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Yes - Keys to Ascension 2 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.97 | 458 ratings

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3 stars Shortly after Keys to Ascension was released, a companion album containing more studio material and more live recordings from the same concert was released. This was, ingeniously, called "Keys to Ascenion 2", and it was the lesser of the two.

The track listing was not quite as strong. Fans of the band may argue that this second disc contains the bands 'magnum opus', Close to the Edge, as well as other well loved tracks And You And I, I've Seen All Good People, etc., and while this is true, these tracks don't have the same power that the tracks on Keys to Ascension 1 have. This is too much of the "We've heard it all before" crowd, where the first disc, while featuring many classic songs, consisted of some songs that were not so frequently heard live as well (Onward, America).

Furthermore, the classic tracks on this album are not quite as good recordings as the ones on the first album. It is, in fact, in two lesser-known tracks that this album gains value. One is in Turn of the Century, from Going for the One, which is notable only because there aren't a lot of official live releases of it. The other is Time and a Word, which has been updated with a more acoustic sound and some nice, gentle pianos. It, along with Onward, is one of the hidden gems of the concert, a great reworking of a classic song.

There is more studio material here than before. Where the first edition contained only two new studio songs (Be the One, That That Is), this album contains five, including the epic "Mind Drive" which is well loved by many fans. This track is actually fleshed out from an idea that originated during the XYZ (X-yes and zeppelin) sessions after Yes disbanded originally after Drama. It is an excellent track, but for me it does not reach the same emotional peaks as "That, That Is". The rest of the songs are good, if not great, Yes tracks, somewhere above Drama and below Going For The One in quality.

The biggest value of this album is the proof that Yes are back to doing what they were doing before, that the classic lineup has returned and is as creative as it ever was, if perhaps not creating music that's quite up to the same caliber. Keys to Ascension one is the preferred of the two because of the superior live offering and the excellent "That, That Is". If one is searching only for the studio tracks, it might be better to obtain a copy of Keystudio, which has the studio tracks from both Keys to Ascension albums without any of the live music.

TheGazzardian | 3/5 |


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