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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover

RELAYER

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 2981 ratings

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Michael678
5 stars Hmm, well, today marks the day: this is my 3rd ever review on this site. Okay, that may be true but it isn't important. It's Relayer's 40th birthday today!!! Well, if you're American; it was already released in Britain the previous week (the 27th or 28th of November i presume). But, yes (hehe), today marks this album's 40th anniversary in America, a masterpiece of prog in its own right. That's why i'm doing this review in the first place, the first one for my favorite band of all time BAR NONE: Yes. So, anyway, as for the history of this album, Rick Wakeman the keyboard wiz has left after the "pretentious" Tales from Topographic Oceans album & tour in May 1974, mainly based on his dislike of the material and premise of it all (he even ate a sandwich during a live performance as a protest!!) So, the band carried on with new keyboardist Vangelis (*fakingly coughes*), err, i mean, Patrick Moraz, who's one of my favorite keyboardists along with Mr. Wakeman (who would return for Going for the One a couple of years after this, which Moraz actually contributed keyboard parts and some of the writing, especially on Awaken, though it was all cut off in order for Wakeman to contribute his own parts to it; BOTH SHOULD'VE BEEN ON THERE THEN GODDAMNIT!!!!!)

1. The Gates of Delirium - this is considered one of their best IF NOT their best, and i can see why! this 22 minute epic pretty much shows what exactly the album cover shows; a prelude to a battle, the battle itself, and its lamenting aftermath. It is partially based on the novel "War and Peace" written by Leo Tolstoy. It makes sense if you think about it, since i don't know much about the novel (i'm a teenage American that's why lol). We start off with the prelude, with the lyrics giving out a speech-like cry to the army getting ready to fight their enemies on the battlefields. The music sets up the getting ready and setting up part of the battle with some sort of march-type drumming from that there Alan White (this is only his 2nd album out of 14, and yes i counted) i feel like, with all the other parts coming about as well. This goes on for a third of the song as each part does more or less. And then, the centerpiece of the epic ensues, the battle itself. And oh my god, it is nothing but fricking masterful. A lot of time signatures, crazy drumming and percussion battering from White and Jon Anderson (who also sings well on here, especially in a bit), great bass lines and playing from Mr. Chris Squire, and some rocking out guitar from Steve Howe. Oh, and Moraz's playing. AAAMMMAAAZZZIIINNNGGG!!!! and there's also the sounds heard in the background as the song goes on made by automobile parts crashed and pounded together among other pieces of junkyard metal made mainly by Jon and Chris, including one huge crash that im having a hard time pinpointing where exactly it is in the song. And then, everything slows down and softer with some keyboards washes as the battle ends and the lament comes in, under the title known as Soon. it is given this title as it was released as a single in '75 for radio airplay, and i loved this excerpt before i knew this whole album, on first listen i believe. and, for the record, this is one of Anderson's best vocal performances PERIOD, i can tell you that much. it's also Howe's best lap steel guitar playing i feel like; VERY satisfying conclusion to the song and the first side of this record.

2. Sound Chaser - here's the first of two tracks on the 2nd side, who are polar opposites of one another; this the crazy son of a gun of the two. their most jazzy track, it is more of virtuoso playing that the band's showing off for the next 9 and a half minutes, nothing but jazz bonkers that i can definitely get behind; in other words, i LOVE this song, as well as the whole album (ADER!!!) lyrics pretty much define what the music shows, just to look in your eyes (from the band's/lyric-writer's point of view i presume?? if so, ohhhhkkkaaaayyy......) The best parts are Howe's guitar playing (definitely some of his best by far) and the very end of the song, when the reprise of the beginning theme plays much faster and faster until the song ends with Cha, Cha, Cha; CHA, CHA!!! a youtube video on another Yes album review best pictures what image this music paints out; put in search bar "yes album reviews" and find the video with 90125 in its title. there you go, and if you watch the whole video, by all means, go ahead. okay, next song!

3. To Be Over - i was torn to which song on here is my favorite, and by earlier today, i think this song is the winner here. running over 9 minutes, this definitely goes down a calming stream with Howe's guitar work and the harmonizing that i got one day while listening to it on Spotify and fell in love with it and still am to this very day!! music's amazing, vocal's amazing, especially Jon's, and awesome lyrics that you just got to hear (except maybe the gibberish-like language they're singing at the end of the song that i didn't notice until a few months ago on this site, but who gives a damn!), it is one of my all time favorite Yes songs, PERIOD, NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER!!!! i can also see the southern rock aspect in Steve's lap steel playing in the first third of the song that i didn't really notice until a few months ago from the other reviews i've seen on here, but i don't seem to mind it.

in all, this is indeed "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music," but it may be one of the more harder ones to get into like The Lamb, Animals (more or less), Lizard and Larks' Tongues, Foxtrot, Pawn Hearts, Brain Salad Surgery, etc. but, once you listened to it a couple of time, (i hope) you will be HUGELY rewarded with one of your favorites ever like i had. 10/10 for the rating man, a.k.a. 5 starts for this system. So, until then, keep progressing and once again happy (belated?) birthday to Yes' Relayer album!! WWWWWOOOOOOOHHHHHHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Michael678 | 5/5 |

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