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4.38 | 3464 ratings | 319 reviews | 58% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Gates of Delirium (21:55)
2. Sound Chaser (9:25)
3. To Be Over (9:08)

Total Time 40:28

Bonus tracks on 2003 Elektra remaster:
4. Soon (single edit) (4:18)
5. Sound Chaser (single edit) (3:13)
6. The Gates of Delirium (studio run-through) (21:16) *

* Previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / lead vocals
- Steve Howe / acoustic & electric guitars, pedal steel guitar, electric sitar, vocals
- Patrick Moraz / keyboards (piano, Hammond, Vako Orchestron synth, Moog)
- Chris Squire / bass, vocals
- Alan White / drums & percussion

- Eddy Offord / co-producer, engineer

Releases information

Artwork: Roger Dean

LP Atlantic - K50096 (1974, UK)

CD Atlantic ‎- 250 096 (1988, Europe)
CD Atlantic - 82664-2 (1994, Germany) Remastered by George Marino @ Sterling Sound
CD Elektra ‎- 8122-73792-2 (2003, US) Remastered by Bill Inglot & Dan Hersch w/ 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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YES Relayer ratings distribution

(3464 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(58%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

YES Relayer reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by corbet
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.)

Review by maani
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...
Review by Sean Trane
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.

Review by lor68
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!!
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by daveconn
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.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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".

Review by richardh
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.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by frenchie
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.

Review by Guillermo
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.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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,
Review by penguindf12
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.

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.
Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Muzikman
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.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by chessman
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!
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!
Review by 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....
Review by 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!!!!!

Review by Yanns
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.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.
Review by slipperman
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.

Review by Zitro
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

Review by 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.
Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by Progbear
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.

Review by 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.

Review by NJprogfan
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.
Review by fuxi
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.
Review by Chicapah
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.
Review by 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.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by imoeng
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!!

Review by Australian
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

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by ClemofNazareth
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.


Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!!

Review by OpethGuitarist
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.

Review by 1800iareyay
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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
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).

Review by Modrigue
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 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.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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)

Review by Dim
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!

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
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.

Review by 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.

Review by FruMp
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.

Review by progrules
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.

Review by sean
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.
Review by JLocke
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.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by 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

Review by 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

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
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!

Review by russellk
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.


Review by poslednijat_colobar
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!
Review by ProgBagel
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.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by lazland
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.

Review by Sinusoid
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.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Negoba
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."

Review by stefro
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
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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

Review by TheGazzardian
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.

Review by 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.

Review by 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.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Kazuhiro
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.

Review by thehallway
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.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Flucktrot
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.

Review by b_olariu
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.
Review by Dobermensch
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

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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+

Review by tarkus1980
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 ****.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
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!
Review by friso
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.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by colorofmoney91
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.

Review by baz91
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.

Review by Warthur
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.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
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.

Review by Thulëatan
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.

Review by admireArt
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.

Review by 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.

Review by siLLy puPPy
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.

Review by patrickq
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.

Review by VianaProghead
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*)

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by jamesbaldwin
5 stars Relayer, the album that follows the long-winded, threadbare "Tales", and which has the lesser-known Patrick Moraz in place of Rick Wakeman, returns to the "Close to the Edge" scheme: a suite on the first side and two mini-suites on the second.

"The Gates of the Deliverium" suite begins with two atmospheric but syncopated introductory minutes guided by Howe's guitar, then comes the singing of Jon Anderson, who proceeds for two verses and a bridge (not a real chorus) then an instrumental detachment then a another verse and another bridge, and again an instrumental part led by Howe with Squire's bass screaming ... then the volume goes down and follows a whispered verse, then another, we have now reached the part where Anderson asks to help the brothers in battle, but the pathos remains only superficial, then we leave this swamp with Howe's guitar which embroiders the usual guiding phrase, and finally the third bridge arrives followed by the long instrumental digression in which Howe and Moraz alternate run. White's effort is great, but he doesn't have Bruford's finesse. The musical theme is very rhythmic but not very melodic, this is the main difference with "Close to the Edge", where there was a suite that alternated melodic and catchy verses and refrains. Here the piece is much more rock, syncopated, sustained, even noisy, sometimes dissonant and there is practically no very melodic part. Yes seem almost to improvise, in fact the noises simulate those of the war and around 12'45 '' they reach a real cacophony, after insisting a lot on the same riff. Alan White with a very long, prolonged snare beat (which Bruford would never have done) marks the end of the moment of cacophony and the beginning of a Moraz solo, but what is striking is the sound of the whole, the ability to bring out all the instruments, and Squire impresses with its bass lines. Around 15 minutes the music stops, there is a carpet of keyboards that stretches a bit too long, then outlines a melody going up in intensity and begins the celestial piece "Soon" by Jon Anderson, the peace after the war. We do not reach the majestic climax of the Close to the Edge suite with Wakeman's organ, here we have a rarefied, pastoral music with acoustic guitars, then electric guitars intervene but the atmosphere remains of heavenly peace. Suite practically divided into only two parts, more aggressive than Close to the Edge, melodically inferior but more creative in terms of composition. Overall slightly lower but almost on the same level.

