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SYMPHONIC PROG

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Symphonic Prog definition

Symphonic is without doubt the sub-genre that includes†the most bands in Progressive Rock because for many people it's almost synonymous classic Prog, something†easy to understand being that†most of the†classic and/or †pioneer†bands†released music that could be included in this sub-genre, except JETHRO TULL and PINK FLOYD (who still blended some symphonic elements), even KING CRIMSON who very soon expanded their horizons to more experimental music, made their debut with a Symphonic album, "In the Court of the Crimson King" which is a cornerstone in the development of the genre.

The main characteristics of Symphonic are the ones that defined all Progressive Rock: (There's nothing 100% new under the sun) which among others are:
  • Mixture of elements from different genres.
  • Complex time signatures.
  • Lush keyboards.
  • Explorative and intelligent lyrics, in some cases close to fantasy literature, Sci Fi and even political issues.
  • Non commercial approach
  • Longer format of songs

In this specific case the main characteristic is the influence of Classical music (understood as Orchestral works created from the late Gothic to Modern Classical) using normally more complex structure than other related sub-genres like Neo Progressive (That's why sometimes the borderline that divides Symphonic from Neo is so unclear being that is based mostly in a degree of complexity rather than in an evident structural difference)..It is easy to find long keyboard solos reminiscent of Johan Sebastian Bach or melodic works that could have been written by†Handel.

As in any other genre, different Symphonic bands had different approaches to Classical music, for example YES and GENESIS are mainly influenced by the Baroque and Classical periods, while EMERSON LAKE & PALMER has a predilection for post Romantic and modern authors like Mussorgsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Bartok or Ginastera, being†that†their sound†is less melodic and more aggressive.

The peak of the genre starts in 1969 and lasts until the mid/late 70's† (more precisely until the release of A Trick of the Tail), when the genre begins to† blend more mainstream influences that took to the birth of Neo Progressive (a new approach for a new decade).


It†is important to remember that even though the creative peak of Symphonic Progressive†ended before the 80's,†we can find†a†second birth†in the 90's coming from the Scandinavian countries (specially Sweden with ANGLAGARD or PAR LINDH PROJECT) and even bands that still in the 21st Century recreate music from this period like SPOCK'S BEARD or ECHOLYN.

Before ending this short description I feel necessary to say (In order to be strictly accurate) that the term Symphonic is not 100% exact, because†these†bands†very rarely†played symphonies and was†probably used because the music that influenced the genre was†performed by Symphony Orchestras, but†it is†so†widely accepted†by the Progressive Rock community that†would be absurd and futile for†anybody to†attempt a change after so much time.

IvŠn Melgar Morey, Peru 2006



Symphonic Team

Current Team as at 09/07/17

IvŠn Melgar Morey (IvŠn_Melgar_M)
Anton Fritz (SouthSideoftheSky)
RdtProg (Louis)

Symphonic Prog Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Symphonic Prog | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.67 | 4645 ratings
CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Yes
4.64 | 4312 ratings
SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND
Genesis
4.60 | 3744 ratings
FOXTROT
Genesis
4.45 | 3700 ratings
FRAGILE
Yes
4.42 | 3285 ratings
NURSERY CRYME
Genesis
4.40 | 2822 ratings
MIRAGE
Camel
4.39 | 2407 ratings
MOONMADNESS
Camel
4.37 | 3192 ratings
RELAYER
Yes
4.37 | 1769 ratings
HYBRIS
ńnglagŚrd
4.31 | 3092 ratings
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
Genesis
4.30 | 3022 ratings
THE YES ALBUM
Yes
4.30 | 2403 ratings
THE SNOW GOOSE
Camel
4.28 | 2698 ratings
A TRICK OF THE TAIL
Genesis
4.38 | 742 ratings
FROM SILENCE TO SOMEWHERE
Wobbler
4.32 | 1280 ratings
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER STORIES
Renaissance
4.23 | 2188 ratings
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.29 | 879 ratings
DEPOIS DO FIM
Bacamarte
4.25 | 1122 ratings
VILJANS ÷GA
ńnglagŚrd
4.24 | 1066 ratings
HAMBURGER CONCERTO
Focus
4.32 | 510 ratings
A DROP OF LIGHT
All Traps On Earth

Symphonic Prog overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Symphonic Prog experts team

WELCOME TO THE FREAKROOM
Shadow Circus
ENTANGLED
Leitmotiv
TALES FROM AN ISLAND - IMPRESSIONS FROM RAPA NUI
Blank Manuskript
HIJOS DEL AGOBIO
Triana

Latest Symphonic Prog Music Reviews


 The Decca Years 1975-1978 by KAIPA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
4.67 | 40 ratings

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The Decca Years 1975-1978
Kaipa Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

