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Yes Tormato album cover
3.01 | 1771 ratings | 155 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Future Times / Rejoice (6:45)
2. Don't Kill the Whale (3:56)
3. Madrigal (2:23)
4. Release, Release (5:47)
5. Arriving UFO (6:03)
6. Circus of Heaven (4:30)
7. Onward (4:02)
8. On the Silent Wings of Freedom (7:47)

Total Time 41:13

Bonus tracks on Elektra 2004 remaster:
9. Abilene (1978 single B-side) (4:02)
10. Money (3:14)
11. Picasso (2:12) *
12. Some Are Born (5:42) *
13. You Can Be Saved (4:20) *
14. High (4:30) *
15. Days (demo version) (1:00) *
16. Countryside (3:11) *
17. Everybody's Song (early demo of "Does It Really Happen") (6:48) *
18. Onward (demo - hidden track) (3:06) *

* Previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / lead vocals, 10 string guitar (1,5,8)
- Steve Howe / Spanish (3), electric & acoustic guitars, electric & acoustic mandolins (6), backing vocals
- Rick Wakeman / Hammond (1,4), harpsichord (3), piano (5), RMI Electra-Piano (8), Birotron & Polymoog synths, strings arrangements (3)
- Chris Squire / basses, bass pedals (1,3,5), piano (2), backing vocals
- Alan White / drums, military snare (1), glockenspiel (1), bells tree & cymbal (3), percussion (4), gong (5), drum synth (5), vibes (7), crotales, vocals (4)

- Andrew Pryce Jackman / orchestrations & arrangements (3,7)
- Damion Anderson / child vocals (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Hipgnosis with Roger Dean (logo)

LP Atlantic ‎- K 50518 (1978, UK)
LP Atlantic - TP 19202 (1978, US)

CD Atlantic ‎- 18P2-2889 (1989, Japan)
CD Atlantic ‎- 7567-82671-2 (1994, US) Remastered by George Marino @ Sterling Sound
CD Elektra - 73794 (2004, Europe) Remastered by Bill Inglot and Dan Hersch w/ 10 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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YES Tormato ratings distribution

(1771 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

YES Tormato reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Not as bad as most yes fan would make you believe, I always considered this one on par with Going For The One. But this is rather aimless but so is its predecessor but this one album does not have that great coverthat graces the previous one nor does it have Awaken. But the average track here are maybe even slightly better than the ones on Going For The One - Awaken excepted.

So to most Yesheads .... I was really happy to re-hear in their last tour Don't Kill the Whales (or is it the Welsh? ;-)O) ) and I remebered to re-listen to this album and can tell you that while it is no early or mid-70's classic , this fares better than all of their 80's and most of their 90's stuff.

Review by Fishy
3 stars It may not be a coincidence I never play this album from beginning to end. Two reasons for that. First : 4 shorter songs on either side which is unusual for Yes ; Second : some songs seem out of place on this record. "Circus of heaven" is a Jon Anderson song, not a Yes song, an odd track which isn't bad at all but pointless on this album. "Release, release" is another misplaced song on Tormato, a desperate effort to adapt their sound to 78-rock. The ballad "Onward" is nice but doesn't seems to go anywhere. When Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson gather their forces, there's something magical going on. "Madrigal" is a track with wonderful sounds of the harpsichord and the Spanish guitar of Steve Howe. Eventhough I do suspect them to try to get in the charts again like they did with wonderous stories. "Future times and Rejoice" are pretty decent songs but they do sound as leftovers from "Going for the one". "Don't kill the whale" was the first single. In this song, Yes do succeed in making an accessible prog-pop song, nice one ! Also the lyric for this song is great, it's a statement against the hunting of whales. It's written in a period of time when consciousness of the environment was new. This kind of lyrics was new for the band, before this album Jon Anderson used to sing lyrics about abstract natural elements and religion. "On the silent wings of freedom" is the highlight of the album, this starts with mysterious bass lines, then turns into a wonderful atmospheric song and then every musician shows you his skills at the same time, typical Yes !

Every Yes Rhino remaster contains several bonus tracks. These bonus tracks are early versions of album tracks, single versions, b-sides or rough ideas for songs. The Tormato remaster has 9 extra tracks. "Abilene" is the b-side of a single. Not bad but forgettable and completely outdated. "Money" should have been called Going for the one part 2. The Yes version of "Some are born" is quite interesting, this would end up later on Jon's second solo album "Song of Seven" . But you can tell, it's not a finished song. "You can be saved" could be saved by a splendid guitar line which isn't there. The first guitars on "High" would suit as an nice intro but the rest of the song is rubbish. "Days" is just a nice lyric from Anderson without chorus or music. Too bad they didn't develop "Countryside", it has some nice melodies and vocal harmonies. This could easily have been a decent song. "Everybody's song" is also worthwhile checking out for being an early version of "Does it really happen" with Jon Anderson on the vocals. Those jams are interesting as you can get an idea of the writing process. Most interesting of the bunch is a hidden track, an orchestral version of "Onward" without the vocals. What a surprise it still sounds damn good !

For those who don't know Yes, please don't start with this album, you may not want to listen to their masterpieces of the seventies and that would be a shame. Don't judge them on this one, they can do better. This isn't a favorite album for Yes-fans but it has its moments. It's obvious Tormato is one of Yes' weakest albums from the seventies and hard to believe it was the same band who did "Going for the one", which is one of my all-time favorite albums by the way, a year earlier. But when compared to some of the stuff that would follow in the 80s and 90s, it's not bad at all.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is one of the less addictive and catchy from YES. WAKEMAN's keyboards are really weak! They are not majestic. There is something (many things)wrong in this album! Anderson seems to sing alone, without knowing that there is music! Howe's guitar is bizarre. The bass is good in many bits but it is not convincing enough. My favorite ones are "Onward" and "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom". Better than "Topographic Oceans", but disappointing given the fact that there was the marvelous "Going For The One" before.
Review by daveconn
3 stars Eh, not the tastiest fruit to fall from the vine. The electricity and saturated sound of their last album is audibly absent, making "Tormato" feel thin and uninspired by comparison. Over time, good songs emerge, but not since "Tales From Topographic Oceans" have I had to look this hard to find them. Given the players involved, you wonder, what was the problem? Well, for starters, RICK WAKEMAN's keyboard arsenal is less than magical (perhaps some blame belongs to the short-lived Birotron) and CHRIS SQUIRE's bass sounds neutered. Thus, the sparkling at the high end and liquid rumbling at the low end are gone, resulting in what sounds to be their most muffled production since "Time And A Word" (although TULL's "Broadsword And The Beast" may be a better analogy). Now, onto the good news: the old magic does reappear (albeit briefly) on "Rejoice", "Madrigal", "Release, Release" and "On The Silent Wings of Freedom." STEVE HOVE's guitar gambols nimbly through the arrangements, whether twining itself around WAKEMAN's keyboards on "Madrigal" or skipping through "Future Times". JON ANDERSON's voice sounds blanched some of the time, a problem exacerbated by the dry medium of vinyl, but he remains the glue that holds the band together.

As a final curtain call for the fab five, "Tormato" is a disappointment, sounding at times more like a JON ANDERSON record (e.g., Song of "Seven") than a YES album. Even so, "Don't Kill The Whale" isn't a proper ambassador for this musical outpost, so fans will eventually get around to owning (and, YES, even enjoying) "Tormato". But by no means should this be one of the first five YES albums you own.

Review by richardh
4 stars Maybe the first signs of Yes looking to become more 'commercial' in approach.Mostly shorter tracks but none are actually bad, their just isn't an' Awaken' amongst them.Still some good stuff though with 'On The Silent Wings of Freedom' and 'Arriving UFO' that well demonstrate Yes's great ability as players.This might be 'Second Division Yes' but still 'First Division' when measured by any other standards.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Now, I wonder why is it so hard for prog reviewers to give a bad rating? OK, I am not a fan of YES and I particularly do not care a lot about their carrier after "Close to the Edge". But come on! This album is lost in space, trying to meet "Arriving UFO" in the "Circus of Heaven" on a "Silent Wing of Freedom"!!! The band obviously thought, in order to catch up with Punk/New Wave trend, it is enough to shorten the compositions! No way, guys: with such an awful high pitched and irritating sounds of Wakeman's keyboards, Howe's aimless guitar solos, Anderson's screaming and ridiculous sound effects similar to the kids toys, I would give you zero chance. "Madrigal" (nice Wakeman harpsichord) and "Don't Kill the Whale" (a socially engaged YES lyrics?!) saves from disaster, but overall - bad album.
Review by Guillermo
3 stars In 1978, Prog Rock bands were having problems, because Prog Rock was losing popularity, and the record labels wanted these bands to have hits for the Radio. So, the bands had to make some compromises to keep record label executives "happy". The Disco Music peak year was 1978, with John Travolta, the Bee Gees and Donna Summer in the Radio all the time. The overrated Punk music also was a fad. I call it overrated because for me it was mainly noise recorded by people who only knew how to play 2 or 3 chords in their guitars (with some exceptions, like "The Clash"). "New Wave" was better. But for me, among all these musical styles, Prog Rock became a relief, because it had higher quality than the Radio music of those years.And this "Tormato" album appeared in 1978, like GENESIS `"...and then there were three..." and ELP`s "Love Beach". All these albums have in common that they were not very appreciated and were seen as albums recorded by bands in decay. But for me, in comparison to "Saturday Night Fever", these albums were "gems".So, an album like "Tormato", released in that year, it was better than the Radio music of that time. But if I consider "Tormato" in comparison to other YES`s albums, it`s not as good as some of them. But it still has some good things. "Future Times" is still progressive, with White and Squire playing like a metronome. "Rejoice" is the celebration song of the tenth anniversary of the band. "Don`t Kill the Whale" is an "Ecological" song. "Madrigal" has a harpsichord and a string arrangement by Wakeman. "Release Release" is mostly a "conventional rocker" song (maybe composed to please the label) with very good drums by White. "Arriving UFO" has some "UFO sounds" played by Wakeman in his keyboards. "Circus of Heaven" is a song more adequate for an Anderson`s solo album. "Onward" has an orchestral arrangement and is one of the best songs of the album. The best song of this album is "On the silent wings of freedom", with Squire`s "Harmonised Rickenbacker Bass" and very good drums by White, supported by Wakeman`s keyboards. In this album, both Squire and Wakeman had new "devices" and instruments. Squire plays his "Harmonised bass" (I think that it is really a sounds effect device) in most of the songs, and Wakeman uses his Birotron (a new version of the Mellotron?) and the Polymoog in several songs.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tormato was always going face an uphill struggle after GFTO. But hey it is still very good. ' Future Times/Rejoice', ' Onward' and ' Silent Wings Of Freedom' confirm this. It is also important to note that there were the beginnings of disharmony in the band at the time. Wakeman's constant restlessness together with Anderson's more syrupy spiritual sounds coming thru highlighted different directions personnel were wanting to take. Jon Anderson's collaboration with Vangelis shortluy after was a wonderful union in itself and Tormato began to show the seperate journies band memebers were going to embark on. Excluding the ever present Chris Squire of course!' Don't Kill The Whale' is equally a great campaign song. Don't dismiss Tormato, it is a worthwhile addition to any Yes catalogue.
Review by frenchie
2 stars We have our classic yes line up again of Anderson, Squire, Wakeman and Howe, plus Alan White on drums. This line up made up the love it or hate it "Tales From Topographic Oceans", as well as the disapointing "Going For the One". "Tormato", named after the Yes Tor, follows a similar pattern to going for the one but is split into 9 tracks. Yes haven't had more than 5 tracks on an album since Fragile in 1972. It is said that Rick Wakeman was disapointed with this album. He left after this and threw a tomato onto the album cover to show his disgust.

