Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

YES

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Yes picture
Yes biography
Active since 1968 with varying formations - Two major hiatus between 1981-1983 and 2004-2008

YES formed in London (UK) in 1968 with Jon ANDERSON (vocals), Chris SQUIRE (bass, vocals), Peter BANKS (guitar, vocals), Tony KAYE (keyboards), and Bill BRUFORD (drums). Well-known and influential mainstream progressive from the 1970's, and still around in some form ever since, they were highly influential in their heyday, especially notable for the really creative "Relayer", which included at the time Swiss keyboardist Patrick MORAZ who replaced Rick WAKEMAN

During the 1970s, YES pioneered the use of synthesizers and sound effects in modern music. Driven by Jon's artistic vision, they produced such timeless, symphonic-rock masterworks as "Roundabout," "Close To the Edge," and "Awaken". In the 1980s, YES pushed new digital sampling technologies to their limits, selling millions of records and influencing a generation of digital musicians with classics like "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm Of Love". Moving through the 1990s and into the new millennium, the band keeps expanding its boundaries by using the latest hard-disk recording techniques and, most recently, working with a full orchestra to create their genre-defying music.

YES gained large popularity with their brand of mysticism and grand-scale compositions. "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" are considered their best works as it's symphonic, complex, cerebral, spiritual and moving. These albums featured beautiful harmonies and strong, occasionally heavy playing. Also, "Fragile" contained the popular hit song "Roundabout". This was followed by the controversial "Tales from Topographic Oceans" LP, which was a double album consisting of only four 20-minute length suites centering on religious concepts. Also, "Relayer" was their most experimental, yet grandiose and symphonic. They broke up, until the new jewel "Going For The One" and its incredible "Awaken" was issued in 1977. In later years, YES would go through many transformations. There were other very good YES albums after "Going For The One" ("Drama", "Keys To Ascension" and surprisingly "The Ladder") but this is the last great album.

These...
read more

YES forum topics / tours, shows & news


YES forum topics Create a topic now
YES tours, shows & news Post an entries now

YES Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all YES videos (3) | Search and add more videos to YES

Buy YES Music



More places to buy YES music online

YES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

YES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 1425 ratings
Yes
1969
3.32 | 1478 ratings
Time and a Word
1970
4.30 | 3023 ratings
The Yes Album
1971
4.45 | 3701 ratings
Fragile
1971
4.67 | 4646 ratings
Close to the Edge
1972
3.90 | 2517 ratings
Tales from Topographic Oceans
1973
4.37 | 3193 ratings
Relayer
1974
4.05 | 2120 ratings
Going For The One
1977
3.00 | 1597 ratings
Tormato
1978
3.77 | 1763 ratings
Drama
1980
3.00 | 1645 ratings
90125
1983
2.54 | 1204 ratings
Big Generator
1987
2.51 | 1104 ratings
Union
1991
3.08 | 1010 ratings
Talk
1994
2.03 | 886 ratings
Open Your Eyes
1997
3.26 | 1039 ratings
The Ladder
1999
3.73 | 1171 ratings
Magnification
2001
3.42 | 1143 ratings
Fly From Here
2011
2.34 | 654 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2014
3.12 | 157 ratings
Fly From Here - Return Trip
2018

YES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.36 | 1009 ratings
Yessongs
1973
3.65 | 534 ratings
Yesshows
1980
2.30 | 271 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
1985
4.06 | 549 ratings
Keys to Ascension
1996
3.95 | 513 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
1997
2.64 | 156 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
1997
3.61 | 227 ratings
House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
2000
4.58 | 12 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert
2004
3.88 | 196 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
2007
4.22 | 317 ratings
Symphonic Live
2009
3.32 | 41 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
2011
3.52 | 149 ratings
In the Present - Live from Lyon
2011
3.56 | 76 ratings
Union Live
2011
2.79 | 70 ratings
Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
2014
4.51 | 102 ratings
Progeny - Seven Shows from Seventy-Two
2015
3.35 | 76 ratings
Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre
2015
3.50 | 72 ratings
Topographic Drama: Live Across America
2017
4.01 | 68 ratings
Yes ft. ARW: Live At The Apollo
2018
3.10 | 40 ratings
Yes 50 Live
2019
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Glastonbury Festival 2003
2019
3.23 | 21 ratings
The Royal Affair Tour: Live in Las Vegas
2020
4.50 | 2 ratings
Live Radio '69 / '70
2021

YES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.70 | 187 ratings
Yessongs (DVD)
1973
3.22 | 112 ratings
9012 LIVE (DVD)
1985
4.13 | 95 ratings
Yesyears (DVD)
1991
3.71 | 51 ratings
The Union Tour Live
1991
2.95 | 61 ratings
Greatest Video Hits
1991
4.36 | 11 ratings
The Best Of MusikLaden Live
1999
3.63 | 131 ratings
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (DVD)
2000
3.71 | 138 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
2000
4.60 | 337 ratings
Symphonic Live (DVD)
2002
3.11 | 78 ratings
Yesspeak
2003
2.41 | 89 ratings
Live in Philadelphia 1979
2003
3.14 | 38 ratings
Inside Yes 1968-1973
2003
3.61 | 99 ratings
Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss
2004
4.30 | 184 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
2005
3.44 | 77 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 1
2005
3.36 | 69 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 2
2005
3.64 | 60 ratings
Yes (Classic Artists)
2006
3.97 | 146 ratings
Montreux 2003 (DVD)
2007
3.85 | 52 ratings
Yes - The New Director's Cut
2008
3.86 | 48 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts
2009
3.27 | 36 ratings
Rock Of The 70's
2009
3.92 | 69 ratings
Union - Live
2010
3.14 | 9 ratings
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavillion October 3rd 1971
2013
3.61 | 38 ratings
Yes ft. ARW: Live At The Apollo
2018

YES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 14 ratings
2 Originals of Yes
1973
3.10 | 235 ratings
Yesterdays
1975
3.75 | 196 ratings
Classic Yes
1981
3.29 | 119 ratings
Yesyears
1991
3.46 | 78 ratings
Yesstory
1992
2.87 | 88 ratings
Highlights: The Very Best of Yes
1993
4.48 | 184 ratings
Keys to Ascension (Volumes 1 and 2)
1998
2.59 | 34 ratings
The Best of Yes
2000
3.56 | 484 ratings
Keystudio
2001
2.62 | 25 ratings
Yes-today
2002
4.27 | 126 ratings
In A Word
2002
2.60 | 42 ratings
Extended Versions
2002
2.89 | 37 ratings
Roundabout: The Best of Yes - Live
2003
3.16 | 103 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2003
2.13 | 69 ratings
Remixes
2003
2.51 | 27 ratings
Topography: The Yes Anthology
2004
3.25 | 148 ratings
The Word Is Live
2005
3.78 | 27 ratings
Essentially Yes
2006
3.00 | 2 ratings
Rhino Hi-Five: Yes
2006
3.50 | 19 ratings
Collection 2CD: Yes
2008
4.50 | 4 ratings
Wonderous Stories: The Best of Yes
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Original Album Series
2013
4.10 | 52 ratings
Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two
2015
4.70 | 40 ratings
The Steven Wilson Remixes
2018
3.21 | 55 ratings
From a Page / In the Present - Live from Lyon
2019