5 stars Thirty years of activity are celebrated since the debut CD was released in 1975, what better occasion to remaster the first works and come out with a deluxe box set to the delight of old and new fans. The work contains the first three albums: Kaipa (1975), Inget Nytt Under Solen (1976) and Solo (1978); the unreleased live Kaipa Live with period recordings and a fifth cd containing demo, unreleased and curiosity material entitled 1974 Unedited Master Demo Recording. A marathon that allows us to deepen the evolution of one of the most important Swedish prog bands. To accompany everything there is a very well-finished booklet of 56 pages with many photos and long texts, truly comprehensive. For the record, Kaipa will release two more albums Hander (1980) and Nattdjurstid (1982) and then disappear until the re-foundation in 2002 with the publication of Notes From the Past which was followed by the excellent Keyholders (2003) and Mindrevolutions (2005). Afterwards, the band released five more albums, the last of which was released in 2017 under the title "Children Of The Sounds"

The first CD of the same name is a little prog gem with long and airy songs owed by Yes, but also capable of offering new solutions thanks to a mix of Swedish folk elements and solid prog rock, very well represented in songs like "Skogspromenad". But there is no shortage of refinements and jazzy moments as in "Forlorad i Istanbul" demonstrating that the group moves with wisdom and great agility in very different territories. Two short bonus tracks are added to the lineup, the first of which is experimental and a little crazy, while the second is a ballad with a pastoral flavor, which then unexpectedly changes into a folk tour with an unexpected flavor.

The second album is already more pretentious and opens with an excellent suite vaguely space rock, as you can also guess from the cover of the album with the astronauts. The sounds become more dreamy and dilated and you feel that the group has grown, even if it is perhaps a little less original than in the debut. Pink Floyd is also added to the influences already mentioned, but the overall result is of great stylistic elegance, while not lacking a certain expressive force. Four rather pleasant and interesting bonuses are added to the original album, such as the poetic "The Gate of Day" and are the first tracks where the band abandoned the difficult national language for the more familiar English. This is the most beautiful and complete work expressed in this period by the band.

The growth of the group continues to be felt even with the fabulous "Solo", a record that does not add new elements to the already very intriguing sound of Kaipa, but which shows a group in continuous growth, eager to continue to hold up a tradition, of prog, which in those years was undergoing an inexorable decline. Despite this, however, the disc is lighter and weaker than its predecessor, Kaipa's research shifts to the sounds and internal cohesion of the group, the result is enjoyable, but we could also expect a more robust music from them. However, 1978 was a terrible time for prog and this record is superior to many competing products and still offers various interesting insights as in the beautiful "Respektera Min Varld". Beautiful cover that introduces us to the fairytale universe of the group.

The live is very well recorded and is an important document to know more in detail the characteristics of this group, in particular the first seven tracks which were professionally recorded. The recordings therefore date back to different periods and allow us to listen to more moments in the life of the group. The collection of demos and unreleased tracks is the album that most of all is intended for fans of the group, the material is interesting, but it is not comparable to that proposed in the previous discs, therefore it remains more a curiosity or a useful compendium for those who want to deepen in detail the sound of the group of Hans Lundin and Roine Stolt. Kaipa, as we have already said at the beginning, are back in a great way and are publishing some excellent works, in particular the last two, so I think it is important and pleasant to take a good dive into the origins of this band that has been able to resurrect and recur with a lot of passion.

 Live in Europe by TRANSATLANTIC album cover Live, 2003
4.46 | 207 ratings

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Live in Europe
Transatlantic Symphonic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Transatlantic playing the best of their first two albums and in absence of enough of original material, add in some cover ingredients by one of the best Beatles pieces - the Abbey Road "Suite" which is almost complete (except Sun King)". Since Translantic was a hobby group, they could play whenever they had fun and you can see that they enjoy every minute of it. Morse doing magic on two pieces of keyboards only with synths/Hammond/piano/moog etc. You may complete that the sound is a bit artificial but it's modern and simpler to play. Guitar is less prominent and one would wish for more by Mr. Stolt. Drums and bass are well distinsguishable in the mix. Drumming is very proficient but you can hear that Portnoy is first and foremost, a metal drummer - his technique represens how much you can play in 1 sec and does not contains little feeling.

This concert should be preferred over "Live in America" which contained more covers. This is one of the reference live progressive rock concerts of 2000' so 4.5 or 5 stars can be granted. See them live and you will remember my words.

 Echoes by CAMEL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
3.43 | 64 ratings

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Echoes
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nļ 440

"Echoes" is a compilation album of Camel and was released in 1993. It was made to cover all the musical career of the group until that moment. It's comprehensively two discs set that include many of their musical work all over the years and lays it out over an hour and an half. The tracks spanning twenty years of a great musical career and all the eleven studio albums released by Camel till that moment are represented. So, obviously it includes some of their best tracks.

