why waste your time on this?

Report this review (#283136)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Three of a Perfect Pair - Classic Yes Brilliance"

"Relayer" is another Yes album with only 3 tracks, almost like a twin brother of "Close to the Edge" structurally, and while not quite up to the standard of that classic, this is a triumph on every level. Wakeman had scarpered off after being disillusioned by the motherlode of prog "Tales from Topographic Oceans" and was summarily replaced by new keyboard wizard, Patrick Moraz from Switzerland birth, who had come to the band's attention primarily through his involvement with Refugee. He left this trio to become unified with the Yes lineup in 1974. He had heard Soundchaser and said he was blown away by it. Moraz's sole contribution to Yes is captured on "Relayer" and makes this a unique album with his inimitable style.

The first thing you may note is the actual album cover that is itself a work of genius by the incomparable Roger Dean. The subtle discoloration is eye catching; the horses with medieval riders striding through the cavernous silent walls is eye candy for the 70s and one of the most iconic Yes images.

The music is fabulously grand and epic. Once the opening track, 'The Gates of Delirium' launched in to full orbit, the magic begins and I was mesmirized by the enchanting spell. Anderson is terrific in high falsetto as usual but those massive keyboard passages are transfixing. The guitars of Howe are beautiful and Squire's basslines are divine. Alan White is a master on drums. Anderson croons a lovely song when the 'Soon' section begins, with violining by Howe and sustained keyboard pads. The serenity is created by stunning music. This epic, this multi movement suite is divided into structural sections but these sections are unidentified in the track listing, a first for Yes. This leaves interpretation wide open for the listener. The lyrics are uplifting and memorable; "Soon, oh soon the light, pass within and soothe this endless night.... the sun will lead us, our reason to be here." During this haunting section, it almost sounds like orchestrated violins or mellotron. This epic is certainly worthy of hall of fame status as one of the best side long epics.

'Sound Chaser' is a jazz fusion electric guitar showcase with huge drum patterns with Squires relentless bass, and twinkling electric piano. Perhaps the most wildly experimental on the album, the time signature on this is odd, enhanced by clear vocals with cryptic lyrics, "Faster moment spent spread tales of change within the sound, Counting form through rhythm electric freedom, Moves to counterbalance stars expound our conscience, All to know and see the look in your eyes. Passing time will reach as nature relays to set the scene, New encounters spark a true fruition, Guiding lines we touch them, our bodies balance out the waves, As we accelerate our days to the look in your eyes." Howe has a huge guitar solo on this sans other instrumentation, and this is like a concert experience where the guitarist comes out alone and plays his soul out on the stage. The keys begin to pad out interplanetary sounds. Howe then indulges in a classical guitar style, violining the sound with the volume switch creating a solid ambience. The sustained pads are spacey and ethereal, I love what Moraz does here. The vocals chime in again; "From the moment I reached out to hold, I felt a sound, And what touches our soul slowly moves as touch rebounds. And to know that tempo will continue, Lost in trance of dances as rhythm takes another turn, As is my want, I only reach to look in your eyes." After this the drums crash in off the metronome scale, and there is a huge wall of sound with multi layered keys and chaotic bass playing. The time signature goes in to swing mode and the keys are brought forward in the mix. The astounding vocals crunch out a chant and we are driven into a freak out of keyboard wizardry. This is absolutely astounding. There are a myriad of solos on this giving band members time to shine. Another excellent track, my favourite on the album due to the innovative approach to the music. Howe has never been better. Pure prog bliss.

'To Be Over' is a slow paced piece of tranquility and the real star here is Howe with some absolutely blazing guitar solos of varying styles, from jazz to Symphonic psychedelia, and a touch of blues. The lyrics are surreal along the lines of "Shine like, soul dreamer, wondering, to seek in every night, to open two pathways... " the keyboard solo of Moraz is sparkling clean and refreshing. "After all your soul is still surrendered," the multi layered vocals of Anderson chime. I like the very simple lead break here that is effective, Squire's bass keeps a non structured rhythm and there are vocals that continue chanting as it fades.

So ends a fascinating album with three excellent tracks. Due to this high level of excellence and no filler material it would be remiss of me to award this anything less than 5 stars. Yes are an incredible band and they have many masterpieces; this is one of them.

Report this review (#283795)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've been into progressive music since I can remember, but I didn't actually know there was a term for it. I liked Rush, Floyd, Focus, and the other popular prog artists that clearly offered more creativity and satisfaction compared with most of the bands on the classic rock stations that I listened to growing up.

When I found out about progarchives, I of course gravitated out from a position of familiarity: Yes. I'd had Fragile, the Yes Album and 90215 (in retrospect, a motley assortment!) for most of my life, but never ventured too far from those.

Then came that fateful day when I had received a giftcard from iTunes from a family member that was burning a hole in my pocket. After a bit of searching, I found Relayer available for $3 (don't worry--I bought the CD within a year). This may literally have been the best $3 I have ever spent, because after getting hooked on Relayer, I went from liking extended songs to full-fledged progressive rock devotion.

Looking back, Relayer is certainly a great album, but I don't even rank it as a masterpiece. I love Howe's riffs throughout, Squire's rips on the Gates and Sound Chaser, and the excellent contributions from Moraz. The title track, with its cacophonic clanging and restrained craziness, really opened new doors for me. Sound Chaser is almost unbelievable to hear the first time, particularly with the segment that moves from lightning fast playing by the group straight into a Howe solo, in which he just lets it rip, Jimmy Page style (but of course keeping it uniquely Howe). I also love To Be Over, which adds another dimension of variety that fits nicely with the other tracks.

However, things such as Jon's "cha-chas" or lyrics such as "burn their children's laughter" strike me as so un-Yes that they just don't fit.

Relayer is similar to Floyd's Animals: they are breaking from past glory, and still have plenty to offer, but in some ways it's not genuine to their prime. Relayer will always have a special place in my heart, and even if it didn't would rank among my top 3 Yes albums.

Report this review (#283930)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes + Heavy Metal = Not this album, no sirreee. What would Yes + Heavy Metal equal? Don't ask me, I'm delirious. This is more like Yes - Melodies = Kind of boring.

Yes - Relayer (1974)

Overall Rating: 10

Best Song : A few minutes off of Gates of Delirium, where the soloing is actually complimented by...I dunno, melodies? You know, when it goes all space-echoes on ya. Oh hell, TO BE OVER

Go ahead and start up the lynch mob, because this album sucks! Actually, it doesn't suck at all. In fact, it's got some absolutely stunning musicianship, except for Anderson's singing, which is predictably bad, and he's up to his usual emotionless space-yodeling. I can't but be harsh toward Relayer, because it's just as pretentious as Close to the Edge, but without any real melodies, except for the end of Gates, which is actually really good. Aside from the few minutes of beautiful music, and I can honestly say it's beautiful, possibly the only beautiful thing Yes ever did. Other than that, a good twelve minutes of the side long jam are predisposed to random, un-melodic jamming, that honestly doesn't have anything more to offer us than what somebody like Frank Zappa could have done in his sleep. I applaud the guys for being stellar musicians, and all, but whoever is responsible for their song-writing needs to be taken out back and beat to death with a big heaping copy of Tales.

Seriously, with an album like Close to the Edge, calling a beast such as Relayer unnecessary is simply not doing the album justice. It tries to be so many different shades of space rock, but they only come in one real color: boring. Most of the melodies and ideas are jazz-frigged rehashes of everything they've been doing for the past six years prior to 1974, especially the hard rock flavor of Fragile. This is definitely a scenario of writing vs. technical ability, where the latter's vicious victory is inarguable. Basically, each of the three tracks follows the exact same pattern as one another. They all start off as hot-headed jams, then Steve Howe shows us why we even bother to remember him, at all, then the entire band cuts to a suitable rip-off of Pink Floyd's Echoes.

That's why I feel as if this album could have been more richly rewarding. It had potential, I swear. when they aren't shoving as much complexity into each song, they can honestly craft an engaging musical atmosphere with some haunting drum attacks and the guitar's feedback-laden explosions set to an eerie astral background. But, the focus is too heavily placed on the big band hard jazz attacks, that don't do a damn thing for my rock out bone, and definitely don't do much for my heart. I suppose that a good majority of this record is entertaining, and some of the solo sections are executed powerfully. I never said these guys couldn't play their instruments, 'cept for ol' Anderson's singing, of course, which is just a pack of detached rambling about nothing in particular. What is it this time? something about the apocalypse, the gates of hell, insanity? Whatever, studying Yes lyrics is like counting the blades of grass in your back yard.

To Be Over, which contains some soothing, simple, wavy sitar, is my favorite part of the whole album, amazingly enough. It's structured like a neat psychedelic pop song, stretched out to nine minutes, which is approximately five minutes too much, if you catch my drift, but it's still nice, mainly because they seemed to have payed the most attention to the actual songwriting on it. To me, To Be Over easily trumps side one, but it's not enough to make up for the half of this album that just bored me, with severely restricted melodies and their painful habit of being complex and technical for the sheer sake of being technical and complex. Damn, if only they could have replaced that twit Jon Anderson with somebody else. I don't know, maybe Jon's dead-space whooping is what makes the rest of the band so attractive.


Report this review (#291122)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is quite a prolific album. I find it quite stunning, in fact. This release from one of Brittan's best follows in the footsteps of their classic album Close to the Edge, and does it beautiful justice.

This album is an adventure that Yes has never created before, this time to the Gates of Delirium and Back. Claustrophobic synths, haunting melodies, beautiful instrumental sections, and even an off the wall guitar solo all add up in wonderful orchestration to create a powerful effect.

The reason I compared it to Close to the Edge is 1. it's a lot of meaty musical material, and 2. it's in roughly the same song format?a ~20 minute track and then two ~10 minute tracks. This gives them a lot of roomy space to show off all their flashy technical ability, and all their sense of quiet cantabile motifs. This album, however, feels a lot more sophisticated and dark than Close to the Edge (which maintained throughout a lot of the album a cheery or rejoicing feel); this album DOES however avoid the use of filler as per to Tales From Topographic Oceans (thank god).

All in all, if you like Yes and you want to hear another prolific work from them that spins you in an entirely different direction?look no further, this won't disappoint.

4.5 Stars

Report this review (#293496)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars To be honest, I was a wee bit disapointed with this album.

After Close To The Edge, and the overly pompous Tales Of A Topagraphic Ocean, this album saw them attempt to do another Close To The Edge, with the 3 big songs (its pretty obvious)

This is a great album no doubt, but compared to the ones before, it doesn't even come close.

This also saw Yes going a wee bit downhill when it came to the craziness of the compositions.

1. The Gates Of Delirium - This is pretty out there of a song, musically. The melodies are great, and was interesting to know that this was mainly Jon's composition. The middle instrumental section is incredibly crazy. I'm not the biggest fan of Soon to be honest, it is a wee bit close of a melody for me. All in all, it still is pretty epic. 10/10

2. Sound Chaser - Their most craziest song. Very jazz influenced, very symphonic. According to Andy Tillson (The Tangent, 90 Degress Or Parallel) the last few seconds has Ohm, the sound of the universe. I think that is a little farce, but who knows, could be true. 10/10

3. To Be Over - I'm not the biggest fan of this song to be honest. It's very repetitive, and quite boring. It is nice, but it fails in comparison to most Yes songs. What intrigued me was the almost musical like melodies. That was what really intrigued me. 9/10

CONCLUSION: Still a great album, but by far, not Yes' best.

Report this review (#294881)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes Relayer from 1974, is to me, at least a quite difficult album to rank, is more then a 3 but less then 4. After Topographic, an album who made split fans in two camps, Relayer turn to be in the end a very enjoyble release. This album capture for most of the fans and not only them the Yes in his glory days, quite tastfull in arrangements with a lit bit of jazzy moments here and there Yes manage to come with a timless record. Is not one of my fav Yes album, will not be, from diffrent motives. Sometimes is to chessy for my taste or is going nowhere the compositions in musical terms. Gates of delirium is considered one of the best pieces a band ever created in progressive rock zone, complicated, challenging, progressive and very solid arrangements. All 3 tracks from here are ok, in places even strong, but as I say is not one of my fav Yes albums, something is missing here, I prefer the previous albums or later ones. 3.5 rounded to 4 only because of the opening track + the cover art, a real masterpice visualy speaking.
Report this review (#299795)
Posted Monday, September 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars As to me, Relayer is the ultimate Yes album. The musical performances are incredible, the songs being much more complex than the other Yes songs. With the addition of Patrick Moraz who had a distinct sound and that added some jazz influences to Yes's music. The only deception is the fact that Bill Bruford is not on the album and that it could have been better with him. Alan is doing his job perfectly but he has not his distinct style of drumming and Bruford had his own way to drum. I give it five stars and it really deserves it entirely.
Report this review (#301538)
Posted Saturday, October 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars A lot of people view "Tales of Topographic Oceans" as Yes' most pretentious, bombastic and needlessly overdone album. Not me, brother. When I look for the album where Yes completely fell off the rails, I point right at "Relayer", a pompous, uncreative caricature of everything that makes Yes great.

One of the things that you can at least generally count on for Yes is that the musicianship will be excellent, but even then that isn't the case here. Anderson's lyrics are completely uninspired, essentially on the "war is bad mmkay" message of "The Gates of Delirium". Steve Howe actually has some of his best guitar work on this album, but in this case "best" doesn't mean "most interesting", often wandering into unneeded, overlong solos. Chris Squire can generally be counted on to power the band's sound, but on this album he's barely audible, except when he's doing a bad imitation of Larry Graham on "Sound Chaser", and Alan White is just sort of...there, not contributing one thing or another to the band's sound. Lastly, there's Patrick Moraz, and his keyboard playing is ridiculous. I don't mean that in the sense that it's unbelievable how good he is, I mean that his style of keyboard playing literally sounds completely absurd: High pitched, nasal and spastic as hell, his tone also manages to sound dated in a way that Rick Wakeman's keyboards never did.

As to the songs themselves, as you can probably tell by the rating, they're all at least sort of terrible. "The Gates of Delirium" has the epic length of other Yes songs but not the epic scope, and therefore fails to give a reason why it must exist at such a length. Howe and Moraz basically dominate the sound of the song, each taking turns throwing solos at each other, while no other member of the band has much to do, Anderson included. There are about three minutes between 7:40 and 12:00 where you think the song might turn into something good, but simply reverts back to aimless noodling. And the "Soon" segment of the song isn't tranquil or soothing, it's just dull, going on for too long and providing nothing in the way of interesting musicianship.

As to the second half, things may actually get worse, as "Sound Chaser" is easily one of the, if not the, worst songs Yes has ever preformed, sounding like something the Mahavishnu orchestra might have come up with if they had all been doused with nitrous oxide in the studio. The song is overlong and cheesy without being dramatic, Moraz's keyboards at their absolute worst here, and Steve Howe has one of his most uninspired solos to date right in the middle. To top it all off you have Chris Squire doing his aforementioned terrible funk impersonation and Anderson bleating "CHA CHA CHA, CHA CHA CHA", making "Sound Chaser" not just bad, but embarrassing.

To be fair, "To Be Soon" has two things going for it: The first minute and the last minute. The first minute because it's sort of a pretty intro, and the last because it features a nice vocal section. The rest of the song is completely worthless, featuring Alan White's perplexingly stiff, uninteresting drum line and a structure that so badly wants to imitate "And You and I" and fails in nearly every way.

This is essentially how I can describe "Relayer": Take "Close to the Edge" and copy the structure of that album down to a T. Now make all of the songs boring, overlong and heinously dated. Congratulations, you have "Relayer", one of Yes' worst, if not their worst period, album. If you have any love for Yes' other work, or any love for your own ears, stay far, far away from this unimaginative, flat, corny 40 minutes of tripe.

Report this review (#301866)
Posted Sunday, October 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars A directionless, overblown mess. I should have known better really. I mean it IS 'Yes' we're talking about here. 'Relayer' begins in the spirit of their earlier releases, which just means they kick things off with the usual pretentious 22 minute 'song' that jumps and skips about aimlessly.

Unfortunately there's no Rick Wakeman on this album to breath a bit of life into this corpse. He had by this point, thanks to previous 'Yes' appearances, achieved a lifetimes supply of 'beer kitty' money and decided to do a runner. Honestly, I don't think I've heard such a mainstream and mind numbingly dull prog album before.

It's full of phoney spiritual nonsense, straight from the mind of a ten year old child. Talking of 10 year old kids, doesn't Jon Anderson sound like one of those 'Castratis' you used to hear about from the 1800's?.

New member Patrick Moraz has the thankless task of filling in all the spaces between the cacophonous and senseless outbursts. The drums are overly noisy and Jon Anderson has decided to sound more 'angry' on this album. A style that doesn't suit him at all. Maybe he was just trying to make himself heard above the din? Still, his vocals are bloody piercing and shrill, sounding like the braking of a locomotive train during an emergency stop.

Another thing I've got a bee in my bonnet about is Roger Dean. I've had a deep seated hatred of his work since 1979 when my mum bought me a Science Fiction artwork book. Even at nine years old I was aware that it was really pathetic and cheesy with all that 'Sword and the Sorceror' guff.

I don't mind you singing Jon, so long as you don't mind that I'm not listening.