YES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.71 | 35 ratings
Sweetness / Something's Coming
1969
2.18 | 2 ratings
Looking Around / Everydays
1969
2.00 | 2 ratings
Sweetness / Every Little Thing
1970
3.10 | 20 ratings
Looking Around / Every Little Thing
1970
3.33 | 23 ratings
Sweet Dreams
1970
3.40 | 39 ratings
Time and a Word
1970
4.25 | 25 ratings
Something's Coming
1971
5.00 | 1 ratings
Yours Is No Disgrace / The Clap
1971
5.00 | 1 ratings
Yours Is No Disgrace
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
I've Seen All Good People / The Clap
1971
3.45 | 50 ratings
Your Move
1971
3.32 | 22 ratings
Roundabout
1972
4.64 | 22 ratings
And You And I (Part 1 & 2)
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
No (Opportunity Necessary)
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Yours Is No Disgrace / Your Move / Sweet Dreams
1972
2.90 | 52 ratings
America
1972
4.53 | 27 ratings
And You And I
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
America / Yours Is No Disgrace
1974
3.26 | 20 ratings
Soon
1976
3.25 | 41 ratings
Soon - Sound Chaser - Roundabout
1976
2.44 | 17 ratings
Yes Solos
1976
3.66 | 42 ratings
Wonderous Stories 12''
1977
4.04 | 41 ratings
Going For The One 12''
1977
4.08 | 12 ratings
Turn Of The Century
1977
3.09 | 2 ratings
Release, Release
1978
2.73 | 53 ratings
Don't Kill the Whale
1978
3.66 | 4 ratings
Run Through the Light
1980
3.03 | 41 ratings
Into The Lens
1980
4.22 | 45 ratings
Roundabout
1981
2.38 | 45 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (promo single)
1983
2.20 | 51 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1983
2.71 | 40 ratings
Leave It
1984
2.87 | 24 ratings
Twelve Inches on Tape
1984
2.86 | 37 ratings
It Can Happen
1984
2.73 | 34 ratings
Love Will Find a Way
1987
2.22 | 41 ratings
Rhythm of Love (2)
1987
2.44 | 13 ratings
Rhythm of Love
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Would Have Waited Forever
1991
3.32 | 22 ratings
Saving My Heart
1991
2.57 | 42 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1991
2.55 | 24 ratings
Make It Easy
1991
2.65 | 12 ratings
Yesyears - Sampler
1991
2.48 | 14 ratings
Lift Me Up
1991
2.62 | 27 ratings
The Calling
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
State of Play
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Walls
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
That, That Is
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
America
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Open Your Eyes
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Open Your Eyes (radio edit)
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Homeworld (The Ladder)
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
If Only You Knew
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lightning Strikes
1999
2.83 | 6 ratings
Lightning Strikes (She Ay ... Do Wa Bap)
1999
2.83 | 71 ratings
YesSymphonic
2001
2.26 | 8 ratings
Selections From The Word Is Live
2005
3.06 | 70 ratings
We Can Fly
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
To the Moment
2019
3.67 | 6 ratings
From a Page
2019

YES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Keys to Ascension 2 by YES album cover Live, 1997
3.95 | 513 ratings

BUY
Keys to Ascension 2
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog Zone

4 stars Review - #34 (Yes - Keys to Ascension 2)

Keys to Ascension 2 is a continuation of the live concert performed on the first Keys to Ascension album while encompassing new studio material. After guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Rick Wakeman returned to the band in 1995, they relocated to San Luis Obispo, California where they began to write new material while preparing for three additional live concerts with the lineup. The band also included Jon Anderson on vocals, Chris Squire on bass, and Alan White on drums. Keys to Ascension 2 is the fifth live and sixteenth studio album by the band being released in November of 1997. Rick Wakeman has said that he was "heavily against" the album's title since he believed the studio tracks deserved a separate release rather than simply being tagged to a live album. When compared to the first Keys to Ascension album there is certainly more studio material to digest which Rick Wakeman felt was more mature than what was found on its predecessor. Despite some tracks soaring above, others don't seem to hit the mark. This makes the studio material somewhat uneven when compared to the overall excellence found on its shorter predecessor. The same issue is also found on the live portion of the album, there are moments of overall excellence but the live renditions don't tend to live up to the various incredible renditons found on the first Keys to Ascension album.

The album begins with a live rendition of I've Seen All Good People which has become somewhat of a live staple for the band. Since this is just a continuation of live tracks left off the first Keys to Ascension album, it unfortunately misses the iconic opening Firebird Suite which launches most Yes concerts. While not providing anything mind-blowingly new, this is a solid track that creates an ultimately faithful live rendition with wonderful musicianship found throughout. The next live track, Going for the One, begins with driving guitar in addition to interesting raspy vocals coming from Jon Anderson sung at a lower pitch than usual. Alan White delivers especially compelling drums in combination with Chris Squire's terrific bass performance to create a solid rhythm section. While this track doesn't ascend beyond the live rendition of Going for The One heard on Yesshows it still offers a generally powerful performance of this classic Yes tune. Time and a Word is absolutely stunning, it has become my go-to rendition of this track. Rick Wakeman's keyboard contributions are definitely felt in addition to Steve Howe's beautiful acoustic guitar instrumentation found all through the track. A special mention also goes to Jon Anderson's spectacular vocal performance as well, he hasn't aged a bit since the seventies! After this softer ballad, the band transitions to perform the masterpiece of Close to the Edge which is as great as ever. This isn't an easy track to conquer by any means, which makes it increasingly impressive to see a band perform such a complicated piece so late in their career while still sounding terrific. Just listen to the newest rendition of Close to the Edge found on Yes 50, it is generally solid, but lacking when compared to previous live performances such as this. The biggest complaint I have about this live rendition is the extremely underwhelming organ section found at around the thirteen-minute mark. It isn't performed poorly per-say, but the keyboard sound chosen boggles me. Rick Wakeman didn't have any other sounds to choose from? Nevertheless, the song continues with an excellent keyboard solo just after the sixteen-minute mark that eventually goes into a powerful reprise of the chorus. Before concluding, the track commences an incredibly uplifting chant of "I get up, I get down" which ends the piece stunningly. Similar to Time and a Word, Turn of the Century is yet another softer piece that isn't commonly heard in a live setting. The track features beautiful guitar from Steve Howe which is the true highlight of the piece. Unfortunately, while the track is generally wonderful it doesn't hit the same high points as the studio version. Something just feels off, I believe this is a piece the band could have rehearsed a bit more. Still, I am glad to hear the band perform this often-overlooked track in a live setting. The last live performance on Keys to Ascension 2 is And You And I which is a ideal way to end a live album. This live rendition is displays Jon Anderson's stunning vocals better then any other track, especially at the four minute and fifty second mark. Rick Wakeman also receives a wonderful solo at the seven minute and fifty-four second mark which is complimented by an excellent rhythm guitar riff performed by Steve Howe. Overall, the live material found on this album is unquestionably solid, but unfortunately has moments that could have been enhanced if the band had more time to rehearse.

