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Various Artists (Tributes) - Tales From the Edge: A Tribute to the Music of Yes CD (album) cover

TALES FROM THE EDGE: A TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC OF YES

Various Artists (Tributes)

Various Genres


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Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Tales From The Edge' - Various Artists (7/10)

On a surface level, a tribute album is all about the band being paid the tribute. Even if they themselves may never appear on the album, their compositions will be examined and executed from a different angle than what fans will have been familiar with. Keeping in mind that Yes are one of my all-time favourite bands (I myself have paid tribute to them with a cover or two), it's an exciting prospect to hear some fellow fans of the almighty Yes paying homage in their own way, even if I have heard of very few of the artists. Leading me to my next point; although I have been brought here for Yes, "Tales From The Edge" has also served as a comfortable way to be introduced to the passion of many lesser-known prog acts. Whether it's for Yes or a promising window-shop for talented prog artists, this is worth checking out.

Although I'm sure quite a few people reading this will have a greater knowledge of prog than I, I found myself very surprised by how few of the bands I recognized performing here. I was already familiar with The Samurai of Prog, 3RD Degree, and the Hungarian act Yesterdays, and I may have heard Italy's Conqueror name-dropped, but I was otherwise unaware of these bands. Though- for (hopefully) obvious reasons- the tribute does not demonstrate their own skill of composition, there are several artists here who impressed me to the point of wanting to check out their own work. Periplo offers a violin-rich rendition of "To Be Over" that develops upon the original. I had never heard of Italy's Vanilla Project before, but to hear their brilliant classical arrangement of "Heart of the Sunrise" is something to behold. With the occasional heavy metal kick, and vocals that betray their progressive heritage, Vanilla Project's contribution is among the very best here. While much of this tribute relies on intense, bombastic performance, Marco Mason's "Show Me" is subtle, acoustic and works wonderfully.

The Samurai of Prog deliver "Starship Trooper" in a way that recreates the energy of the original, although they don't go much beyond the call with it. Brazilian cover band Yessongs do much the same with "Siberian Khatru", and it's often uncanny how close to the true Yes they're able to sound. Tenmidnight do a version of "Tempus Fugit" from Yes' Trevor Horn "Drama" era, and while they par the original with skill and arrangement, it lacks the intense energy that made the original so cool. Greenwall's cover of the simple love song "Onward" even goes as far as to sound like smooth R&B, which- depending on where you stand with it- is either a good or bad thing. Truly, these and the rest of the performances on "Tales from the Edge" are all worthy of a listen, although some artists here take more of a welcome risk than others.

I'm not often a fan of bands doing covers to begin with, but a tribute album is a great way to hear a band's music transformed by different musicians, and there are few bands with as strong a career as Yes'. In truth, there are only a handful of tracks that really had me look at the songs in a new light, but to hear such a great amount of talent in one project is worth the admission alone.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#773495)
Posted Monday, June 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars The most attractive thing about this tribute album is that it takes on songs that are brilliant but usually get overlooked, specifically, "To Be Over" and "White Car." While I can understand the logistical reason for not doing so, I must confess that I am always disappointed when a Yes tribute album does not represent anything from Tales from Topographic Oceans even though it is referenced in the tribute's title. It would be incredible to hear a new version of "The Revealing Science of God" or even an acoustic rendition of "Ritual." And surprisingly on this tribute album, there is no "Roundabout," "Your Move / I've Seen All Good People," or "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Now I have always wanted to hear an acoustic version of "Starship Trooper," and the opening of the version here renders that concept beautifully. The take on "Wurm" is nearly unrecognizable and adds a fresh dimension to a section of the song that I always found slightly monotonous- very well done. In a similar way, "To Be Over" begins with graceful flute, violin and acoustic guitar. This sounds like it came right off Echolyn's Suffocating the Bloom or As the World. The vocals are a tad grating, but the music is a phenomenal rendition of one of Yes' greatest songs. "Run Through the Light," another frequently overlooked song, is little different from the original except the sound is fuller toward the end and the vocalist appears to be female, which suits the song well. "The Fish" gets a grittier rendering, with various electric guitars, one of which is fed through a wah pedal. The huskier vocals on "Machine Messiah" gives the song a different vibe even though the instrumentation and arrangement are nearly identical to the original version. On the other hand, "Clear Days" is given a complete makeover, taking on a symphonic electronica sound with low, hushed vocals- very cool. The "Heart of the Sunrise" presented here has an orchestral introduction before sounding like a straightforward cover (which an intense Hispanic accent in the lead vocals). "Tempus Fugit" opens with an unexpected church organ and is an adequate cover. In addition to "Starship Trooper," I think an acoustic version of "Siberian Khatru" would have been great, but sadly, this is just another run-of-the-mill note-for-note take on the original. Likewise, "Long Distance Runaround" is initially nothing new, but does get unexpectedly jazzy in the middle. "Don't Kill the Whale" also wallows in sameness, though the different guitar solo and violin exit are pleasing. Taking a second song from Tormato, Greenwall makes "Onward" even more minimal, relying primarily on piano and airy feminine vocals. Yesterdays comes in with something completely different on "White Car," which is almost twice as long as the original and bears no resemblance to it. There are even new lyrics that seem vaguely familiar, and I know I've heard the main riff somewhere before. I'm not altogether sure one could even consider this a cover. "Holy Lamb" is a decent version of a forgettable song. Jay Tausig adds some unexpected electric guitar shredding on "Wonderous Stories." "Soon" is even mellower, with piano, a low, distant vocal and a tasteful guitar solo. "Parallels" is a dynamic and hard rocking adaptation with a some great guitar parts and a brief baroque translation. Like "Holy Lamb," "Shock to the System" (which comes from the dreadful Union) is an odd choice- just 1990s raunchy rock with cheesy drums, and that wasn't changed here. What I was not expecting was "Mood for a Day" performed on the piano, and it is exquisitely done. While one song from Union may be forgivable, I am surprised to see a second one, "Lift Me Up" included here, but at least it's one of the better ones. The most obvious difference for "Time and a Word" is that it is sung in Italian, and as a pleasant surprise, the main theme of "Yours is No Disgrace" is sewn in there. "South Side of the Sky" is on par with the original, only with a baritone vocalist (it certainly doesn't top Glass Hammer's take on it). "Going for the One" has a smooth pop feel, as it begins at the end of the original song- a really funky and cool translation! It may be the best cover present. "And You and I" is rendered beautifully with strong vocals and a more cinematic approach. I think "Show Me" is another strange choice, as it is just an acoustic song with a simple melody. It tacks on a bit of "We Have Heaven." I was eager to hear Din Within's take on "Changes," since I liked Enchant's version a good deal, and I suppose I prefer the latter's since Ted Leonard did a fantastic job (and I like his voice). Overall though, this is an exceptional tribute album as tribute albums go, superior to Tales from Yesterday.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#779453)
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012 | Review Permalink

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