"Tormato" has quite a promising start, don't expect any epics on this album, as this album has some rather disapointing shorter tracks which aren't as proggy or as atmospheric as all their albums between 1971's "The Yes Album" and 1974's "Relayer". This makes this album quite a dissapointment and it is clear that musically this is no way as good. "Future Times" and "Rejoice" are good, not great, but they start this album off in quite a positive trend. There is some very harsh sounding piano and synth work and the bass sounds less apparent. The vocals aren't up to scratch either but Jon still has a lovely voice.

As the album goes on it sounds less impressive. "Dont Kill the Whale" and "Madrigal" are dull and boring and don't really show off anything that Yes can normally do. They haven't pushed themselves at all here and it is very evident. "Release, Release" is quite lively but it sounds so irritating. For some reason there are cheering sounds followed by some drum work with a guitar solo over the top, well its ok, not much to cheer about though. This track gets humourously dramatic and frantic. Jon puts in some emotion but his voice, alongside the high pitched keyboards, sounds squeaky. Overall side 1 of the album deserves to fall just inside the 3 stars category.

Side 2 kicks off with the stupidly annoying intro to "Arriving UFO". The vocal work is good here but not much praise can be given for the rest of the band. There is a horrible piano section that the begining leads into. This track ends with a funny piano section, kind of similar to Gates of Delirium but sounds much worse. Some of the guitar work is commendable but by now the album sounds boring and irritating.

"Circus of Heaven" has a promising start as far as this album is concerned. Jon rushes his way through lots of poor lyrics, there is barely any noise made by the band but Chris Squire gets his soptlight, there is quite a mellow and dreamy atmosphere here which is then destroyed with the most horrendous ending, Damion Anderson talking about tigers and lions! It's hard to believe this is actually Yes!

"Onward" is quite tolerable, not too bad really, a quiet moment with some good orchestration, it is not wild and frantic like the songs before. This track is short and doesn't build to anything, this album is barely prog. "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" is nothing new, bringing this album to a terrible close. A big disapointment here, it barely sounds like effort has gone into this and it is definetly a step back from what Yes have delivered before. This one is even worse than "Going for the One".

Oh and just so you know, to quote from the album booklet, "Yes Tor is situated two and a half miles from Okehampton, Devon in England, on a clear day, from the top, you can see far away places with strange sounding names". Also, "Thanks to Damion for being a chip off the old block on Circus of Heaven. Hahahahahahahathisalbumsuckshahahaha.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This quite weird album by YES begins their transition phase from the 70's to the 80's. The sounds are very clean and treble oriented, and the compositions vary from a commercial style to more experimental tracks. I listened through this without prejudices, as I had heard only "Yesterdays" and "Close To The Edge" by the band before I listened to this album first. "Don't Kill The Whale" is the nature's preservation themed hit song, and a quite pleasant one. "Release, Release" is a fun, fast rocker, only some added sounds of cheering crowd felt a bit unnecessary to me. Other good tracks are medieval like "Madrigal", opener "Future Times/Rejoice" and the jazzy "On The Silent Wings of Freedom". Not an essential album, but I recommend anybody to listen at it, as the music is quite unique, though not great if compared to the classic material of this band.
Review by erik neuteboom
2 stars After their very inspired, varied and lush sounding masterpiece "Going for the one", for me this album was a kind of "cold shower", what a disappointment, in fact the same bad experience with "Tales.." after "Close to the edge"! I have to admit that "Tormato" has appeared more times on my record player than "Tales.." because I'm really delighted about "Don't kill the whale" (emotional vocals and splendid Polymoog runs) and "Madrigal" (wonderful classical atmosphere) but the other songs don't appeal to me. In order to explain that awful front cover, I think that the musicians felt subconscious guilty about the musical result of this album...A KIND OF FREUDIAN SLIP!
Review by Zitro
3 stars 2 2/3 stars

The thing is that this is actually not essencial at all and is only for fans of the band ... this is Yes at their weakest in the 70s ... and sounds like the band ran out of gas. IT also contains awful sound quality and a keyboard sound that makes me beg for mercy :(

Future Times/rejoice 5/10 : decent opener, but the introductory riff is awful and the guitar sound sounds thin! The rejoice section is a nice sing along piece though.

Don't kill the Whale 6.5/10 : the lyrics are cheesy, and the vocals are so so, but the guitar soloing all over is amazing! also it has the only good keyboard solo of the album.

Madrigal 8/10 : this is good, very very good. Great harpsichord, great melodies, great guitar, it is a shame it is so short.

Release Release 6/10 : umm ... This is Yes trying to try arena rock, but they can't even stay on 4/4 !!... this is hilarious! and a self parody with a drum solo with cheering so out of place. But overall it is good and it has a good guitar solo after the end of the drumming.

Arriving UFO : 5/10 : mediocre and silly ... However : the synth riff, while corny, is great, and the guitar solo that sound like alien speaking sounds so strange and unique that is very captivating to me.

Cicrus something 6/10 : very pretty instrumentation and steve howe excelled in this track, but the lyrics are cheesy, especially when jon anderson and his son finish the track.

Onward 7/10 : soaring vocals, great guitar riffing, nice melodies .. so what's wrong? .. its too repetitive and is always the same!

On the Silent Wings of Freedom 6/10 : the messiest yes song I ever heard ... they are trying to progress and sound unique, but it fails at so many levels. The first 4 minutes are very good though, and chris Squire has rarely done better riffing than here.

So, the verdict is that this is more for fans, no prog rocker would like to get an album of the best band at its worst on the 70s side (there are weaker albums to come like Big Generator, 90125, Union, Open Your Eyes)

My Grade : C-

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a big regret I experienced the first time when this album was released. It was not like the kind of YES music like "Relayer" or "Close To The Edge" or even like the predecessor "Going For The One". The first time I heard "Future Times / Rejoice" I said to myself: "What? Is this Yes playing something like this?". So, it did not really hook me at all and I only played one song when I played this album and it was "Circus of Heaven". Why? I liked it very much with the fact that the music has a very strong melody, a bit upbeat tempo and most interestingly with the inclusion of child's voice (Jon Anderson's son) at the end of the track. Awesome. It became my all time favorite. As life got tougher and I could not afford to purchase another cassette of rock album no more, so I kept playing my old cassette collections. Whenever I got bored, I played Yes "Tormato". It took me roughly a year to reach the point when I could say: "Wow! It's an excellent album!". Indeed, it is.

"Don't Kill The Whale" is a song that has created great and positive impact to me especially the wonderful composition and encouraging lyrics. The composition is really unique with a great combination of keyboard and guitar works. The vocal harmony is also great. I also enjoy this song in "Yesshows" version. It's magnificent man! "Madrigal" is another great track with Rick Wakeman's rapid-fire keyboard work heavily influenced by classical music. "Release, Release" is a great rocking song the band has ever made. "Arriving UFO" is another song with a peaceful nuance. "Onward" is a great mellow track with continuous flow of keyboard sound - it's memorable. The concluding track "On The Silent Wings of Freedom" is another track with rich arrangements.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Review by ghost_of_morphy
2 stars Tormato.

The very word conjures up the unwelcome idea of having to defend Yes's artistic vision to the truly loyal fan. Witness all of the reviews here that try to drum up enthusiasm for the album while acknowledging that there isn't much enthusiasm for the album to begin with. The story of how a band member threw a tomato at the artwork for the cover (which was then adopted as modified) is the perfect comment on this album as a whole.


It was nearly universely acknowledged as the standard by which a crappy Yes album was to be judged for almost twenty years. Some people thought that Drama was worse than Tormato because of the loss of Wakeman and Anderson and the addition of the Buggles. Some people thought that Big Generator was worse than Tormato because of BG's near total immersion into pop music. Some people thought that Talk was worse than Tormato because they felt it was essentially a Trevor Rabin solo album with a few Yes members in the supporting cast. But Tormato was, for nearly twenty years, the quintessential bad Yes album. (Happily, for Tormato supporters, that role has finally been supplanted by Open Your Eyes.)


Even the name Tormato sounds tired. Yes had been an amazingly productive band in the '70's, releasing 6 albums in 6 years beginning with The Yes Album in 1971. They had generally released material of outstanding quality in that time as well. The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, and Going for the One were alll top rate albums. How many groups could pack so much quality into so little vinyl? Relayer and Tales from Topographic Oceans, although not as immediately likable, clearly were complex and demanding albums as well, with musical ideas and execution that demanded as much (or maybe even more) from the band. Is it any wonder that by 1978 they sounded tired?

I think it makes more sense to review this album by band member contributions rather than by tracks, so let me try this.

Jon Anderson: Jon's vocal quality and expression was never better than in the late '70's and early '80's. As another instrument in the sound pallette, Jon cannot fail to please. Lyrically, however, Jon really falls down on this album. He falls into the trap of producing lyrics that sound campy. In the tracks on Close to the Edge, for example, Jon's lyrics were majestic and obscure. Arriving UFO has lyrics that sound unimportant and vaguely ridiculous. Circus of Heaven (Jon's featured piece) sports lyrics that spout a trite and conventional philosophical idea. Madrigal's lyrics, although not quite as bad, still sound like on of those seven minute Peter Gabriel sci-fi epics that Genesis used to record.

Chris Squire: What a rough album for Chris! The brilliance that sparkled in so many earlier albums has nearly evaporated. The only track on which Chris shines musically is On the Silent Wings of Freedom, which sadly is Yes's only complete failure in the epic composition category, as even the worst track on Tales manages to hold our interest through parts of the composition. On the other hand, his ballad Onward is a competent if not exceptional song, despite the fact that his own bass playing is uninspired. (The Keys to Ascension version of that song, on the other hand, shows what could have been done with it.)

Steve Howe: In this album, Steve nearly gives up the accurate and more classical style that made him famous on tracks like Starship Troopers, Roundabout, and And You and I. He seems to devolve into a more generic hard rock style. Which is not to say that he is not still precise, his work on the strange but satisfying track Don't Kill the Whale, still impresses, while the new style fits well with "Release, Release." On the other hand, Future Times and On the Silent Wings of Freedom really sound like Howe phoned his parts in.

Rick Wakeman: I tend to think of Tormato as the album where only Rick was on form. Both Madrigal and Arriving UFO showcase Rick's abilities at his best, and he does his best to save that monstrosity, Circus of Heaven, as well. Also he plays a fairly energetic part in "Don't Kill the Whale," managing to lift that song above mediocrity.

Alan White: Alan shines in this album too. The obvious thing to mention would be his solo in Release, Release, but his percussion work in On the Silent Wings of Freedom is top rate as well.


In the interest of completion, I suppose I should give my opinion of the different tracks as well.

Future Times/Rejoice: Below average quality. Actually this starts out quite badly and only reaches mediocre when we hit the Rejoice section.

Don't Kill the Whale: Average. Yes's attempt at a single is exactly what a single should not be: it sounds strange and uncomfortable on the first listening, even for fans who expect Yes instead of the latest pop prophet. Listen twice or thrice and you will find this more likable, however.

Madrigal: Good. Jon and Rick give us great musical performaces despite Jon's average lyrics.

Release, Release: Good. Probably the track on which the group combined the best. Again, it doesn't really have the Yes sound, but it has a lot of energy and fairly good performances (at least) from every member.

Arriving UFO: Below Average. Rick tries his best to salvage this mediocre tune, but in the end, he does not succeed. If you are a Wakeman fan, on the other hand, upgrade this to Good.

Circus of Heaven: Awful. This sounds like it belongs on Jon Anderson's Song of Seven album (which was also awful except for the title track and Days.) Wakeman fans will want to upgrade this to below average, as Rick's contributions are pretty good.