Now this is what most listeners are waiting for, the new studio tracks. The album begins with the suite entitled Mind Drive clocking in at over eighteen minutes. This is unquestionably the best track found on both the Keys to Ascension albums, I would actually go as far as to say it's one of the band's best tracks to date. Mind Drive was originally rehearsed by the proposed supergroup XYZ featuring Chris Squire, Alan White, and guitarist Jimmy Page. After XYZ never came into fruition, Chris Squire and Alan White decided to use various pieces of the unused track while working with other Yes members to create the epic found on this album. Mind Drive contains various moments of incredible instrumentation from each band member with a special mention going to Rick Wakeman who provides excellent keyboard melodies, lines, and even solos. Mind Drive moves from softer more tranquil moments to moments of increased intensity and power while continuing to feel as one cohesive piece. Conclusively, this is a late-career masterpiece from Yes which deserves more attention than it gets. Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks do not grasp the same level of mastery as Mind Drive but still contain enjoyable moments throughout. The next track entitled Foot Prints starts with Jon Anderson and Chris Squire singing the chorus before the rest of the band are introduced. The first two minutes of the track are somewhat unexceptional until we reach the two minute and seven second mark where a captivating vocal melody is introduced in combination with wonderful bass work coming from Chris Squire. The rest of the track just continues this greatness with superb solos coming from both Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman during various points. Foot Prints eventually concludes with a rather strange folk-like instrumental which isn't necessarily bad but doesn't fit with the music that came before it. The next track, Bring Me To The Power, is somewhat uneven encompassing various high and low points. When it reaches the one minute and thirty second mark the music truly ascends. Jon Anderson's vocal performance is breathtaking with the band being sparse yet compelling behind him. The track then enters a somewhat strange guitar dominated section at the three minute and five second mark with odd percussion choices from the band that I cannot decide works or not. There is then a reprise of the main chorus with Rick Wakeman adding notable keyboards. It then ends with a minute long instrumental in which Chris Squire provides an impressive bass foundation to compliment the other instruments as they get a solo. Children Of Light is up next and is a two-part track that is split up between the main theme, Children of Light, and the ending guitar led instrumental section entitled Lifeline. Children of Light was initially written by Jon and Vangelis in 1986 under the name Distant Thunder. Later on, a demo version of the track was recorded with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe which was ultimately not released on their first and only album. However, it was added as a hidden track on the 2011 reissue of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. The first section, Children of Light, is solid enough but ultimately does not go anywhere as it transitions between its two choruses. Jon Anderson provides wonderful vocals during the chorus in which he sings "Children of light" while the rest of the band provide a good instrumental backing. The next section, Lifeline, is a dreamy guitar-led outro that is surprisingly captivating. The last track, Sign Language, is a Howe/Wakeman instrumental duet that is a somewhat strange addition to the album. It comes across as being overall pleasant but not all that eventful. When looking over the studio tracks included on the album, I noticed that as the album went on each track began to get shorter and shorter. In addition, as the album went on each track became less and less impressive.

Keys to Ascension 2 is a noteworthy continuation of the band's first Keys to Ascension album while containing various moments of brilliance within its live and studio material. Ultimately, the album doesn't reach the heights of its predecessor, but is still able to leave its mark as an excellent addition within the band's long and diverse catalogue of music. Furthermore, Keys to Ascension 2 includes the late-career masterpiece Mind Drive which makes this album worthy of a listen if not for anything else. The rest of the studio material is varied while still containing terrific moments throughout. This album remains to be an excellent addition to any prog collection despite some of the flaws it holds. If they don't give us the keys how are we supposed to get ready, if they don't give us the keys how are we to survive?

 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.37 | 3193 ratings

BUY
Relayer
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

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.

Masterpiece!

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: ****

 Keys to Ascension by YES album cover Live, 1996
4.06 | 549 ratings

BUY
Keys to Ascension
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog Zone

5 stars Review - #33 (Yes - Keys to Ascension)

Keys to Ascension is the fourth live and fifteenth studio album by Yes which was released as a double album in October of 1996. After both keyboardist Tony Kaye and guitarist Trevor Rabin left the band in 1995, they decided to reach out to previous bandmembers Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman about coming back with the band. Consequently, this album reunited Yes to include the same lineup as featured on their masterpiece Tales from Topographic Oceans released in 1973 and the excellent Going for The One released in 1977. Keys to Ascension comprises of half the live set from the shows performed in 1996 with two new studio tracks which marked a return-to-form for Yes. Keys to Ascension was able to reach number 48 on the UK Albums Chart and number 99 on the Billboard 200 during its two- week presence on the chart. Vocalist Jon Anderson thought the album was not promoted effectively due to the lack of funds with their label, Essential. Nevertheless, both the live and studio tracks presented on Keys to Ascension are quite excellent with both comprising of unique moments with solid musicianship throughout.

The band held two shows at the city's Fremont Theater on 5 and 6 March 1996 and had them recorded and released with the new studio tracks. The tracks chosen ranged from their 1970 to 1977 material while featuring lesser performed live tracks such as The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn) from Tales from Topographic Oceans and Onward from Tormato. In general, this is some of the best live material the band has ever released. The opening track, Siberian Khatru, receives a splendid live rendition which is full of energy. It becomes somewhat tricky to notice any parts in which the musicians seem to be performing to a lesser degree to how they could in the seventies, they are still at their peak! The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn) is unquestionably one of the highlights found on the album. This would mark the first time the band performed this piece since their 1973 tour to promote the album in which this track is found, Tales from Topographic Oceans. The band performs each of the melodies seamlessly in such a way it appears to be more concise than what was found on the original studio recording. In addition, Rick Wakeman's keyboard contributions are particularly noteworthy as he includes various differing keyboard sounds and sections throughout. The next track entitled America is a Simon and Garfunkel cover that was originally released on the compilation album, The New Age of Atlantic, in 1972. Furthermore, the track would be rereleased on the band's 1975 compilation album entitled Yesterdays. It is great to see the band perform this incredible cover in a live setting, and they do it with style. Steve Howe truly shines throughout while adding various new/extended segments of music during the course of the track. The band then slows down a bit with their live performance of Onward which is a solid live rendition but feels somewhat inadequate when compared to the breathtaking studio version that features a full orchestra. Nevertheless, the track is extraordinarily beautiful while showcasing excellent guitar work from Steve Howe not to mention stunning vocals from Jon Anderson. The upcoming suite Awaken is performed impeccably while being extended by a few minutes. Overall, a solid live rendition featuring noteworthy musicianship from the entire band. I guess a live performance wouldn't be complete without hearing yet another version of Roundabout. The track begins with Steve Howe's acoustic guitar intro that eventually introduces Jon Anderson's masterful vocals. Similar to a large portion of these live tracks, there is a lot of energy found throughout with a wonderful instrumental section. The last live track, Starship Trooper, remains to be the best live track the band has ever performed. While the first few minutes remain close enough to the original, the biggest changes can be found during The Würm section which begins at the five minute and forty two second mark. This segment improves the already incredible studio version of The Würm by miles. The interplay between Steve Howe on guitar and Rick Wakeman on keyboard is truly mesmerizing and feels as if this was what the band had always intended for the track to sound like when first recording it all those years ago. This live rendition remains to be my go-to version of Starship Trooper and I would recommend at least checking this out if nothing else from this entire album.