Definitive proof that evolution can go in revesre

Report this review (#304297)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The best Yes album and their last good one. It was all downhill after this. Going For The One sounds like pop/rock mixed with New Age compared to Relayer. Here you will find some of Howe's best guitar playing and perhaps the best drumming White ever did. This is the only album with Patrick Moraz. His synth playing here is more tasteful and less cheesy than Wakeman, IMO. He uses an Orchestron(not Mellotron) here. In addition, he uses Fender Rhodes which I don't think Wakeman ever used. There is very little organ, I can only notice some on the "Soon" part of "Gates Of Delirium".

"Gates Of Delirium" is the best epic Yes ever did. My first taste of Relayer was the single edit of "Soon" on the Yesstory compilation. It didn't do much for me by itself, but in the context of "Gates" it works great. Unlike on earlier albums Anderson no longer has any hippy-dippy mumbo-jumbo googoo-gaga lyrics here. He's actually trying to say something on this album. "Gates" sounds like an anti-war song. Great playing here and the different sections flow into each other nicely. I like the part in the middle where it sounds like a vocoder; you hear what sounds like: "1,2,1,2,1,2,3...". Great.

"Sound Chaser" is the closest Yes ever got to sounding like fusion. Moraz uses a lot of string- synth here to good effect. I like how the tempo keeps changing throughout the whole song. Alan White is on fire here. Squire does some of his best bass playing on this song. Some people don't like the "cha cha cha" part, but I like it. I assume that those same people would have no problem if it was "la la la" instead. "To Be Over" is a beautiful song. Great electric sitar here. The "after all..." part at the end is just prog heaven. I wish all Symphonic Prog sounded as good as this song.

The keyboards and drumming are a step up from TFTO. The production is about equal. Roger Dean's artwork for this album is some of his best. This line-up could have made another album as good as or superior to this. But it was not to be. This is more consistent than TFTO and more edgy than CTTE. A solid prog classic. 5 stars.

Report this review (#306583)
Posted Monday, October 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rick Wakeman left, Patrick Moraz came. Besides of CTTE and Drama, this album is one between best Yes ever recorded.

Just 3 extra-long compositions, but not keyboard based symphonic prog, as it was before! Music is much more complex there, and obviously influenced by jazz fusion. So complex structures are obviously not usual for Yes music, and this album is the only one which really need time to be accepted in full.

For sure, it's no way jazz rock, but groovy bass (I love it there!), guitar soloing (possibly more than enough) and less bombastic and more jazzy Moraz keyboards in combination with various rhythmic structures make this album very special.

To be hones, by its musicianship this album is my favourite between all Yes releases, but the problem for me is compositions. Songs are too long (with no serious reason for that), and in moments all music sounds too unfocused and chaotic. So compositionally I prefer CTTE and Drama both.

But - this album is possibly the best ever example of what Yes could become if they chose more jazz-rock direction in their music. Great release anyway!

My rating is 4+

Report this review (#308050)
Posted Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The great masterpiece of Yes (next to "Close to the Edge", of course). "Relayer"is perhaps the most experimental and heavy album of Yes, with forays into jazz-fusion (courtesy of Patrick Moraz).

"The Gates of Delirium"is perhaps the most insane track that the band has ever recorded (I say perhaps because they also gave us "Sound Chaser"). In my opinion the instrumental section between 8-16 minutes is best of all time! is highly chaotic, heavy and insane! And after this mess instrumental, they give us "Soon", the beautiful ballad (if one can call to ballad) of band.How of such beauty can leave a mess like this? It's a question unanswered,maybe.This song,next to "Close to the edge" are my favorites of all times of the Yes.

"Sound Chaser" is the most chaotic song of album.Is more influenced by jazz-fusion.Is very difficult to be performed, even by band.Yet thus is bright. "To be over" is the music more pacific of album.Her must have been composed to calm the nerves of the listener, after the climate created by the two previous tracks.Is very beautiful and relaxing.

Overall this is an excellent album, more than the controversial "Tales From Topographic Oceans" (which I love) and "Tormato" (by whom I have mixed feelings).One of the great albums of progressive rock, for sure, then do not miss the chance to hear it.

Report this review (#319927)
Posted Sunday, November 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars People thought Yes was about to collapse. People were very wrong. To replace the departed Wakeman, Yes pulled out minor-keyboard-deity Patrick Moraz, formerly of some band called Refugee. In a few years time, he would hook up with the Moody Blues, first helping to jump-start their career and later leading the band into self-parody with his cheezy playing, but for now Patrick was a well-respected fusion keyboardist who would add a completely new dimension to Yes' sound. Initially, I considered him far weaker than Wakeman, but I now feel that was a mistake - while I do slightly prefer Wakeman overall, the two can't really be compared straight up (since their styles are so different), and when I take into account stylistic differences, I find it very difficult to choose one over the other.

The result, Relayer, must be considered one of the absolute high points of Yes' career, even though it's a slight aberration from their normal sound. I used to consider it clearly weaker than the last couple of albums, but I was wrong - musically, it's very strong, and from a trail-blazing point of view, it is practically untouchable (as far as Yes albums go, anyway). Besides, half of it is amazing beyond belief - how could I give a low rating to an album where a full side almost defines the word 'perfection'? See, although Tales' structure had been widely criticized, Yes was not done making 'epic' albums. Rather than doing the 4 side-long track thing, however, they returned to the Close to the Edge setup of one side-long and two tracks on the other. And partially because of that, the album is even stronger than Tales.

This is hardly a Close to the Edge redux, though. As mentioned earlier, Moraz was primarily a fusion keyboardist, and as such it shouldn't be surprising that Yes dabbles heavily in that aspect of music on this album. The songs are still basically "classic" prog- rock, sure, and none of the passages on the album are improvs put to tape (a la some King Crimson), but the stylistics have still changed significantly. The instrumental breaks are much more intense and fierce-sounding than anything from before, partially because Howe hardens up his guitar tone to an extent unmatched in the rest of Yes' history, and partially because the band went for all out aggression in more than a few spots on the album. The result oftentimes sounds a bit like the recently-dissolved 70's King Crimson (or even like The Mahavishnu Orchestra), but as much as I love Larks and Red, I ultimately end up preferring Yes' take on the approach (ie this album) by a very slight bit. Why this is I will get to later.

The King Crimson influences are most prominent in the second track of the album, the nine-minute "Sound Chaser." I can only begin to imagine the absolute shock received by fans hearing this for the first time in pre-album touring - on the surface, it's a really cool, loud, but also messy-as-hell shredfest whose main goal seems to be to show off chops. Well .... that might be true, but I get my kicks from it anyhow. The vocal melody that pops up from time to time gets caught in my head routinely (no kidding), and the CHA CHA CHA *HROUGH* parts at the end are nothing short of hilarious, but of course it's the instrumental breaks that take the cake. All receive prominent display, even if in the case of White (whose drumming on this album improves tenfold from Tales) and Squire it's relegated to providing VERY cool work underpinning the rest. Moraz gets one of the strangest keyboard solos ever to be found on a Yes album near the end, while providing ominous parts periodically in the rest, and Steve gets one of the most ferocious solos ever known to man in the first half. This solo also contains one of the few moments in the Yes canon that genuinely scares the crap out of me every time I hear it - Steve's quote of "Mood for a Day," a soothing piece if ever there was one, that is quickly followed by a menacing *BOOOWW WOW WOW WOOOOWW*, as if to tell the listener that any expectations of relief from the onslaught during this piece should be dismissed. Sure, I wouldn't want to listen to this sort of thing every minute of my life, but it works well in the context of the album.

Fortunately, relief comes in the closing "To Be Over." It's a strange piece, not exactly a ballad or anything like that, but that doesn't make it any worse for it. It really provides an image of sailing down a stream, passing waterfalls here and there, as we emerge from the hellishness provided by the last track. At least, for the most part; Steve's guitar parts are EXTREMELY interesting on this track - not only are they mixed very clearly and placed very high, but they're very, er, "schizophrenic." He'll be playing some beautiful slide for a while, and out of nowhere he'll rip into a lick on his Telecaster that sounds straight out of the previous song. Of course, I feel there is a distinct purpose to that (which I will mention later), but never mind - the final third of the piece contains some of the most beautiful vocal harmonizing I've ever come across, and the "someday someone" etc. chanting at the end with Steve coming full circle with his slide parts does not fail to bring a tear to my eye. Again, not all the individual elements of the song are brilliant, but it works well as a whole (though I'd still take "AYAI" over this).

But of course, these two tracks are not the main reason people go gaga over this album. Nono, that would be the beast on side one. The greatest song in the Yes catalogue, the band's crowning jewel. The pinnacle and culmination of all things progressive. The track that ALL progressive rock was leading up to, which has never once been topped and will stand, many years from now, as the shining moment of the prog-rock movement when I am gone and my review page lies abandoned. Yes, it is indeed the epic "Gates of Delirium" of which I speak. A 22 minute musical interpretation of War and Peace that tells the most evocative and tension-filled story I've ever heard (er, at least in a musical setting).

Wait, a "story" I said? Yes indeed. The song is, at the most basic level, divided into three sections - the battle prologue, the battle (which is bloody as hell), and the aftermath. So in the beginning, it's peaceful (day breaks, and there's even a "reveille" part), and yet filled with anxiety. As the time of the confrontation approaches, the tension rises; the warriors remind each other why they wish to fight, call up their Gods to help them in battle, and there's even signs of deceit and espionage within the ranks. Not to mention that the music does a good enough job of its own of raising the tension so slowly that one barely notices until it's almost too late (note especially the way Steve's guitar tone gets harder and harder throughout the intro).

As the battle is imminent, the adrenaline starts pumping, and it's time to do or die. The final stanza before the fighting begins is nothing short of brilliant: "The first will run, grasp metal to gun. The spirit sings in crashing tones, we gain the battle drum. Our cries will shrill, the air will moan and crash into the dawn. The pen won't stay the demon's wings, the hour approaches pounding out the Devil's sermon." Cool, huh? Then there's a whole bunch of sound effects over the music, simulating the confrontation (which is EXTRAORDINARILY well structured, by the way, depicting waves of attacking forces and slow advances in positioning, until the forces break through and White pounds out the main rhythm of a victory march). Needless to say, the music itself is also incredible - from Moraz's initial surge and explosion with his keys to Steve's "death from above" guitar swoops to the cool bass part in a syncopated 6/4, it becomes exceptionally easy after five or six listens (and with some modicum of imagination) to see people falling left and right while the victorious force grinds its way through the enemy position. I should also mention that this instrumental section contains my single favorite Yes moment - the RIP YOUR FACE OFF harmonic and rhythmic counterpoint that occurs around 9:41, a blast of controlled chaos that boggles my mind every time I hear it. And of course, I also find it REALLY cool the way the instruments "complete each other's thoughts" on such a regular basis, but I should move on, really I should ...

After the battle fades away, the music starts to get peaceful again - but it's an eerie, sick sort of peace. The imagery of the last part of this track is almost undeniable - one can easily envision the leader of the victorious side riding about in celebration, then slowing down as the smoke clears and the casualties of war are revealed, changing a happy celebration into something less ebulliant, more introspective and reflective. But as the survivors tend to the wounded and Jon serenades us with the "Soon" conclusion, a tinge of optimism creeps forth - although many were lost, their sacrifice was not in vain, and the future will be brighter because of them. NOW do you get an idea of why so many people worship this track??!!

Of course, I've still left unanswered the questions from before. The first - why it is that I prefer Yes' take on King Crimson (and yes, with the "hard" edge evident throughout, all three tracks can be attributed with that tinge). The answer is basically this - mid 70's King Crimson had an absolute mastery of contrast between loud and quiet, as well as an incredible sense of how to build one into another. Yes demonstrates a similar mastery of that with this album, but also taps into an aspect Crimson never could - contrast between light and dark, good and evil. Which in turn leads into the second question - why it is that Yes would allow the album to be so schizophrenic in nature. The answer to this, I fear, will not come out particularly clearly, but I'm hoping I can find the words to explain my thoughts. So here goes.

Relayer, when you get down to it, is a mood album. Yes, you read that correctly, but I mean the term in a different connotation than you might be used to. Most of the time, a mood album "sets" a mood or a vibe through peaceful repetition of quiet phrases. Relayer, on the other hand, FORCES moods upon you. Not only that, but the mood swings violently from aggression to peace - the pretty parts of the album are some of the most gorgeous known to man, while the most aggressive parts could make the most ardent metalhead suck his thumb and cry for mommy. Just look at the way the album goes: "Gates" starts off peacefully, slowly builds into the violent battle section, which in turn oozes its way into the beautiful "Soon." Then from nowhere, we're launched straight back into angry aggression with "Sound Chaser," which has an occasional moment of calm, only to be swallowed up with the torrent of playing. And finally, we have "TBO," which starts out beautifully ... and then eventually goes through some "turbulence." The swings between light and dark, peace and anger, become closer and closer together, with less time to gradually swing from one to another ... until, in the end, the peaceful side wins out, giving us the beautiful guitar serenade whilst the band floats away into a beautiful sunset. Or something like that.

Yes, I am a nut. That doesn't make the album rule any less. I can't BELIEVE I once would have only given this a low ****.

Report this review (#321773)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars Yes have generally had a great deal of success picking out their band replacements and using them to their full potential. This was definitely the case with Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman's additions to the collective and later on we've had the likes of Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes and Trevor Rabin breathing in new signs of life into the lineup in the '80s, for better or worse.

Patrick Moraz was a highly controversial choice as Rick Wakeman's replacement, which could obviously be said about anyone trying to step into his shoes. But instead of just following the direction that was paved by his predecessor, Moraz gave the band's sound a whole new approach which has been blasted by the hardcore Symphonic Prog fanatics for years on end without realizing what a unique album they were missing out on!

Unlike Steve Howe's instrumental dominance on Tales From Topographic Oceans which failed to give the band's complex approach justice, the new free jazz-inspired rhythmic style that Yes were going for here actually got greatly complemented by his playing. In many ways, Relayer is a Steve Howe solo album that never was. As I already mentioned, I'm not a huge fan of the classic Close To The Edge-release and even though Yes recreated the same album format on Relayer, it's both atmospherically and texturally very different from that record or even most of Tales From Topographic Oceans, for that matter.

Gates Of Delirium took me a few spins to get into, but now I certainly consider it to be one of Yes' best compositions. I recall vividly seeing the Symphonic Live Tour-performance of the track where the animation images that were projected onto the screen during the battle section of the composition completely mesmerized me! Sound Chaser is probably the most controversial track out of the bunch, due to its jazz-inspired arrangements, where Patrick Moraz clearly shows what type of a great performer he is. Still, this track is not a huge favorite of mine. To Be Over could be compared to And You and I, but to me it's always going to be the vastly superior performance and an excellent conclusion to a somewhat underrated Yes album.

Roger Dean's album artwork for Relayer is easily my favorite of his. The texture of these colors and distant landscapes complement the music better than any of his previous work, even though the artwork for Close To The Edge does come close to reaching that goal. Other than all that, we also have Soon, which is my favorite composition and performance by Jon Anderson. Giving this album anything less than the masterpiece rating would be unjust on my part!

***** star songs: Gates Of Delirium (21:50)

**** star songs: Sound Chaser (9:26) To Be Over (9:06)

Report this review (#326579)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's hard to believe that I've not yet written a review of this amazing album before. It is one of the albums that dominated my record player for months of 1975 and received frequent play for years after. It may be the most played album of my life. This was also my introductory album to Yes. I was (and am) always stunned by the guitar virtuosity of "Sound Chaser" (9/10), the sleepy beauty and unusual melodic beauty of "To Be Over" (9/10), but it is the epic--one of THE epics of the progressive rock "classic" era--that defines the greatness of this album. I am not a lyrics guy (can't recite to you the lyrics to any of my favorite songs) but I KNEW the lyrics to Gates. I think I could play act/air guitar all of Steve Howe's licks. This song was the epitome of what I loved in music: power, delicacy, instrumental virtuosity, the use of odd time signatures, unusual shifts in tempo and dynamics, and vocals that are more essential to the tapestry of the music than they are for their message or meaning. And then to be able to see/hear it performed live a few times. Utter bliss! Especially "Soon"! Thought I'd die and go to heaven! Anyway, this is definitely one of the landmarks or cornerstones of the best of progressive rock music. And though it feels like the album on which Steve Howe "takes over" it may, in fact, be the band's tightest collaborative effort. Too bad Patrick Moraz couldn't fit in better: he is awesome! Without question, this album is ESSENTIAL!
Report this review (#330915)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my favorite albums, Relayer is an album that spans many styles and aspects of music. From the violent clashes in The Gates of Delirium to "drifting endlessly like a breeze" in To Be Over, Relayer is a work of art and Yes' finest album in my opinion.

The album starts off with the 22 minute Gates of Delirium. This track develops slowly from the peaceful ambiance of synths and softer guitar to the raucus instrumental battlefield that jars in your ears. This song covers so many different themes and emotions. The music slowly builds to a climax, with guitar leading the way, giving way to the synth and the chaotic drums. The intensity then drops off into a ballad lamenting the violence and hoping for peace. Epic in its scope, this song alone would make this album amazing, but two just as good songs make this album classic.

Flip the record over and you have Sound Chaser attack your ears. Very fast and rhythmic, this jazz-inflected track is constantly moving around. One of my favorite parts is the guitar solo where the guitar is the only instrument playing.