Onward: Average. A decent ballad, but nothing exceptional throughout the piece. If you want to hear this, I really suggest that you listen to live version on Keys to Ascension instead, where everybody somehow manages to rise above the material.

On the Silent Wings of Freedom: Below Average. Yes's poorest attempt at an epic ever. Chris and Alan bring a decent foundation to this song, but nothing much interesting is built on top of it.

Review by Progbear
2 stars Once again, the band are confused as to their direction, and once again it works against them. It was their first real dog since the muddled TALES, but at least there you could tell what they were trying to go for. Here it's anyone's guess. They seemed to be flying in every direction at once.

They seemed to be trying out a whole bunch of different styles on this album-from AOR-styled arena rock ("Don't Kill The Whale", "Release, Release") to out and out MOR pop balladry ("Onward")-none of which fit well. And Anderson's lyrics border on self-parody at times. "Don't Kill The Whale" is mawkish and sanctimonious, "Arriving U.F.O." is just plain silly, and "Circus Of Heaven" (complete with a treacly walk-on by Anderson's kindergarten-aged son Damion) drowns in an excess of cutesy whimsy. The band are not helped by Wakeman's questionable decision to excise most of his tried-and-true keyboard equipment in favour of the screeching, braying sounds of the Polymoog, rendering even some of the album's better moments unlistenable.

Still, moments of Yes' former greatness manage to shine through. "Future Times"/"Rejoice" is a bit of a humble little couplet, but it grows on you in a big way. And "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" is classic Yes. I wish Wakeman had chosen to solo on his Minimoog rather than the obnoxiously shrill Polymoog, but musically it's the strongest thing here by far.

In a nutshell: another disappointment that caused Wakeman to bail.

Review by NJprogfan
2 stars Have to admit, this was the first album by the band I bought new in the store. Seeing that I didn't get into prog until '77, I did have their older albums and just loved the covers. Little did I know after seeing the cover to this one, (worse prog cover ever?) I'd be in for a shock, musically. Honestly, taken as a whole, it's not the worst around, almost the worse) but for Yes, it's definitely the worst from the 70's. I rather listen to their first two then this for two reasons: 1) I can't stand Squire's bass sound, it dominates and sounds so damn ugly, 2) the mix is so chaotic, with instruments clogging, battling, struggling just plain trying to garner your attention overpowering the song, ('Future Times', 'Don't Kill The Whale', 'Release, Release', and especially 'On The Silent Wings Of Freedom'). I would rather listen to the mediocre 'Circus Of Heaven' with its sickly sweetness just because I can catch my breathe after listening to all the chaos before and after. UGH! You can see this coming after their last album, 'Going For The One' which I'm not to fond of either. At least that one had one superior song, ('Awaken'). Plus, for me, they rebound with their next album. But 'Tormato'? It should have been the master tapes splattered on the record sleeve, not a tomato. Sorry for being so harsh, but Yes is a favorite and at this time in their lives they were most likely a burned out husk of a band that needed time off to regroup and change their sound DRAMAtically. And they did. Thank GOD! 2.5 stars.
Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ah, the much-maligned Tormato album. Perhaps suffering from the very high standards set by its predecessor "Going For The One", Tormato has been criticised by some as being a weak Yes album, but is this fair? - let's review the evidence.

"Future Times/Rejoice" is a good, but not brilliant opener. Alan White plays a major part here, from the military snare of "Future Times" to the bizarre rhythm of "Rejoice". "Don't kill the whale", Yes' animal rights protest song, was a single at the time, personally I like the synth solo but this is merely an average Yes number. "Madrigal" is a short but beautiful harpsichord/acoustic guitar piece with a nice Anderson vocal and "Release Release" is probably my favourite track on the album, featuring Quo-style guitar from Steve Howe and a drum solo from White complete with overdubbed audience. I particularly like the choruses and the ending is great.

Side two brings us to "Arriving UFO" - I remember an article in Melody Maker about the recording of the album and it said this track sounded like a Yes classic in the vein of "Yours is no disgrace". Well, it's not quite that, the keyboard sounds are a bit naff, but still a good song.

What can I say about "Circus of Heaven"? A typical Anderson number building up from the triangle and bass opening, but the lyrics are of the sort that give Yes a bad name and I wonder what Anderson's son thinks of the ending now. "Onward" is a good Squire song that really comes to life with the stunning vocals on the live version on "Keys to Ascension. On this version, Howe's guitar is a bit annoying - the song works much better with him on acoustic guitar. The final track, "On the silent wings of freedom" is a Yes classic featuring a great Squire bass riff. He often plays it in live versions of "The Fish" along with the "Tempus Fugit" riff.

The cover highlights the "Tormato/Tomato" pun (based around Yes Tor on which is a rock formation on Dartmoor for those who don't know) and is another Hipgnosis effort, not one of the best Yes covers. Overall the albums is a bit of a disappointment compared to Going For The One but still worthy of at least 3.5 stars.

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars I’m not sure there is a whole lot to be said about Tormato really, other than it was the last album to include the most famous lineup of the band until the underwhelming Union more than a decade later.

I would think that for the most part someone will either like this album or they won’t, and I doubt if repeated listens will change that opinion one way or the other. Those new to the band in 1978 were probably more likely to find the album appealing than long-time fans, as the songs are all highly accessible and don’t require a whole lot of knowledge of the band or even of music in general to appreciate. Those who cut their teeth on works like “Close to the Edge”, “Gates of Delirium”, or even “Yours is No Disgrace” probably find this album a bit disappointing. There is nothing resembling an epic track, and the songs that are here don’t really seem to demonstrate any kind of conscious approach or progression from the band’s previous works. It just seems like the band put out an album for the sake of putting one out. The record did well commercially, but few of these songs show up on any subsequent compilations, greatest hits collections, or even live albums.

“Future Times” is about the most generic-sounding Yes song I’ve ever heard. Wakeman’s keyboards are prominent but not particularly impressive. Anderson’s vocals seem just a bit tepid. Howe’s guitar work is pretty good throughout the album, but I wouldn’t call it inspired or anything.

The modest hit single from the album was “Don’t Kill the Whale”, an unconvincing but rhythmic tune that is for the most part dominated by Howe, with a couple of short jaunts mixed in by Wakeman. And speaking of Wakeman, he seems to be just noodling quite a bit, especially during Anderson’s vocals parts. It’s a catchy tune, but nothing you’d really expect from a band of Yes’s stature.

I do like the keyboards and mellow guitar on “Madrigal”, but this actually sounds like some kind of Irish folk song, and wouldn’t even be recognizable as a Yes song were it not for Anderson’s voice.

“Release, Release” sounds more like the Yes of the mid-70s, but here again Wakeman is rather uninspired and Squire seems to be almost invisible. Frankly, Squire doesn’t really stand out anywhere on this album.

The weird “Arriving UFO” really seems to be a bit of nonsensical filler. Wakeman throws in a wide variety of sound effects, but the appeal of this song is for the most part lost on me.

“Circus of Heaven” actually begins as if it is building up to something substantial, but after about four minutes of ‘building’ it becomes apparent the buildup is all there really is. The goofy kid babbling at the end is really unnecessary.

I like the overall mood of “Onward”, but really this is more of a song for a single B-side, or maybe as a respite piece for the band in concert. I can picture the couples hugging and waving their disposable lighters as the soft lights wash over the concert hall as I listen to this one.

Yes had always been known for including at least one lengthy, complex central work on their albums. I suppose “On The Silent Wings of Freedom” is supposed to be that song for Tormato, but despite its length and the awkward tempo changes in the second half of the song, it seems to be more of a mechanical exercise than an inspired, passionate work.

I’ll admit I bought this when it came out, and wore my allegiance to Yes on my sleeve amid the onslaught of disco and new wave that was filling the airwaves at the time. This was at least better than most of that crap. But it doesn’t wear well with time, and is not even fondly remembered by the members of the band themselves. The story that the tomato on the cover was a result of Wakeman throwing it at the artwork in disgust speaks volumes about the lasting impression of this album.

It’s probably a must-have for ardent fans and collectors, but that’s about all. Two stars.


Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars What hapened to MyYes ? The lineup is the same as for GFTO but there are no comparison between albums. Format of the songs is extremely shorter than usual. As for Genesis, I made a huge break from 1978 and 1999. I purchase their second part of their catalogue since then. This was my first one (together with "Drama"). The good opener "Future Times - Rejoice" is a standard YesClassic song : brilliant Howe, great Anderson and solid rythmics. The track could have been developped a bit longer, but with this album, we are far from the lenghty YesCompostions. Their ecological and commercial "Don't Kill The Whale" is aslo a pleasant song. It is their first "political" song. This song anounces the forthcoming Yes ("Owner"...). "Madrigal" is a short and sweet little ballad. A marvel of a YesMelody. "Release, Release" is quite rocky and melodious : the ryhtm being similar to the one of "Parallels" there's even a short drum solo in the middle. It's a good way to close side one.

"Arriving UFO" is the weakest track so far : it is inconsistent, jumps from one theme to another without anything to link them. It is like a kaleidoscope of several instrumental and uninspired pieces. Very poor. "Circus Of Heaven" is an accoustic track, but lacks in harmonies. It sounds real bad. "Onwards" is a magnificent YesBallad : wonderful melody, very emotional Jon, discreet piano/keyboard (this is general to this album : Rick is not very present). It reminds me of "Wonderous Stories" or "Soon" from earlier works but less imposing. "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" is a vigourous YesTrack, but it is way too speedy. It is the longest song of the album. The intro lasts for about 2'30" and is quite repetitive (as the whole song). It lacks desperately in good vocal harmonies. The more the track advances, the more boring it is. IMO, it sounds as a demo track : jam like session leading nowhere.

There is a remastered and expanded version for "Tormato" : NINE songs for almost 35 additional minutes (almost double the original album). "Abilene" is a nice rock ballad with good guitar in the background. Vocal are smooth and harmonious. It could have replaced some of the poor tracks of the album. A good bonus track. "Money" is a jazzy and useless tune (even as a bonus). "Picasso" and "You Can Be Saved" are mellow tracks with little interest : no feeling and tasteless. "Some Are Born" is good, could have made the album : nice harmony combinations (Howe and Anderson), intrumental parts are not really structured but maybe it is due to the fact that the song was rejected quite soon ... "High" is another good bonus, it should have deserved a bit more attention to make it a decent album track. "Days" is a "solo" vocal from Jon (it lasts for only 58 seconds, hopefully !). "Countryside" is an accoustic / folk tune quite dispensable. "Everybody's Song" intro starts with the typical YesHowe sound and one thinks: hey, maybe a lost jewel ... Well after forty seconds you know that it is not a jewel. This quite lenghty song (over 6'30) is bass oriented and rather dull. Have a listen and you'll understand why it didn't make the album. It is one of their weakest effort so far (on par with "Time & A Word"). Unfortunately, the worst is to to come. Two stars.

Review by Chicapah
1 stars If this had been the debut offering of a young, burgeoning group the consensus would have been that they had potential and just needed more experience and maturity. But this was the NINTH studio album from arguably one of the most creative and influential progressive bands in history and also one of the biggest acts in the music business at the time. For the loyal, devoted fans that bought every single one of their records and helped to sell out nearly every arena they performed in, this was a travesty. Could this really be Yes? It was like going to your favorite five-star restaurant and, instead of a delicious entrée, the waiter brought you a plate of nine different varieties of cheeses. Adding insult to injury, when the bill arrived you found that you were charged the same as your usual gourmet dinner!