The first track of the new studio material is the three-part suite entitled Be the One. It is credited to Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, and Steve Howe. The former disclosed the song covers the idea of commitment, and how the band made a commitment to working together once again after a considerable length of time apart. Jon Anderson's vocals are performed wonderfully with noteworthy backing vocals from Chris Squire. Be the One contains incredibly powerful melodies with numerous soaring guitar and keyboard lines. One of the best tracks that Yes recorded since Drama! The second and last new studio track is a multi-part epic entitled That, That is. The piece opens with a wonderful acoustic guitar section that lasts over three minutes before a soft percussion is heard that gradually builds to a climax. Not long after, Jon Anderson begins a chant that transfers into the suite's main melody. Alan White's drumming is dynamic and powerful throughout while complimenting the instrumentation coming from the rest of the band nicely. There are numerous strong melodies found all through the track that ultimately come together as a genuinely impressive piece of music the band created later in their lengthy career. I wouldn't hesitate to say it is on-par to anything found on Tales from Topographic Oceans. Steve Howe's guitar performance deserves a special mention as well, he honestly performs flawlessly here. The only complaint I have about the entire piece is some of the lyrics which seem to deal with drug addiction and gang warfare which doesn't really fit Jon Anderson all too well. But at the same time, who ever comes to Yes for the lyrical content.

Keys to Ascension is a genuinely impressive addition in the Yes catalogue that features some of the band's best live performances while containing two wonderful new studio tracks. I wouldn't hesitate to say this album is yet another masterpiece within the band's impressively lengthy catalogue of albums. The album truly captures Yes doing what they do best. Keys to Ascension is an essential listen for any fan of the band, highly recommended. All in all the wisdom call, you shall be young, you shall be free!

 Talk by YES album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.08 | 1010 ratings

BUY
Talk
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars That the "Union" project was destined to be short-lived was all too evident. Throughout the history of Yes, it has been difficult to keep five heads at bay for more than two consecutive albums, let alone eight brains. At the end of the massive tour, Wakeman, Bruford and Howe leave the band again, and in a single stroke they find themselves pecked and beaten, that is without either Yes or ABWH. Bruford returns happily to the court of the Crimson King. Wakeman is totally dedicated to his solo career, also starting to collaborate with his son Adam. Howe, begins to collaborate again with the Asia of the Payne era as a special guest, as well as to devote himself to a solo career. Jon Anderson instead remains, going to reconstitute the winning line-up of 90125. To tell the truth, Steve Howe had in mind a project to be able to continue working in eight, but shared only by the Arista record company but not by most of his colleagues. The solution involved selecting four elements who would take care of the compositions, later assisted by the rest of the large band for the arrangements. The Los Angeles headquarters, in particular, strongly opposed, deciding that three of the eight members were in surplus, so that 3/4 of ABWH withdrew, leaving the fate of Yes in the hands of Rabin. The South African guitarist began a close collaboration with Jon Anderson, laying down the foundations for the new album, which would be titled "Talk". Chris Squire also gave a good hand in the composition phase.

As usual, Rabin also took on the burdens of production and keyboard parts. After being played, the album was reworked entirely on hard disk, making use of four futuristic Apple Macintoshes at the time, connected to an IBM computer. What came out was a work with a cold and innovative sound, at times perhaps too perfect, but of considerable sonic impact. "Talk" was the first album released for an independent label, Victory Records, founded by former vice president of Atlantic Records Phil Carson, a small label used to working with genres diametrically opposed to progressive, such as hardcore, punk , indie rock and something of pop rock. Just at that time, the record company was going through a bad financial period, and this meant that the album was not promoted properly.

The music is "progressive stars and stripes", in a Yes key. Technically it is flawless. Sound with shovel technology. So perfect that it doesn't seem to be played by real instruments. White's drums are very powerful, at times ferocious and even too refined and filtered in the timbre. Sharp guitars, Anderson's usual voice in formalin, Squire's bass audible in notes with very low dynamics, almost air displacements. Tony Kaye is present only with the Hammond, enjoyable on "The Calling".

The album starts with "The Calling", a first-class AOR hit that opens the album strongly. The song follows on from the US sound of "Love will find a way", but comes up with a convincing riff and a surprisingly powerful sound, especially from the guitars and the rhythm section. Until you then listen more closely and cannot identify more than just four chords - and that with a song that is eight minutes long in its extended version (only through a few keyboard effects). So too long, no question about it, but it would be completely satisfactory as a four-minute drive. The album gets its first prog flight after about three minutes, with an instrumental passage with an ambivalent rhythm, which first leads to a country guitar solo and then to a rock solo, not at all uninteresting. I Am Waiting" (7:25) This song begins with a few measures that are almost new age in their sound before shifting briefly into a hard-rock version of the opening melody. "Real Love" follows. Admittedly, the song is a bit gimmicky, but the riffs achieve an immense effect with very little resources. There is also a strange vocal melody and a strange counter melody from the keyboard in the technoid-sounding bridge. For me in its entirety the roundest song on "Talk". "State of Play" is the little gem. Very energetic. Great piece. Sharp hi-tech guitar. "Where Will You Be" is a nice little ballad. The production is good, somewhere between classical instrumentation (keyboard strings) and tribal rhythms. The key changes are dramatic and don't miss their effect, tasteful and reserved, but no less virtuoso guitar contributions by Rabin are really great.

But now the long track. Rabin had actually resisted it, but it was Phil Carson who really wanted a piece in the classic Yes style. And Rabin and Anderson did not mess up and really cut one off. The song lives from two poles, between which tension builds up: the frenetic and insanely fast motif from "Silent Spring" and the great melody from "Talk", perhaps Anderson's most successful melody invention. Once again, Rabin shows himself to be a terrific arranger: with a shock effect, he reduces the mighty sound of the introduction to a silent piano passage. From then on, the song develops through acoustic moments, strongly technoid alienated passages up to its climax, which is reached through the gradual addition of more and more layers of sound and the declination of the "talk" motif. Anderson's melody is ideal for this, as it works as a small melody for acoustic piano accompaniment as well as a massively produced rock anthem. "Endless Dream", however, suffers from the technoid passages that are abruptly interposed in the piece and in this way pretty much tear it apart. This may not be so noticeable on the perfectly produced studio album, but it is all the more evident in the live versions that have since been released. But on "Talk" it works to a certain extent, and so the interplay between rhythm-heavy technoid passages and melody-heavy hymn passages seems like one of those epic musical stories with which Yes became so famous in the 1970s.

