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Arc Of Life

Crossover Prog

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Arc Of Life Arc of Life album cover
2.59 | 43 ratings | 3 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Life Has a Way (5:14)
2. Talking with Siri (4:25)
3. You Make It Real (4:33)
4. Until Further Notice (3:42)
5. The Magic of It All (4:04)
6. Just in Sight (6:15)
7. I Want to Know You Better (4:04)
8. Locked Down (9:46)
9. There for We Are (9:30)
10. The End Game (5:52)

Total Time 57:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Billy Sherwood / bass, vocals
- John Davison / vocals
- Jay Schellen / drums
- Jimmy Haun / guitar
- Dave Kerzner / keyboards

Releases information

Frontiers Music FR CD 1088

Thanks to Evolver for the addition
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ARC OF LIFE Arc of Life ratings distribution

(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(7%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (48%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)

ARC OF LIFE Arc of Life reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars It's good that they have found something to do with the on and off again "Yes" clone band members before they decided to release another album under that name and ruin it even more. John Davidson is here on vocals, the same one that they thought they could use as a replacement for Jon Anderson with the prior "Yes" album "Heaven and Earth", which I have a very hard time calling a "Yes" album because it sounds more like a debut album from this new incarnation "Arc of Life". We also get Billy Sherwood along for the ride, who Chris Squire apparently said could be his replacement, even after he was part of another one of what was considered the worst "Yes" album ever "Open Your Eyes". Hopefully, with him stuck in this band, he will also stay away from the "Yes" name. There are also 3 other members that had certain not-so-important ties to the band "Yes" in this band. Together, they put out this album, which, even after trying hard to give it a fair chance, I just can't manage to find anything about it that doesn't make me cringe.

It's true that Davidson's voice is similar to Anderson's voice. But, I always thought that Anderson had a soulful and believable aspect to his angelic vocals and that is missing from Davidson's vocals. It's almost like a washed-out version of Anderson's voice. Plus you get the irritating, yet obvious auto-tune sound which makes it even worse. I find that Davidson's voice is just too weak and they use that digital vocalization to help strengthen it here, but it doesn't work. Sherwood also tries to come to the rescue with his vocals as a deeper tone to Davidson's, but it doesn't help much. His voice tends to give it that 80's era feel, but it ends up getting lost in all of the terrible digital-vocal effects with the result of feeling sloppy. This is really evident in "Talking to Siri" and "The Magic of it All". The latter mentioned song tries desperately to be complex, which it is to some extend, but ends up being quite wonky. "I Want to Know You Better" is a very bad attempt at a radio friendly pop sound. Here, they cut back all complexity and thick layers to leave Sherwood's vocals too exposed, and the computer enhanced vocals are enough to turn any die-hard progger off.

The instrumentation is the only redeeming thing about the album, but even so, you can't rank it up there with the masterful instrumentation of "Yes". However, if they weren't trying so hard to be someone they aren't, it wouldn't be half bad. There are places that the instruments are a bit muddled in too many layers, but there are also places where the guitar or the keyboard is allowed to shine through. But those times are too few and far between, and also too short giving it all a choppy feel.

With the new name "Arc of Life", you would think that they would attempt to get their own style and sound, but instead they continue to be a clone-band. The sad thing is, it only comes across as being messy and false. While it is a relief that they are not hijacking the "Yes" name, they are still trying to hijack the sound. I have heard "Yes" cover bands that sound even better than this. The best thing to happen here, I think, is for the guitarist, keyboardist and drummer to run away from this project before their names get associated with Sherwood and Davidson as the musicians that could never live up to the "Yes" name.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars Now, I confess I have not heard the latest Yes studio album, but I was so traumatized after 'Heaven & Earth' that I have not been able to bring myself to buy it. Why do I mention this? Well, in many ways this band is a Yes offshoot as virtually everyone has been involved with them in some way. The line-up contains three current Yes members in vocalist Jon Davison, bassist/vocalist Billy Sherwood, and drummer Jay Schellen, and is completed by Dave Kerzner (ex-Sound of Contact) on keyboards and guitarist Jimmy Haun (who has recorded with Yes in the past, on 'Union' for example). People are bound to compare this band to Yes given the close relationships, but that is unfair in so very many ways. All those involved have had careers away from that band, and I was a fan of Davison with Glass Hammer long before he joined Yes, Schellen and Sherwood were both in World Trade, Kerzner has been involved with multiple bands outside of Sound of Contact etc.

The issue with Yes in 2021 is that it is not the same band from the Seventies, but that band can never get back together as one key member has died, and arguably the last great album to feature many of the classic line-up was actually not even a Yes album but was 'ABWH'! Yes have never stopped being a great live act, they just could not get their head around what they needed to produce in the studio to move away successfully from the past, and even the album which put them back into many progheads minds, 2011's 'Fly From Here" had its base in music originally written nearly 30 years earlier. So, what I am getting to with all this diatribe? Simply, do not think of this as a Yes album as it isn't. True, we have multiple people involved who are linked very closely with that band, but here they have none of the baggage. Davidson sings in a similar fashion to Anderson, while Sherwood has always had a sound and style like Squire, which is why he was the perfect replacement, but this is not Yes, but is a new band trying to make their own way with their own album.

Agreed, there are times when there are Yes elements, it would be surprising if that were not the case, but apart from the awful "Talking With Siri", this album is pretty much a delight from beginning to end. Yes have been one of my favourite bands for more than 40 years now, and I was quite concerned about this release, but the guys are playing with a freedom which was pointedly lacking on 'Heaven & Earth'. There is no baggage around their necks of historically producing some of the most important albums within the genre of all-time, and instead they have just gone out and had some fun. I am not sure if I am ever going to build up enough courage to listen to 'The Quest', but if these guys put out another album, then it will be something I look forward to playing. This has a commercial crossover symphonic feel and is something I have really enjoyed.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I really wanted to like it more. Since I knew about this band, and considering the excellent line up I have to admit that my expectations were high. So, after five listens I can't help to be a bit dissapointed since more than half of the material is plain and bland AOR. The vocals range from goo ... (read more)

Report this review (#2507424) | Posted by Soul2Create | Sunday, February 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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