Finally, after the violence and chaos of Gates of Delirium and Sound Chaser, we arrive at a safe haven. To Be Over is a soft, calming song, with lyrics that evoke breezes and gentle streams. This song has many guitar tones: sitar, a softer, calm playing, and a sudden phrenetic playing that catches you off guard at first. The ending of this song, with a choral atmosphere and a repeat of the song's main theme, ends Relayer with a peaceful, rested feeling.

Though recorded with the newcomer Patrick Moraz at the keyboard instead of the legend Rick Wakemen, Relayer displays Yes at its creative finest. Each song is fantastic and original. Relayer is an epic album that every prog fan should own.

Report this review (#342253)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Relayer is the only Yes album to feature Patrik Moraz on keyboards and for me compared to any other albums, the difference in style really stands out.

The epic "The Gates Of Delirium" was inspired by the novel War And Peace and so the lyrics are about the futility of war. The music is a lot more aggressive, particularly with the sounds from the guitar. There is a very chaotic feel and halfway through there are clashing effects. The track ends with a prayer for peace. It's a gentle melody known as "Soon".

There is some jazz fushion with "Sound Chaser". This track is again very different to typical Yes music. It's fast moving with some complex guitar parts. At times, like the first song it turns frantic and dramatic. It's slightly overblown in places, particularly at the end but nothing major.

The last track "To Be Over, is my favourite. It's a complex but more melodic piece. I would say it's among one of my favourite Yes songs. The guitar is nicer here and the electric sitar lets off a splendid atmosphere. Anderson's lyrics are good too.

Some say this album is mostly too pretentious and long winded. I don't agree. The music is challenging for sure. While I can't say it's perfect, it is an excellent album overall.

My rating: 4 solid stars.

Report this review (#363896)
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Yes - Relayer (1974)

As if Yes knew the heydays of progressive rock were about to end.. this album really sound like all good elements of prog are put into a shredder! This is just unbelievable. It is very hard to find a another bad record (yes I said it) with the amount of good-brilliant ideas this albums has.

Yes sums it all up; technical composition and fusion like instrumental parts, symphonic land-scapes, the use of some nice keyboard-equipment, many themes, conceptual song- writing and almost Live at Pompeii format bombastic/stylistic arrangements. But still, it sounds horrible.

First, the recording is awful. Though I never heard a well produced Yes record, this album has IMHO one of their ugliest recordings with awful guitar-sounds and shreds of Steve How, irritating bass-lines (a bass-guitar should pick the lower parts of musical spectrum) and of course the high-pitched vocals of Anderson. The recording sounds as if it was done in intense haste and the listener doesn't get a simple moment of peaceful or well-recorded harmonic musical parts.

Now, the composition of this album can be called an achievement. There is an almost endless amount of melodies, progressive rhythms and sounds. There's this amount of great musical material but... there's no reason. Why this solo here, and that drum-thing there. Why this distorted sound here, why these back-ground noises there. WHY?!

There's no concept and I can't find a logical explanation for why all this material is presented in this order. Yes really displayed a weakness of our progressive genre here: the aiming for the impossible. Yes never really touched me with 'personal' music, but this is the effort that is furthest away from the common man. Actually, this kind of prog would make ME want to cut my hair and go out and buy the Sex Pistols.

Conclusion. What can I say? This is a favorite album of perhaps a major part of our community but I really think Yes is one of the main reasons the progressive movement collapsed. This is noodling, this is ten steps away from the common man. Perhaps this is a mistake that had to be made by a progressive rock band but it surprises me how many people love this very confusing album. Perhaps it has something to with my own mind-set. Why is it so important for me to understand the music? Why does this recording quality disturb me so much? It must be a matter of taste. Two stars and many thoughts about the potential of this material.

Report this review (#367603)
Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars This is one of the YES albums that for an unknown reason is less likely to be played by me. "Gates Of Delirium" is a good epic, and in general I like when the music becomes chaotic inside a 20 minutes track. Somebody says it's jazzy, mainly because of Moraz replacing Wakeman, but to be honest I don't hear more jazz here than in other YES albums of the same period (early 70s). So what's right and what's wrong here?

This is a YES album, first of all. It's not too different from Tales in the sounds and from Close to the Edge in the structure: a long suite made of different parts on Side A and two long songs on side B. Respect to Close to the Edge, Relayer is unstructured. The various parts of the suite are missing the returns to a central theme. This means that "Gates" is a sequence of good songs grouped together in the concept of Tolstoj's "War and Peace", not properly a suite. It's extremely good, 22 minutes which pass by without boring moments. I can imagine the last minutes played by Vangelis instead of Moraz.

Going to side B, the intro of Sound Chaser can be felt like jazzy in the sense of "cold" and "free". As usual for the YES, there are odd signatures and I can't imagine this music with a singer different from Jon Anderson. This track is more noisy and chaotic, funky-rock in some moments, with the guitar solo reminding in some moments to "Mood for a Day". Not bad also this. The melody sung by Anderson after the guitar solo is based on an unusual sequence of chords then the initial rock/funky section reprises. The seeds for "Big Generator" are planted.

A long intro, two minutes of guitar and keyboard, and Jon starts singing a very melodic song on which the bass is a little discordant so we can remember that they are the YES. It's the kind of track that could be found on the previous great albums like "The Yes Album" and "Fragile", just a bit too self-indulgent in the guitar part. This is in brief "To Be Over".

As I have written at the beginning of this review, there is an unknown reason why this album doesn't make a lot for me. I don't know if it's the sound of Patrick's keyboards or the production in general. Listening better it's YES music but it fails to catch my attention; something that doesn't happen with its predecessors. Not a bad album, absolutely, but I can't rate it with more than three stars.

Report this review (#377452)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Just to be Honest with myself first , and Yes fans second , and all proggers in general . the year was 1970 , i've got the first Yes album in November , and at that time , i use to get a lot of vinyl 33rpm albums & 45rpm singles from label companies around the world as a musical magazine owner , distributed in the Middle East Area , in addition to African Arab countries !. my first contact at that time was the Yes Album , but at that time , hard rock , blues rock , canterbury & space rock , even Psychedelic was controlling our minds around the world . So , i left it behind , as i did with so many Excellent albums & Masterpieces at that time , i was only 18 , fully loaded with Shitty Bang Bang , so , i left it behind , the way i did with Van Der Graaf , Gentle Giant & King Crimsons stuff . but when i've got Tales of Topographic Ocean , Lark's Tongues and Godbluff , in Addition to Relayer in 1975 , i started a new look to these bands & albums , and Relayer gave me the right direction to follow the right dimensions to create my own look into progressive rock in general . this album along with Selling England & in a Glass house afterwards , gave the right impact to my soul , to discover the right beauty of a real progressed blues , jazz , rock & classical . the idea of Yes & King Crimson started to capture my soul in 1975 , Gentle Giant , Soft Machine & Gong in 1977 , and Van Der Graaf in 2008 , because of you in Progarchives !!! Relayer is a real solid album , and the best way to discover its beauty is to be a musician yourselves , but still , in my opinion it's better than Fragile & Close to the Edge , the three of them are Excellent albums , but for Relayer & Tales , i have always to pay respect for John , Steve , Alan , Chris & Patrick , for me it's a masterpiece , and the best release of the 70's ! i'm not gonna review all tracks now , they did a great job the eldest proggers , but i'm gonna post a poll now about Yes & Relayer , kindly share in it ! 5 stars , and much appreciated by me more than Fragile & Close !!
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Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As a newbie to prog, "Yes" have very quickly become my favourite band! Having added the five essential albums by the band to my discography (including "Tales from Topographic Oceans"), "Relayer" is my personal favourite!

To me, this album represents the perfect synthesis of prog rock and jazz. Complex and energetic rhythms grab me and sound afresh with each spin, and in the brilliance of "Yes", between these are marbled memorable melodies. "Yes" are surely one of the most creative bands of the 20th century. I want to emphasize the creative factor here. It's not just the musical performing talent of the band, but the ability to enchant the listener with epic song structures, within which lies perfect balance between rhythm, melody, dissonance, great poetry, virtuosity and timbral experimentation.

To me, the fact that this release comes after "Close to the Edge" and "Tales from Topographic Oceans" makes little difference to me - if a band writes brilliant music with a "winning formula" that it has tried before, it takes nothing away from the praise they deserve. Furthermore, "Relayer" has its own flavour, its brilliance stands alongside the brilliance of "Close to the Edge" in its own right, on its own two legs.

You've no doubt already enjoyed this album for a decade before I was even born, but be encouraged that generation Y is discovering and appreciating the cornerstones of rock, and of brilliant music!

Undoubtedly, a masterpiece!

Report this review (#383411)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars What more can be said about this album, after well over two hundred reviews and eight hundred ratings? I hope I can add something.

This was the first album after the first departure of Rick Wakeman. It speaks volumes that this band could produce something of this quality after losing such a key member. And this after the departure of Bill Bruford befor the previous album.

Although much can be said for Patrick Moraz' incredible job filling the void left by Wakeman, the album is really a tour de force for Steve Howe. His guitar is out front from start to finish, playing licks that make most of his other works pale in comparison.

The Gates Of Delirium ranks as Yes' second greatest epic. While more challenging to the listener than Close To The Edge, and darker than most Yes music, the piece is brought down by the maudlin ending, often separated as the song Soon. This portion of the epic often makes me think of Barbra Streisand.

Sound Chaser is another song unlike anything else in Yes' catalog. This is where Moraz shines, adding some almost jazzy sounding keyboard lick around Howe's strong guitar.

To Be Over is a bit of a letdown after the first two songs, but I suppose a bit of relaxation is in order by this point.

Report this review (#387054)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yesdelirium

The first time I heard Gates Of Delirium was in 2001, during the "Yessimphonic Tour" in Milan, Italy.It was an incredible evening, perhaps the best concert I ever attended. I went with a friend and we were not sure what to expect since this was a show where the group was backed by a full symphony orchestra.

At one point Jon Anderson announced the song. The spectator next to me had a surge of joy, but I did not know the song, so I was not sure what to expect. It is not easy to appreciate this track on first listen, but at the end I was quite happy. In addition, the final part (Soon) was incredible, the best moment of the whole concert: I remember vividly the extraordinary sound of the pedal steel guitar of Steve Howe.

Intrigued, I bought the DVD of the concert and listened the song several times, assimilating to the end, and I liked it immensely. Then I bought "Relayer" and unfortunately I realized with disappointment that the original version is not the same thing.

Mind you, Gates Of Delirium is by far the best track of "Relayer", and is also an interesting piece with stunning jazz guitar solos by Howe. The final section, with Anderson and Howe protagonists, is amazing: any fan of progressive rock must heard it at least once in a life because it is almost unique. Unfortunately, a fragment of six minutes may not re-evaluate an entire suite. The first seven minutes is not bad, but the three long instrumental sections of the central part seem too cold and inconsistent, marked only by a great technique that does not always translate into good music, but sometimes in a jumble of sounds even annoying (By contrast, in the live performance of 2001, the orchestra gave an amazing solemnity to these instrumental parts).

Sound Chaser has more or less the same defects: huge solo parts of Howe and Squire, unfortunately, ends in themselves. Much space has the rhythm section, but White is not Bruford. It's the "Yessong" that I know that I like least in absolute terms (and I own all the band's albums up to "Going For The One"). Things go better with the more melodic To Be Over, but we are still far from the style of the great early '70s Yes.

For my rating, Gates of Delirium and above all the magnificence of "Soon" has great weight. Without the long suite of the first side, my rating would be only two stars. It 's a difficult album to digest, much more than "Tales From Topographic Oceans", and even after many plays I could not say that I really like it very much. If you want to listen to the masterpieces of the group, then choose "Yes Album", "Fragile" or "Close To The Edge."

Rating: 5/10.

Best song: The Gates Of delirium

Review milestone #10 by DN

Report this review (#400939)
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is often overshadowed by Close To The Edge, in the same way A Passion Play is overshadowed by Thick As A Brick. Relayer is ALMOST as good as Close To The Edge, and there is no good excuse for ignoring it. The layout is almost the same, one epic track takes up side one, and two semi epic tracks take up side 2. The melody tends to be carried by Jon Anderson's vocals, wile the instruments play at intense speeds in the background. There really isn't a bad moment on this album. If you've listened to Close To The Edge a few times, and you're hungry for more Yes, get this album second.
Report this review (#406658)
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is where my prog rock journey began - and not a bad place to start!. In 1975, I could hear a musical noise coming from my brother's bedroom and he was playing this album by a band called Yes - never heard of them. I must have entered during the battle scene and we both thought it unlistenable. Later that day he played the fantastic Soon element from The Gates of Delirium and I was hooked.

This album is only matched by Close to the edge and while the original albums both contained 3 tracks, musically they are miles apart. The Gates of Delirium is a fantastic epic and it feels like an epic where every part was mean't to be connected as oppossed to some epics where I feel that various bits of songs have been added together (Yes have been guilty of that themselves with songs such as Mind drive and That, that is). I love the whole 20+ minutes but the way the battle scene dissolves into the beautiful ending is just sheer class. The best ending to any epic that I've heard.

Steve Howe, who for me is the star of this album, shows off his exceptional talents on the next track Sound Chaser - the damn thing just flies out of the speakers - not sure if the cha cha bits are necessary - but what the heck.

The final track, To be over, is the calm after previous energetic piece. Like so many Yes tracks it has spiritual, upbeat feel to it - "Don't doubt your part be ready to be loved". The ending is so uplifting, despite later learning that the joyous chanting at the end was meaningless made up words!

A genuine masterpiece, all the players are on top form, special word of praise for Moraz. His only Yes album and his keyboards bring a jazzy energy to the whole proceedings- something they never attempted again. Interesting to see what would have happend if he'd stayed. However, Going for the one was the superb follow-up and all seemed well...

Even the album cover is class. Despite the warning regarding offering 5 star awards, this is one of the easiest 5 star ratings that I could make.

Report this review (#413982)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer is kind of an overlooked album even by Yes fans. How so, if it's got a fairly decent rating of 4.31 as I write? Simply because it's a masterpiece in its own merits. It owes nothing to Close to the Edge. In fact, if you allow me the play of words, it's got the edge over their most well-known album, almost unanimously praised as the best Yes and maybe in the whole prog scene. I might be one of the few disonant voices upon this matter.

Close to the Edge is indisputably a prog milestone. Much like Dark Side of the Moon, realeased shortly after. But Relayer is the least known masterpiece that indeed surpasses its better known counterpart. Much like Wish You Were Here, released shortly after.

My own hipothesis to why is it so: first and foremost, the groundbreaking work of a band/artist, thefore their most innovative album (to date, at least), is the one that becomes a landmark not only in the band, but also rock and roll history, and so tends to overshadow everything that comes after. In this sense, Relayer is to Close to the Edge as Wish You Were Here to Dark Side of the Moon; Who's Next (or Quadrophenia) to Tommy; Abbey Road to Sgt. Pepper's; Incantations to Tubular Bells. Second, in my personal view, there is a bit of a bias against Relayer because it is no longer performed by Yes classic formation. Patrick Moraz replaces Rick Wakeman. Alan White, Bill Bruford. They're very worthy successors, but Moraz has a very different style and, well, as good as Alan White is, Bill Bruford is still Bill Bruford (though, to me, he became THE drummer de facto and by right only after he joined King Crimson).

Having said that, let me explain why, in my very personal views, Relayer surpasses Close to the Edge as Yes's masterpiece and best album. It's a more mature album. Its sound is richer, more experimental yet cohese and melodic (and not overblown, pretentious and self indulgent as Tales from Topographic Oceans). Polished the excesses from its immediate predecessor, Relayer becomes the quintessential Yes album.

Secondly, I very much appreciate the fact that Relayer relies heavier in Steve Howe's astounding guitar, to what any praise is not enough. His solos are breathtaking. And they are more frequent and longer, probably because the newcomer Moraz had neither the prestige, nor the assurance to take the spotlight the way Wakeman did. Howe's guitar extensively uses the slide effect, that adds beauty and fluidity to the songs. Of course, the most notable example is "Soon", the closing section of their side-long epic, Gates of Delirium. Nevertheless, it is equally beautiful and impressive in To Be Over (though less prominent, the sound relying primarily in the instruments interplay). Incidentally, me beign more akin to guitar than keyboards, I personally enjoy very much the fact tha Patrick Moraz is not as protagonist as Wakeman.

Also, to my taste, Gates of Delirium sounds more well-crafted, more cohese and, considering especially its instrumental interlude, more progressive than its most famous conterpart, Close to the Edge (the song). It even emulates sounds of battle. Equally imaginative, exciting and musically pleasing. Jon Anderson never sounded better either. Soon tends to be seen as a bit lame by some. No way, I say. It's got, simply put, the best, most beautiful and pungent Howe guitar solo ever. Some tend to mistake beauty for cheesiness. Besides, to some yesfans, a ballad is almost an heresy. How little they know...

Sound Chaser is the most experimental, jazzy, distorted and disonant. Indeed a sound chase. From the chaos, emerges some exciting music. To Be Over is more of a mainstream song (if one may say so as far as a 9 minutes songs is concerned). Well, that's one of the things the yesmen are capable of when they are on their prime: being simultaneously melodic, virtuoso, delicate, moving, imaginative and even (in the good sense) pop (here defined as a music that might be appealing to anyone open to good rock and roll, prejudices put aside). That's To Be Over, with its magnificent coda that summarizes and perfectly closes this also magnificent and perfect album. A true classic.

