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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3011 ratings

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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)

Rune2000 | 5/5 |


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