The first thing you notice is that someone (Rick Wakeman, it turns out) has pelted the cover with a rotten tomato. If that wasn't enough of a tip off, the opening song "Future Times" with Chris Squire substituting his usual fat bass tone for an overprocessed guitar effect quickly indicates that something is amiss in Yes land. With a quasi-military march for a foundation the tune never escalates into attack mode at all, something you've come to expect from them. "Rejoice" is really just more of the same except they do achieve some interesting dynamics toward the end. "Don't Kill the Whale" is a mess. A miserable attempt at a hit single. (Is Jon Anderson actually singing "dig it, dig it?" What?) "Madrigal" is fair musically and Steve Howe turns in a nice acoustic guitar bit but it sounds like Jon is trying to see how many words he can fit into a line here and it gets way too busy. "Release, Release" is a straight-ahead rock and roll song with decent changes but the whole thing sounds frantically rushed. Then you get a drum sequence from Alan White that features fake crowd noise in the background! (What the.?) "Arriving UFO" is as useless as its title and here they try too hard to be sci-fi, employing funny-sounding gimmicks. There's even an explosion! (What was that? The Death Star?) Wakeman tries to save it but Howe seems to be at a loss as to what he should play. "Circus of Heaven" is just weird. (Yes playing bad reggae?) And, though Jon has given the world some indecipherable lyrics from time to time, these take the cake. Then, after a quiet section, the song just fizzles. Thank goodness for "Onward" because it's by far the best song on the album. It's a beautiful love ballad with a great melody, nice harmony vocals, atmospheric guitar work from Howe and excellent orchestration. Too bad it's so short-lived. "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" starts with Squire using another thin guitar effect in a longer-than-necessary solo before the band finally kicks in. I know it's hard to fathom but I think Jon is actually trying to sing higher than he needs to here (perilously near dog-whistle territory) and the tune seems to meander without purpose. (Where's that stoned former producer Eddie Offord when you need him?) Finally we hear some stirring keyboard fills toward the end but even Wakeman's valiant efforts can't save this one. Mercifully, after less than 42 minutes of music, it's over.

It's common knowledge that I am only one of legion that disparages this collection of tunes. If there was such a thing as a prog comic he could do ten minutes of shtick on this album alone. I can hear it now: "Know why they called it 'Tormato?' Because 'Love Beach' had already been taken!" (Cue groans from audience of proggers.) But seriously, I'm amazed at how some Yes fans tiptoe around this one like the family pet's "accident" in the middle of the living room. Especially when some of the band members have gone on record as saying the group had no direction and no focus when they were in the process of creating this disappointment. When you consider that the last studio recording we had heard before this one had been the awesome, inspiring "Awaken" from "Going For the One," this defied reason. No wonder first Rick and then Jon left the fold afterwards. You might think I'd award the dreaded one star rating to "Tormento" but I'll consider giving it two and here's why. I prefer to believe there was some strain of progressive rock virus going around in 1978 that affected not only Yes but fellow juggernauts like Genesis and ELP, causing them to release cheesy stinkers, as well. What a nasty bug it was.

Aw, heck. Who am I fooling? This is awful and I can't, in good conscience, give it any more than a single star. I realize that things were bad in Progland at the time they recorded this booger but there's just no excuse for it. This is when Yes hit rock bottom. Shame on you guys.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Signs of trouble becoming more obvious.

When prowling the used record stores back in the day, one would go to the Yes section and find a copy or two of each title and then about 15 copies of Tormato. They couldn't give the thing away. Is it that bad? Or course not. Next to anything that would come after Drama, Tormato looks pretty fine. But like Going For The One it is about one-half good and one-half not. Lots of reviewers here think GFTO is so much better than Tormato but I think they are in similar territory. If you take the good songs from Tormato and marry them with "Turn of the Century" and "Awaken," you'd have one really solid album.

So which are the good songs on Tormato? Future Times/Rejoice, Madrigal, and On the Silent Wings of Freedom. A few of the other have nice moments as well. Only "Don't Kill the Whale" and "Release Release" make me reach for the "skip" button. "Madrigal" is a real gem which should have been taken further.

The album has a rather unfinished or rushed sound to it as if they were laying it down before the songs had been properly rehearsed. Howe's guitar is maniacal in places and sometimes this sounds really fresh and exciting while other times you wince a little bit. Wakeman seems especially disconnected to me as it he were not really listening to the others, sort of going it alone. Jon's vocals again reach the irritating space on things like "Release Release." Squire and White do their best to keep things in respectable waters.

Tormato can be an enjoyable listen occasionally but is not one of their more successful albums. The album cover is an unfortunate and perhaps ironic mess that said a little bit too much about the music within. Yes fans should probably own this album but certainly not until you've heard everything that came before it. 2.75 stars.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

Now in 1978, veteran prog bands were proposed two choices: stay relevant and adapt or disappear!!Even YES one of the main prog band and the most successful one knew it was no longer the time to produce 3 songs album , not to mention 4 -20mn epics on a double album. So where do we go from here? We release TORMATO!!!

So what is there in ''Tormato''? a mixed bag of goodies , bad stuff and some average music. The longer track lasts less than 8 mns and almost all the tracks are in the 4-5 mns range; this is like going back to ''Time and a Word'' minus the innocence. And by looking at the cover artwork with futuristic graphics with our musicians all wearing sunglasses, you know you are not going to hear ''The revealing science of god'' part 2 anytime soon

What was side 1 definitely stinks , big time for some songs! Have you ever listened lately to ''Future Times'' and the horrible ''Release, Release'', maybe the worst YES song ever recorded (i know, many more to come!) Terrible songwriting, terrible WAKEMAN synths sounding and for the first time, The vocals of JON ANDERSON sound forced and are getting on my nerves rapidly. Only the ballad ''Madrigal' and to a lesser extent the cheesy ''don't kill the whale'' save the side 1 from total disaster.

Ex-Side 2 redeem the album somehow, but by no stretch it is a return to glory. Wakeman still sounds horrible on ''Arriving Ufo'', but Steve HOWE is still on fire and the song is not bad. After that comes a kiddie song where Jon ANDERSON is joined by.... his young son. Actually it's not bad, a little bit corny for sure, But ANDERSON delivers another beautiful melody , only him can come up with and the lush instrumentation brings some fresh air after a kind of rough beginning. And guess what, more good things to come: maybe the highlight of the album , a beautiful ballad ''Onward'' penned by CHRIS SQUIRE, almost as good as 'Soon'' from ''Relayer''.A real treat! The album ends with the longest track album ''on the silent wings of freedom'', not bad, not great YESsong, pleasant but you will never find this title on any YES 'best of'' albums. I don't if it's me but it sounds like ANDERSON, HOWE and WAKEMAN are forcing a little bit, they are sometimes trying too hard and they are way over the top by overplaying or singing. Sometimes less is more.

I have a problem giving stars to this album: 2 or 3 stars. As i have been maybe generous for some other recordings from YES, i'll go with 2 stars; we have to be honest; even when you like a band, you have to admit when it stinks. 2 stars.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
3 stars Tormato was a big change for Yes. Here they took a more song oriented approach and abandoned their extended epics from earlier years. This was an ongoing trend for prog groups as many a label wanted to see more hits. Whether this is what was affecting Yes' deterioration or the band was just plain uninspired is open to debate. It's probably a little of both.

Even though Tormato was more radio friendly than its predecessors, it does have a few good moments on songs like Future Times/Rejoice, Release, Release, Arriving UFO, and On the Silent Wings of Freedom. Even so, these songs lack that "Yesness" that one could instantly pick up from earlier classics by the band. In many ways, Tormato sounds like the precursor of 90125 and other subsequent albums. It also sounds like a group running out of ideas.

A mixed bag, but a good album too. Not essential in anyway. Three stars. Yes fans should probably seek this one out. Others should consider getting their earlier masterpieces before looking for this one, unless you can find it cheaply.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It is widely acknowledged by the prog intelligentsia that this was a downturn for a beloved band. But when you listen to fools, the mob rules, and if heard as simply an album of fresh new music (in 1978) by a gifted group, a quality selection of songs is revealed. The big difference between this and previous Yes offerings is that the songs are shorter and more concise, trimmed of the flavorful fat a growing Prog fan craves, leaving only the lean and easily- digested parts. And perhaps that's what commercial music does so well, but it doesn't mean Yes ceased to be a symphonic rock group.

'Future Times' starts things strong with the band sounding in top form; a familiar Jon Anderson lyric, Alan White's military snare drum, Rick Wakeman shining bright as always and sporting his wide variety of synths, organs and other weapons of mass construction, Steve Howe harmonizing with everyone masterfully and showing his versitile skills, and the irrepressible Chris Squire doing what he does better than anyone on the planet. 'Rejoice' is equally fit, full of strong melodies. 'Don't Kill the Whale' is silly and dated but held together by good music, blistering noodles from Howe and a bubblegum Biotron part by Wakeman. A move toward the pop market? An unforseen coup brought about by worried men in suits? Or maybe just an uncharacteristic ditty by a band expected to always support a tradition of Prog excess. Wakeman's harpsichord carries 'Madrigal' which has Howe's Flamenco dabbles and Anderson's nu-religious rantings, and 'Release, Realease' is old-time rockin' Yes awkwardly connecting symphonic with early rock 'n roll. 'Circus of Heaven' has queasy sentiment but also some carnival oddities from Rick. The very pretty 'Onward' is led by Howe's bright staccato and Anderson's sweet vocal, and is one of the few genuinely touching love songs by this legendary ensemble. And 'On the Silent Wings of Freedom' features Squire's classic harmonized Rickenbacker, White's tighter-than-tight beats, and a great arrangement showing off the years together and natural instincts this outfit boasts. All in all this record is just fine, even good, and in hindsight doesn't deserve the cold shoulder it got from both the prog and pop camps. Three solid stars.

Review by Dim
3 stars Probably the most unapreciated Yes album of the classic period. Post going for the one, everyone in Yes is ready for a break, wants to make a solo album, or needs to tend to a family. They went on and made Tormato anyway's, not a bad album, but apparently Yes thought so, Wakeman, and founder Jon Anderson left after the albums tour.

As for the musical aspect, it's quite good, Howe is experimenting with many different guitars and different distortions. Squire is going back to his old style, with a wah wah peddle and his typical rythmic playing with the squire rickenbacker sound. There, however is a bad side to the music. Alan White unfortunately, is sticking with what he did on Going for the one, and is strictly playing o fill's, and nothing that sticks out, which is completely controdicory of his performance on Relayer. Rick Wakeman is at his altime worse, playing the same keyboard patch the whole time, playing a twinkly little synthesized sound, nothing else.

The opener Future times/Rejoice is one of the best songs, with amazing guitar that sounds a bit fruity, but amazing none the less, and of course Jon's voice sounds amazing as usual. Followed by probably the greatest song, dont kill the whale, which is Yes' most straight forward song from a lyrical perspective, and with Howe's most straight forward guitar solo which is excellent as well! Beyond those two song's the album meander's with some songs like the mid evil Madrigal, with nice vocals and lyrics, and Release release a steady rocker, but lacks the gates of delirium kind of power to really impress me. Then there's Arriving UFO, with some interesting keyboards, but everything else is dull and boring, even the lyrics, which are above par for normal Yes lyrics are very lame. Circus of Heaven confuses me, Yes is a band that perfors to an audience that is 90% men, then they make this song, a pretty little song with only keyboards and vocals, my thirteen year old sister thinks this song is cute, there must be something wrong. Onward is Beautiful, easily squires best song lyrically, and Jon just sings his heart out to a very interesting electric guitar, if you want an even better version, get keys to ascension! On the silent wings of freedom is another excellent track with some amazing bass and guitar work, the only thing keeeping this song from being the best on the album is wakeman's keyboard.