"Echoes" has twenty-six tracks. "Never Let Go" is from "Camel". It's a wonderful piece with Bardens on vocals. He made an amazing keyboard work, accompanied by a marvellous Latimer's flute work. "Freefall" and "Lady Fantasy" are from "Mirage". "Freefall" is almost an instrumental track with nice moments. It's influenced by several styles, with an excellent melody. "Lady Fantasy" is the most celebrated track on that album, is one of the most famous Camel's tracks and is also one of the most progressive tracks of them. "Rhayader" and "Rhayader Goes To Town" are from "The Snow Goose". "Rhayader" has a powerful melody combining flute, guitar and organ. It has a memorable flute melody supported by an organ solo. "Rhayader Goes To Town" brings the music into a faster tempo, with great combination of guitar and organ with energetic beats. "Song Within A Song", "Air Born" and "Lunar Sea" are from "Moonmadness". "Song Within A Song" is a beautiful and melancholic track with a nice and relaxing guitar and flute works. It's a typical Camel's track. "Air Born" is an excellent developed track. It begins with flute and piano, which suddenly explodes with all instruments and vocals. "Lunar Sea" is an instrumental track. It's a track with great individual and collective performances. The melody changes and evolves all over the theme. "Unevensong", "Tell Me", "Elke" and "Skylines" are from "Rain Dances". "Unevensong" is a track with great variations. It has a lot of breaks and tempo changes and has also great Latimer's guitar solos. "Tell Me" is a calm, delicate and beautiful ballad with a fine Latimer's flute working. It's a very dreaming track. "Elke" features an excellent electronic experimentation by Brian Eno. It's a nice, peaceful and atmospheric instrumental track. "Skylines" is an instrumental track with great jazz influences. It's a good number well performed by all band's members. "Breathless", "Echoes" and "The Sleeper" are from "Breathless". "Breathless" is a beautiful and melodic track with a touch of pop. It's an excellent example how a prog band can make a good pop song. "Echoes" is a typical Camel's track and one of the most progressive songs on that album. It has a great Latimer's guitar work. "The Sleeper" is an instrumental track. It's a typical Camel's track with a slight jazzy touch. "Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine", "Hymn To Her" and "Ice" are from "I Can See Your House From Here". "Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine" is a melodic track with a pop style. It has nice vocal harmonies in the wave of the commercial hits. "Hymn To Her" is a song with a traditional Camel's sound. It's a beautiful ballad with a good instrumental section. "Ice" is a classic Camel's instrumental track, the only progressive on that album and that shows Latimer at his best. "Drafted" and "Lies" are from "Nude". "Drafted" is a track with great melodies and guitar themes in Camel's style. It shows the band was back at their best and pure roots on that album. "Lies" is a strong vocal track. It delivered a Mackay's organ solo proving he could understand the kind of keyboards that a prog band should use in the 80's. "Sasquatch" and "You Are The One" are from "The Single Factor". "Sasquatch" is an interesting instrumental track. It's the only track on that album that features the presence of their former keyboardist, Peter Bardens. "You Are The One" is a commercial track, well structured. It's a good track that keeps the good quality on that album. "Refugee" and "West Berlin" are from "Stationary Traveller". "Refugee" is a solid track with a modern sound. The final result is a well balanced track. "West Berlin" is a good track with a nice rhythm and good musical passages. It's influenced by the new wave style, with fine textures and well produced. "Mother Road" and "Whispers In The Rain" are from "Dust And Dreams". "Mother Road" is a nice Camel rocker that starts innocently but develops well along the way. The harmonies are created through guitar, keyboards and vocals. "Whispers In The Rain" is a very short and a nice instrumental track.

Conclusion: "Echoes" is a good compilation, really. It appeals to me because it has the ingredients that a compilation must have. It's a good overview of Camel's work of those years. It revisits the entire career of Camel, at the time, and it has some of the best tracks of Camel. It has good sound and a nice booklet too. As all big Camel's fans like me know, the musical style of Camel changed a bit all over the years. As many of us know, Camel has two great musical periods, the 70's and the 90's. Like most of the progressive rock bands of the classic era, and Camel wasn't an exception, they lived in the 80's a terrible period for them, a terrible period for all progressive rock music. Concluding, I sincerely think that "Echoes" is, in general, a good compilation that represents very well the musical career of a great band, until that moment, and represents a great introduction for those who are newbies with Camel. So, I'm going to give it 3 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Genesis by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.79 | 1306 ratings

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Genesis
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by SeeHatfield

2 stars This is the album that drove me away. How good or bad is it, really?

I'm listening, I mean really listening, to Genesis (the band's eponymous yellow album of 1983) for the first time. Back in the day, it was the album I didn't buy, the first one I let get away from me.

See, I became a Genesis fan because of Duke, then bought and devotedly listened to Abacab and Three Sides Live. I was hooked. But I jumped ship when the yellow Genesis album came out. I've never owned a copy of the yellow album (or its successors) and until now have not listened to it closely.

By the time the yellow album came out late in 1983, I knew a good bit of early Genesis as well as Phil Collins' first two solo albums (the first terrific, the second less so). I had just gone to college and was in the habit of nerding out on serious, often obscure, prog. I certainly was aware of the yellow album, and I bet I thought about buying it, but somehow it didn't seem for me. I mistrusted the band's poppy new direction, and recognized the album's eponymous title as a bid for reinvention. That's when I gave up on new Genesis -- it was as if the band was giving me a convenient jumping-off point. (When subsequent Genesis albums came out, I wasn't even aware of them.)