"Endless Dream" is the song that more than concludes "Talk" in a more forgiving way, an album that is generally of mixed quality. On the plus side, next to the longtrack, are "Where Will You Be" and "Real Love". "The Calling" and "I am Waiting" are rather mediocre as AOR songs, while "State of play" and "Walls" are the failures of the album. Still, "Talk" doesn't seem embarrassing: Yes neither try to produce flat radio feed as they did in the 80s, nor do they strive to reconnect with their glory days of the 70s as they did with the two following albums. Instead, "Talk" is an independent statement - this album is in a way the blueprint for a number of modern Prog / AOR albums.

 Talk by YES album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.08 | 1010 ratings

BUY
Talk
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog Zone

4 stars Review - #32 (Yes - Talk)

Talk is the fourteenth studio album by Yes which was released in March of 1994. Recording for the album started in late 1992 with the line-up of Jon Anderson on vocals, Trevor Rabin on guitar, Chris Squire on bass, Alan White on drums and Tony Kaye on keyboards. Interestingly, keyboardist Rick Wakeman was supposed to be involved in the project before contractual problems led to his withdrawal. The album was recorded onto a hard disk at Trevor Rabin's home studio using an early version of the digital audio workstation software Digital Performer. The album was then supported by a tour in 1994 that ended in Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye leaving the band in 1995. Retrospectively, the album has gotten a lot of praise as one of Trevor Rabin's best albums he created with Yes. I believe this is mainly due to the close collaboration Trevor Rabin decided to have with Jon Anderson when creating the album, mixing both of their styles into one. In addition, it is truly shocking to see Talk receive such low ratings on this website; I imagine people expect to receive another Close to the Edge when listening to this album and have some immediate distain whenever an ounce of pop enters the music without considering its quality. I consider this to be a strong highlight within the band's career while containing masterful songs throughout.

The album begins with the track, The Calling, which receives an extended version on a few releases. The track was developed and soon evolved around the song's introductory guitar riff. The Calling immediately introduces itself as straying away from being yet another generic pop-orientated rock song, there are multiple strong melodies and instrumentations all over which lets the song clock in at just under seven minutes. In addition, Yes is at the most progressive they've been in years while containing fantastic hooks throughout. Tony Kaye's Hammond organ also makes a triumphant return on top of the vocals being as powerful as ever. A notable opener that displays the overall sound of the album! I Am Waiting is up next and it is unquestionably breathtaking. The track was actually developed quite spontaneously which Jon Anderson stated made it "real pure music". As the track begins, a soft guitar riff is introduced that shifts into an extremely powerful and emotionally driven guitar riff performed by Trevor Rabin. The section is then reprised with Jon Anderson adding vocals in which he performs one of the most magnificent vocal deliveries he has done in years. If I had to say what the highlight of this album was, it would certainly be the remarkable vocals. The interplay between both Trevor Rabin and Jon Anderson on this track is done quite well in addition to the sound dynamic between both the loud and quiet parts. The next track is entitled Real Love and displays the heaviest Yes has been since Machine Messiah on Drama. It was predominantly written by bassist Chris Squire with the lyrics being partly inspired by Rabin's reading of A Brief History of Time by British physicist Stephen Hawking. Trevor Rabin does a fantastic job on guitar all through this track while providing powerful vocals that work in combination with Jon Anderson's. Furthermore, the rhythm section is well-produced and heavy hitting without being overly complicated. It is a quite dark piece at times but remains to be yet another great song on the album.

State of Play is the next track an unfortunately doesn't live up to the songs that came before it. Nonetheless, there are particularly solid moments found throughout the track. The biggest issue I have is the drumming from Alan White which feels hip-hop at times, it just doesn't work. Still, the instrumental section is well recorded with a solid performance from Trevor Rabin on guitar. Walls was the last track produced for the album and was co-written with Supertramp vocalist Roger Hodgson, who declined an offer to be the band's lead singer following Jon Anderson's parting in 1988 following the Big Generator tour. Despite the track being particularly pop-orientated, I happen to truly enjoy it. Rabin's vocals during the course of the song are well done with Jon Anderson popping in at just the right points. In addition, Trevor Rabin also provides wonderful guitar interplay and licks whilst Chris Squire adds his superb bass work. The next track, Where Will You Be feels a bit too long and could have certainly been shortened by a minute or two. It is an atmospheric piece that can be compared to Angkor Wat from Union released in 1991. The guitar from Trevor Rabin is performed tastefully whilst even being incredibly gorgeous at times. Nevertheless, the track is still somewhat bland and doesn't really progress anywhere all too impressive. The last track on the album, Endless Dream, remains to be one of the best songs the band has ever recorded. Clocking in at over fifteen minutes, it is an epic through and through. The epic is divided into three parts, and begins with an instrumental section entitled Silent Spring. Endless Dream begins with a repeating piano riff that Rabin initially intended to use as part of a film score but chose to use it for the song instead. The piano focused intro then moves into a guitar section that exhibits the band performing at blazing speeds. Trevor Rabin's guitar is some of the finest of his career in addition to Alan White delivering his greatest drum work on the album. Not to mention, it is nice to see the band performing in an odd time signature once again! The epic then moves into its second part which is simply called Talk. This part contains the bulk of the track, clocking in at just under twelve minutes. The music found within is nothing less then incredible, some of the best music the band has ever recorded. A special mention goes to the dubstep inspired section that feels particularly unique for the band. The track then ends with its last part entitled Endless Dream which takes a more atmospheric approach and reprises a vocal melody found earlier in the track. Even at the end, you can here a faint reprise of the dubstep inspired section echoing as the track fades. Jon Anderson has said the piece is "as good as anything" the band has done while rating it on par with "Close to the Edge" and "Awaken". Alan White has also praised this track highly since the time of its release. I happen to agree with both Jon Anderson and Alan White, this is truly one of the best tracks the band has ever recorded and a highlight of the progressive rock scene in the 90s. Endless Dream also remains to be the highlight of Trevor Rabin's long career in my view and is a beautiful send-off letter for his time in Yes.

When initially writing this review, I planned on giving this album a five-star rating. However, upon numerous relistens as of late I believe a four-star rating would be more appropriate. Despite the strength of Endless Dream and numerous moments found on the quote-on-quote side one of the album, there are also a few moments that make this a near- miss for the band. Particularly both the tracks State of Play and Where Will You Be, which fall a bit short of the mark. Nevertheless, this is an album that remains to be criminally underrated on this website. Talk is surely an excellent addition to any progressive rock collection! So take your time... look round and see the most in time is where you're meant to be.