Not a bad album, I would have to say that Jon and Steve are the two who really stick out more than the others. Jon's performance on future times and onward are very heart felt and move with the music, more than fight it with different timing and stops. Steves speed is phenominal on the silent wings of freedom, the little fills hitting fifteen notes a second (exateration), are cool enough to make satriani jealous. But there is lack of inspiration and new and exciting material to make this album very well loved. Actually it might just be the lack of energy, which Jon Andreson says was a major factor in the creation of this album. Either way, if you are a major Yes fan, this may diapoint you a bit, I like it, because I think a bit of change for a band is goos, but I dont like it to the exctent of giving anything over...


Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After some years in Prog Archives I have courage to make a review of Tormato, because being a YES fan is hard to say something unpleasant about a band that not only like, but also introduced me to Prog.

It's no secret that "Tormato" is not one of the strongest moments of Yes, to be honest, in some moments they border the extreme limits of cheesiness and have no excuse, Rabin is not here and they have the almost possible best formation except Bruford who will only join for a worst album like "Union".

The album starts with "Future Times" surprisingly is a good song despite Wakeman's keyboards choice is not the best and Jon sounds extremely more acute than usual. Despite this problems, the structure is well elaborate, with nice changes and solid keyboard PERFORMING, good start.

The catastrophe begins with "Don't Kill The Whale", the lyrics are so bad that I miss the days when Jon didn't tried to make sense, the band seems like a blind person left in the middle of a glass factory without a cane, the keyboards are horrendous, poor Alan White tries to keep the level with a decent drumming, but there's nothing that can save this.

"Madrigal" is at least coherent, the synthesized harpsichord with Jon's voice and Steve making nice acoustic backgrounds is to say the least a breeze of fresh air after the previous aberration, not one of their best tracks but at least can be listened.

"Release Release" is an attempt of returning to old days, good Rock & Roll with Baroque touches, Wakeman is pretty decent and White is simply amazing, another strong point in the album.

Now it's turn for something even worst than "Don't Kill the Wave", "Arriving UFO" can just be described as an atrocity, please Jon, when you try to make sense you mess it, the keyboards are frightening not for mystery or obscurity but because they are horrendous, use the skip button or listen it at your risk.

Oh no, I talked too fast, "Circus of Heaven" must be the cheesiest song I ever heard, the story tries to be pompous and even mythological but it's pure cheese, I can't understand why Wakeman and Howe didn't left the sessions at this moment, please avoid it at all cost or your good memories of YES might be damaged for ever, to make it worst Jon's kid section pretends to be nostalgic and tender but it's pathetically ridiculous.

"Onward" is an improvement (well anything would be an improvement at this point), the structure is simple, mainly vocal oriented with Jon going in crescendo and Rick supporting him makes believe there will be a sudden explosion that never happens, seems as an incomplete track.

The album ends with "On the Silent Wings of Freedom", starts with a good guitar and drums work by Steve and Alan with some touches of Rick's keyboards, nice but takes nowhere and Jon's voice doesn't add too much, a short instrumental break in the middle makes us believe there will be a change but sadly nothing happens and they go back again to the beginning. All I can say to describe it can be summarized in six words: Predictable, boring, repetitive and too long.

I heard the urban myth that the cover and the name of the album have it's origin when Rick Wakeman after watching the anodyne cover threw a tomato to the art, if this is true, it's the least it deserved, the cover says nothing and Tor (The originally chosen title in reference to a rock formation in Okehampton - England, which would have left the rest of the world asking what the hell they wanted to say) was a worst name for the album.

The only reason why I don't give one star is because the Rabin era albums are worst, but for that moment of YES history, this was the lowest they could get, specially with such a great formation.

Two stars and I believe I'm being generous.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Well, I really donīt agree with the low grades most of people here gave Tormato. I remember when it came out and I just loved the album then, as most of my friends did. Today I hear it again and I still think itīs fine 70īs Yes. Ok, ok, it is nothing like their classic trilogy (The Yes Album - Fragile - Close To The Edge), but I like it more than Tales From Topographic Oceans or even Relayer. At least it is not as pretentious and unreasonably complicated as those two mastodons.

Like the album before, Going For The One, the group seemed to be looking for a more simple approach to music and in my opinion they quite succeeded. There are a bunch of fine songs here and most of them work pretty well after all those years. It is only a pity that Anderson and Wakeman left not long after Tormato was completed. I wonder how good Drama could have been WITH them... But., alas, this was not to be. Anyway, Tormato is still classic Yes with all its glory with shorter songs. The very last Yes studio album that sounds to me like the classic progressive Yes I knew and loved when I was a teenager. Of course theyīd release some good stuff after that, but things were never the same again.

Highlights: Future Times, Donīt Kill The Whale (always a favorite), On The Silent Wings Of Freedom.

Contrary to what some reviewer said, I like to hear this album from start to finish. If not all the songs are of the same category as others, there is no real weak track either. Even the somewhat silly (and nice!) Circus Of Heaven or the romantic Onward have their merit and still sound good to me

Tormato was released at a time when prog music was treated as a joke by critics, press and general public. It was a bold move and they came out with their heads held high. I loved it then, I loved it today. If youīre a real Yes fan, this is a must have.

Rating: maybe it should get 3.5 stars compared to their classic stuff, really, but Iīll round up to four to counterbalance the much unfair beatings this album had received here.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Some thing's.... not right.

Following close on the heels of the sound of their previous outing Going for the One, Yes releases this mixed effort. This is an album who's befuddled sound has, well, befuddled many listeners over the years. From it's confusing Hipgnosis cover art (Hipgnosis is great, but what was going on here?), to it's strange name (Yes - Tor as originally planned would have been much better even), to it's even more misplaced music this album is certainly a difficult to really "get". There is a bunch of good material on here, but this is definitely where Yes started to lose their classic sound.

Though some of the songs here are good, each one could have been much better. With inner-band tensions strengthening it's no wonder that the playing by the artists is not as tight as normal. Wakeman's keyboards and Howe's guitar, while normally beautifully synchronized and acting as one another's counterpart are, here, contrasting each other sharply. Tracks like Arriving UFO is a great example of this, as the synth presses forward and almost entirely hides Howe's guitar work. Don't Kill The Whale is one of the better songs on the album with it's catchy riffs and (now) somewhat tacky lyrics, but it still shares the contrast, not allowing Wakeman's playing to shine through at all. Madrigal and Circus Of Heaven both seem a bit misplaced on the album, and the latter is incredibly inaccessible, and somewhat strange with Jon Anderson's son giving in some voicing. Onward, though slow, is still a fairly well done track that all the instrumentation seems to work on, and perhaps it's low key speed is the reason. It seems throughout the album that syncing the instruments is the biggest problem here, wrtting some different, more corresponding parts definitely would have helped here.

(And so why 3 stars instead of 2 or 1 you might ask, well:)

There are some great songs here, and a couple overlooked Yes classics from the GFTO era. Some of the tracks here, including the great Future Tines/Rejoice and On The Silent Wings Of Freedom are truly great. A bit odd sounding to the listener, but they still all work as good Yes songs. These songs are the way the album should have worked, and though the instrumentation does still waver a bit on both, but both still manage to be the heavy, symphonic, imaginative band that we know and love from the early 70s. Release Release is also worth mentioning, a good track, if a bit scattered at times. It's too bad that these tracks got stuck in this era of Yes and weren't recorded earlier when the band worked truly well together.


Even with all it's ups and downs this still turns out to be a "good" album, definitely not essential, but when listened to while forgetting everything you know about Yes there is something to like about this album. 3 stars, a good album that could have been so much more.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Splat!

With their history of tastefully designed sleeves especially by (but not limited to) Roger Dean, the warning signs were clear when Tormato appeared encased in a very uninspired cover complete with tomato splatters. Unfortunately, those signs were all too accurate, and the music the album contains is in the main, equally uninspired.

If "Going for the one" indicated that Yes were willing to explore a less complex style, the subtle changes which appeared there are brought to the fore here with all the subtlety of a flying mallet. While Trevor Rabin is often attributed (blamed?) with steering the band in an 80's pop direction, "Tormato" shows that Yes had such inclinations long before his arrival.

To be fair, it must be remembered that when this album was made in 1978, prog had fallen decidedly out of favour, with punk enjoying its 15 minutes of fame. Many other prog bands such as ELP and Genesis, were also re-inventing themselves in an effort simply to survive.

The story goes that Steve Howe was becoming increasingly frustrated with Rick Wakeman's dominance in the overall sound, and that the two were not getting on. This appears to be borne out by the subsequent departure of Wakeman (and Jon Anderson) prior to the recording of "Drama".

The main problem I have with "Tormato" is that it is not very prog. That in itself is not necessarily a criticism, but in the case of Yes we have come to expect them to over elaborate, not to leave songs under-developed. There are plenty of hints of what might have been in songs such as the opening "Future times/rejoice" and the closing "On the silent wings of freedom". The latter has many of the right ingredients, but the arrangement is messy and the production unfocused.

The band's desire for further singles success is apparent with "Don't kill the whale", a surprisingly stark and straightforward plea from an era before being green was fashionable. Ironically, this track also features some of the best work by Wakeman and Howe to be found on the album. It is though Jon Anderson's domination of the song writing which in turn leads to this being a very lyrical and vocal album, and therein lies its shortcoming. Had Howe and Wakeman spent less time watching each other, and more time doing what they do best, this could have been developed into another fine album.

"Release release" features a brief solo spot by Alan White on drums who is subsequently joined by Steve Howe on guitar. While clearly a studio recording, the sound of a crowd cheering is added, presumably in a vain attempt to generate some feeling of excitement. "Onward" is another notable track since it is a rare Chris Squire composition. I would have liked to have heard him singing this himself, as it is clearly written for his vocal style.

In another touch of irony, Anderson's son probably sums up the album best when he speaks at the end of "Circus of heaven". He says, "Oh it was OK, but there were no clowns".

The bonus tracks on the remastered CD almost double the length of the album. They include "Abilene", the B side of the single "Don't kill the whale" in the UK plus a number of demos and unreleased songs. A couple of these, "Days" and "Some are born" ended up in different form on Jon Anderson's second solo album. In some ways, these bonus tracks are more exciting than the album itself. The version of "Some are born" for example shows how the song might have been developed from the simple pop song on "Song of seven" into a Yes classic. We even have an unlisted bonus bonus track to end, a lovely soft symphonic instrumental number. The remastered CD also includes a decent booklet recounting some of the history relating to the album.

By the way, the album name is derived from a hill in South West England called Yes Tor.

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars An interesting example of what happens when talent and absurdity coalesce into a completely lop-sided miasma of complex rhythms, fine singing despite silly lyrics, sloppy guitar work despite improved experimentation, and inane keyboards despite nothing. Tormato is about as mediocre as it gets.

First, let's talk about the songs. There are a few compositional highlights to be discovered, say in the opening number and in a few places in Release Release and Silent Wings of Freedom, but the rest is like a messy whimper of what Yes music is all about. Don't Kill the Whale? Arriving UFO? Circus of Heaven? Give me a break! These are hands-down the worst tunes the band has performed up to this point. While Yes tunes always have a mystic, cryptic edge to them, these are just lyrically silly, breaking down to syllabic la-la-la's an unacceptable number of times. So, as far as songwriting goes, this is a single step above complete disaster-- the end of the album will more than confirm that to the listener and may actually be the worst ending OF ALL TIME. I was all for ending that horrible Wakeman solo early, but this sounds like they ran out of tape at the studio and said, screw it!

As if the songs weren't disappointing enough, the group's performances sound a lot like they're phoning it in. Howe's guitars are all over the place-- and not in a good way; his solos are sloppy, twangy, and as a general thing uninteresting. Jon's vocals lack energy, as does White's (as usual) unremarkable drumming. But, by far the worst offender of prog-fisted, uncreative, and TACKY playing is that saccharine stink coming from Mr. Wakeman's corner-- whose organs and synthesizer chime out what is, in my opinion, the WORST sounding keyboards ever. I hope Casio gets royalties from this album's sales, because every note the former maestro plays sounds as if it's coming from the cheesiest, cheapest, toy- store keyboard imaginable. Every moment of coolness the band begins is shattered as soon as he touches the keys. Fortunately, the incomparable Chris Squire retains some level of instrumental dignity, as he cranks out some fine bass grooves behind the scenes, especially when in the wah-wah feel of the group's early releases.