Of course, I could count on hearing songs from the yellow album on the radio back in 1983, and even now I hear songs from it at, say, the supermarket. So, listening to it now is not quite a new experience. "That's All," "Taking It All Too Hard," and "Just a Job to Do" still get plenty of airplay. In fact, I think I've heard most of the tracks on this album over and over. It's just that I've never bothered to listen to the album as such. It's interesting to go back (via Apple Music) now and listen to an album I rejected by a band I once followed religiously.

So, what do I think of this album that I spurned so long ago? Well, honestly, I don't think I missed very much, but I've tried to give it a fair listen. My take: this is an ingratiating pop album with some bright moments, the work of gifted, self-aware musicians, consummate professionals working at the top of their craft. It turns out that their results of their work are not that interesting. I will say that the yellow album beats out a lot of tired prog from the early eighties (the genre was limping along then IMO), but that's hardly praise.

A good part of the album is musically insipid. Shockingly, long stretches of it are rhythmically unexciting -- an odd thing for Collins. His famous gated drum sound (with the huge reverb) is mostly gone, replaced by Linn drum machines and quiet, fluid drumming, some of it on a Simmons electric kit (the SDS-5). This album offers some of Collins' least surprising, most discreet and self-effacing playing. More than any Genesis or Collins album before it, it seems determined to showcase Phil the singer, not Phil the drummer -- certainly not the inventive prog or fusion drummer. There are grooves aplenty, of course, from the rubbery swing of "That's All" to the hyped-up funk of "Just a Job to Do." Much of the record is danceable, if not exactly infectious, but the drumwork does not startle or delight. For me, that's a big letdown -- not just by Genesis standards, but in comparison to previous Collins numbers like "It Don't Matter to Me" or his version of "Behind the Lines," which are enlivened by terrific drumming.

Sadly, the album's would-be epic, consisting of "Home by the Sea" and the mostly instrumental sequel "Second Home by the Sea," is a damp squib. The long instrumental section is tuneless, lacking the inventiveness of Genesis's earlier instrumental workouts and, most damningly, any variation in the drumming. Against a sparse and unyielding Simmons drum pattern by Collins and some chanking by Rutherford, Banks and Rutherford take turns noodling on top of the groove. At about the minute-and-a-half mark, Banks brings on a fanfaric synth theme, the highlight, which recurs around 3:40; then, just after the four-minute mark, Rutherford starts playing harder, dirtier guitar that (around 4:30) gathers into a short, piercing solo. The background is grungy and discordant, fattened up with what sounds like a pick-scraping noise (maybe reproduced on Banks' digital Emulator?). The groove is dull, until Collins launches into a vocal recap and conclusion. As with the album's opening track, "Mama," Collins seems determined to lay back here and keep the drumming spare, and the track suffers from a lack of dynamism.

"Second Home by the Sea" reminds me a bit of the second half of the earlier song "Abacab" (from about the 3:30 mark), where the singing stops and the band shifts into minimal, airy soloing against a forceful 4/4 rock groove. There too the tuneful or hooky moments are just that: brief moments, like floor-sweepings, scraps. But I like the astringent minimalism of "Abacab"; it's punchy, caustic, and exhilarating, with a big gated sound -- so the scraps, as they weave in and out, are gripping and easy to remember. Plus, "Abacab" has great drumming, full of chokes and accents and little touches despite the driving 4/4. Not so here, where the groove just grinds along serviceably. I'd say that "Second Home by the Sea," unfortunately, foreshadows the tunelessness of later Genesis epics like "Driving the Last Spike": unhummable slow epics that are damned hard to remember (I have to admit, I think the later Genesis is actually better at concise, four-minute pop songs than epics).

Now, there is some good songwriting on this album, and even wimpy tracks like "That's All" are full of surprising chords. Dig the bridge on that song, a good example of what Tony Banks has called "tak[ing] the chords places where they weren't supposed to go." Speaking of which, I quite like "Taking It All Too Hard," because the song's chord shape (again, from Banks?) appeals to me. Few pop songs are as quirky while seeming so emotionally straightforward.

The other songs are a mixed bag. "Mama," the moody opener, is a slow-burn study in obsession: a creepy persona song comparable to Collins' "Through These Walls" or Peter Gabriel's "Intruder," all tense and theatrical. Musically, it's a matter of dark atmospherics floating over a ticking rhythm track, punctuated by Collins' notorious mad laugh. I suppose I should be grateful that the song doesn't explode into a gated drum fill at the three-minute mark, along the lines of "In the Air Tonight." On the other hand, I kind of wish there were more musical explosions in the song. While the music builds, and Collins' vocal certainly does, the track doesn't so much bust out as slowly boil over (eventually, yes, there are booming, gated drums, against the familiar sound of Collins screaming into a wash of echo). Basically, "Mama" signals the groove-oriented nature of the whole album -- it's a fair warning that there won't be any tricky shifts in meter or sudden dynamic lunges, just a lot of simmering. Me, I prefer the tricky stuff.