 Big Generator by YES album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.54 | 1204 ratings

BUY
Big Generator
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars Four years after the success of 90125, Yes reached their eleventh album with Big Generator. Just a natural sequel to the predecessor, with lean songs and commercial appeal, which compared to the general concept, loses in quality to 90125. Contrary to what many people think, my opinion is that Jon Anderson had a difficult temperament, which went beyond his known perfectionism, fighting battles with the youngest Trevor Rabin for a return to the origins of Yes. If he won the arm wrestling, I don't know, but the new one venture in no way presents a return to the past. Not to mention the old internal issues between Anderson and Squire.

Listening to Big Generator, one has the feeling of being in front of a new "Tormato", controversial album where some excellent ideas were ruined by the heavy work of the production, too insistent with dubious and nauseating arrangement solutions. If the previous 90125 was a prime example of perfect production, regardless of genre, which you may like or not like, the same cannot be said of Big Generator. Too often the arrangements ruin the already few brilliant ideas of Rabin and his companions, whose "hooks" this time are almost all blunt. There are a couple of tracks that can keep up with the hits of the previous album and the interesting "Final Eyes" which with its seventies atmosphere almost out of place in the content of this AOR album, burdened in an unsustainable way by the arrangements. Trevor Rabin seems to have poured all his brilliant compositions on "90125" and proves to be a real megalomaniac, taking care not only of the guitar, voice and keyboard parts, but also of the production. It would have been better to have concentrated on the guitar and the second voice, in order to get a better job. Award-winning company Squire - White also seems to be losing steam. It is obvious how the two are not at ease playing the banal AOR, the absences of the solo raids on the four strings, the battles with the cymbals and the memorable races on the drum set's skins weigh like a boulder. Not only is "Close to the Edge" light years away, but even the most recent "Drama" seems to belong to another era.

Despite all the conflicts, the album achieved good sales and some tracks became structured hits that were pleasant to listen to, such as "Rhythm of Love" and "Love Will Find A Way", songs with vocalizations in the mold of "Leave It" , in addition to the great title track. It's actually this set of aces that holds the Big Generator, were it not for that, I wouldn't even be wasting time writing this text and the grade would be much lower. Trevor got more involved with the album, sharing the vocals well with Jon Anderson, creating beautiful guitar harmonies, in songs that at first sight didn't seem so relevant, as is the case of "Shoot High Aim Low". "Almost Like Love" has hints of the ELP (Cozy Powell phase) exciting to some extent. In the intro of "Runnin" we have a great solo by Chris Squire in a variant of Rumba. For the rest, Big Generator does not present innovations.

Big Generation deserves at most a 2,5 or 2,8. Not bad, considering that most progressive medallions were already on permanent vacation, and Yes managed to find a break in the competitive market of the "new" decade. Big Generator is the second of three chapters in the Rabin trilogy. It would have been impossible to recreate a "90125", the way chosen is to try to balance the new with the old.The sound had to be softened, but Trevor had carte blanche on arrangements. The cover is at an all-time low, but the content all in all is not bad.

 Close to the Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.67 | 4646 ratings

BUY
Close to the Edge
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

5 stars The epitome of the classic prog album and inarguably one of the finest records representing the genre to have ever been released, Yes' fifth studio LP 'Close to the Edge' is quite certainly a perfect album on any level, proving that the legendary band just got better and better with every new release ever since they were formed. Gradually expanding and developing their sound, the band truly reached new heights on 'The Yes Album' and they expanded their sonic scope even more on 'Fragile', but it is on 'Close to the Edge' where they really achieve some virtually divine results, setting a model for every prog rock album released after 1972.

This legendary album is the second one on which most people's preferred line-up of the band plays, and this is, of course, Jon Anderson on lead vocals, Chris Squire on bass and backing vocals, Steve Howe on guitars and backing vocals, Rick Wakeman on keyboards, and Bill Bruford on drums and percussion, with Eddy Offord engineering and co-producing the album that had its gorgeous green watery cover artwork painted by none other than Roger Dean. Not only this, but 'Close to the Edge' is the first album on which Yes display their iconic logo, sketched once again by Roger Dean.

After the successful 'Fragile' which had an interesting structure, with the several shorter pieces written by each band member, intertwined with the longer compositions, Yes embraced the latter model of writing entirely for their fifth studio album - and thank God they did! The final track list features just three songs, none of which fall under nine minutes of playtime, which is well-known by all fans of the band and all progressive rock lovers.

Opening this fantastic album, is the absolutely astonishing 19-minute title track, comprised of four segments - 'The Solid Time of Change', 'Total Mass Retain', 'I Get Up, I Get Down', and 'Seasons of Man'. Certainly, the most well-recognizable prog rock epic, this extravagant composition is quite flawless, inspiring hundreds (and possibly, thousands) of bands afterwards. The sound could be described as heavenly and otherworldly, with the nature soundscapes in the beginning (that took two days to record!) flowing into one of the most bizarre and shockingly enjoyable instrumental parts ever recorded in rock music. This borderline cacophony sees off some manic drumming, masterful bass playing, explosive guitars and almost-Morse code-reminiscent keyboards - yet somehow, this is exuberantly compelling to listen to and to get immersed into. Majestic vocals from Jon Anderson all throughout, as he sings some of the more undecipherable lyrics one can find in the Yes catalogue. The bass playing is unbelievable, with Chris Squire being an unmatched master of his instrument, his playing on the whole album, and especially on the title track, could hardly be humane. Steve Howe does the same with his instrument, his riffs are simply ingenious. Rick Wakeman also shines, most brightly with the otherworldly church organ section from the second half of the song - a section that was recorded simultaneously with the band playing in the studio and Wakeman playing the pipe organ at St Giles-without-Cripplegate church in Barbican, London. Interestingly enough, Bill Bruford never played the whole title track in its entirety, as it was recorded as separate parts that were 'sticked together' in the studio - this, however, could hardly be heard, as the result is quite immaculate.

'And You and I' is another band staple, with a more acoustic and folky feel to it, this is one of the most well-known prog rock love songs! Despite being 10 minutes long, this song is also divided into four segments and unlike 'Close to the Edge', which was written by Anderson and Howe, this one is a band effort. A must-hear and a favorite of many! Then the album comes to an end through the third and final song, the absolutely bombastic 'Siberian Khatru' - another iconic song by the band, often present in their live sets, and often featured in many fans & magazines' 'best prog rock songs' lists. This one is more like the title tracks, with the acoustic and dynamic counterparts, on which the band goes ballistic once again, with indescribably blissful instrumentation and soloing. This is the only song on the album, to which Rick Wakeman is also credited as a writer - and his playing on it is truly mesmerizing!