Rating 8,5.


"Sound Chaser". First song with a great solo on the drums and bass, Anderson's singing and then a very aggressive phrase on the guitar (Howe is the leader in this album), an atmospheric piece, but always Howe's guitar in evidence (it seems a solo of the guitarist), then comes back the Anderson's celestial voice. Then another dissonant piece, Arrives the "Tcha Tcha Tcha, Tcha Tcha!" piece, then a Moraz's solo on the keyboards. This one is a masterpiece, thaks to Howe's ability on the guitar. This is hard rock played like free jazz. Masterpiece. Rating 9.

"To Be Over". Slow beginning with nice arpeggio to Howe's sitar (Howe always leader on this record), then comes the sung melody that is strangely not arranged well, there are holes, the sound is not full (the sound of White's drums is evident and bad): Yes lose the completeness of the sound, it seems like a demo!!! How is possible a similar error in the arrangement? The vocals are far, in the background, not in evidence... Then things come better when Howe's electric guitar returns to lead the dances. When comes the Anderson's vocals but this time in the foreground, the arrangement is complete (more keyboards, more electric guitar) and the song proceeds very well until the epic grand finale, It's a pity that initial fault on the arrangement, very strange for a band like Yes. This song is not at the same high of the rest of the Lp. Rating 7,5/8

Yes, after the classic "Close to the Edge", catchy prog form of pop songs, and after a double album consisting of 4 suites, monumental, excessive ("Tales"), with this album they let themselves go, led by Howe, and lose some of their brakes , control, and churn out a very rock and aggressive album, capable of going from hard rock and dissonant moments to slow celestial moments. The sound is not as balanced as in the past, and Bruford's absence is heard, but on the other hand we have never heard Yes so casual and able to find the cacophony, the dissonant sound. Then, unfortunately, they lose shots: they record a song, the last one (To Be Over), which in the first part is not entirely arranged, and this does not allow the album to be the true masterpiece that could have been, but this time they churn out a small masterpiece, imperfect but strangely bridle, almost resemble King Crimson and so this album hangs 9, small masterpiece. A little better than "Close to the Edge".

Five stars.

Review by Hector Enrique
3 stars The incorporation of Patric Moraz on the keyboards, after the departure of Rick Wakeman more dedicated for those years to his personal projects, and probably also not so in accordance with the direction of the band since Tales From Topographic Oceans, made it stay the progressive character of the group with a different personal label and make the 3 songs that compose it are good enough to meet the challenge.

To highlight the end of Gates Of Delirium, where the almost 6 minutes of Soon's grandeur and calm are the best of the album, along with Howe's guitar solo of more than 2 minutes in Sound Chaser, which shows us in great it forms its virtuosity. Despite being a very respectable album, I recognize that I have a weakness for the value of Wakeman and his contribution to the greatness of the group, and I feel that this contribution was absent and it shows. It is not one of my favorite albums despite recognizing its great musical value.

Review by The Crow
4 stars On their seventh studio album, Yes had to cope with the loss of their keyboardist Rick Wakeman. But they knew how to get up, without a doubt!

The Gates of Delirium is an absolute marvel based on the novel War and Peace by Leon Tolstoi, and as such it will offer us all the chaos, drama and military brutality that a work of this type is supposed to be.

Hearing Howe's guitars and Squire's bass fight each other to create a truly powerful sonic epic is incredible, and it makes The Gates of Delirium worthy to be considered one of the group's best compositions.


Unfortunately, the other two songs that complete the album are not so remarkable, so I think that a four-star rating is fair for this Relayer, which despite its flaws is a fundamental work of the progressive rock of the 70s.