"Illegal Alien," oi, is a persona song gone wrong: a misguided exercise in racial ventriloquism. This one, which belongs in the "what were they thinking?" category, is one of the few Genesis numbers I'd erase from memory (though naturally, it's catchy). "Just a Job to Do," with its frantic chanking and bubbling bass, is better, one of the album's few rhythmically thrilling tracks. I don't dig the lyrics (it's a bit "Danger Money," isn't it?) but it cooks musically. Subliminally, it channels "Get Ready" by the Temptations (where Eddie Kendricks sings, "fee-fi-fo-fum," Collins sings "bang, bang, bang" -- yes?). And is there not an echo of Spirit's "I Got a Line on You" as well? I'm always hearing other people's music through Phil Collins -- he's a sort of nonstop human jukebox.

In sum, musically, Genesis is a jumble, and not in an exciting way. One thing is clear: it's not a Phil Collins solo album in disguise. Sure, Collins' solo stardom triggered the band's turn toward pop. But the sound of Genesis is the sound of three skilled players who had worked out a unique way of workshopping songs among themselves, based on jamming together but also building up tracks piecemeal by overdubbing on the resulting grooves. Take for example the inescapable earworm "That's All": reportedly, that one came about when Banks sampled a guitar lick by Rutherford, then slowed down and tweaked it, after which Collins laid down in a Ringo-esque shuffle on the drums, taking things in an unexpected direction. Banks, Collins, and Rutherford got used to working this way, to the point that, I gather, they would rule out bringing any prewritten solo material into their Genesis sessions. Sometimes the results were remarkable ("Taking It All Too Hard" is quite a song to have discovered through such an odd process), and then again sometimes the results were flat. But the popification of Genesis was willed by all three members. I gather they enjoyed workshopping together, fiddling around in their studio/lab.

In the end, I do think I made the right choice when I passed on this album almost forty years ago. Mind you, it's not a terrible pop album, and I try not to fall into the cliched role of the aggrieved prog fan who mourns the moment when their favorite band "sold out" -- could there be anything more cliched? The righteous fury of the ex- fan who imagines that things were somehow pure before the big sellout; the sense of betrayal because a beloved cult act decided that they wanted bigger crowds to dance and hum along to and enjoy their music -- those are such well-worn complaints. But I have to admit that, for me, Genesis becomes less interesting musically from this point forward. There just isn't as much to engage me. The craft is there, but the horizons are small, the music more ordinary. I sense, from interviews, that Banks, Collins, and Rutherford, all of them, were tired of playing esoteric music and wanted to reach the mainstream, and I detect a sense of pride in their craftsmanship when they finally did reach that multi-platinum audience. My guess is that they took sales as affirmation of their ability to connect with more people. In any case, all three members were bound and determined to produce more streamlined and accessible pop, both on their own and with Genesis. They did it smartly. Of course they did; they were gifted writers and players. To me, though, Genesis seemed to succumb to formula, and the Banks/Collins/Rutherford workshop approach became a bit chummy and self-satisfied. That's why I bailed.

 Keys to Ascension 2 by YES album cover Live, 1997
3.95 | 512 ratings

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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?

 It's Not Too Late by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.77 | 105 ratings

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It's Not Too Late
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by lukretio

2 stars Neal Morse's solo career started with a couple of albums that are quite different from the type of releases that will characterize his solo discography after he left Spock's Beard in 2002. His first solo album, the self-titled album he released in 1999, bore only faint traces of progressive rock, focusing instead on a lighter pop-rock sound that only occasionally veered into prog territories. His follow-up release, 2001's It's Not Too Late, is even less prog-inclined. It is a largely acoustic album, built around simple, singer-songwriter tunes that prefer emotional directness and melodic accessibility over technical wizardry and structural complexity.

Oddly, this is an album that I like and at the same time dislike more than Morse's 1999 solo debut. I like it better than his first album because it feels more honest and authentic. It does not try to strike a balance between Morse's simple pop ambitions and his progressive rock "day job", but it fully embraces his singer-songwriter sensibilities, presenting a collection of acoustic tunes written by Morse between 1980s and the months prior the release of the album. However, among the record's 13 songs, I only find a handful of tunes that I can say I truly like. Most tracks are fairly anonymous and inoffensive light pop numbers that disappear from my musical memory as soon as the album moves on to the next song. Others are fun to listen to, but feel quite derivative and make me almost feel as if I were listening to a bar band rather than to one of the greatest prog rock musicians of our times ("So Long Goodbye Blues", "Ain't Seen Nothing Like Me"). Other tracks are just plain boring, as they lack a strong melody to carry them through ("The Eyes of the World").

The tracks I fully enjoy are few and far in between. "I Am Your Father" is one of them. This is a song Morse had written with his old band from the 1980s, which in fact accompanies the singer on this re-recorded version of the tune. It is a very emotional pop-rock number, driven by Morse's piano and powerful vocal delivery and enriched by some poignant lyrics about fathership. "Something Blue" is the other highlight of the record for me. It's a more uptempo number graced by a gloriously catchy chorus that elevates the song to a different level.