[NOTE: Though the album itself is wonderfully produced, the sound, in the George Marino remaster, is strangelly poor in quality. Go for the Elektra 2003 remaster, not much for the bonus tracks, that are unnecessary edits or early versions, but for the notable improvement in sound quality]

Report this review (#423396)
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I first began listening to Yes, I started off with what I found to be their most famous and well-received albums, Close to the Edge and Fragile. I found them to be masterpieces in their own right, and they had me thirsting for more. When I first put on Relayer, I was shocked as to what I had found, a hidden masterpiece. At least that is how it felt to me, given many people I know have little interest in prog rock, save for a couple famous classics.

The first track Gates of Delirium is a masterpiece in it's own right. I continue to be mesmerized by that entire track. The departure of Wakeman was unfortunate, and even though this was Moraz's only album until he departed as well. The synth riffs in this track feel as if they had some kind of funky, yet mythical feel to them. Which lead me to feel he did a really great job on the album, and helped contribute to what I feel is my favourite Yes song.

The work from Squire, Anderson, Howe and White. Is, as always, oozing with talent. I especially found the solo in Sound Chaser a great example of the diversity of Howe's wild creativity with his guitar. While the pedal steel guitar at the end of Gates of Delirium gave such a chilling and eerily feel to the finale, which only added to the mystical and fantasy feel that I felt came from the synth riffs.

In review, I feel that this is definitely my favourite Yes album. I know a claim like this will probably come with criticism and objection. I just can't help but revel in one of the only true epic albums ever made.

Report this review (#425248)
Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes push the enveloppe to the max with this one. The music on this album has Patrick Moraz all over it, the sound ,the feel, the emotion without him there is no Relayer. Rick could not and would play keyboards this way and Vangelis was unavalaible. the lyrics are pure Jon Anderson he never reached that level again. Steve's playing is influence by and is the perfect harmony with Patrick. Alan's drumming is better then on Tales and by a long shot and Chris well is Chris.

This album along with Works form ELP and Rick's Journey signal the end of the golden age of prog and the push toward a more simple way to make music call the punk movement .

For being so bombastic and grandiose this album truly deserve to be call a masterpiece.

Report this review (#428810)
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Relayer is kind of an oddity in the Yes catalog for being so abrasive. That doesn't mean it is bad; quite the contrary. This is another one of Yes' best albums. We get the same format as Close to the Edge, but this music is often loud, powerful, and frantic.

"The Gates of Delirium" starts off very significantly jazzy for Yes, but eventually becomes sing-songy. The changes in this track are fluid, but are more obvious than on previous albums. One thing that is easily noticeable upon first listening to this album is that Howe's guitar tone is much brighter and uses much more delay effect than before. It's not a bad thing, but it is definitely different and change works well. The middle of the track is noisy and abrasive, but this comes off as sounding refreshing after Yes' usual poppy-hippie sounding music. The track eventually cools off into a very light and psychedelic passage, and rest of the track mainly focuses on a folky passage accompanied by synths and Anderson's terrific voice. The track is finished off with a twangy but well executed solo by Howe.

"Sound Chaser" starts off sounding like an outtake from Miles Davis' Bitches Brew sessions which is accentuated by Steve Howe's guitar, which sounds close to John McLaughlin's style. The guitar solo that takes up the middle of the song is very diverse in it's styles. The track as a whole is very eclectic - moving from country rock, jazz fusion, funk, and the typical Yes style.

"To Be Over" is the third and final track, and is much more subdued and "normal" than the previous two songs. Steve Howe plays a very southern rock influenced guitar solo in the middle, complete with slide guitar. He also has another solo closer to the end. This is the one track on the album that doesn't do much for me.

Relayer, to me, sounds like an album where Yes just wanted to have fun playing music rather than focus so seriously on composing, and it works very well in my opinion. This album is very strong, although odd. I definitely wouldn't recommend this to anyone except huge Yes fans, because this album can be quite hard to swallow with its energy and abrasiveness. But if you're a Yes fan and want to hear their most experimental material, here it is.

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Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rick Wakeman gone solo and left behind ?but he'll be back? as well as his epic monumental style, but yet not lost. With this record, Yes shows off that the band is much more than just a person. Yes is a tour de force, and here they prove it.

Immediately strings and keyboards break the silence and starts the long way through a marvel epic opening via "The Gates of Delirium", first soft and kind of dissonant, the path is taking form once every instrument has being showed up, lead to another vocal opening power elation. As soon as the path is taken, the journey turns jovial, acid and energetic. The guitar here is much more powerful and vibrant than any Yes previous work. Some hints from 'Topographics?' are still rooming from time to time. The bass nurses rear and defends from the dangers of the road accelerating the pace. Here all the rhythm moves forward and climbs toward emotional peaks of a rock adventure, tracing new sonorous roads whereas any other rocker at the time risked. There's a clear fusion of styles merging into a vortex of dynamism, a little of hard rock, some jazz and the science fictions movements in Howe's guitar reach the climax bursting in acid and all the fierce exploiting in a single point made evident on White's decaying drums. The war is fading, fighting the last exertions of a bare living monster. But then the war cries and swords are down for silence, it vibes over Moraz's keyboards and Howe's squealing strings so 'Soon' emerges as a hope beyond the horrors and the lost. Tears of joy follow this final part of the song and all the greatness of the band shines while fading.

"Chaser Sound" is the most experimental and saturated work here, maybe in their entire discography. Blended between some funk with jazz and prog, all the exuberance retained burst out without hesitation. There's a little calm section, but everything quickly refrains over the maniac mood speeding towards an explosive burst. Such a fierce and motivational piece.

Finally "To be Over" turns the page into the melodic and smooth side of the band. The tune embraces melancholy, sailing with encouraging lyrics into a stream of calm and joy. At the middle section there's a little struggle emotionally full of joy and elation. Not long ahead the tune breaks over feelings like a tender restful hug in the soul.

That said about the music, the cover art is an amazing work ―as usual― by Roger Dean. Is one of the most epic and overpowering covers in rock history. All this said, in spite of anyone's musical preferences, this record is marvel that stands all by itself and still stands overtime.

Report this review (#432941)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#476649)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Exit the Wakeman, and all that jazz...

The seventh studio album from Yes and the first to feature the talents of keyboardist Patrick Moraz.

The Good: With a running time less than half of that of its predecessor, Relayer showed another change in direction for Yes. The album's format of one long, two short(er!) recalls not only Close to the Edge, but also the fusion standards of Herbie Hancock and others of that era. This connection isn't just limited to structure as the sound of Relayer also has elements of jazz, primarily due to the influence of new member Moraz. His individual contribution to the record is outstanding to the point that I barely even miss the genius of Wakeman.

The sprawling opening track marks a definite return to form for the band and would easily be the best song on most albums. Most albums that don't have Sound Chaser that is. This frenetic outburst is the musical equivalent of shoehorning a full release into a ten minute single on steroids. Absolutely brilliant.

The Bad: Whilst To Be Over has its moments for sure, it does feel a bit 'lost' some of the time.

The Verdict: Playing third fiddle to Fragile and Close to the Edge, but only just.

Report this review (#499122)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Relayer is an album that took a while to grow on me, but at this point I think it ranks amongst the best work Yes have done. It's hard to get into at first, and I suspect many listeners are turned off by the opening to Gates of Delirium, which is extremely abrasive and chaotic by the band's standards, but after giving it some attention I've come to appreciate the song's structure, beginning as it does with some of their most complex work before the "battle" sequence resolves and the close of the song presents some of the most beautiful work Yes have ever done. The "Soon" section and Steve Howe's wonderful guitar solo during it, in particular, represents the closest classic-period Yes came to mainstream (if a bit New Agey) classic rock, and it's gorgeous. (For that matter, most of Steve's guitar solos are fantastic this time around, making this a great album for Howe fans.)

The second sides repeats this chaotic and experimental/soothing and beautiful structure, with Sound Chaser presenting a jazz workout and To Be Over closing the album with some of the most accessible stuff Yes had produced since Fragile. I don't think Yes could have pushed on in this increasingly-experimental direction indefinitely, and the break before returning with the much more accessible Going For the One was an excellent call on their part, so Relayer acts as the capstone of the first phase of their career; I can scarcely imagine how they could have done better.

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Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars W O W. This album blew my balls off when I first heard it. It was so different from Edge, Fragile and Oceans that I thought it was a different band. This album is very Jazz Fusion esque and I could see KC playing stuff like Sound Chaser (to a degree). Patrick Moraz is here on keyboards and is his only album but his influence is shown as this album is a sudden left turn for Yes but they U Turned with GFTO. I'll keep this short and sweet. The Gates of Delirium is excellent but it hard to sallow at times. Sound Chaser is the highlight and really showcases the excellent rhythm section of Squire and White. To Be Over ends the album on a soft note and puts you in a good mood. Overall, fantastic. 5 Stars. Highlights: The Gates of Delirium, Sound Chaser and To Be Over.
Report this review (#572339)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Definitely Yes' most aggressive album, Relayer does show it's inclusion of keyboardist Patrick Moraz strongly, as it not only has his keyboard sound, but also the frenetic energy that can be found in his solo work. (I'm thinking of the album that's named that tower symbol, the only one of his I've heard, actually...) "The Gates of Delirium" is almost from beginning to end a loud, fast-paced, electric workout with convoluted time changes, interlocking solo-like lead duets and duels between the synths and guitar with dramatic and angular intervals, and lyrics that are darker than usual for them. (in mood, that is... it's a good vs. evil thing, with Yes, of course, being on the side of good.) There are some very creative ideas in this 23 minute epic, and it's filled to the brim with great playing. Same thing with the Side Two opener, "Sound Chaser", which is less sinister sounding and more jazz inflected, but also even faster and has even tighter playing, particularly in the electric piano and bass department. That riff that Patrick Moraz and Chris Squire play together when they speed up the tempo after they were already playing even faster than you probably thought they could play is just amazing. All that energy might have been a little too much for the average Yes listener, though, if it weren't for the gorgeous slower counterparts that complete each side, the longingly beautiful coda to "The Gates of Delirium", with some of Steve Howe's most expressive slide playing and great encouraging lyrics and singing from Jon Anderson (often known as "Soon"), and Side Two's second half, "To Be Over", which recalls the deeply relaxed Tales From Topographic Oceans feel, and graces us with a great Hawaiian style solo from Howe. It's a great album, and one that every prog fan should hear, the high point for me being the coda to "The Gates of Delirium", surely one of Yes' finest moments.
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Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars After three years on the crest of the wave, and due to Rick Wakeman's solo career, Yes came to an impasse and had to turn to the talents of a outsider keyboard player and that, like it or not, affected the sound we were used to after four studio albums and a huge live one. The music style gave a twist, too, and Yes sounded, in spite of Eddie Oxford's production, different: more metallic, harsher and with more cutting edges than before.

Relayer is an album that grows and grows with listening. Anyway, I think it doesn't come up to previous levels of quality but for moments here and there. The writing resents, in my opinion, the absence of Rick Wakeman.

The longest piece is a good one but not to compare to Close to the Edge, The Revealing... or Awaken. Side two is more uneven, in my view.

The only thing it doesn't appear to lessen in quality is Roger Dean's art cover. Magistral, as usual.

Three and half stars really.

Report this review (#618884)
Posted Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#634663)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#640934)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Though they would have been forgiven if they had needed several years to recharge after the achievement of their previous effort, 'Tales From Topographic Oceans', Yes returned in 1974 with 'Relayer'. For this turbo-charged album the five-piece channel hard rock, folk, electronic, classical, blues and jazz elements in a concoction not heard before and never heard again, complete with an unabashed science-fiction/fantasy flavour, poetic lyrics and fierce musical dexterity. Taking the theme of sending or embodying a message of great importance - 'relaying' - this is probably their heaviest and most energetic work, clearly showing the influence that progressive contemporaries such as King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra had on the members of the band at the time. Nevertheless, the classic Yes optimism is present and as distinctive and refreshing as ever, delivering the three new tracks with sincerity and musicianship a cut above even the bands mentioned. The contribution of new keyboardist Patrick Moraz also adds a new dimension of bright, futuristic synthesizer tones throughout, and his inspired fusion-like soloing is a key factor of this album's uniqueness in the Yes discography. Arguably, 'Relayer' represents the band at the very peak of their creative output, with all five musicians putting in remarkable performances for the duration, and each voice knitting together effortlessly.

'The Gates Of Delirium' opens with the group already in full swing, as fluttering synthesizers, strummed bass guitar harmonics and freeform electric guitar melodies combine to create an impression of the comings and goings in a grand, airy city of some glorious civilisation. This scene unfolds very naturally, the band occasionally joining forces to introduce the regal, fanfare-like themes that will feature later in the track, and culminates in a staccato phrase played in unison which decelerates elegantly within each bar - a real statement of extravagance. There is a martial order and confidence to the music, suggesting an attitude of honoured duty - even romanticism - towards a coming conflict revealed through the first lyrics sung by Jon Anderson.

From the 3.00 mark, things subtly start to move in a more aggressive and fanatical direction as the band swing ominously to and from a minor third, and the fighting words are strung together with more ardour and urgency. Of particular note here is the colourful counterpoint provided by Chris Squire's bass lines, very rarely acting as a mere highlighter but instead adding a whole other dimension of melody to the proceedings - one breathtaking example being the selection of notes that dance beneath the otherwise simple guitar/synth line at 3.19. Next, one of the track's more beautiful contrasts appears, in the form of a quieter break where the narrating faction consider the heavy costs of the war, and very nearly repent. For me, the chant-like meter and placement of this solemn bridge as part of the larger piece captures well the intriguing atmosphere of fateful decisions made in dark halls.

This opportunity is quickly lost, however, as suspicion and prideful vengeance re-ignite the lust for war, and after one further verse of incitation the band launch into three consecutive instrumental phases depicting the chaos of the battlefield. With strong, strident rhythms driving each stage, the scene is discordant yet methodical, at times utterly frenzied and other times building steadily in triumph. The constant din of a crowd in the background, and the inclusion of feral wailing, buzzing machinery and crashes of metal, help to place the listener at the very heart of this darkest of human situations. Steve Howe's slide steel guitar is particularly effective during the final push, where the melody rises and rises to a point of almost unbearable tension before dissipating in a staggered moment of realisation and exhaustion.

What emerges slowly through the settling dust is perhaps the single most life-affirming passage of music in progressive rock. As an excerpt that came to be known in isolation as 'Soon', it is still effective, but when heard in context - lifting away the weight of all the doubt and violence that has gone before - it is profoundly moving. Anderson's lyrics characterise light as not only the peaceful dawn after the dark night of war, not only ascent out of despair, but as life itself: created from light, crafting light, and belonging to the world of light. The very definition of epic, truly heartfelt vocals drift on a sea of more yearning steel guitar, impeccably-placed bass notes, and layers of mellotron strings. This soaring finale renders the events up to this point as almost a distant memory to which we are looking back - a page of history we do not forget but have accepted and overcome - the last few quiet, uncertain chords leaving the story as a monument looming in the mists of time.

In the second piece, 'Sound Chaser', the more complex moments glimpsed briefly in 'The Gates Of Delirium' are harnessed and expanded into one of Yes' most rhythmically adventurous works. Loud, cerebral, and lyrically far more abstract than the first track, the aim here seems to have been to capture a sense of boundless energy and creative force in musical form, and in doing so celebrate our relationship with sound, technology, artistic liberty, as well as how all this connects us to one another - 'as is my want, I only reach to look in your eyes'. Cementing Steve Howe's virtuosity as one of the defining elements of 'Relayer', the middle third of this piece is a stunning electric guitar solo, a raw fusion of stream-of-consciousness phrases, hinting and probing with a biting blues tone, which is gradually joined by keyboards and then Anderson's soft words in a short period of reflection amidst the excitement.

'To Be Over', the third and final piece, opens somewhat mercifully in much gentler terrain, as the steel guitar returns and along with organ and sitar-like guitar weaves a cyclical, laid back melody evoking a contented and summery atmosphere. This moves softly into the first song section, where words of reassurance sung in cascading harmony reinforce the sense of peace. A motif of the album, the underlying rhythm is very simple but again marked out and interlocked with more interestingly placed bass, making the musical foundation seem alive and less passive throughout. We then open into some sublime instrumental passages, with lead guitar once again stealing the show for two solo spots (plus a joyous duet with Patrick Moraz's synth later) as the positivity is set free, still passionate but more serene in contrast to 'Sound Chaser'. From here until the close of the album, including two further blissfully emotional vocal sections, it feels like the music is always climbing and repeatedly resolving, moving forward and taking changes in its stride. In this way, 'to be over' could be interpreted to mean 'to be complete, to be whole'; again an expression by the band of a state of stability, preparedness for the future with the worst behind us.

Welcome to 'Relayer', another astonishing album that could only have happened in the creative climate of the mid-'70s. This isn't music to pass the time - disarm, engage your imagination, approach as you would a classic of epic poetry, and allow yourself to be overwhelmed.

Report this review (#644800)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best way to describe Relayer, as I'm sure has been stated before, is controlled chaos. Despite this, Relayer is a lot more focused than its predecessor, and amongst the chaos there are some very strong compositions here. This is also notably jazzier, which provides an interesting feel that previous albums definitely don't have.