My Rating: ****

Latest members reviews

4 stars A difficult album but with the years it can be considered as one of golden era albums. It may be a non easy listening album for some people, but it was very original and revolutionary, also a big influence for future prog bands. After "Tales from Topographic Oceans", Rick Wakeman left the group. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2905976) | Posted by progrockeveryday | Monday, April 10, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This work by Yes is one of my favorites from the band. Extremely coordinated, vigorous, well-crafted, climatic, deep, contemplative, it travels very well between the delicate and the heavy and shows the gigantic talent of Steve Howe, possibly to the limit of the exceptional, in the set of 3 grea ... (read more)

Report this review (#2900671) | Posted by JOJO THE MAN | Monday, March 20, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the bloated white elephant that was TFTO, Yes were back on track with the follow up- Relayer. Opening with yet another side long suite would have rung alarm bells for some Yes fans scared off by the overtly distended tracks off the previous album. Fortunately The Gates Of Delirium is easil ... (read more)

Report this review (#2882338) | Posted by Lupton | Tuesday, February 14, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is a highlight in the Yes discography. This is saying a lot, considering their output of great classics. Relayer is up there. All three tracks are great. Moraz is a great replacement for Wakeman. The Gates of Delirium - Patrick Moraz is off to a flying start on Gates of Delirium. He ... (read more)

Report this review (#2697663) | Posted by WJA-K | Monday, March 7, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 5/5 What can i say? It's a masterpiece made by Yes. And yeah, i think this is better than Close To The Edge. Now first of all, the cover is already the best one that Roger Dean has made for the band, and it fits really well with the music. So side 1 is filled with the almost 22 minute epic "The ... (read more)

Report this review (#2638546) | Posted by TheMIDIWizard | Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Perfect! Relayer is sort of a Close To The Edge for the more hardcore Yes fans, it's very inaccessible but just as rewarding. The opener and epic "Gates Of Delirium" is progressive rock wankery at its finest! The instrumental section that lasts ~8 minutes is enjoyable and entertaining from begin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2587061) | Posted by Ian McGregor | Wednesday, August 18, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Imagine not liking this album. If god told me that I would reincarnate as a person that would not like Relayer, I would prefer to stay in ghost form. It hurts me to see this album isn't rated any higher (something like 4.5 stars or something) because it's perfect from beginning to end. The Ga ... (read more)

Report this review (#2579876) | Posted by Gorgut Muncher | Sunday, July 18, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review - #8 (Yes - Relayer) After releasing Tales from Topographic Oceans in 1973, the band would decide to take a few steps back while taking a few steps forward in their seventh studio album titled Relayer. This album would introduce us to different yet phenomenal line-up with Jon Anderson ... (read more)

Report this review (#2537077) | Posted by Prog Zone | Wednesday, April 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Relayer is the seventh studio album by the English Progressive Rock Band Yes. Since it came out 2 years after Close To The Edge and Followed a similar structure i tended to compare the two while listening. I feel the instrumentation and musicianship on this album is better, I felt it was more pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2526037) | Posted by Lieutenant_Lan | Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 'Relayer' is the seventh studio album by YES, featuring a new line up Patrick Moraz replacing Rick Wakeman on keyboards. While most of YES signature elements (poetic lyrics, vocal harmony, complex rhythm with dynamic bassline, and dominant guitar), the band extended its musical farther by experi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2486234) | Posted by Mark-P | Saturday, December 19, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Very easily one of the greatest symphonic progressive rock albums of all time. Relayer is also one of the most inaccessible albums in Yes' entire discography. The album opens with their best track to date: The Gates Of Delirium, which features one of the best instrumental sections ever. However it's ... (read more)

Report this review (#2486145) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Saturday, December 19, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #49 So, this is one of YES best albums, isn't it? Well, yeah, it's a really good album but I do not think it deserves the five stars rate. After Bill BRUFORD left the group Alan WHITE took his place and with him the band recorded "Tales from topographic oceans" which is a good album tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#2481944) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Wednesday, December 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Being familiar with the work of Patrick Moraz from his short period in Refugee I envisaged what his less egotistical keyboards contribution to the music of Yes would produce. I wasn't let down on the album second side, beginning with Sound Chaser and finishing with To Be Over. The latter is a be ... (read more)

Report this review (#2415956) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Sunday, June 28, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars YES or how to get away from the double album with a nous sont du soleil so dreamlike that I thought they were going to stop right after, like for Icarus! 1The Gates Of Delirium begins just after the very long double album 'Tales' with we are dreamlike sunshine and a bit of showoff; in short this ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312267) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#2303218) | Posted by chiang | Thursday, January 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

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 so ... (read more)

Report this review (#2219635) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Sunday, June 9, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars IT BLEW MY MIND AND IT STILL DOES 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 immedi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2201197) | Posted by Chaser | Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2186111) | Posted by dougmcauliffe | Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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, Ric ... (read more)

Report this review (#2165461) | Posted by Trevere | Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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 beautiful ... (read more)

Report this review (#2113473) | Posted by rooteen | Tuesday, January 1, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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