There's not much going on instrumentally throughout the album. Morse's superb piano playing shines in some of the song and Nick D'Virgilio precise and sophisticated drumming is always a pleasure to listen to. But the songs feature intentionally simple and essential arrangements that leave little space for musical showmanship.

In short, there's virtually no prog on this one, just a collection of simple and mostly acoustic tunes that are often pleasant, but rarely extraordinary. Morse is a great player, singer and songwriter, so it is really hard to find parts of his discography that are tout court bad, and It's Not Too Late is no exception. Yet, this is probably among the weakest albums released by the man, and, unless you are a hardcore Morse's fan or a completionist, you may want to skip this one and save your money for one of the other albums in Morse's rich discography.

 666 by APHRODITE'S CHILD album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 464 ratings

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666
Aphrodite's Child Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Aphrodite's Child ventured into a concept about the devil and the struggle between the good and bad. The album was, in fact, posthumous (at the time of publication the group was now dissolved) and could be considered to all intents and purposes the first solo work of keyboardist / composer Vangelis (stage name of Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou). Already completed in the 1970s, it will have to wait two whole years before finally being released by Vertigo and only a couple of tracks (out of a total number of 26) will manage to get the limelight as radio hits.

The album opens with the short intro The System, a crescendo chorus of only male and female voices that limits itself to repeating to the bitter end "We got the system to [%*!#] the system". The chorus culminates in the riff of Babylon, a relentless outburst at the edge of hard rock. This is followed by the slow and hopeful prayer for piano and female voice "Loud, loud, loud". An ethereal and distant ringing opens to "Four Horsemen", a paradisiacal ballad that with fascinated fear shows the horsemen of the apocalypse coming out of the gates of hell, culminating in a Dionysian jam between blues-rock and psychedelic. The Hellenic ethnic influence of the group appears clear in the following "The Lamb ", mystical elegy with oriental tones for keyboards and mandolin. The ceremonial "Seventh Seal" and "Aegian Sea" follow, where the same biblical verse is recited, in the first, and engaged, in the second, in a funeral dance with melancholy and solemn tones with the lead guitar. The prophetic dirge of "Seventh bowls", the idiophones that appear all the more like shattered shards in "The Wakening Beast" and the exasperated and ethereal song of Demis Roussos in "Lament", as deadly as it is timeless, return to paint landscapes filled with desolation and without hope. After the chaotic "The Marching Beast" and the exasperated and wild free-jazz of "The Battle of The Locust", at the "Do It" by vangelis the drums launch into a wild and unstoppable race against time where a lead guitar he immediately throws himself into mad as well as desperate pursuit. The entanglement and relaxation of the two sounds results in a majestic duet suspended between hard-rock and free-jazz. The short and cacophonous "Tribulation" for wind and woodwinds is followed by the more goliardic "The Beast". The first disc is closed by the verses taken from Karagiozis and recited by the Greek painter Yiannis Tsarouchis in "Ofis". The winking "Seven Trumpets" whose conclusion "... and now the music changes" is decidedly prophetic. The track is resolved in the Zappian "Altamont", where orchestral warbling is harmonized by a voice that, alone, dictates time to the chaos of the composition, which is resolving itself in a mixture between the psych and the minimalist. The passage to the next "The wedding of the lamb" is practically devoid of continuity solutions, but in the latter the instrumental chaos of the previous one is abandoned in favor of a more suffocating soliloquy of keyboards, with the rest of the instrumentation framing . The track is closed by the voice of Vangelis himself, who then goes on to introduce the dark "The capture of the beast", governed by percussion, which oscillate between martial and tribal, and idiophones like shattered glass.

And the monumental, almost 20-minute long "All The Seats Were Occupied" is a multi-threaded, typically rock track with numerous solos and quotes from other parts of the album. We are also dealing here with a certain modernization of the Book of Revelation. After all, the witnesses of the revelation are the hippies ("Altamont"), the seven biblical trumpets are announced by the announcer in the style of a TV show, and the second coming of Christ into the world ... well, that's it. There was an unusual composition on this album - unusual even for this original and unusual album. Its title is "∞". The improvisation recorded live in the studio was almost 40 minutes long, on the album Vangelis he cut it down to a five-minute fragment. It is performed by a duo: the composer himself and Greek actress Irene Papas. Vangelis plays various percussion instruments, Papas performs crazy vocal improvisation. He repeats one sentence over and over: I was, I am, I am to come - I was, I am, I will come. Direct reference to: He who is coming will come. Paraphrase of a fragment of the Book of Revelation. Performed in a way that makes the skin tingling: Irene Papas' amazing voice first reflects the pleasure of sexual fulfillment, to the orgasmic scream and then the pain of childbirth. A definitely controversial thing.

It is a difficult record. Composed of very different elements, yet very coherent. It's a pity that it remained the last such rock work by Vangelis, who focused on solo work, mainly based on synthesizers. It is definitely a must-hear for every progressive rock fan.