This really is the death-cry of THE classic prog-rock band, and should be listened to only to remind fans how amazing their other albums are.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars Rejoice! Don't Kill The Yes!

I'm surprised to see so many people, even many people whose musical tastes I generally share, trash this album. I think this is an excellent album! Wakeman's keyboards are excellent and all over the place. The band allow themselves to have fun here, as opposed to on the very serious and classical sounding Going For the One album. Indeed, the slightly more cheerful feeling reminds more of Fragile than any other 70's Yes album.

I also feel that the five individual members are allowed equal space on this album. Steve's guitars and Rick's keyboards are given an equal amount of space. Rick even get a co-writing credit for the beautiful Madrigal (something unusual on Yes albums). Chris' bass is loud and bottom and sounds great (as usual). Jon's vocals are also great (as usual) and Alan hands in some great drumming.

In my opinion this is yet another fantastic Yes album, and I generally prefer it to the somewhat sterile Going For the One. There is no Awaken here, but the album as a whole is more consistent.

An underrated and often misunderstood album. Highly recommended!

Review by Gooner
3 stars Never understood the disdain for _Tormato_. A decent follow up to _Going For The One_. Yes get a little preachy on _Don't Kill The Whale_, but it was a great message for its time and in its current state - universally accepted that it's probably not a good idea to be killing whales(or any other creature for that matter) at the rate of extinction. _Future Time/Rejoice_ and _On The Silent Wings of Freedom_ both classic Yes tracks that should be included in any Yes concert for surprise purposes. _Onward_, gets my vote for best ethereal Yes track in their discography. Of note, if you're a fan of Mike Oldfield's excellent mid-80s period(QE2, Crises, Discovery), _Tormato_ is a precursor to Oldfield's '80s period to my ears (which I hold in high regard...Jon Anderson appearing on the aforementioned Oldfield LPs). Steve Howe's guitar is very snaky in an Oldfield-way(it's been noted his guitar sounds _kinda weird_ on TORMATO). That, in itself, should be worth checking out the underrated _Tormato_.
Review by russellk
3 stars Look in the dictionary under 'Curate's Egg' and you'll see 'Tormato'. While the album as a whole is rightly panned by reviewers, parts of it are excellent. Thing is, reviewers disagree on which parts.

So, why is this album panned? Because, unlike any other YES offering before now, this album is far less than the sum of its parts. The band were in a musical vacuum, unsure of themselves, and had assembled a studioload of gimmicry to try to make a 'new' sound. WAKEMAN unveils the dubious Birotron, while SQUIRE squeezes out a rather unusual tone from his bass. Compositionally the album is the definition of uneven: three slabs of the direst cheese, a couple of rather schmaltzy ballads, two hard rockers and (thankfully) one mini-epic in the tradtional YES style. The resultant lumpy feel and sharp sound of the album is difficult to like.

A candidate, then, to be cherry-picked; the better tracks will end up on your own playlists, while the rest will be discarded. 'Future Times/Rejoice' and 'Onward' (barely) make my playlist, while the two rockers are a pleasant listen once in a while. The rest of the album never, but never, gets played.

Ah, but 'Future Times/Rejoice' is such a misleading start. The two-part track lasts less than seven minutes but, in my opinion, is every bit as wonderful as the epics from 'The Yes Album', 'Fragile' or 'Close to the Edge'. For the first time since that latter album CHRIS SQUIRE is asked to play his bass as the lead instrument, and HOWE and WAKEMAN do what they do best: fill in the gaps. ANDERSON abandons the banal, direct lyrics of the previous album and teases us with deliberate obscurism, even reminding us of their 'hit' 'Roundabout' with the line 'ten true summers long'. But it's SQUIRE who dominates: listen to the octave-length slides as the song opens in jubilant fashion. During the song his bass spits and growls like a cornered leopard, while WHITE propels the music forward with an honest beat. I repeat: for the first time since 1972 the band's music has that astonishing depth afforded by SQUIRE's work. Up and down his range he goes, The rumbling backing the 'Dantalion' lyric is echoed a moment later at the 'hot metal' lyric, and I adore the sound he makes as ANDERSON counts away at the conclusion of the song.

But it is with the too-brief 'Rejoice' that the teasing is done in earnest. What a marvellous bass line! Where has that YES funk been? For me, this under three-minute track beats anything else they did post-CTTE. WAKEMAN solos away shrilly, and the song comes to a satisfying conclusion. Time for one last immortal SQUIRE run at the 6:20 mark as he soars up the fret, and the song ends. There's not a more uplifting song out there.

Which makes what follows all the more unpalatable. 'Don't Kill the Whale' is execrable. The lyrics are the main culprit: prog rock is complex rock, and such unforgivably banal lyrics trivialise both the music and the subject. 'They worship their own space/In a moment of love, they will die for their grace', ANDERSON says about the whale. Oh, really?

'Madrigal' passes in two underwhelming minutes, and might have sounded quite nice as a moment of respite between epics on a better album, but here it's completely irrelevant. 'Release Release' reprises the 'Going For The One' sound, harsh and angular, but with SQUIRE again in evidence. No idea what the point of the drum solo and accompanying canned crowd noise is: a SPINAL TAP moment, perhaps? This has got to be tongue-in-cheek - one would hope, anyway. As an aside, HOWE turns in an excellent performance here, but the composition's not good enough to make me care.

Oh dear, what have we here? 'Arriving UFO' and 'Circus of Heaven' confirm my opinion that ANDERSON ought not to try to make sense. The first of these tracks is quite acceptable musically, but with this track and the next, as well as the 'whale' track, YES throw themselves into the New Age arena, all beads and incense, wide eyes and intensity and fervent belief. Fine, it's a legitimate belief, but not so naively expressed. And what's this about: one the one hand ANDERSON tells us not to mistreat the whale, but he waxes lyrical about a circus. Sorry, Jon, have a think about that one.

'Circus of Heaven' is plain embarrassing. We're a thousand miles removed from the heights of the opening track.

'Onward' is a pleasant ballad, spoilt somewhat by the orchestration, and features a gentle love lyric. Can't argue with that. And the album finishes with 'On the Silent Wings of Freedom', a very good rock track with SQUIRE and WHITE ripping out some good work and HOWE and WAKEMAN earnign their keep. The only trouble is, it's not a patch on what they are capable of compositionally.

Look, this isn't the worst music ever committed to vinyl, but there are some stinkers here that mean listening to this from start to finish is a chore. Seven fabulous minutes and another fifteen of interest isn't a great return, but it's a mark of the band's loss of their core identity that they couldn't produce anything better. Curate's egg, indeed. I still think it's worth it, but understand those who don't.

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is probably the most criticized album out of the ones YES released in the 70's. While I can see where most of those criticisms are coming from, I think the album is much better than it is given credit for.

The main problem with "Tormato" is in my opinion the lack of a coherent style in the songs, especially comparing the record with all the previous albums, even including the more-boring "Tales From Topographic Oceans". It's like the band members didn't know where they wanted to take the group now. At moments, it would look like they still wanted to continue on the progressive-rock path; there are other passages where the direction is clearly different. The band was at a breaking point, and it reflects on the music.

Not only does the disc lack a coherent style but the songs are of different, uneven quality. On one side of the spectrum we have good tracks like "Arriving UFO"," Future Time/Rejoice" or "On the Silent Wings of Freedom." On the other, we have mediocre songs like the ultimately baffling "Onward" or the pop-oriented but not-catchy-or-memorable "Don't Kill the Whale". And even in the good tracks there's no consistency. The one that opens the album is the best example: a short-epic split in two parts where the normal flow and musical connection between both is difficult to grasp.

The performances are, as always, very effective. Anderson's may be the weakest one, especially in "Don't Kill the Whale" (which also has poor lyrics that don't do the mammal any favor) and "Release Release" (a good song otherwise). Wakeman and Howe seem to lack chemistry in this album. Squire plays by the book. White delivers efficiently but unimpressively.

In the end, we're left with a flawed album that is actually enjoyable if listened to with low expectations. For fans of "Close to the Edge" or "Relayer" this record will be a disappointment. The right rating would be 2.5, and without that option I'll round up this time and give it three stars for the entertainment factor and the generally-satisfying performances.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
3 stars Full 3 stars for me,indeed!What I can say for this album.The first one I want to mark is that the recording has sound close to poorness - I don't want to say that the songs are horrible,but the sound is something like blunt just like on Tales from Topographic Oceans.Of course,there is big difference between these two albums.Tormato is middle album;Tales from Topographic Oceans has music for a masterpiece and overall quality close to masterpiece!But the problem with the sound is almost the same.Tormato contains some fresh and special songs with good ideas.As whole it is weaker than other Yes' albums in terms of too many things,especially in the songwriting.I really believe it is a candidate for the weakest Yes' album of the 70s.But it still carries the energy of the previous giants.
Review by ProgBagel
2 stars Yes - 'Tormato' 2.5 stars

This album was the start of the inconsistency projected in the latter half of Yes's career.

While Yes was still able to retain all their members for the period of more than one album (since Close to the Edge), this one was a very shaky one. This album was documented as one where Yes was just unsure of themselves and differences became apparent even regarding issues of where to live. Some of the problems existed outside of Yes, like the absence of the essential producer of Eddie Offord. Taking his place were five different producers, coming and going at different times, really leaving the album unpolished and robbed of any potential.

Technical and personal issues aside, this album contained a few good numbers. Right off the bat with 'Future Times/Rejoice' and the hit 'Don't Kill the Whale' came out with some new and refreshed Yes taste. The album doesn't hit any points near the height of the first two besides the ending beauty 'On the Silent Wings of Freedom'. The track contains some of Chris Squire's best bass work, sometimes having a tone and style John Wetton used on King Crimson's 'Red'.

I can only recommend this to fans really, but the remaster with the bonus tracks is REALLY good. I am very surprised these songs didn't make it to the album, unless they were just not finished in time.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After so much evolution as a band, having constructed their own sound and produced masterwork after masterwork, it is a little strange to see the giant backward step Yes made with this disjointed album. Yes were almost back in the world of Time and a Word. Everything here lacks the majesty and substance of previous releases, and the production is muddy. Chris Squire's bass is swamped with effects and lacks the clear punch from prior recordings. The mixing sound more like what one would find on the bonus tracks on later releases of Yes classics. One highlight to this album is Rick Wakeman's synthesizer work, which rings out loud and clear. At best, it's decent rock music; at worst, it's comparable to the B-sides of a progressive rock band that's barely together.

"Future Times / Rejoice" Kicking off with a fairly exciting keyboard riff and some bass, Yes's ninth studio album shows promise. I've always enjoyed this song, and wouldn't mind seeing it performed live. It has an elevating vocal melody, and this is probably Anderson's best vocal performance on this album. I never cared for how "Future Times" goes right into "Rejoice." The two sections should have been separated, as they bear no relation to each other. The melody is awkward and the music jumbled together. After "Future Times," it's pretty safe to reach for the skip button.

"Don't Kill the Whale" This was a minor hit single, having a simple structure and an animal-friendly message. To me (and like many songs here), this one just doesn't sound like Yes, but it isn't a bad song.

"Madrigal" Wakeman's harpsichord meanders under Anderson's vocals. There isn't much to it, but it's brevity somewhat excuses that.