'Gates of Delirium' (10/10) is the obvious star of the album and in my opinion is the best song Yes has ever written. It has everything that Close to the Edge has, and more. The first 15-minutes are pure symphonic Yes chaos. The tempo is relentlessly upbeat, the guitar is all over the place, but what really makes this special is Moraz's synth playing, for which he goes especially wild starting at 8:42. The best part of the song for me though, is the last six minutes, which is truly Yes's best atmospheric moment.

The album continues the jazzier, chaotic theme with 'Sound Chaser' (8/10) Again, the song is extremely upbeat, and Steve Howe goes crazy with his guitar on this one, often giving a more bluesy sound. I also noticed a strong Zeppelin sound as well, with Howe's solo resembling 'Heartbreaker' and the change at 6:30 similar to something that would later come off of Physical Graffiti.

The album concludes with the slower and slightly tranquil 'To Be Over.' (7/10) This is radically different in terms of business and tempo, but still retains some of that bluesy Zeppelin sound.

Overall, the Gates of Delirium is one of Yes's best alongside Close to the Edge, and is a much improved effort over the lackluster Tales From Topographic Oceans. It initially took me awhile to get over the busyness and jazzy passages, but this has since been cemented as one of my favorites.


Report this review (#779549)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars In the late 1974 Yes released their seventh studio LP called Relayer. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman had left the group earlier in the year and he was replaced by Patrick Moraz. Moraz had a jazz background which was one of the reasons why Relayer was the most jazz-oriented album in Yes' discography so far.

Just three very long songs in this album. Track one (the A-side of the vinyl) is the massive "The Gates of Delirium" which is just brilliant. Tracks two and three (on the second side - vinyl) are both nine minutes long pieces which are both fine but neither of those can't still beat "The Gates of Delirium" as the ultimate highlight here. "To Be Over" might be stronger of the B-side songs but I like "Sound Chaser" very much too.

Four stars is the exact rating I want to give to Relayer. A highly entertaining prog record with over-the-top instrumental work and nice melodies and harmonies. A big improvement from their last studio album.

Report this review (#890854)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars After Tales, Rick Wakeman decided to leave because he wasn't behind the project and he felt did the all he could so he left, in steps Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz previously of Refugee and Mainhorse to take his place and he brought about another element to the keyboards. The Yes line-up now consisted of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Patrick Moraz and Alan White(not the classic line-up but this line-up came up with an undisputed classic recording). What do I have to say about Relayer?? It follows the same template as Close To The Edge but it's definitely crazier and more bombastic than its predecessor/ brother known as Close To The Edge. I think this album is yet another masterpiece by the Yes men. I will talk about it. By now it has become tradition to have Roger Dean's legendary art work(just take a look at that album cover!!!) it became tradition for early Yes to have that legendary art work

Here is the track listing for this bombastic and dynamic album

1. Gates Of Delirium- This song is split into three parts, The Prelude which is the first few minutes, it sets the song up for you then afterwards the Battle ensues(King Crimson eat your hearts out), this section is absolute bonkers, with all the instruments going to battle hear that guitar from Steve(it makes your ears bleed!!!!), then Soon concludes this great epic, it's just so great and emotional it has Steve guitar work crying, Steve's guitar cries on the last piece of the song, and Jon delivers vocally with so much emotion, words cannot describe how much I love this d*** song, I love it that's all I can say 10/10

2. Sound Chaser- This one is crazy jazz bonkers and experimentation done right (you hear that King Crimson!!!). Steve Howe is in all his glory on this piece, really everyone goes bonkers on this piece, Chris is abusing his bass, Alan is going berserk on his kit, Patrick lays down the law with an insane keyboard solo, and Jon obviously with the "Cha Cha Cha" This song goes completely insane towards the end with the 'Cha Cha Cha Cha Cha", this song changes up on you like a mother******, it's crazy and insane, I love it 9.5/10

3. To Be Over- This song ends it all as it is entitled To Be Over, it's got everything you want from Yes really, a great masturbatory solo from Steve Howe that goes on and on (I love it) and a great tender keyboard solo from Patrick, it's got so much emotion it's almost laughable. This song ends that crazy/ experimental era of Yes, I feel that this song is deathly underrated, it gets almost no love whatsoever from where I'm from, you don't have to be high to enjoy this masterpiece of an album(as I'm not, I'm straight edge and proud of it).10/10

I can't stress enough how much I love this era of Yes music(it's practically an out of body experience), we got one more album to review before the 70's end that I consider to be the end of Classic Yes but this one ends this era for sure and its yet another great recording

It's a close second to Close To The Edge, I could flip a coin with this one and Close To The Edge for my favorite Yes album and I'll be OK with either one

Overall it's a 29.5/30 , which out of 10 constitutes to darn near 10/10 , I'll rate it 10/10 or 5 star perfection. Peace out!!!!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#890876)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars MASTERFUL!

Back to business, after the excessive catharsis of the "Topographic Oceans" trip, YES reincarnates itself re-shaping the keyboards section with the arrival of the then under the radar Patrick Moraz (former member of Refugee, a kind of prog group), and the goodbye (dismissal) of their second up to then keyboard player the legendary and irreplaceable Rick Wakeman.

Although it was hard to think of YES without Wakeman, Patrick Moraz 's talents filled the place to perfection by not replacing anyone and bringing his best sound catalogue to this 3 track, 1974 "RELAYER", assembled exactly as their previous 1972 masterpiece "Close to the Edge", one long first track and two half the time of the first track compositions.

The refinement of this YES reincarnation steps forward from its ashes in the form of new sonic textures complementing the flawless and genial direction of YES' mastermind and main visionaire, songwriter, vocalist Jon Anderson.

And the rest of the crew just follow this intense, highly creative, daring, uncompromising, dark and bright poetic trip the best way they know how, in fact the only way they knew, the perfect way.

Steve Howe's sliding mutable solos in the right place to dwell freely, Alan White's drumming field day, Patrick Moraz' balls, Chris Squire's soul and spirit and Anderson's undeniable composer stature, add up to what eventually turned out to be their last masterpiece in their multiple future transformations and namings, thank the Gods for this heaven's hell of an album!

***** 5, 6, 7, infinity, PA stars.

Report this review (#890881)
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let me start out by saying that Relayer is my favorite Yes album of all time. No, I'm not saying it's better than Close to the Edge, but I prefer it because of the overexposure of CTTE, a good part of it my fault, having played through two LPs, one 8-track, and now two CDs of it. Relayer, though, is like a wine that improves with age.

After the turmoil and tension created by Tales of Topographic Oceans, Rick Wakeman no longer saw eye to eye with the rest of the band (for the first and, certainly, not the last time). So the band brings in Patrick Moraz into the mileau. Moraz had initially replaced Keith Emerson with the nice (they changed their name to Refugee), then replaced Michael Pinder in the Moody Blues. He was the rent a keyboardist of the prog world.

The rest of the band remained the same - Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White. By the time of Moraz's addition, a large amount of material for Relayer had been recorded. Still, Moraz fit right in with the others adding his parts tastefully. Squire and White get an amazing groove going in most of the songs whilst the others add their parts magnificently.

The Gates of Delerium is my favorite Yes song ever, with the balance of hard and soft while giving great mental pictures via both the music and the lyrics, with a gently denoument with Soon. Sound Chaser is the flashiest jazz that they have ever incorporated into Yes music ever. To Be Over is a great way to finish the album with another long, slow piece.

All in all, Relayer is an incredible album. I just wish they could have done at least one more with Moraz in the band from the start. Five stars easily.

Report this review (#901739)
Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Relayer is a great prog album. Anyone who disagrees is flat out wrong. The only problem with Moraz's only album on the keys with Yes, is that The Gates of Delirium is so good that the rest of the album cannot match up.

The first time I heard "Gates", my life changed forever. I saw what it was possible for a rock band to accomplish and it absolutely blew me away. It is Yes's crowning achievement, in a decade of incredible highs.

I must admit that I rarely listen to "Sound Chaser" and "To be Over". That is the only reason I am giving this album 4 stars. "Gates" is the greatest single prog song ever recorded in my opinion, and no one should be without this epic. And let me say that while I don't often listen to "Sound Chaser", Howe's guitar work on this track is flat out some of the best of his career.

Report this review (#922911)
Posted Sunday, March 3, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best album of Yes was made without the presence of great Wakeman? I can´t say for certain, but I´m sure that Relayer remained unsurpassed to, may be in the same level of Close to the Edge, though these are different albums. Concerning to Relayer, includes three very different songs; Gates of Delirium is the best song of Yes from my point of view. Energy, virtuosity, delicacy, emotion. Singular in Yes discography. Sung and executed in a wonderful way. The perfomance of Howe in Sound Chaser is particular too, with jazz touches. To be Over crowning in a delicate form, standout vocal harmonies, keyboards and slide, electric guitar. Bass and Drums have a vital role too, distinct.
Report this review (#923724)
Posted Monday, March 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not so secure if is truth which Vangelis has been probed to fill the keyboard place in the absence of Rick Wakeman, just as a friend told me, but I can say is - probably the final result not had been so impressive ! In my point of view Patrick Moraz (and his jazzy, erudite and more aggressive style) was more fitting to replace Wakeman than the Vangelis's new age and electronic sound. Another point that call attention is the Howe's choice of Fender Telecaster for all tracks, which makes the sonority more "glaring" than the "velvety" Gibson timbre. In resume : Relayer, is a album full of peculiarities, if comparable with other YES works. The first track "The Gates of Delirium" is simply magistral and embody in his several passages countless detachable points: counterpoints between guitar and keyboards, drum's broken beats, distorted bass guitar, and a unexpected conclusion in a "soft" passage more well-know as "Soon" , where the highlights comes through the Anderson's vocals and Howe's pedal-steel guitar. The secound track "Sound Chaser" is a exercise for the musicians and the listeners with almost the same complexity for the previous track, excepting in their conclusion. The most notable in this track is the "unison" duet scale between bass/guitar and the White's performance. The last track " To Be Over" is one of most beautifull and creatives forms of progressive ballads. However, I wish to emphasize the notable arrangements from Moraz for the keyboards, because, in spite his very different musical style, he not "deforms" the music of YES. My rate is 5 stars !!!
Report this review (#965311)
Posted Sunday, May 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
4 stars You know, it's funny. I listened to "Close to the Edge" as my first foray into Yes. I wasn't very impressed. However, there is something about the artwork on "Relayer" that really attracts me, so I decided to continue my Yes journey. I'm pleased to say that I really like this album.

First off, I gotta say: "Gates of Delirium" is one of the best prog epics I've ever heard. It's sweeping, technical, melodic, and ethereal. This track is an instant classic. I had trouble with the vocalist on "Close to the Edge", but I feel there are more harmonies here that cover the part of his voice I don't like. Either that, or I'm getting used to it.

I also love the song "Sound Chaser". It felt like more of a rocker in comparison to the first track. The bass is particularly well done here. The last track, and the track "Soon" are both good as well, but I didn't like them as well as the first two. Either way, this is a great album, and I'm sure it will get much playtime from me. From this album especially, I can see why Yes has been so reverenced and influential through the years. I've gained a little more respect for them.

Report this review (#976766)
Posted Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes really found there niche quickly with a mix of goth, art and symphonic, progressive rock all rolled into one. Plus the vocals are absolutely amazing, with so many different temperaments from the calm, "Gates of delirium(Soon)" and "to be over" to the freaky sounding "sound chaser". This is an overall masterpiece and I would recommend this as a good starting place for anyone who is new to the band. It will give you a good idea of what to expect from Yes as a whole, with the Prog. elements, dark elements and the occasional light hearted passage with ever changing dynamics on the vocals.
Report this review (#1009093)
Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5.0 stars. As dramatic and interesting as the album cover

This is my second tribute review which goes out to albums that have had a huge impact on me. Relayer was the first Prog album that I ever heard which had a harsher and more "metal" sound and to this day it is one of my favourite albums of all time. Thanks to Relayer I was given the confidence to tackle more metal oriented Prog bands. Just to be clear this is not a metal album in any traditional sense, but this is Yes at their most aggressive due to new band member Patrick Moraz injecting a lot of intense jazz fusion into their sound.

The album starts with the near 22 minute epic "The Gates of Delirium" which happens to be my 2nd favourite song of all time (only Genesis "Supper's Ready" beats it for me). The first 2 minutes or so are relatively subdued but there are jazzy flourishes and sudden changes in mood throughout the introduction. It acts as a warning sign to all listeners as if the song was saying "I'm unstable and unpredictable so you better stay sharp!"

Vocals then come in and the song takes an upbeat mood for a little while, well you would think it was upbeat until you listen to the lyrics, which are all about the build-up to war. These are not Yes's usual happy but vague lyrics and they have some blunt lines such as "Kill them give them as they give us Slay them burn their children's laughter On to hell". As the lyrics darken the song becomes more unstable and wild until eventually the time for talk ends and it's time for battle.

And my oh my what a battle this is and for me this is one of the highlights of the album. It starts on a jarring note with some frantic solos and the sound of steel clashing to give a mental image of the chaotic battle occurring. This gives way to the best soaring electric guitar solo from Steve Howe that I have ever heard until finally the energy decays away into ambience...

The epic closes with "Soon" which is one of the saddest and most emotional things Yes have ever created. Jon Anderson has never sung better and it's a real tear jerker, so beautiful. And that is track 1!

"Sound Chaser" is the perfect title for this song, because that's the frantic pace taken throughout most of this song. There is a slower solo from Howe in the middle followed by quiet vocals, but otherwise it has a take-no-prisoner, all-out attack approach and it is the closest thing Yes have ever done to Prog Metal.

After all of the power and energy of the last 2 songs the album winds down with "To Be Over". It starts with a fairly relaxed Middle East tune that lasts for a few minutes. Vocals come in a very dreamlike melody that lets you chill out for a while. The song regains some of the unpredictability of the last 2 songs and it then turns into a soaring melody, which for me is the best part of the song. Vocals return which brings things to a climax and then the song starts to fade away on a peaceful note.

Weak points? Very very few as this album is IMO almost perfect from beginning to end (hence why it's one of my favourite albums). I guess "To Be Over" doesn't sound as impressive if you haven't just listened to the other 2 songs first. Because without the adrenaline rush of the other 2 songs the final song can start to feel too slow and uneventful. But otherwise this is a masterpiece for me and one of the easiest 5 stars I will ever give. My only wish is that Relayer was higher up in the PA charts...

Report this review (#1047392)
Posted Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars An all around better album than their previous effort, Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer is ultimately an essential record. This is the first and only album with keyboardist Patrick Moraz, who would later join The Moody Blues. His playing here, as already noted by others, is much more loose and improvisational than Wakeman's. It would have been interesting to see what the band would have turned into, had he stayed longer.

The record has the exact same structure as Close To The Edge. Three songs with the longest song being on side one and the shorter songs being on side two. This may seem like a retreat, but it isn't. Musically, it couldn't be any more different than CTTE. First off, the synths have a bigger role and the tone is more aggressive. There is some sitar in "To Be Over" just like there is a bit of sitar in "Siberian Khatru" off of Close To The Edge. A lot is conveyed in the three songs.

I think "The Gates Of Delirium" goes above and beyond anything from Topographic Oceans. The composition is loosely based on War and Peace by Tolstoy, and tells of a large scale battle and the aftermath of the slaughter. The opening of the song is reminiscent of Tales, the battle section is an onslaught of sound, and the part at the end titled "Soon" is overwhelmingly beautiful. More so than the finale of "And You And I", "Ritual: Nous Sommes Du Soleil", or "Awaken". The section was released individually as a single but I don't think it has the same effect on its own. It works best as a juxtaposition to what came before it. So after all this, after the song is over, you're left emotionally spent. This is an epic and a good reason for buying the album.

"Sound Chaser" is full-on jazz fusion. The guitars, drums, electric piano, and synthesizers are all frantic. There is even a "cha-cha" bit with the vocals. It is pure craziness, but enjoyable all the way. "To Be Over" stands out as the most relaxing song on the album. As I mentioned before, there is a bit of sitar in the song. The lyrics are hopeful and optimistic; just the thing you need to pick you up when you're down.

There is a contrast between the last song and the first two songs on the album. "The Gates Of Delirium" is an intense emotional trip, "Sound Chaser" is free-form musical insanity, and "To Be Over" is like floating down a river. A definite high-water mark. Too bad their next album "Going For The One" would signal their move towards more commercially friendly music.

Report this review (#1110275)
Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the pinnacles of the entire progressive rock genre. This is where folk music, rock music, fusion music, and classical music are thrown into a mixing pot and emerge as a piece of art that musical fans will enjoy--if they have the patience to take it in--for many, many years. Relayer was beyond my understanding on my first listen; it doesn't have a song with an easy "hook" like Roundabout or the symphonic but understandable structures of tracks like Close To The Edge or And You And I...but repeated listening has moved it to the top of my Yes album list and competing for the top spot of all prog albums. This is not easy music most of the time--it is music that active listeners will love and love more with each spinning of the vinyl. If you have never heard Relayer realize that you might be completely overwhelmed the first time you hear the album. That is to be expected. As you listen to it more often you will grasp the incredible musicianship and incredible melodies that are all over this album...and you will continue to do so for a long, long time. Yes, as technical as they were as musicians and vocalists, were usually never in the same camp as a King Crimson for playing or a Gentle Giant for vocals--but this album is the rare one that is a listening feast for both fans of "players" and fans of "vocals." I cannot rate this album high enough; it is one of the high marks of intelligent music from any genre in the modern era. I am not sure that any other prog album even comes close to the overall sound, feel, and playing of this disc. This really does have it all--if you like symphonic prog music there is no higher mountain to climb.
Report this review (#1250421)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Relayer is a bit of a contradiction

On the one hand it has one of the best epic tracks ever written: The Gates Of Delirium is an effortless, massive journey of a track that takes the listener to the brink of war and back. It builds brilliantly, like only Yes can, and the extended instrumental section is literally breathtaking (for me at least) in its excitement. The build and release and subsequent explosion of Steve Howe's guitar riff is sooo good, and of course the emotional end section with Jon's perfect voice always sends shivers down my spine. An epic in every sense of the word, made all the better for having Patrick Moraz's breath of fresh air keyboard sounds in the mix.

