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Yes - Keys to Ascension CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 503 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I find it harder to rate live albums with more than two star ratings. For the most part, they are oriented towards those who are already fans of the music, and as such, only the best should surpass that two star rating, for only then will 'the masses' be interested.

This album is an example. I have yet to hear Yessongs (ironically, considering it's Yes' 'classic' live recording), and my opinion might change after hearing it, but if asked to recommend just one Yes live recording, it would be this: Keys to Ascension (1). I might even go so far as to recommend this album were I asked to recommend just a single Yes album, for this album has one of the best cross sections of Yes' discography.

If I had been a fan of the band in 1996, I think this album would have been a dream come true. After 18 years (since Tormato), the classic lineup re-unites properly? (Not in an Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe or a Union way?)

I think that the band missed their own music, missed what they could do. Given the chance to show what they could do again, they were really able to put passion into the music. These are some of the best versions of these songs I have heard. Some of these songs even surpass their studio counterparts. For sure, Onward never sounded as beautiful and delicate on Tormato as it does here, where it is dominated by Steve Howe's guitar instead of Rick Wakeman's keys. The version of Awaken and Revealing Science of God on this disc are both excellent. I love the extended ending in Starship Trooper. Really, each track is a treat.

And, on top of an excellent live album, we have been gifted with two brand new songs! Be The One is an alright piece, does not really match up to Yes' other ten minute epics but it, for sure, is a pleasant listen. But That, That Is is an amazing track. From the build up in the instrumental intro, to the dark undertones of the "CrossFire" section, to the catchy ruminations on spirituality and the wicked things that happen in the world of man, this track quickly became one of my favorite Yes epics. (They have so many good ones that it's hard to rank it, but top 10 for sure ;)

Truly a magical experience, and proof that, with the 'classic' lineup reformed, Yes was still the same beast it had been 20 years prior.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |


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