"Release, Release" This is one of the better tracks of the album, and has a similar feel as "Don't Kill the Whale," even if the composition is completely different. Alan White delivers a drum solo over the noise of a "screaming audience." I like that Squire gets some vocal time by himself on the bridge, and I enjoy the vocal melody quite a bit. In the end, the bass stands out (finally).

"Arriving UFO" This is the quirkiest on the album, but I don't really see the point in it. The vocal melody doesn't fit the music much at all. This music sounds like that of an amateur progressive rock band, and I could never get into it. The last part of it sounds like old video game music.

"Circus of Heaven" If the last song was the quirkiest, this is the second so. It's fun, but like most of the songs on the album, make it hard to take Yes seriously given their previous output. Guiltily, I'll admit to enjoying this song, even though it is far from a Yes classic. Anderson's son makes an appearance as the child speaker during the middle.

"Onward" This is a quiet song that has no variety whatsoever. It isn't bad by any means, but if one has heard what Yes is capable of on previous albums, the recording of this will remain a total mystery- Squire should have used it on a second solo album.

"On the Silent Wings of Freedom" Sadly, this is the closest to progressive rock Yes gets on this album. Squire finally steps into the spotlight as a bassist. This, however, is far from Anderson's best vocal performance, and Wakeman sounds a bit sloppy on his solos. This is some of the muddiest music Yes has ever done, and can be stressful to even listen to.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Tormato - from 1978 is an album not very well recived by Yes fans and not only by them. To me is a good album all the way, less intristing than previous ones, for sure, even less good than next one Drama, but still a pleasent album to listen. The progressive elements are still present on every piece, on some of them in bigger quantity, the musicianship is tight as always, nothing to complain about it. The keys of Wakeman are good, the voice of Anderson is not necesarly excelent, but is well done and enjoyble, the guitar of Howe made some intristing chops, so a winner to my ears. The year of 1978 was a turning point in many progressive bands,because of the punk and disco scene who were at the peak then, but Yes manage to release a good album, like their country fellows, Genesis, Jethro Tull, and many more. All the pieces to me are good with a plus one Don't Kill The Whale or Arriving UFO, the rest are also good. So a pleasent album to me, I don't understant why is treated so bad, the progressive music is still present making Yes to be still in business. 3 stars for sure, a good album that desearves a better view.
Review by The Quiet One
2 stars Roger Dean(Yes logo) + Hipgnosis(cover-work) = Tomato disaster!

After the highly acclaimed Going for The One, which was supposedly a return to their classic sound(Close to the Edge, Fragile), which I admit it is, but in my opinion in a much weaker strength in composition, came Tormato. Yes quality of composition in here is like the one of their first 2 albums, but the difference is that this one has the, sort-of, style of their classic Prog stuff, but just very weak elaborated and written, also this album being made after Relayer, Tales, CTTE, etc, also makes it highly dissapointing, though I usually don't take account on that.... Now to the songs:

Still something that reminds you a bit of the old Yes: These are 2 songs, the opener Future Times/Rejoice and the closer, On the Silent Wings of Freedom. As you may notice, they're also the longest songs in the album, though not ''really'' long, since the maximun they reach is the 7 minutes. Anyways, that's not really the point. The opener features a good/decent composition, with some time changes, but the musicianship as mentioned before really doesn't sound Yes. The awfull synths just are un-bearable. The rest is OK for Yes standards. Then, On The Silent Wings of Freedom, showcases a exciting bass intro, still the annoying synths are here, but the great bass work and classic Yes guitar-work makes this song the best of the album, as well as the only one memorable, though because of the album having such low quality, this song looks like ''WOW!'', but it really isn't, not even close.....

The rest of the songs are weak, not awfull, but weak, just un-inspiring, no good musicianship, NOTHING! It lacks of Yes' classic energy, well-thought compositions, and stunning solos.

I really have nothing more to say, their following album, Drama, is much better, with fresh ideas, and the great musicianship is back. I really can't recomend you this album, unless you want to collect all Yes albums....

2 stars

Review by lazland
3 stars This is by no means a Yes classic, but I do also feel that it is a little underrated and unfairly vilified. There is still a great deal to enjoy on this album, made, of course, at a difficult time for many bands in the genre.

What doesn't help is the production, which is shocking and makes the band sound as if they are calling from a phone box in deepest Papua New Guinea. I also hate the album sleeve, and (sorry) the Amercanisation of the title itself.

As I said, though, there is still a lot to enjoy on the album. When Anderson soars with See it All, See it All, 'till Tomorrow, accompanied by Howe's guitar, you remember just why you love the band in the first place.

I really like Don't Kill the Whale, and not just because of the ecological message which now seems somewhat ahead of its time. It's simply a catchy tune well executed.

Madrigal sees Wakeman on form with a pleasant accompaniment to a slightly throwaway Anderson lyric. Release, Release, though, is a mess, almost as if the band were , ill advisedly, trying to jump on the revolutionary punk bandwagon. It doesn't work at all, sounds dreadful, and is utterly misplaced.

Arriving UFO starts the second side off, and is a particular obsession of Wakeman's. It is by no means a Yes classic, but I do like the Reach Out sequence at the end.

Circus of Heaven is, to me, the finest track on the album, even though it really is untypical of most of the band's output. I just love the concept of a little boy (Anderson's son contributed to the vocals and was probably no older than my son is now) seeing all of the wonders of the universe, beautifully sung by Anderson, parading past him and then expressing disappointment that there was no candy floss, toffee apples, or clowns! Who said that Jon didn't have a sense of humour?

Onward I find to be a fine love song, very much enhanced by the brass element augmenting Squire's gentle and fluid bass line. It is also a great track live.

And so to the last song, On the Silent Wings of Freedom, which is somewhat more in the vein of epic tracks of yore. The trouble is, though, it's a poor epic, far too messy and bitty to have a coherent whole around Squire's bass, Wakeman's somewhat lazy keyboards, and an understated vocal performance by Anderson.

This line up of the band disintegrated shortly after the resultant tour (when I saw them for the first time in the round), very upset and disillusioned with each other and the music business as a whole. Personally, the LP sounds to me as if they needed a break from each other, but I wish it hadn't taken quite so long for this lineup to come together again. However, the breakup did absolutely usher in a completely new era for the band, and one that would, eventually, augur in a completely new direction and success. That, however, is for another review!

Three stars - absolutely good, but non-essential.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars I must enjoy Yes's body of work too much as I don't consider TORMATO the abyss that most claim it to be. I am willing to admit that ''Circus of Heaven'' is one of the corniest things they've ever done, and the keyboards and bass sound very different (respectively like butterflies and sewer water), but I'm not seeing a monumental failure here.

In particular, ''Future Times/Rejoice'' opens the album on a powerful chord. Poppy in feel, but very uptempo and relentless in that regard. Yes's attempts at unusual styles are probably what set off fans the most as they try Medieval music (''Madrigal''; sounds like Gentle Giant in a way), punk (''Release, Release'') and symphonic ballads (''Onward''; easily the weakest track). The overall rougher sound is annoying at first, but I've since gotten accustomed to it and learned to appreciate ''Don't Kill the Whale'' and ''On the Silent Wings of Freedom'' for what they're worth.

It's more awkward than previous Yes albums, but there's plenty of material to keep the prog fans interested.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Where Yes' previous albums fell on the right side of the Edge, this one stumbles over it in a quite disgraceful way. The songwriting is very mediocre at best. Short songs without much of a hook or melodies worth remembering.

It doesn't start all too bad though. Future Times, Don't Kill the Whale and Madrigal had the potential to be decent tracks. However, Wakeman chose to butcher each one of them with the most pointless drivel he ever got out of his annoying mosquito-moogs. Even in 1978 that moog sound had been dated for ages.

Release Release is interesting for the slight punk vibe it has in the verses, similar to how the Police would sound later. But they kill it again with a terrible bridge and chorus. Arriving UFO is another directionless track with very bad melodies. And don't get me started on that synthesizer again. On Circus of Heaven and Onward, Anderson comes up with a better melodies but it hardly feels like Yes material.

The first 3 minute of Silent Wings sound promising but they spoil it after 3.30 minutes with nasty breaks and modulations that are completely disjointed from the verses.

I'm a bit between 2 and 3 stars. If you could make me a remix with all of Wakeman's parts left out, I might end up with 3. Oh, and spare yourself the extra tracks of the re-issue if you don't want things to get too shameful.

Review by TheGazzardian
2 stars Yes had gone pretty much as far as the could figure out how to on Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans, and Relayer. On Going For The One, they proved that they knew how to write music of various moods quite excellently.

They found themselves in '78, being regarded as dinosaurs as the musical landscape shifted away from progressive rock, yet fully accomplished in the genre they had been a huge part of. So what did they do? The made Tormato.

With 8 tracks, this album had the most songs since Fragile, although this time they are all band pieces (unlike fragile, which was 4 full on songs and five solo pieces). All the songs are short, with On The Silent Wings of Freedom being the longest at just under 8 minutes. For sure, Yes had decided to play a little differently this time.

What we find here is a bit more playful Yes than we had had before. They had proven all that they could do, so were free to play around a bit more with lyrical themes that might never have graced previous Yes albums...lyrical things where the lyrics were more 'concrete' than "A seasoned witch can rearrange your liver", "High Vibrations Go On", or "Chased amid fusions of wonder." Instead, Yes find themselves singing about saving the environment, love, and a Circus from Heaven.

This gives the album its own charm, but makes it far less essential than the previous 6 Yes albums. The opener, Future Times/Rejoice, is a nice upbeat song that is always fun to hear but never really leaves much of an impact when it's over. Don't Kill The Whale features Yes singing to save the environment, including Jon Anderson singing "Dig It, Dig It" (no blame could be placed on any Yes fan surprised by this). Madrigal is a nice acoustic piece that, again, does not leave much of an impact after it's over.

Release Release is another nice, upbeat track, about similar in quality and feel to Future Times/Rejoice. This is a song that is simply about the joy of Rock and Roll, and shows that Yes, despite all that they had done before, really appreciated standard rock and roll music. It even features an audience cheering in the middle, reflecting the connection between performer and listener.

Yes gets a little silly with the next couple of tracks, Arriving UFO and Circus of Heaven. Any Yes fan who had spent hours bragging to his friends about why Yes' incomprehensible lyrics and amazing musicality made them awesome probably did not show either of these songs to those that they had bragged to, for they are pretty much the opposite of those tracks. Fun little tunes, although again they don't leave much of an impact, and they even feel a little awkward. Circus of Heaven features a cameo by Jon Anderson's son, Damien, at the end, which is somewhat cute but again must have come as a huge surprise to Yes fans who loved their previous work.

Onward, the next song, is probably the song that's most explicitly a love song that Yes has written since Steve Howe joined the band. It is pleasant and one of the better songs they penned in this era, although not the best version of the song.

On The Silent Wings of Freedom is a rocking track with catchy bass lines (which Chris Squire would feature in the WhiteFish solo section of their concerts in the future). Overall, it does not quite do as much as any recent Yes song that has been around the 10 minute mark since they released The Yes Album.

The best songs are probably Don't Kill The Whale, Onward, and On The Silent Wings of Freedom. The ironic part is that, the versions of Don't Kill The Whale and Onward on this album are not the best, and On the Silent Wings ... is far from essential. Live versions of Don't Kill The Whale is much more powerful live; check out the 'Live at Montreux 2003' version. Onward is pleasant here, but it is beautiful live on Keys to Ascension 1, where it is dominated by Steve Howe's guitar rather then Rick Wakeman's keys.

If you are a fan of Yes, this album could be a great listen, although it will not follow any preconceived notions about what a Yes album was up to this point. If you are not, there really isn't anything so great in this album that you should purchase it.