So, what a great side of vinyl (for those that remember such things). And then you turn over and get two very run of the mill Yes tracks, both of which are 'not too bad'.

Admittedly 'Sound Chaser' is a great example of how to develop one musical idea into a 9 minute track, and it's certainly exciting in places, but ultimately not as good as anything from 'Fragile' or 'The Yes Album'. And 'To Be Over' is, well, just a little pointless. Similar but nowhere near as good as the closing section of TGOD.

Relayer has a similar layout to 'Close To The Edge': one great side of music and one 'so so' side. A definite 4 stars for TGOD though.

Report this review (#1275959)
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes continued their streak of greatness with 1974's incandescent masterpiece, Relayer.

Relayer is very different from other Yes albums, I like to say this was their most hardcore prog album. If Tales was not your cup of tea, Relayer could be. Yet recorded a year apart, they sound nothing alike.

After the tumultuous making of "Tales" and its excruciating tour for some members and fans, the charismatic Rick Wakeman, arguably the groups most famous and beloved member, quits.

Luckily the band still had some momentum even after the mixed responses from Tales and they were wise enough to recruit another master keyboardist, Patrick Moraz. His influence is all over this record, forcing the other members to up their game. This is Yes in hyperdrive. Jon Anderson still had great ideas and this excellent version of Yes put it all to good use. Each member really steps up their playing. Steve Howe gets faster and more varied and Relayer IMO is one of the best guitar records of all time. Chris Squire keeps pace with is funky Rickenbacker sound and imaginative lines. Alan White proves he is more than capable of playing along side these great players and of course Patrick Moraz, whom let's face it as a player was a couple steps up from the rest.

The Gates Of Delirium. Some would call this Yes's all time greatest achievements. I won't argue with that. Even though I am partial to Close To The Edge. In a time when most keyboardists were still getting used to the newfangled synths that were only around for a few years, Patrick Moraz already had an amazing command over them, creating, at the time, by far the most futuristic sounds and soundscapes. This is evident as soon as you start playing The Gates of Delirium. This tune takes the listener from the hell of war and has you ascending to the heavens at the end.

Sound Chaser. One of the most neurotic pieces of music. Yes in Mahavishnu Orchestra mode. An amazing display of speed and dexterity before Steve Howe blasts off on his own playing an incredible symphonic guitar solo almost as if he's telling a story or providing a film score with his guitar. Alan White particularly shines on this song showing his formidable talent. Patrick Moraz plays one of the best synth solos of all time on this as well. Chris Squire's speedy basslines augment this surreal piece.

To Be Over. This song is often overlooked but shouldn't be. After the crazy maelstrom of Sound Chaser, the listener is brought down by some serene guitar sounds with Steve Howe switching between the violin-like sounds of the volume pedal to a sitar-like sound. Moraz joins in gently before Jon Anderson takes you sailing down the river in this amazing orchestral piece. Lots of melodies and great solos from Howe and Moraz.

Unfortunately for prog fans. This was all we were going to get from this lineup. But at least we got this masterpiece of prog.

Report this review (#1312085)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hmm, well, today marks the day: this is my 3rd ever review on this site. Okay, that may be true but it isn't important. It's Relayer's 40th birthday today!!! Well, if you're American; it was already released in Britain the previous week (the 27th or 28th of November i presume). But, yes (hehe), today marks this album's 40th anniversary in America, a masterpiece of prog in its own right. That's why i'm doing this review in the first place, the first one for my favorite band of all time BAR NONE: Yes. So, anyway, as for the history of this album, Rick Wakeman the keyboard wiz has left after the "pretentious" Tales from Topographic Oceans album & tour in May 1974, mainly based on his dislike of the material and premise of it all (he even ate a sandwich during a live performance as a protest!!) So, the band carried on with new keyboardist Vangelis (*fakingly coughes*), err, i mean, Patrick Moraz, who's one of my favorite keyboardists along with Mr. Wakeman (who would return for Going for the One a couple of years after this, which Moraz actually contributed keyboard parts and some of the writing, especially on Awaken, though it was all cut off in order for Wakeman to contribute his own parts to it; BOTH SHOULD'VE BEEN ON THERE THEN GODDAMNIT!!!!!)

1. The Gates of Delirium - this is considered one of their best IF NOT their best, and i can see why! this 22 minute epic pretty much shows what exactly the album cover shows; a prelude to a battle, the battle itself, and its lamenting aftermath. It is partially based on the novel "War and Peace" written by Leo Tolstoy. It makes sense if you think about it, since i don't know much about the novel (i'm a teenage American that's why lol). We start off with the prelude, with the lyrics giving out a speech-like cry to the army getting ready to fight their enemies on the battlefields. The music sets up the getting ready and setting up part of the battle with some sort of march-type drumming from that there Alan White (this is only his 2nd album out of 14, and yes i counted) i feel like, with all the other parts coming about as well. This goes on for a third of the song as each part does more or less. And then, the centerpiece of the epic ensues, the battle itself. And oh my god, it is nothing but fricking masterful. A lot of time signatures, crazy drumming and percussion battering from White and Jon Anderson (who also sings well on here, especially in a bit), great bass lines and playing from Mr. Chris Squire, and some rocking out guitar from Steve Howe. Oh, and Moraz's playing. AAAMMMAAAZZZIIINNNGGG!!!! and there's also the sounds heard in the background as the song goes on made by automobile parts crashed and pounded together among other pieces of junkyard metal made mainly by Jon and Chris, including one huge crash that im having a hard time pinpointing where exactly it is in the song. And then, everything slows down and softer with some keyboards washes as the battle ends and the lament comes in, under the title known as Soon. it is given this title as it was released as a single in '75 for radio airplay, and i loved this excerpt before i knew this whole album, on first listen i believe. and, for the record, this is one of Anderson's best vocal performances PERIOD, i can tell you that much. it's also Howe's best lap steel guitar playing i feel like; VERY satisfying conclusion to the song and the first side of this record.

2. Sound Chaser - here's the first of two tracks on the 2nd side, who are polar opposites of one another; this the crazy son of a gun of the two. their most jazzy track, it is more of virtuoso playing that the band's showing off for the next 9 and a half minutes, nothing but jazz bonkers that i can definitely get behind; in other words, i LOVE this song, as well as the whole album (ADER!!!) lyrics pretty much define what the music shows, just to look in your eyes (from the band's/lyric-writer's point of view i presume?? if so, ohhhhkkkaaaayyy......) The best parts are Howe's guitar playing (definitely some of his best by far) and the very end of the song, when the reprise of the beginning theme plays much faster and faster until the song ends with Cha, Cha, Cha; CHA, CHA!!! a youtube video on another Yes album review best pictures what image this music paints out; put in search bar "yes album reviews" and find the video with 90125 in its title. there you go, and if you watch the whole video, by all means, go ahead. okay, next song!

3. To Be Over - i was torn to which song on here is my favorite, and by earlier today, i think this song is the winner here. running over 9 minutes, this definitely goes down a calming stream with Howe's guitar work and the harmonizing that i got one day while listening to it on Spotify and fell in love with it and still am to this very day!! music's amazing, vocal's amazing, especially Jon's, and awesome lyrics that you just got to hear (except maybe the gibberish-like language they're singing at the end of the song that i didn't notice until a few months ago on this site, but who gives a damn!), it is one of my all time favorite Yes songs, PERIOD, NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER!!!! i can also see the southern rock aspect in Steve's lap steel playing in the first third of the song that i didn't really notice until a few months ago from the other reviews i've seen on here, but i don't seem to mind it.

in all, this is indeed "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music," but it may be one of the more harder ones to get into like The Lamb, Animals (more or less), Lizard and Larks' Tongues, Foxtrot, Pawn Hearts, Brain Salad Surgery, etc. but, once you listened to it a couple of time, (i hope) you will be HUGELY rewarded with one of your favorites ever like i had. 10/10 for the rating man, a.k.a. 5 starts for this system. So, until then, keep progressing and once again happy (belated?) birthday to Yes' Relayer album!! WWWWWOOOOOOOHHHHHHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#1320482)
Posted Friday, December 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Hot on the heels of their "Tales From Topographic Oceans" tour Rick Wakeman decided to jump ship from the mighty YES due to creative differences with "Tales From Topographic Oceans," the whopping double album that dipped too much into the ethereal imagination of vocalist Jon Anderson. In order to find the proper replacement to fill Wakeman's hard-to-fill shoes, the band searched high and low and even auditioned Vangelis who didn't quite fit in with this crowd. After the dust settled they settled for the Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz whose only real band experience was with the progressive rock band Refugee. The band sallied forth without Wakeman and without him conjured up one of their most complex and challenging albums of their career with RELAYER. This album is really perfect in every way. It takes all the complexities and diverse elements found on pretty much all of their previous works and stitch them together in creative new ways while still adding a lot of experimentation to the mix. This is probably one of the most complex albums that took me the longest to appreciate. The music is so jittery and bombastic that i didn't know what hit me the first time i heard this. I couldn't understand why anyone would like this. Granted it was one of the first progressive rock albums i got into along with other YES albums, but happily after a gazillion and one listens to this i can honestly say not only has it aged well, but it has gotten better after each subsequent listen and continues to do so to this very day.

There are many similarities with previous albums although there are many more differences. The album attempts to take the variety of diverse complexities from "Tales?" and condenses them into a single three track album which in that regard is similar to "Close To The Edge" where the first track "The Gates Of Delirium" takes up a whole side on the original LP and side two consists of two tracks. There is less time for spaced out wandering and more focus on extremely tight band interactions that spiral out a healthy amount of variations on different complex melodies. After the mixed reviews of "Tales?" the band returned to the top of the charts with RELAYER as it was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic. This is probably one of the most complex albums i can think of to actually hit the top 5 on the Billboard album charts and be certified gold soon after its release. Obviously YES had no problem carrying on without Wakeman and i believe that without him is the reason they could experiment even more leaving behind the classical keyboard approach and taking on harder sounds where the keyboards were more designed to be a surreal fugue behind the guitar and bass.

The album begins with the monstrous behemoth "The Gates Of Delirium" which at 21:50 remained their lengthiest single track for much of their career. The track is based on Leo Tolstoy's "War And Peace" and has different sections that run the gamut of symphonic progressive rock, hard rock, experimentalism and even some musique concrète. The very last section called "Soon" was actually released as a single. This song was designed to convey the feel of a battle scene where each section segues into the next ranging from the chaotic to the melodic as heard in the "Soon" section which concludes the horrific battle with a melodic prayer offering hope for the future. The battle scene is notorious for the crashing of car parts that Alan White and Jon Anderson would collect and hang up to randomly bang upon. There is one chaotic part where Alan White pushes the whole collection over creating a massive cacophony.

The second track "Soundchaser" is easily one of my all-time favorite pieces of musical magic. This track embodies virtually every possible trait of progressive rock that i could imagine. It shows deep emotional connection, outstandingly technical prowess, consonance, dissonance, fantastic structure, OMG soloing, perfectly balanced dynamics between the bombastic and subtle and an excellent adaption of adding funk and jazz-fusion to the YES sound. It is just perfectly paced with Steve Howe's guitar solos being amongst the strongest highlights of an impressive-in-every-way track. The slide guitar adds a slippery slide feel with proggy time sigs to die for with punctuated vocal interruptions a la Jon Anderson's "cha-cha-cha's" . I really want this to be a twenty minute track as well as its mere 9:31 isn't quite enough musical bliss for me!

The last track "To Be Over" is the most accessible track on the album that creates a complex melodic arrangement of the guitar and electric sitar. It starts out as a lovely ballad with dreamy vocals accompanied by slide guitar and a nice mellow break after the frenetic outbursts of "Soundchaser." The counterpoint soloing keyboards are heaven on Earth. This song builds in tempo and breaks into a more hard rocking sound while retaining the overall mellow feel of the introductory melody only with more energetic guitar, bass and drum action. A great way to wind down one of the most bombastic symphonic progressive rock albums in all of history.

And if all the music wasn't enough. RELAYER has one of my favorite album covers of all time by Roger Dean. The silver and grey wrap around ice cavern scene offers up a dreamy fantastical Tolkien type landscape that complements every aspect of the music. It offers the placid otherworldliness with the contrasting hues of grey with the dangers that lurk ahead as witnessed by the serpent that stands in the way of the path to the magical kingdom. I really don't have desert isle lists and the like because my musical tastes are as fickle as a breeze changing at the drop of a hat. I find most music can be satisfying at some particular moment and then not so at others but RELAYER is an album that satisfies anytime, anywhere and as frequently as i want. I still have a hard time retaining these melodies in my head yet they are as pleasant to hear every single time, therefore RELAYER is without doubt my current all-time favorite YES album and a mandatory desert-isle pick for its ability to be the musical gift that never stops giving me what i want out of it. 5 stars to the 5th power and beyond. It doesn't get much better than this.

Report this review (#1432019)
Posted Monday, June 29, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Close to the Edge (CttE) is a five-star, all-time classic of progressive rock, and is deserving of its status of being the #1 album according to the users of this website. Nonetheless, in my opinion, the less-accessible and slightly more obscure Relayer is the best album by Yes - - and Relayer gets my vote as the best album on progarchives.

Like CttE, Relayer is comprised of three songs: an "epic" on side one and two roughly nine-minute songs on side two of the original vinyl. Others have offered song-by-song comparisons, so I'll keep this short: Relayer has higher highs and darker depths than CttE. Reviewers here have rightly noted the compositional excellence of "Gates of Delirium," Relayer"s epic, although "Close to the Edge," side one of CttE, is also very well composed. The difference is greater on side two, where I find the pieces on Relayer to be superior.

While other Yes albums have included healthy doses of folk and psychedelia along with the group's trademark symphonic elements, Relayer has been noted as Yes's foray into fusion. This is no doubt partly due to the presence of keyboardist Patrick Moraz. Famously, Moraz played with the band for three years, but Relayer was the only studio album to feature him. Given my love for this album, it won't be a surprise that I think it was a mistake for the band to part ways with him. While his arrangements and playing easily equal those of Rick Wakeman, whom he temporarily replaced, it also seems like his presence acted as a counterbalance to leader Jon Anderson's more new-agey tendencies. Tales from Topographic Oceans, the predecessor to Relayer, was dominated by the vision of Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe, while on Relayer's immediate successors, Anderson and Wakeman were a bit too influential for my tastes. On Relayer, as had been the case with Tales, the composition seems to have been left primarily to Anderson and Howe (although on both albums, all members are given writing credit). But the band appears to have vetted and arranged the song ideas on Relayer much more carefully before recording them.

The result is the best progressive-rock album of all time.

Report this review (#1438986)
Posted Friday, July 10, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the excess of Tales where Yes got a bit too smart for their own good, they proceeded to tour extensively in support of that album, against all odds helping the four-song double-album reach #1 in the UK. Knowing Rick Wakeman's increasing disillusionment with the music, you knew it was only a matter of time before he jumped the Yes ship, which he did for the first time on his 25th birthday (the same day that his Journey to the Centre of the Earth topped the album charts). Anyway, the departure of Wakeman and Yes' rather different musical leanings with their new material meant that they needed to find a replacement and fast, which they did in the form of Swiss poodle Patrick Moraz, who was arguably a more flexible player than Rick and had a keener ear for jazz and fusion music.

The thing that strikes me the most about this album is how gray, harsh and metallic the sound is. I'm not sure whether that's because of the color schemes on the album cover (another winner from Roger Dean), or Steve Howe's raunchy guitar sounds (I've heard that he used exclusively Fender guitars on this one), or Moraz's different and more up-to-date keyboard rig (which included, I believe, the only double Mini-Moog in existence). Actually all of these things, when put together, give the impression of this music having almost come from another planet entirely?I would say that this works more to the advantage of Side Two than Side One (which, even though it has only one song, is unofficially divided into three sections). The other thing is that this album has more to do with jazz/rock fusion than anything else Yes ever did?Moraz probably turned them on to the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever around this time.

