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Yes - Relayer CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.37 | 3002 ratings

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5 stars After seven albums, YES somehow managed to finally ditch Rick Wakeman and acquire a real keyboardist. (Unfortunately, they brought Wakeman back for their next studio release, 'Going for the one'). The short-lived marriage between swiss keyboard virtuoso and YES produced 'Relayer'; an album of unparalleled aggression and beauty among YES' output. Moraz's dynamism can be heard throughout this quite astonishing album. His swirling textures and demonic synth lines, stabbing chords and electrifying virtuosity dominate the opening track, the aptly titled 'Gates of Delirium'.

Apparently based on Tolsoy's 'War and Peace', Jon Anderson's lyrics have never been so direct and chilling as on 'Gates'. Over a constantly shifting bass and bass drum pattern, he sings "Listen, your friends have been broken. They tell us of your poison. Now we know. Kill them. Give them as they give us. Slay them. Burn their children's laughter on to hell. . ." Words that are, sadly, so relevant today they send a shiver down one's spine. Contrary to popular misconception, there is no "jamming" on this track. (or on the whole album, for that matter) To the uninitiated ear it might sound like chaos, but believe me it's not. Everything is perfectly integrated as the music is driven closer and closer towards the abyss, only to be pulled back by a mighty ritard that catapults the music into a majestic theme in 11/8. The piece end with the immortal 'Soon, oh soon'; a beautiful moment of tranquility that emerges from the devastation, and rises like a phoenix from the ashes. It's so beautiful, it works it's magic like a healing balm..."All we move to gain will reach and calm".

The next track 'Sound Chaser' is the closest YES ever came to playing Jazz rock, although, it's much more original than that. Once again, this is a very aggressive song, musically speaking. Lyrically, it's somewhat metaphysical. One of it's highlights is the excellent guitar cadenza by Steve Howe, who apparently still rates it as one of his best creations. The album ends with the beautiful 'To Be Over', which features some lovely guitar work from Howe, and a sublime synth solo from the truly wonderful Patrick Moraz.

This is a "must-have" album, without a doubt.

You have been reading the ramblings of The Mentalist.
| 5/5 |


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