'Close to the Edge' is a grandiose and critically acclaimed achievement, both for Yes, and for the progressive music genre. This album showed a perfect blend of rock instrumentation, with classically-inspired writing and instrumentation, topped by an occasional jazzy attitude, while also presenting in a beautiful manner the more pompous and close-to-the-edge side of progressive rock, its most lavish and adventurous aspects, and the sci-fi-tinted lyrical content that seems to be a must in many of the most iconic 70s epics. Flawless record from start to finish, one of the hardest to digest, despite its 'compactness', this album's making was so intense that Bill Bruford left after its release and unfortunately never toured it! Mind-blowing music, simple but effective and memorable artwork, stunning musicianship, masterful recording, and a few interesting stories surrounding it like an aura, 'Close to the Edge' has to be one of those 'must-hear albums before you die'.

 90125 by YES album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.00 | 1645 ratings

BUY
90125
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars A very simple guitar riff sanctions the return of the old standard-bearers of rock-prog under new synthetic guise in 1983. The events that led to this abrupt turn are known, after "Drama" Horn and Downes left migrating to other projects, but in the meantime they had saved the ship Yes from a shipwreck in the stormy waters of the 80s, so White and Squire recruited old friend Tony Kaye and guitarist Trevor Rabin for a new group, Anderson feeling homesick returned to friends after four years of exile and there it was necessary to change the name. The album for the band is the best-selling album of all (3,000,000 copies) but definitely not the favorite of longtime fans. Yes, with already 15 years of career behind them (born in 1968) have had the opportunity to experiment for a long time its sounds and melodies while this work is closer to a less experimental and more radio friendly pop rock style. This will help them to get in touch with the new generations more.

There were 4 singles but the first "Owner of a Lonely Heart" will be the most successful and one of the best known songs of the band. Written by Rabin for the first time in 1980, it was then revised and included on the Yes album. The second track "Hold on" contains some reminiscence of what Yes were. Also written by Rabin, it is characterized by the use of distorted guitars and a sound that is sometimes dark and a short final solo. "Changes" was written by Rabin during a moment of depression in which he felt almost like a "foreigner" within the band. The intro and style of the track closely resembles The Police's "Message in a Bottle" (1979). "Changes" is a good song in which Rabin shares the singing with Anderson, now the atmospheres are those of a consumer pop-rock, but everything is carefully created, the parts of the instruments are well defined and it is a real pleasure to follow the evolution of the melodies of "Our Song" or those of the beautiful and energetic instrumental "Cinema". "Cinema" the fifth and only experimental track characterized by the strong presence of percussion which will also win a Grammy Award (the only one in the history of the band). In reality it is the beginning of a track created by the band lasting 20 minutes that will never be released. "Leave It" is characterized by the background voices that during the verses are the support to the main voice.

Hold On, Leave It and City of Love are the three sections of the record in which the vein of the previous Yes is most noticeable even if, instead of all the instrumental sessions characterizing the 70s albums, here we find enjoyable refrains, which further accentuate the light-hearted atmospheres . The choirs of Squire and Rabin accompany the always masterful performance of Anderson: the result is almost indescribable with simple words but it is enough to deduce that what is created by Yes in this context is unique in the musical panorama of all times.

Those who thought about an end of "Yes" changed their minds, Wakeman himself admitted that he was terribly disappointed not to have participated in the work, probably the secret of the survival of this band still in excellent shape today lies in the fact that the continuous line-up changes , while maintaining a solid core, they have allowed a exchange of heterogeneous ideas and expressions that have always fueled the fire of creativity, the comparison with Genesis or ELP from this point of view is pitiless. A rock 'n' roll album full of emotions, sentimental expressions and a pop flavor. A band that tries to find its own way within a new musical landscape.

 Yessongs by YES album cover Live, 1973
4.36 | 1009 ratings

BUY
Yessongs
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars First live album for one of the greatest prog rock bands of all time, "Yessongs" saw the light in 1973, recorded (if we exclude two tracks extracted from the tour of "Fragile") during the concerts performed in support of the milestone "Close to The Edge ". This double live sees an interesting novelty at the lineup level, as, except for the two tracks mentioned above (by the way they are "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround / The Fish"), Bill Bruford is no longer playing on drums but Alan White , arrived at the court of Yes after the departure of the ace Bruford from the band itself (among other things White will have ample opportunity to demonstrate what it is worth not only here, but also in the subsequent discs to this product). Once the small descriptive formality concerning the change of drummer is done, let's talk about "Yessongs" from a critical point of view. Well ... in reality there is not much to say except that we are faced with a majestic work (well beyond 2 hours of listening) and above all very beautiful (very few points not). In this double album we really have a very vast combination of emotions and textures, which never give a drop in tone along the 13 songs almost certainly representing the best of the first Yes. Anderson and his companions fish with both hands from their best (at the time) products in study, without particularly preferring one record to another but ignoring the first "Yes" and "Time and a Word". Hence, "Close to The Edge" is re-proposed in its entirety, there is a good half of "Fragile" and large portions of and "The Yes Album" are also included.

The fact that the songs are not a simple reproduction of the studio versions, but are expanded and embellished (except perhaps Perpetual Change), is just a further testimony of the class and inspiration that these 5 great musicians have had. I point out in particular the almost touching versions of "Mood for a Day" (which does not differ very much from the studio version to tell the truth, but gives me the impression of being at least two steps above the heart put into the execution of the piece), "And You and I" and "Roundabout", but on the whole we are really faced with the exaltation of the music. It ranges from extremely sparkling features, which do not fail to involve an increasingly ecstatic audience as the minutes progress, to moments of real solemnity. Perhaps the apex of this solemnity is paradoxically the intro to the live, which documents the moment before the band takes the stage. The pathos is obtained thanks to a splendidly arranged reproduction of an extract from the classical music piece "Firebird Suite". Although this is, as mentioned, the apex of the sacred, there is no shortage of flashbacks towards the panache, all for a mix that does nothing but hypnotize the fans.

To addition to the band's compositions and the traditionally opening overture of Stravinsky, the album includes a medley of songs from Rick Wakeman's solo album about the six wives of Henry VIII, which was created during Fragile's tour and work on Close To The Edge. The fact that Rick had time for solo activities during such intense teamwork is very characteristic - unlike his colleagues, he was never able to feel like a full member of the band and the band never became a priority for him. And the success of Six Wives certainly did not contribute to such a feeling.

Yessongs summed up a certain stage in Yes's story, but also closed it. The last two years have been a speedy climb to the top - artistic and commercial. But it is much easier to gain a position at the top than to defend it. The departure of Bruford was only a harbinger of further discrepancies and frictions. Nothing was going to be as simple as in those glorious 1971-72 years. And yet ... I consider the next two albums to be the band's greatest artistic achievements, next to Close To The Edge.