 Relayer by YES album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.37 | 3192 ratings

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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: ****

 Duke by GENESIS album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.50 | 1516 ratings

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Duke
Genesis Symphonic Prog

Review by SeeHatfield

4 stars The Genesis album that made me a fan.

Duke was my first Genesis album -- probably not the first one I heard, but the first I owned and the first I listened to intently. It was Duke that made me a Genesis fan.

I seem to remember first hearing Duke, on vinyl, at the house my family moved into when I was about sixteen. I turned sixteen in the spring of 1981, during the roughly year and a half between the release of Duke (spring 1980) and the release of its follow-up, Abacab (late 1981). I think I may have bought the album from the Columbia House mail-order club, but I can't quite remember. What I do remember is that, because I liked Duke, I bought Abacab as soon as it came out. At some point around then, I also got to know Phil Collins' first solo album, Face Value (released early in '81), which I also liked. I still do.

I think I like Duke as well. Truth to tell, though, just the other day I listened to all of it for the first time this century, probably the first time in more than thirty years, and was surprised to hear songs that had entirely slipped from my mind, such as Tony Banks' "Cul-de-Sac" and Mike Rutherford's "Alone Tonight" (which at first I wrongly remembered as Collins'). Hearing these songs, at once forgotten and naggingly familiar, like mementos left in an attic for a very long time, then exhumed, I felt strange, or the album seemed strange -- again. "Alone Tonight" in particular hit me in a sentimental way. I wanted to daub my eyes.

I understand prog fans balking at this and later Genesis albums, but the continual critical savaging of Duke feels misplaced. In any case, I don't understand why many PA reviewers insist on dividing individual songs into prog and non-prog. That's not how prog works, and that was never how Genesis worked. Even earlier, proggier Genesis albums had ballads, sketches, tender throwaways, and songs that didn't fit the band's reputation for epics ("For Absent Friends," "More Fool Me"). Prog is about eclecticism; that's why Steve Howe could get a roaring ovation for playing a simple guitar rag ("The Clap") at a Yes concert. That's why Side 2 of Foxtrot opens with Steve Hackett playing the Bach-influenced acoustic miniature, "Horizons." Hopping around is what prog bands do; it's the whole album or concert and its mix of sounds and styles, not the individual song, that qualifies a band as progressive. Anyway, Genesis had started, back in the late sixties, with the idea of writing quirky, Romantic pop, and always took pride in their songwriting -- including the short songs. So, ballads like "Alone Tonight" and Collins' "Please Don't Ask" can be on a prog album!

These songs, with their distressing evocations of loneliness and loss, fit in with the rest of Duke. Pitchfork's Sam Sodomsky has observed (in a very smart review) that a "theme of failure and extinction courses through" the album, and I think that's right -- that, and alienation, terrible aloneness, sadness. The stuff that some prog fans dismiss as "pop," the songs that wear their emotions on their sleeves, they absolutely fit with this. Reportedly, Banks, Collins, and Rutherford worked up many of the tracks for Duke as a multi-song suite, a prog epic, one about a little man ("Albert") who would be the protagonist much as Rael had been the hero of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. But then they decided to break the suite apart and intersperse their individual, solo-written songs for the sake of better flow and balance. I'm tempted to say that that was a good call -- not that I wouldn't enjoy an epic, a real swing for the fences, but solo-written songs like "Cul-de-Sac," Banks' haunting ballad "Heathaze," and Rutherford's hammering, disconcerting "Man of Our Times" (with its staggering drums and great cycling guitar figure) really do add something. Ditto "Please Don't Ask," Collins' tragic divorce song -- an example of truly adult pop. Yes, even the bathetic pop contributes to the sense that Duke is an honest-to-God album, a thing that hangs together.

What Duke reminds me of, really, is Rutherford's then-recent solo album, the urban-dystopic Smallcreep's Day (1980), a bittersweet record that likewise tries to balance big, proggy, conceptual movements with accessible pop. The titular epic from that album (a suite based on Peter Currell Brown's satiric novel of 1965) ends with "At the End of the Day," an aching ballad with churchy chords -- another pained evocation of loneliness, but also of love. I love that track. That's the vibe Duke often goes for: a wounded tenderness.

There's more. Late-70s to early-80s prog steered in the direction of urban alienation (dig, for example, Gentle Giant's final album, Civilian, 1980), and Duke does that too. Besides the keening love songs, Duke serves up a restive, alienated feeling; the old prog Romanticism gets an anomic, adult spin. Some of its numbers are, honestly, bleak as hell. Take "Turn It On Again," which is about isolation and obsession: a nasty inward spiral (rendered in its famously tricky 13/8 or whatever the hell meter that is). Or "Heathaze," inexplicably described in one review I read as an "uplifting" number -- clearly, the reviewer wasn't paying attention ("I feel like an alien, a stranger in an alien place"). Despite some awkwardly emjambed lyrics, that's simply a great song. Banks has never sounded bleaker.

