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Yes - Keys to Ascension 2 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.97 | 458 ratings

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3 stars It's kind of funny, I enjoy the newer material on this album more than the live songs, it's the opposite for Keys 1 where I really like the live songs and think the newer material is just okay. Keys To Accension 2 starts off with "I've Seen All Good People". It's fine, but Wakeman really has no where to go on this track, in fact all of the live songs including "Close To The Edge" seem weak because of Wakeman's playing. He seems to be going through the motions, or Howe's guitar is front and center for most of the time. Now, I have no problem with the rest of the band but Wakeman is so important I just miss his runs. "Yessongs" is a much better showcase for him. When 'And You and I' and "Close To The Edge" should soar, they mainly fall flat, and so on and so forth. Okay, thank God for disc 2 and the new material which make up for the flat live songs. "Minddrive" has an excellent beat ala "Drama" era Yes. It could be trimmed a tad, but the band plays well throughout although again I feel Wakeman has run out of ideas and plays mainly keys straight from the Neo-side of prog. But for the most part it's a winner. Even better, "Footprints" has the best chorus by the band since "Brother Of Mine", (yeah, I know it's really a AWBH song, but it's practically Yes). Howe really does some different things with his guitar, I haven't heard him play a fuzzed out warped guitar sound ever and it really makes the song stronger. The first two minutes are weak, but when that chorus kicks in around 2:22 the song is wonderful. My favorite on the album. The next two songs have some strong melodies and are really well done. Again Howe shines playing some his best work in the 90's. Wakeman has a nice run here and there but again the Neo style keys make me wince. Where's the Mellotron?, the Hammond? why must he refuse to play them. Sure, his synth playing is some of the best around, but all throughout this album he has nothing to say with them. Very frustrating indeed and my only major complaint. The album ends with a beautiful guitar solo by Howe. The album is very good in spots and mediocre in others. Three stars seems fair.
NJprogfan | 3/5 |


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