We begin with "The Gates of Delirium" and right away we're treated to an earful of Moraz' oscillating, insect-like synths in the background. (When I say "in the background," I mean that almost literally, since most of the album was apparently recorded before Moraz even set foot in the studio.) At 21:55, this epic was the longest Yes studio recording at the time (not counting the new version of "Revealing Science of God"), and fittingly, it was based on Tolstoy's classic novel "War and Peace" (or?for you Seinfeld fans?"War, What is it Good For"). Anyway, the first two minutes act as an overture of sorts, outlining a couple of the main themes that will recur throughout the work, before Jon's vocals come in. His lyrics are by far more aggressive than anything else Yes had done at the time, and this is reflected in his harsh, almost sneering vocal delivery. The actual tune alternates happy-sounding major-key verses (if you can call them that) with jarring, snide "choruses," and the instrumental transitions contain some prime Chris Squire. After a Howe solo melody, things quiet down for the most lyrically intense passage ("Listen, should we fight forever"), at first accompanied only by organ and synths, becoming appropriately more demanding as it goes on, culminating in "Burn their children's laughter on to hell." Pretty heady stuff, but the best is saved for last just before the "battle" section, which has a great build-up.

The Battle, starting at around 8 minutes, is introduced by a waltz-time "war anthem" stated alternately by Moraz's synths and Howe's guitar, and is expounded upon as sort of a theme-and-variations, part of which stems from Moraz' background in jazz (listen to his soloing here). Throughout this entire section, one can easily hear commotion in the background, which probably was taken from a tape of people applauding and/or whistling (the latter noise being most audible in the din). At 10:22, another theme is introduced?a harsh, minor-mode number in 11/16 time (are you feeling the tension yet?), which amazingly took me over 10 years and a listen to Yesshows to figure out. This is already a huge improvement over Topographic in my opinion, as everything in this section moves along exactly as it should without any wasted space. By the way, the metallic crash heard about 20 seconds later actually came from Alan White pushing over a shelf stacked with junked auto parts! This also illustrates the DIY approach that went into this album, as much of it was done at Squire's home studio. Anyway, the progression from the Mahavishnu-esque odd time signature back to the 3/4 is effective, as the "war theme" that you might normally expect to hear is replaced by a dissonant, mocking synth tone a la "Seasons of Man" from "CTTE", after which Moraz and the band basically freak out for about 20 seconds (because what else can they do at this point?). Amidst the chaos, Alan whacks away at his drum set, somehow becoming more and more agitated as he builds up (don't worry, it all makes sense) to?

Victory! The tension of the preceding 30 seconds or so is immediately relieved; our heroes (whoever they are) have emerged triumphant over whichever enemies they were doing battle with, as a diatonic melody is superimposed over shifting chord structures over a pedal E (did I mention this part is in 11/8 time?). This is easily Alan White's best outing as a Yes drummer and teases at what the band could have done with him if they had continued in this direction. Again Steve and Patrick trade off and sometimes double the melody, Steve reaching for the stars with his echoed-out, piccolo-register steel guitar. In fact, it is that steel guitar that leads the way into the transition to what I call the "aftermath" section, which is signaled by ambiguous synth pads, upwardly moving bass and more echoed guitar (Alan pulls a Bruford and drops out here for about 5 minutes). This acts as a breather of sorts before guitars steel and strummed acoustic announce what is easily the best known portion of the piece, "Soon." In yet another contrast to the aggressiveness of earlier, Anderson (after a near 10-minute absence) turns in one of his most heartfelt, plaintive vocals and lyrics that call for hope and peace after the preceding atrocity (trust me, it's not nearly as sappy as I'm probably making it sound). After Jon sings his last line, the tune subtly shifts into a 6/8 ballad, with Alan's perfectly-timed, almost imperceptible entrance to ride out the groove for a while. The epic finally ends with steel guitar floating over a cloud of Mellotron pads, finally coming to rest on a minor triad that changes to the tonic chord. Even though this piece is all over the map structurally and in terms of key center, nothing feels forced or padded and the ending is the most satisfying since "Close to the Edge."

Side two opens with "Sound Chaser," which used to be my favorite track for a long time. Fleet-fingered Fender Rhodes clashes with syncopated, bashing drums and gives way to what I can only describe as a hyper-speed trip through space soundtracked mostly by Moraz. (Whatever these squeaky bird-like noises are, Jon replicated them on tour by futzing around with a piccolo. Maybe he's doing that here too.) The verses are marked by a chugging 5/4 rhythm that sounds faster than it is due to Alan's hi-hat; this tune could also be called "Look in Your Eyes" after the line that ends every verse. Just when you think the rhythm train couldn't possibly stop, everyone drops out for Steve's trebled-out Telecaster wankfest (usually he saved his solo features for acoustic guitar), which contains a quote from "Mood for a Day" that immediately seems less contrived than similar quotes on TFTO. Appropriate drama is provided by Moraz's keys and Alan (or someone) banging on timpani before Jon's last verse, accompanied only by volume-swell guitar. A repeat of part of the intro leads into a funky, slide-guitar groove in 5 that I just love to death?before random "cha-cha-chas" and assorted grunting give way to one of Pat's best solos ever. This entire section, along with much of the album, really makes me feel like I'm hearing a Yes concert on the ice planet Nebulon (or something). Another quickening of the tempo, a sort-of reprise of the verse melody (with a brief "cha-cha-cha" interruption), and out. A bit disjointed, but still amazing musicianship to be found here.

After all the chaos of the first two tracks (over a half-hour) it's no surprise that the last tune would be in a significantly lighter vein. "To Be Over" is the send-off here, a meditative, glassy number introduced by electric sitar and pixie-ish sine waves. Both Steve and Chris experiment with different instruments and tones throughout the album; Squire takes a more comfortable backseat role here with (I assume) a Fender Precision. The campfire-like verses (harmonized of course) eventually give way to eight bars of Steve's pedal-steel solo?another great touch?and Moraz's synths immediately afterward further contribute to the "space-land" feel. After some theme-and-variation soloing during which time Steve switches to his Tele (the bass movement in this portion is clearly modeled after Bach and Handel), the "childlike soul dreamer" part begins and almost rivals the "Eclipse" section of "And You And I" for pure atmospheric beauty. The gentle waltz time is doubled up for another great Moraz solo (I never realized how much he actually played on this album before), then back to single time for the final vocal section ("After all"). The last line ("Be ready to be loved") is the perfect emotional release for the coda, reprising the intro melody with more instrumental lines and some subtle backing vocals, which eventually calm the band down and take the piece to a peaceful conclusion. "Maybe someday?"

Wow? now that's a lot of music!

You know what? I originally planned on giving this album a lower rating because as great as the music was technically, I always considered it rather impenetrable and difficult to understand. Indeed, as previously mentioned, it took me the better part of a decade to even start to get a handle on everything that was going on here. Now I finally understand what the band was going for, all the influences that Moraz brought in to help them realize their new direction. If Close to the Edge was the present and Tales from Topographic Oceans was the past, Relayer could very well have been the future of Yes (and those who liked Tales better than I did can think of this as the last part of a trilogy). As it was, they ended up getting too smart again with the material on tour (see "Ritual" on Yesshows), and Moraz was out of the picture within a couple years. IfTales was at times too slow and mannered, this album has a completely different aesthetic: crammed full of music, and not everything works, but what does work is pulled off amazingly. Truly timeless music, essential to any self-respecting prog collection. 4.5 stars out of 5.

P.S. The Rhino remaster (which sounds just fine to my ears, thank you) contains three bonus tracks: the single edit of "Soon" that everyone knows from countless compilations, the single edit of "Sound Chaser" that is literally just the last three minutes of the tune, and a studio run-through of "Gates" with some interesting differences. Alan sounds a lot jazzier on certain sections (particularly the intro), and the ending is completely different than the final version, going back to the battle section for about 30 seconds. On the other hand, Jon seems to have virtually none of his lyrics figured out by this time, but I suppose that's to be expected when your lyrical style is largely "stream-of-consciousness" to begin with.

Report this review (#1450058)
Posted Friday, August 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review Nº 32

"Relayer" is my fourth review of a Yes' album. When I reviewed their sixth studio album "Tales From Topographic Oceans" of 1973, I wrote that when it was released, the reactions were divided between fans, critics, and even inside the band members. The band member that most criticised the album was Rick Wakeman. That even forced him to leave the group. On the other hand, Bill Bruford was invited to join King Crimson, to replace Ian Wallace on drums. He accepted. In reality, King Crimson makes a type of music much closer to what he always wanted to do.

So, the line up on "Relayer" is a bit different of the line up on "Tales From Topographic Oceans". The line up on "Relayer" is Jon Anderson (lead vocals), Steve Howe (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Chris Squire (vocals and bass guitar), Patrick Moraz (keyboards) and Alan White (drums and percussion). The new keyboardist of the band, Moraz, left Refugee, a progressive band which was formed by him in 1973 with Lee Jackson and Brian Davidson. Both, Jackson and Davidson, had previously worked with Keith Emerson on The Nice, before he have left the group to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer. White was a drummer who had worked before with John Lennon and George Harrison, and when he was touring with Joe Cocker, he was invited to join Yes, which he accepted immediately.

"Relayer" is their seventh studio album and was recorded at Squire's home, mixed and released at the Advision Studios in London, in Autumn of 1974, and was produced by Yes and Eddie Offord. The album has three tracks, and all the tracks were written by the group. The first track "The Gates Of Delirium" is the lengthiest track on the album and it's also one of the biggest tracks ever made by the group. It was inspired by the Leo Tolstoy's famous romance, "War And Peace". We can divide this theme into two parts. In the first part, the song begins with a kind of a prelude of a battle, which leads us into a musical section that represents the different stages of the battle. However, Anderson described it as a war song with a battle scene, but he doesn't explain or denounce particularly what was the battle. The second part entitled "Soon", was released as a single in 1975, and represents the aftermath of the battle. The lyrics are about the futility of war, and this is one of the most aggressive musics of the group, musically and lyrically. This is a perfect epic theme, made by the band. In my humble opinion, "The Gates Of Delirium" is with "Close To The Edge" the two greatest masterpieces composed by the band. The second track "Sound Chaser" is a more experimental track, with great influence of jazz, probably due to Moraz's influence. He is a pianist with a classical musical education, but he suffers from a major jazz influence, than Wakeman suffers. This theme contains some diverse improvisations by the individual band members, and all play an individual musical part on the track, which makes to the music a more difficult implementation. This is clearly and undoubtedly, the most frenetic and aggressive track ever made by Yes. The third track "To Be Over" is the most calm and melodic song of the album. It seems that the peace arrived after the storm. This theme has soft keyboard arrangements, accompanied with a pedal steel guitar, also used on the first track, and an electric sitar. Both instruments are played by Howe. It's a beautiful ballad, very soft and emotional, and represents another masterwork by Howe. It represents the perfect end to an excellent and perfect album.

The art cover on "Relayer" was, once more, featured by Roger Dean, the artist responsible for the most of the album's covers of the group. This is probably my favourite album's cover of him, ever.

The critic's reactions to this musical work were divided. Some said that the band was lost, and they were without inspiration and creativity. But others said that this was a truly masterpiece, and that probably this was the best album ever made by the group. Anyway, being or not their best work, commercially speaking, the album was a great success, reaching gold, and entering in the British and American charts.

Conclusion: For me, "Relayer" is the second best studio musical work of Yes, soon after their fifth studio album "Close To The Edge" released in 1972. The "Relayer's" sound, is without any doubt quite different from what the band had already produced before, creating new atmospheres, with instrumentation and musical performances extremely complexes, dramatics and realistic lyrics. And it's definitely more influenced by jazz. Sincerely, I think on "Relayer" we can clearly see the new musical influences in the group, essentially brought by the new band's keyboardist. We can say that "Relayer" is a product of Yes, in a transition musical phase. The final result was a tour- de-force album, by this legendary group. They moved into a different direction from their epic, "Tales From Topographic Oceans". Definitely, if you don't have it yet, you must buy it soon. This masterpiece must should be part of your musical collection.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1483437)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars After the critical panning that Tales got and the departure of Rick Wakeman, Yes figured that they'd have to try something completely new. And that is exactly what they did with Relayer.

As with Close To The Edge, Relayer contains three long songs, one spanning the entire first side of the album and the other two dividing the second side roughly equally. But that's about where the comparisons end. "Relayer" is by far the most extreme album Yes ever put to record. In terms of sound, the album is heavier, more metallic and more driving than Yes' earlier releases. There's also a greater use of jazz and avant-garde textures. As well, and don't laugh, there is a much higher focus on keyboards than on Yes' albums starring Wakeman. While Wakeman may have played a couple of rousing solos in his time with Yes, most of the music was focused around the core of Anderson/Squire/Howe. Newcomer Patrick Moraz, however, finds himself taking lead for just about all of side 1 and much of "Sound Chaser" as well. Issues begin to arise, however, with Moraz's prominence, since the keyboard sound on this album, along with much of the production, can be incredibly grating. Another complaint is the inclusion of "To Be Over"; while it's a pretty song, its not especially moving and seems almost wishy-washy compared earlier Yes ballads.

Complaints aside, let's get to the meat and bones of what makes this album worth your while. What would that be, you may ask? "Gates of Delirium", of course. Prog rock has its stereotypes, and if you like 'em, well here you've got 'em. Alongside "2112" and Rick Wakeman's entire solo career, "Gates of Delirium" is one of the finest example of hammed-up, over-the-top, total cornball "Dungeons and Dragons" prog. It's got it all. Lyrics about gods awaking in thunderous roars and all that jazz, and let's not forget the 8-minute instrumental battle sequence. Yes, you heard that right. An *instrumental battle sequence*. For 8 minutes. Complete with sound effects!

But in all of its overt cheesiness, "Gates of Delirium" manages to deliver some exciting, stinging, bombastic, and thoroughly complex music. The level of interplay in the band is really some of the finest that they ever had. Howe, Moraz and Squire's lines flow chaotically, but organically, into one another, and Alan White pounds away with one of the most spirited performances of his career. And of course, once the dust settles, and the soundscape has been reduced to rubble, we have "Soon". Like night turns to day, Steve's soft guitar serenade and Jon Anderson's chilling vocals arise from the ashes to bring the album to its spiritual climax. I'll admit, "Delirium" was probably the most difficult Yes epic for me to sink my teeth into at first, but it's paid off very well.

Despite its flaws, this is still an album that every Yes fan must investigate and is perhaps even an album that Yes nay-sayers who prefer heavier sounds should refer to. No masterpiece by any means but still an excellent 4 star addition to any prog collection.

Report this review (#1529341)
Posted Monday, February 15, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars More like 4.5/5.

When I picked up this album at a local record store for $5, I wasnt expecting much, but I still gave it a fair shot. What followed was 40 minutes of pure Yes beauty. This was one of my best impulse purchases ever. Patrick Moraz' keyboarding rivals even Wakeman, and all the other members are in fine form. Dont be fooled by my 4 star rating, this is my favorite Yes album.

The album begins with "Gates of Delirium" - a 20 minute epic suite that rivals Close to the Edge and even outlasts it length-wise. One of the most "progressive" songs ever, as it changes pace, tempo, and even style all throughout the song. Probably my favorite Yes song, the last 5 minutes, called "Soon" has to be the most beautiful thing to ever pour out of my headphones. The highlight of the the album for sure.

The second track is "Sound Chaser" - An amazing follow-up to a great suite, this track features probably Steve Howes greatest solo. Not much else to say here, great vocals and great instrumentation. Very fast and almost maddening at times.

The third track is " To Be Over" - The complete opposite of Sound Chaser, this 10 minute track wraps up the album nicely. Very calming an serene, its another beautiful Yes moment, the second on this album alone, along with "Soon".

Track Rating:

"Gates of Delirium" - 5/5

"Sound Chaser" - 4.5/5

"To Be Over" - 4/5

Report this review (#1596243)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars After getting hooked into YES by listening to Roundabout, I dug deeper and found Fragile and CTTE to be wonderful gems within the genre, the musicmanship and skill of each member of the band is mindblowing, along with KC, YES is my favorite prog band.

Relayer is IMO, the point where the band reached its height in composition, virtuosity and experimentality, the only thing in this album that's weaker than the ones I mentioned is the drumming, Alan White is a very good drummer however lacks the technique of Bill Bruford, who was YES's drummer from 69 to 72. Keyboards are much more present in this album, Moraz and Wakeman play very differently so it's a matter of taste since both are excellent, Wakeman is more known for doing solos and fills, but Moraz accompanies the other intruments and plays very differently in each track, being synth heavy on the first one, jazzy with the Fender on the second one and very mellow and melodic on the last.

1.- The Gates of Delirium (10/10): My favorite Yessong and overall song, this 20 minute side-long epic based on the novel War and Peace is the best thing that YES ever produced, every musician plays top notch, the agressive Telecaster of Steve Howe is played in such a mind blowing manner, definitely his best guitar work. The first 8 minutes are described as the preparation and delcaration of war, it has everything you could ever want from the band, symphonic as ever with beautiful vocals. The intensity commences to build up and we reach a point where war has broken out and a battle is fought on the LOTR fantasy landscape from the album cover (at least in my mind), this section is filled with memorable bass riffs (again Squire is at his best here), intense drumming, fast tempo changes, killer synth solos and frenetic guitar. This part is know for the experimental sounds the band used, representing a battle with explotions and firearms going off, this helps to develop concept of the song and adds identity as well, I quite like it. At the 16 minute mark Soon starts, the most soothing, angelic piece I've ever heard, all the instruments in conjunction create the most beautiful and calming theme, Steve Howe's lap steel guitar is majestic and Jon Anderson vocals are a contrast to the initial section of the song, where he is agressive/hard. This song makes the whole album worthwhile.