 Union by YES album cover Studio Album, 1991
2.51 | 1104 ratings

BUY
Union
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog Zone

3 stars Review - #30 (Yes - Union)

Union is an album that generally seems to get a negative reception within the prog community, however, I tend to believe that there are some truly wonderful moments found throughout this album. Certain aspects are genuinely captivating while others are ultimately lackluster. Union is the thirteenth studio album by Yes released in April of 1991 by Arista Records. The album began production after Yes and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe began working on new material. Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe is a progressive rock band that was active between 1988 and 1990 that encompassed four past members of Yes after vocalist Jon Anderson felt constrained by Yes' pop-oriented direction in the 1980s. The tracks presented on Union are not actually created by all of the band members of both projects working together to create one cohesive album. Instead, they are tracks sent in by both Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and Yes that are scrambled together into an album. A combination of unfinished tracks by both groups were used which would be refined and selected for Union. The album includes nine tracks recorded by Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and four tracks recorded by Yes. When creating Union, both Yes and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe signed with the label Arista which brought both bands under roof with a lot of legal paperwork to go with it. Throughout the production process many issues were uncovered such as a general disagreement with certain band members about the merging of the two bands. Furthermore, decisions by the production team allowed for a multitude of session musicians to re-record parts that Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe already had performed and to record completely new parts on already finished tracks. This causes for a rather uncomfortable listening experience as you are unsure which musician you are actually hearing. Furthermore, it makes it increasingly difficult to complement a musicians specific playing when discussing a specific track due to the listener being unsure which musician is actually playing. To be fair, session musician Jimmy Haun does a noteworthy performance on guitar throughout. His guitar stylings are in fact very similar to Steve Howe, making them virtually impossible to distinguish.

Union opens with the track I Would Have Waited Forever in which Steve Howe used a guitar riff from the track Sensitive Chaos from his solo album Turbulence released in 1991 as well. Producer Jonathan Elias considered the track to be the best representation of "both early and later Yes styles" which is something I happen to agree with. The track is full of ever-changing melodies combined with a truly powerful chorus. A great choice for an opening track, despite it having a more pop-orientated feel. However, that doesn't necessarily mean bad! Shock To The System is up next and is yet another solid track. The impressive guitar performance in combination with Jon Anderson's truly wonderful singing makes this unquestionably a standout on the album. Furthermore, Tony Levin provides noteworthy bass that builds up at just the right points. Masquerade is a Steve Howe solo guitar piece that is actually quite pleasant. For some reason, it always reminded me of the summer. Steve Howe recorded the track in fifteen minutes at his home studio using a two-channel Revox deck while being "away from all the arguments and politics" that came with making the album. The flow throughout the track is wonderfully done and is exceedingly melodic. Lift Me Up is the next track and opens with a brilliantly composed introductory guitar riff. The guitar practically feels metal at points, clearly being the best instrumental moment found on the album. Furthermore, the chorus is extremely catchy and features great duets from both Trevor Rabin and Jon Anderson. Without Hope (You Cannot Start the Day) begins beautifully as Jon Anderson sings with a gentle piano playing in the background. The track originated from Elias, who recorded a simple outline of the track in one afternoon and sent the tape to Rick Wakeman to add keyboards. However, Elias and Jon Anderson felt disappointed with Rick Wakeman's piano contributions as they had hoped for something more "simple and gentle" but instead got a part that to Elias "sounded like a Rachmaninoff piano concerto". Elias then decided to re-record the piano parts and not use Rick Wakeman's original contributions. After the initial one minute and forty seconds the track begins to weaken as it becomes somewhat unfocused to how the track began. Nevertheless, there are solid guitar riffs found throughout which are well composed and ultimately strengthen the track. The next track, Saving My Heart, was initially a piece of music that Trevor Rabin felt was not suitable for a Yes album. However, Jon Anderson wished to use it. It is a solid pop-orientated track with it's saving grace being the powerful chorus in addition to a truly terrific guitar performance from Trevor Rabin. Miracle Of Life is unquestionably the most prog-related moment on the album. It opens with an excellent keyboard melody that is interrupted by Trevor Rabin on vocals chanting "The Miracle of Life" which reminds me of the vocal interruptions present in the beginning of Close to the Edge. The track has a particularly classic Yes sound that Steve Howe thought was "very good". I surely agree with Steve Howe, as this is the highlight of the album. Tony Kaye provides a particularly noteworthy Hammond organ performance all over the track as well. Furthermore, Chris Squire's and Alan White's rhythm section is distinct and powerful.

Silent Talking was written by Steve Howe and was originally connected with an instrumental dubbed Seven Castles. In addition, it contains another riff that Steve Howe used on his solo album Turbulence released in 1991. Therefore, the highlight of the track is unquestionably Steve Howe's guitar performance. However, in reality who knows if it is Steve Howe playing anyway? The entire track seems a bit distracted without any real focus which results in it being ultimately forgettable. More We Live - Let Go is the first track Chris Squire and later Yes bassist Billy Sherwood would write together. The atmosphere created here, in part due to the outstanding producing of Eddie Offord, makes this yet another highlight of the album. Furthermore, the vocal array found throughout the track is genuinely hypnotizing. Angkor Wat is the next track and is named after the Cambodian temple with the same name. Interestingly, it is only found on CD pressings of the album. The track is actually pretty similar to the album's previous piece due to its more atmospheric nature. Unfortunately, it doesn't reach the same heights as More We Live - Let Go due to the track stretching for a bit too long. It honestly feels as if it could have been pulled directly from one of Jon Anderson's solo albums, which definitely isn't a bad thing by any means! Dangerous (Look in the Light of What You're Searching For) is a very odd track that never really connected with me. It feels as if it's trying to be catchy without it being catchy. In addition, there is a hip-hop inspired section that is included that feels out of place. Nevertheless, Tony Levin provides some great bass lines that carry the track. Ultimately, it is one of the weakest moments on the album. The next track, Holding On, is the hidden gem of the album. The track begins with a vocal arrangement singing "see the searching, see the people" as it flows into a gorgeous guitar melody that is full of emotion. Tony Levin once again provides some excellent bass work that feels truly meaningful. In addition, Jon Anderson's vocal performance is probably one of the best of his on the album. An often-forgotten piece of music that remains to be a highlight of the album! Evensong is a short piece that is an excerpt from the middle section of an electric drum and Chapman Stick duet that Bruford and Levin would perform nightly on the 1989-1990 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe tour that ultimately feels as if it could have been extended. Take the Water to the Mountain is the final track on the album and ends Union on a somewhat unremarkable note. There isn't anything necessarily wrong with this track either, I just feel as if they could have done a bit more with the available material. Still, Jon Anderson provides pleasant vocals in addition to Bill Brufords notable drumming. Furthermore, there is a bonus track found on some versions of the release entitled Give and Take. It's a sincerely solid track that commences with some wonderful guitar in addition to an admirable bass performance from Tony Levin. The track is certainly pop-orientated but is still better than half the tracks found on the album, which is a unfortunate commentary on the quality of the album.

Union is a mixed bag of high and low points that in combination result in a generally good, but non-essential album. If the album was shortened to the length of about forty minutes, I believe Union would have definitely fared better. However, I still think that having both Yes and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe work on their own albums would have resulted in two albums of greater quality then what is found here. Nevertheless, if you are someone who doesn't mind a pop-oriented rock sound in addition to the sound of Trevor Rabin's Yes then this is possibly an album that you will enjoy. So? in answer to the prayer, the one you want is there, the one you feel inside of you!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.