In some ways, Duke looks back. Its instrumental finale, "Duke's Travels" / "Duke's End," which recaps earlier numbers, recalls "Los Endos" from A Trick of the Tail, another bookend piece. That's where the band waves the banner of epic prog, rounding out the album with a flourish. It's a great swirling storm of a closer: another setpiece that shows what could come of Banks and Collins jamming together. In other ways, Duke is unsentimental and worldly, dispensing with old sounds, old kit, and going for a new, in some ways less sumptuous, approach. The Mellotron is out, the Yamaha CS-80 is in. Yamaha's electric grand piano, the CP70, figures prominently. I confess, I miss the fullness of the Mellotron days, the big, rounded, choral sound. I gather lots of Genesis fans do. On the other hand, Collins' singing is exponentially stronger, gutsier, than before -- he really sounds as if he is coming out of his shell. And his drumming remains brilliantly musical (even as his first drum machine, the Roland CR-78, creeps in).

Despite the things I miss, Duke remains a grand record. Granted, Collins' radio-ready "Misunderstood," though drawn from his cathartic post-divorce Face Value demos, isn't so much emotionally raw as calculatedly slick, lifting its groove and bassline from Sly & The Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime" -- one of many examples of Phil the thieving magpie, "borrowing" and tweaking other people's hooks. It foreshadows Collins' determined move toward formula in the mid-80s. But, on Duke, it fits. Duke is, I think, much stronger than its predecessor, ...And Then There Were Three... (1978), and though Abacab would benefit from a harder, punchier sound, less smeared, more direct, I don't think any of the later Genesis albums had writing as good as Duke (me, I gave up after Three Sides Live, 1982, and Collins' second solo disc). Duke was a moment when Banks, Collins, and Rutherford rediscovered the pleasures of writing together but before they gave up high-stakes solo writing completely, that is, before they got so comfortable together that the music entailed no struggle. If the lyrical themes of Duke are sad and at times defeatist, the music aims high and sounds like the work of collaborators who are excited and surprised by their own shared efforts.

Not a bad way to learn about Genesis.

 Keys to Ascension by YES album cover Live, 1996
4.06 | 548 ratings

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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 WŁrm section which begins at the five minute and forty two second mark. This segment improves the already incredible studio version of The WŁrm 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!

Data cached

Symphonic Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
21. PERON Turkey
35 TAPES Norway
5BRIDGES Netherlands
7 OCEAN Belarus
ABBHAMA Indonesia
ABSTRACTION LAYER Brazil
ACCENT Romania
ACHE Denmark
ACUITY United States
AD ASTRA United States
ADVENTURE Norway
AETHER Brazil
AFTER CRYING Hungary
AFTER THE FIRE United Kingdom
AGENTS OF MERCY Sweden
AGNUS Argentina
AGNUS GRAAL Brazil
AIRLORD New Zealand
AJALON United States
AKACIA United States
ALAMEDA Spain
ALASKA United States
ALBATROSS United States
ALL TRAPS ON EARTH Sweden
ALMS Spain
ALPHA CENTAURY France
ALPHA III Brazil
ALTER ECHO Sweden
LEON ALVARADO United States
SERGIO ALVAREZ Argentina
AMAGRAMA Argentina
AMENOPHIS Germany
AMOS KEY Germany
AMUZEUM United States
ANABIS Germany
ANCIENT VISION United States
ANDERSON - BRUFORD - WAKEMAN - HOWE United Kingdom
ANDERSON / STOLT Multi-National
ANGE France
ANGIPATCH France
ńNGLAGŇRD Sweden
ANIMA Argentina
ANIMA DOMINUM Brazil
ANIMA MORTE Sweden
ANIMA MUNDI Cuba
ANOXIE France
ANTARES Germany
ANYONE'S DAUGHTER Germany
APH…LANDRA France
APHRODITE'S CHILD Greece
APOCALYPSE Brazil
AQUAPLANAGE United Kingdom
ARABESQUE United States
ARACHNOID France
ARCABUZ Spain
ARION Brazil
ARS NOVA (JAP) Japan
ARS PRO VITA Brazil
ART IN AMERICA United States
ARTNAT Portugal
ASA DE LUZ Brazil
XAVIER ASALI Mexico
ASIA MINOR France
ASTRň United States
ASTURC”N Spain
ATILA Spain
ATLANTIS PHILHARMONIC United States
ATLAS Sweden
ATMOSPHERA Israel
ATOLL France
AUTUMN United Kingdom
AUTUMN BREEZE Sweden
AVIVA (AVIVA OMNIBUS) Russia
AXCRAFT United States
AZABACHE Spain
BABYLON United States
BACAMARTE Brazil
BANAAU / HOLLOWSCENE Italy
BANANA Argentina
BANZAI Belgium
ZELJKO BEBEK & PODIUM Yugoslavia
BEGGARS OPERA United Kingdom
ROBERT B…RIAU Canada
ED BERNARD Canada
BLACK SEPTEMBER United States
BLŇKULLA Sweden
BLANK MANUSKRIPT Austria
BLEZQI ZATSAZ Brazil
BLUE SHIFT United States
TOMAS BODIN Sweden
BONDAR & WISE United States
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