2.- Sound Chaser (10/10): This song is very jazz fussion and weird, but in a good way, the rythm section of White and Squire is astounding, if someone says that White is a bad drummer you must show him/her this song. The fast tempos and key signature changes are the highlight as well as the beautiful jazz keyboards in the intro and the fantastic moog solo at the end. The cha cha chas sure are strange but they have grown on me. Oh I'm forgetting the best guitar solo by Howe, very fast and ever changing, I even hear some bits of Mood for a Day on it.

3.- To Be Over (9.5): My least favorite track on the record, still excellent of course. It evokes a real wintery and nostalgic feeling to me, very beautiful and melodic indeed. The track is very mellow but it gets heavier where Howe does a solo and the vocals come in after. This is a Steve Howe song so if you are a fan of his work you'll most likely enjoy this song.

Again the constrast of this album is masterful, 1st Track : Mellow as well as Agressive/ Mayhem and Fast Tempos ( beautifully constructed chaos)/ Angelical and Soothing Finale, 2nd Track: Fast Rythm Section/ Fast Solo with brief soft moments/ Crazy End with every instrument colliding, 3rd Track: Mellow and Melodic.

This album is definitely 5 Stars and is one if not the best prog record, the most epic artwork with the best music ever composed, Yes magnum opus.

Report this review (#1681787)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars I would give it 5 stars, but for what many people regard as the lovely relief, namely "To Be Over". At least it's only nine minutes long. For me, this third piece is only good as a counterweight or soft cushion for what comes before it. First is "Gates Of Delirium". If you've enjoyed YES for their dreamy but bouncy off-world songs, then you'll reel at what this song delivers - nothing less than symphony at its cutting edge. Or is it a jam-session on steroids? Never mind having to count off eleven beats to the bar, you're so busy wondering what's happening and where it's going, but not a note out of place. It may take many sittings to break through into this piece, but "yes", it's worthwhile. I guess they had enough popularity, momentum and confidence as a band at this time (only 1974, remember), that they would try something as challenging as this.

Second track of 3 is "Sound Chaser". The intro shows off Alan White's drumming, such a different tone to Bill Bruford, and a smooth and reliable counterpoint to the bass and lead instruments (love his distinctive sextuplet runs). Then it gets a bit jagged. It's not as symphonic a piece as "Gates" but it's still very interesting. And this track has a wonderful surprise - who'd ever expect a ritardando/accelerando pattern in a piece of rock music?

My enjoyment of this album centers around the semi-classical, almost avant-garde quality of especially the instrumental passages. After hearing it in the year of its release, somehow many of their following albums would sound to me very humdrum.

Report this review (#1686042)
Posted Saturday, January 28, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Unique, Iconic Album.

Relayer stands as a key Yes album, and one of progressive rock's most iconic statements. It is truly unique - no other album sounds like this, even among Yes albums, and they never did make another like it. This is the only album to feature Patrick Moraz on keyboards (as other reviewers have noted, this was the first of Rick Wakeman's record-setting number of departures from the band), this album has a very different feel from the others. The key track, and one of Yes's best-ever compositions, is the side-long "Gates of Delirium" that takes up side A of the vinyl album. "Gates", influenced by Tolstoy's War and Peace, works extremely well, pulling together a number of different sections into a single whole, shifting from contemplative to dark and violent passages (according to the liner notes, a battle between keyboards and drums!), and then to gorgeous soaring majestic slide-guitar lines, and finally a beautiful uplifting finale ("Soon"). "Gates of Delirium" is a rare 10/10 composition. Really special - there is really nothing else like it. Side b is also iconic, although musically not on the same plane as "Gates". The second side begins with "Sound Chaser", based on Chris Squire's bass lines, with some great guitar and keyboard solos. This is difficult-to-play music rooted in jazz fusion, and the comparison with Yes' 1980s output could hardly be greater. The final, and third, tune on the album is "To Be Over". While some fans are not keen on this song, mainly because it is slow, I really like it - a great closer to the album, and one that is well-developed over its nine minutes. Side b is not perfect, though. The whole album together gets 8.9 out of 10 from me, which is just shy of 5 stars. So, very-high 4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1696011)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars I wrote my review but then it got deleted, so I'm just gonna summarize what I already wrote: "Gates of Delirium" could be the best prog epic ever written. It's full of bombast, erratic time, experimental percussion (meaning car parts from the junkyard), and beauty (in Soon). Yet, it flows beautifully and has great structure. "Sound Chaser": either you love it or hate it. It's many people's favorite Yes track. It was written and recorded within 30-40 minutes, with Moraz laying out the opening riff and then the band just going from there. It's full of power and energy, but is quite disjointed. "To Be Over" is a ballad that slowly builds (emotionally) over the nine minutes of the track, and it's fairly straightforward but is quite beautiful. It's a perfect way to close out such an intense album. Overall, "Relayer" is more erratic than "Close to the Edge". However, it does have higher highs. Is this the BEST prog album out there? I wouldn't say so. But you're missing out on quite a bit if you don't listen to it.
Report this review (#2113473)
Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars In 1973 Yes released their most pompous, overblown, and over-the-top effort ever, Tales From Topographic Oceans. Although fans were now somewhat used to longer songs by Yes, four 20 minute songs was not what they had in mind. After the commercial disappointment and mixed reactions from fans, Rick Wakeman decided to leave the band in order to pursue his solo career. This left a large void in Yes, as Wakeman's lead keyboard work was a huge part of the band as we had been shown in such masterpieces like Close to the Edge and Siberian Khatru. The man to replace him was an entirely different type of player, one that would take Yes's sound to a new level that they had not seen before. Coming from a jazz background, Patrick Moraz was not as much of a lead player as Wakeman was, but he was perfect at completing everything that was going on.

By the time Moraz had joined the band, most of the material for the album had been written, so much of his influence is not shown with the exception of the frantic jazz-fusion based Sound Chaser. One huge characteristic of this album is that the guitar takes a very leading role along with the drumming, making Relayer the "Steve Howe/Alan White" show. Many of the sounds on Relayer are far more aggressive than previous albums with the guitar at center stage, which is by no means a bad thing. From the get go with The Gates of Delirium, Steve Howe shows us that his leadership can produce great tracks and a great Yes album in general.

This opening track is based off of War And Peace, and is divided into three (or four if you'd like) large sections. Kicking things off we instantly notice a more raw sound to this cd, with Steve Howe's guitar dibbling over a small Patrick Moraz background does a great job of emulating a buildup of some sort. Jon Anderson kicks in with his classic vocals, this time dealing directly with the topics war. Throughout this whole song, there is always a lot going on. Even at slower points, Steve Howe's guitar can run at a frantic pace, and Alan White's drumming is always at a top notch level. Moraz throws in his lead keyboard lines from time to time to continue driving the song forward. Then at 4:30 we see a repeat of keyboard line, but Moraz's genius shines and we see an awesome intro to this line. After one more round of classic Jon Anderson, we begin to enter into the "battle" section. Starting with a guitar line that we have heard already, it becomes perfect when Moraz repeats the D minor chord from the behind and Steve Howe adds just a little bit more to put it over the top. The battle section is an intense fury of music, Chris Squire finally shines in this part putting in his best bass work, and Alan White comes in full force with perfect drumming alongside some quick Patrick Moraz keyboard work. Throughout this part quick changes come along as Steve Howe will go off on the guitar with a fantastic flurry of notes that is quickly succeeded by Moraz with more lines of keyboard goodness. Eventually this all explodes into one final burst that brings up an ascending keyboard line that just keeps climbing higher and higher until it finally shifts to Steve Howe, who puts it over the edge and sends into the section named "Soon". This section is a large departure from the earlier parts of the song in that it is entire soft, but it is also entirely beautiful. Jon Anderson's vocals shine here and round off this song, making The Gates of Delirium one of the greatest progressive rock tracks ever written.

It is incredibly hard to follow up a song like that, and the only track that could possibly follow it up is Sound Chaser. This extremely jazzy piece contains most of Moraz's influence on the album, and it obviously shows. We see some small improvising at the beginning before Steve Howe kicks in with a speedy guitar line, which then goes into the most frantic part of a song that I have ever heard. Between Jon Anderson's vocals, Steve's guitar, Alan White's drumming, Squire's bass and Moraz's keys, I cannot understand what the hell is going on in the verse, but I definitely love and think that it is amazing. Howe once again shows us his guitar flair with a solid solo in the middle, and the whole band shows their technical prowess in this track. Sure, the "cha cha cha's" are somewhat annoying, but it is still a great song.

To Be Over is a much softer track with a lovely intro and some great pedal steel guitar all the way through. Not one member of the band really shines here until the Steve Howe show comes to town, although the vocal melodies really put a nice calm touch on the song, settling down the chaotic mood that was summoned from the previous two tracks. Steve Howe comes in with another guitar solo over top of a very atmospheric backing and keeps the guitar going until some more beautiful Jon Anderson melodies come back set up some Patrick Moraz noodling, and then the song finally ends on some light lead guitar work with some almost Christmas-like vocals coming about to bring a very wintry feel to the end of a classic album.

Any fan of progressive rock should pick this album up, as it is one of the two strongest Yes albums along with 1972's Close To The Edge, and is also one of the best progressive rock albums. The jazzy feel makes it unlike any other prog album and puts it above more generic sounding bands and works by Yes. Unfortunately, this lineup would only last for this one album, as Rick Wakeman soon rejoined the band, and they began an effort to phase Patrick Moraz out of the band. On 1977's Going For The One, all that Patrick Moraz saw for his work with the band was being at the top of the "thanks' to..." list. But many prog and Yes fans will never forget his great contribution to a great band.

Report this review (#2165461)
Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars Close to perfection!

I will preface this review by saying that I love this album, and its certainly been a grower. There are 3 songs and it follows a similar format to Close to the Edge which is, pretty much THE prog album if there ever was one.

It starts with Gates of Delerium, and this song is really perfection from start to finish. The song goes through several different styles and is filled with excellent intensity throughout. We start with something that wouldn't sound out of place on tales (another album I absolutely adore) We then are treated to several chaotic battles that all come together in the end for the absolutely transcendental section called "Soon" Where Jon Anderson takes full control and delivers his greatest vocal performance ever. Tear jerker. I have no complaints here. 10/10

Side two opens with sound chaser, another intense chaotic song. I think if Gates can compete with Close to the Edge, Close to the Edge pulls ahead with its B sides. This song is very good but I feel that it's just a bit too disordered at times. I say that lightly though cause if i'm in the right mood, this song hits well. 8/10

We end with To Be Over, a very beautiful song that takes advantage of the steel pedal guitar like you see on gates. It's a very decent song, again it doesn't reach the levels of Close to the Edges B sides, but it's still enjoyable. 7/10

Gonna give this a solid 4 star rating, I cant imagine a prog collection without this, but Yes has done better a couple times.

Report this review (#2186111)
Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | Review Permalink

If Close to the Edge was Yes' greatest work of pure prog rock perfection, then Relayer was their most ambitious, mind bogglingly complex, utterly dazzling album in the Yes canon, and possibly in the whole canon of progressive rock.

That statement will immediately tell you that I regard this album as one of the greatest albums ever created, and an absolutely essential masterpiece of the genre.

Gates of Delirium is a pure adrenalin fuelled roller coaster ride of emotion, that pushes musicians and instruments to their very limits. It will send you soaring to the stratosphere, whilst leaving your nerves in shreds and your head spinning. The first time I ever played this track I felt so dizzy listening to it that I thought I was going to pass out, and it still has the power to blow me away more than thirty years later.

The soft synths of the "Soon" section bring calm to the piece after the battle is over and provide a beautiful contrast against the raging storm of music that preceded them.

Then we move into one of my favourite tracks of all time, "Sound Chaser". This begins with Moraz playing chromatic scales against Alan White's rolling drum solo, before White hits a steady beat and the rest of the band pile in behind him. A fantastic opening to a track that delivers in every way. Steve Howe shows his amazing guitar virtuosity with incredible guitar scales of his own. A softer section prepares the listener for the full onslaught of the final synth and bass fuelled section that you just don't want to end. The "cha cha cha" section can be a bit jarring on first listening, but after a while it can be appreciated as a necessary and somewhat humorous interlude providing the required punctuation to the track.

"To Be Over" feels like a bit of a come down after the intensity of the previous two tracks, but this is a beautiful piece with lovely vocals from Anderson and some wonderful guitar work from Steve Howe. A strong but calming track after the madness of the first two tracks, but with huge musical depth and intricacy. A fitting end to one of the greatest progressive rock albums of all time.

The album is not without flaws, and is not perfect in the way that, in my opinion, Close to the Edge is, but it's power to dazzle and amaze renders it totally compelling and utterly essential.

If you have never listened to this album then you are in for one hell of a ride. Just be ready to scrape the shattered fragments of your brain off the ceiling.

Report this review (#2201197)
Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Reborn, after TFTO!"

Listening and analyzing the Yes albums CTTE (1972), TFTO (1973), Relayer (1974) and GFTO (1977) I notice that within five years Yes delivered four totally different sounding albums, while Seventies Yes is legendary for its distinctive sound featuring the sumptuous Wakeman keyboards, the high pitched Anderson vocals, the virtuosic Howe guitar runs and the powerful Squire Rickenbacker bass sound. That tells a story how adventurous and creative Yes wrote its compositons in those years. During the concert of the previous album tour TFTO lots of people walked away, even before the break, they couldn't get into the music, especially the compositions on side 2 and 3, too much without structure. Rick Wakeman was so frustrated that he left Yes, in order to focus on his epic solo albums, close to megalomania. He was replaced by Patrick Moraz, known for his work in Mainhorse and Refugee. So every Yes fan was very curious how this new Yes line-up would sound, and the venomous music press was eager to nail the forthcoming Yes effort. I remember very well that I had bought the brandnew Yes album Relayer, I was fascinated by the Roger Dean cover art, hosting a snake, a symbol for rebirth. Well, when I listened to Relayer for the first time I concuded that Yes was reborn, after that boring and unstructured TFTO!

1. Gates Of Delirium (22:55) : It starts with captivating interplay between the powerful electric guitar and an almost cheerful keyboard sound, Jon Anderson his distinctive voice joins and gradually the tension builds with an omnipresent fiery guitar, and a growling bass. Then a mellow part with the focus on Jon Anderson his vocals. Again gradually it becomes more heavy and bombastic, Howe shines with his biting guitar sound. Halfway it culminates into a bombastic eruption with blistering guitar leads and sweeping drums, Yes as never before, high adrenaline Heavy Prog, agressive and dynamic, led by Steve Howe his heavy guitar sound, topped with inventive keyboard work by Patrick Moraz, and fuelled by a thunderous rhythm-section. Next a part with exciting steel-guitar and synthesizer flights, slowly turning into spacey, coloured with awesome, very sensitive steel-guitar play, mellow organ and dreamy vocals, finally even some Mellotron drops, wonderful! And what a huge contrast with the heavy and bombastic mid-section, peace after war?

2. Sound Chaser (9:25) : The intro delivers great interplay between the sparkling Fender Rhodes electric piano, a powerful rhythm section, and soaring Mellotron violins, then a bombastic up-tempo with exciting bass runs, catchy heavy guitar runs and soaring synthesizer strings. This culminates into a long and compelling guitar solo, from subtle volume pedal to agressive outbursts, like he is chasing after all kinds of sounds! Then dreamy vocals joins, followed by another heavy and bombastic outburst, featuring awesome steel-guitar, that growling bass and inventive work on keyboards by Patrick Moraz, topped with a mindblowing pitchbend driven Minimoog solo, and fuelled by a dynamic and powerful rhythm-section. The interplay is amazing, this a Yes that seems unleashed (and Steve Howe named this track as one of his favorites)!

3. To Be Over (9:08) : It starts dreamy with volume pedal guitar, the distinctive sitar and all kinds of sounds, a bit experimental. Then a slow rhythm with tender vocals and steel guitar, even a Hawaii guitar sound, a bit too sentimental for me. Halfway Howe starts to rock with his guitar, now it becomes more interesting, with howling and fiery runs. Finally again the sentimental atmosphere with tender vocals, to me it sounds like a leftover from CTTE (in the vein of You And I), apart from a nice Minimoog solo, some heavy guitar riffs and sitar in the end.

I consider Relayer as in interesting and at some moments very exciting Yes album, but not at the level of CTTE or GFTO.

Report this review (#2219635)
Posted Sunday, June 9, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Relayer" (a world taken from "Tales From Topographic Oceans") is great!!! I bought it on 1974 and I still enjoy listening to it. I was at college at those days and feel the line that begins with "Fragile", goes through "CttE" and "TFTO" and gets to "Relayer" marks the best time for "YES music. OK, White is not Brufford and Moraz is not Wakeman, but it still sounds great. Return to "Close to the Edge" format was a very good idea. I absolutely love epics (real ones) and here I can get large doces of those. IMO "Gates of Delirium" is a masterpiece. Love the music, love the sound and love the mood changes, sometimes violent (war) and sometimes sweet (peace). "Sound Chaser" is heavy and wild, Jon anderson can't sing wildly, but it doesn't matter, the hole makes a great opus. "To Be Over" as been one of my all time favourites, if I close my eyes, I really feel "sailing down the calming streams" and get a free trip to relax. Every part of every piece is so well written and delivered that I simply feel this is my favourite 1974 album (even prior to KC's "Red").
Report this review (#2303218)
Posted Thursday, January 2, 2020 | Review Permalink

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