Review by ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars

Yes is one of the colossus of progressive rock with a really long history of ups (really high ups) and downs (surprisingly low downs) and it is commonly accepted that their highest moment started in 1971 (The Yes Album) and ended in 1977 (Going For the One), although they produced some fine albums before (Yes and Time and a Word) and after (Drama, The Ladder, Keystudio, Magnification, etc.) of this so called "golden era". Tormato is the second and last album for more than a decade of one of the most acclaimed formations of the band because of their classic masterpiece Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973,my personal favorite) which reformed after the recording of Tales... result of the substitution of Wakeman by Patrick Moraz (after Wakeman left unhappy with the recording). After almost four years of a highly successful solo career (with the production of albums such as The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur... and The Criminal Record), the "Wizard of Keyboards" returned to record the great Going for the One album.

In 1978 as a follow up of Going For the One the lineup of Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (the only constant member of Yes on bass and backing vocals), Rick Wakeman (keyboards), Alan White (drums) and Steve Howe (guitars) , released Tormato which was received with high expectations which weren't completely fulfilled, hence it isn't as highly regarded as its predecessor and Tales from Topographic Oceans.

This album represents the transition between Yes' "golden era", which is considered to end with Going for the One, and the not so acclaimed more accessible and radio oriented 80's era (with the exception of Drama). Here we have a mix of 100% progressive rock pieces and some less prog oriented songs.

The most progressive songs are: Future Times/Rejoice, On the Silent Wings of Freedom, Arriving UFO and Circus of Heaven.

And the "transitional" (I don't know how else to call them) songs are: Don't Kill the Whale, Release Release, Onward and Madrigal.

Future Times/Rejoice: is one of the few definitive progressive rock songs on this album and one of the closest to the "classic" Yes sound. It is dominated by great keyboard riffs courtesy of the "Cape Crusader" accompanied by a prominent bass and Jon Anderson's beautiful and esoteric vocals with the addition of some excellent guitar licks. 4

Don't Kill the Whale: is quite a nice song with some uninteresting and sometimes cheesy lyrics about (as the title announces) preventing the killing of whales. Anderson's vocals are the focal point of the song with some guitar soloing by Howe and a good support by the rest of the band. 2.75

Madrigal: a great ballad starring Wakeman on harpsichord and Anderson's characteristic "esoteric" vocals with some support by Howe on some acoustic guitars. 3.25

Release, Release: a fun upbeat song with some decent performances by the band (specially by Squire), somehow similar to Don't Kill the Whale's general atmosphere. Far away from Yes' characteristic sound. 3.25

Arriving UFO: here the band is closer to the progressive rock sound but still distant from what they did during the early and mid 70's. This is an odd song with some hints of their previous style but dominated by a weird keyboard sound by Wakeman. 3.5

Circus of Heaven: in the odd progressive vein of the last track the band presents a good performance with some more weird sounds and lyrics. 3.5

Onward: an amusing ballad that could fit better on an Anderson solo album with an instrumental background to the typical Anderson lyrics. 3.25

On the Silent Wings of Freedom: is the most progressive song of the album. Its highlight is Squire's bass playing, while Anderson and Wakeman have done better. At the end is a very well accomplished piece of music but is still far from their best. 4

Total: 3.44

This album shows a band in transition looking for some radio attention (which they got with Don't Kill the Whale) but still wanting to keep their progressive roots. It has lots of potential and could've been better but it is not bat at all. (and it is probably the reason of the split of the band after this and a completely new lineup for Drama just preserving Chris Squire and Steve Howe in the band)

3 stars for a not so well accomplished album by one of the pillars of prog and one of my favorite bands. Recommended after getting all the previous Yes discography, Drama, The Ladder , Keystudio (and/or Keys to Ascension) and Magnification... at the end is worth having....

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Yes' entry into the rather depressing 1978 sweepstakes among long time prog groups is situated in the middle of the pack. Flashes of former brilliance are not hard to find, but they may be somewhat outnumbered by failed attempts to adapt to the scene inundated by punk and then new wave.

The album begins relatively strongly with "Future Times/Rejoice" and "Don't Kill the Whale". Particularly in the latter, all members rock out convincingly in an ode to conservation. Wakeman even approximates whale sounds on his solo, and if you were studying biology back then you would have been impressed that the group at least knows the scientific classification for these beasts. One of the other strengths of "Tormato" is the variety of tempos, with pleasing mellower cuts like the entirely acoustic "Madrigal" and the romantic "Onward" contrasting with the generally high pitched activity.

On the downsides, some of the melodies could use a little work, like "Release Release" and "Approaching UFO", and "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" should have stayed instrumental throughout its length, as it simply doesn't stand as a song. Also, and this is sort of an insult and a compliment to both bands, but the tinny synthesizer slapstick, apart from sounding uncomfortably like contemporary STYX, remind me of ELOY on their backsliding 1983 album "Performance". In other words, it took ELOY 5 more years to succumb to the vagaries of the times, but when they did they did so by adapting 1978 YES!

Not quite the attack of the killer tormatoes some would have you believe, this YES release is a very weak 3 star effort.

Review by thehallway
3 stars UPDATE: Another overly-harsh review that doesn't correspond with the "good but non-essential" rating. The 'half-decent' tunes I mention, are in fact entirely decent, I like them in a different way to the seriously proggy earlier stuff. But my opinions on the bad tracks remain full of criticisms and tomato-related puns.......

REVIEW: You say tomato, I say Tormato, lets call the whole thing off...

I wrote in my 'Going for the One' review that that album was an example of Yes trying to expand their audience without forgetting they were a symphonic prog band. This rotten record shows the band THROWING PROG OUT OF THE WINDOW and attempting to get "down with the kids". As you would expect for the creators of 'TFTO', it fails. When Rick Wakeman threw that piece of fruit, he sure as hell hit the right album with it. I mean, there are some very occassional juicy parts, namely 'On the Silent Wings of Freedom' and 'Arriving UFO'. But these are outnumbered by the pips.

'Don't Kill the Whale' was a respectable single with an important message, and is thus forgivable. 'Release Release' is quite well executed too. It's the softer, squidgier songs that turn me off. Particularly the irritatingly sweet 'Circus of Heaven'. No prog-head can digest such fruit. With regards to the popular 'GFTO' again, that album opened up to the world of shorter songs, but remained relatively progressive. So by this point Yes had two roads ahead of them. Unfortunately, 'Tormato' continues down the commerical road, waving goodbye to anything tasteful. Why is it cringeworthy? Because it wants to be commercial but isn't. I mean, if Yes had knocked the Beegees of the no. 1 spot, then their commercial change in direction would have been justified. But even the disco-digging general public ignored 'Tormato'.

Splat. The filler is abundant in this "bad fruit". A few songs on here are potential prog epics. Their potential was never realised. For those half-decent longer tunes, and the guilty pleasures on here: 3 stars.

Review by progpositivity
4 stars As the bass riff from "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" invaded my consciousness, even as the opening guitar part rocked my world, I was blissfully unaware of the fact that I was supposed to be taking Yes "oh so seriously really". Add an impatiently frenetic and bouncing tenor vocal line and I naturally thought 'what's not to like'? When Jon sang "dig it", I "dug it"! All of it. From the Arriving UFO's to the under-appreciated unicorns and the hunted whales, I totally "dug it".

For, as I'm sure you've surmised by now, Arriving UFO was my introduction to the arpeggios of the mighty Rick Wakeman. Future Times/Rejoice was my introduction to the curiously odd phrasings of Jon Anderson. Tormato was my first introduction to "Yes"!

Even the much maligned "Circus of Heaven" created an ambient tapestry of fantasy and wonder not entirely unlike "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". Rather than deride it as inane, I still contend that the song makes a valid observation about how our own immaturity can result in us missing a bigger picture of wonder and amazement all around us.

OK. I'll readily admit that just as certainly as I benefitted from first hearing this album without carrying any burden of lofty expectations based upon past masterpieces, I now am somewhat handicapped by hearing it with a shortage of objectivity regarding its rightful place in the band's discography.

To me, Tormato is - and always will be - "Good to the last Splat". But someone tell me please! What is the name of the A&R Rep who approved that album cover?

Review by TGM: Orb
1 stars Tormato Rare album to actually lend credit to the 'I just couldn't make myself listen to it more than once to make this rushed knee-jerk reaction review' standpoint. The name itself is, or should be, a combination of torment and the ancient Sanskrit word for festering yet shiny dung. Obviously the band would be much too technically gifted to produce an utterly meritless turd if it weren't for the combination of terrible production and serious lapses in taste on the part of every band member.

Wakeman is here shinier and generally less pleasing than an arse-pimple. Squire has somehow acquired an utterly vapid, gutless tone, White's bag of tricks are a cheap and transparent plastic covering thrown over the stained furniture of the album's rhythms, Howe is more or less unremarkable and his trademark tones are draped over directionless parts. Anderson's chant-y and rather unmemorable melodies are here slammed into a number of songs with no real focal points, which robs most of his power. While Yes have hardly been the example par excellence for hard-hitting lyrics which are simultaneously accessible and guttural, Anderson's lyrics have never been so insufferably dumb or lazy as Tormato's and nor are the vocal arrangements very special.

The ultimate failure of Tormato doesn't come down to any failure by any particular member, but to the fact that everyone (except White, who's trying as hard as possible not to impress us) is trying to show off simultaneously with no particular concern for the actual songs. And the production and tone choices mean that all these separate half-arsed attempts to impress us fall flat in an overly busy mess. Future Times/Rejoice is an upbeat little number with a bit of vaguely countrified drumming and hideously messy and shiny production. The synth choices are hardly great, and Wakeman somehow manages to make even the organ sound wimpy. On the plus side, you can look forward to the Future Times when Tormato will have stopped.

Don't Kill The Whale. 'Our last heaven-beast' is sadly betrayed by Jon's moodless and thoughtless writing. Much as it's become the figurehead for the album's criticism because modest commercial success from short songs isn't OK, I genuinely think it represents the album's best musically. Fairly punchy, hilarious harmonies and a sort of balance within the piece that's not really around anywhere else here. Also, whatever you think of the song, Anderson singing 'dig it dig it' could've made music hall.

Madrigal comes from another world where Yes aren't the world's most tasteless band in 1978. Harpsichord, lush classical guitar and Anderson's vocals fit together very well. If 'Celestial travelers have always been here with us', they're probably now leaving early with a mumbled excuse and downcast eyes pretending not to know mystic J.

Release, Release ? the instrumental noodling will probably be considered a highlight, and for moments it's not that bad ? the transition at about 4 minutes in is pretty cool, the opening is solid, Squire has some funky bass near the end. Howe doesn't really pull off rock and roll, and added cheering doesn't lighten a bland drum solo or make it feel live.

Arriving UFO. Wakeman's uncharacteristic bit of organ echo fiddling lightens this unmemorable bit of trite Anderson writing. On the plus side, hilarious and the aforementioned organ. On the minus, the chorus melodies and a lot of the writing is banal.

Circus Of Heaven ? the inclusion of a child's voice deflating Anderson's maddening list of adjectives was slightly funny, but the song is otherwise pretty unredeemed. Anyway, using irony does not a good song make.

Onward: a bit of supple vibrato doesn't disguise a very boring melody and a general lack of instrumental writing. The keyboards (presumably Wakeman) are admittedly a fairly uncanny imitation of a dire over-orchestration.

On The Silent Wings Of Freedom is not a lost classic, nor is it really progressive rock of the calibre we expect from Yes. The awfully thin (as much the fault of the production as anything) rhythm section focussed opening is redeemed only by a couple of Howe's more liquid solos though neither of these seem to actually be aiming anywhere.

The problem with the whole is that there's nothing remarkable, surprising or (thank god) particularly memorable about Tormato. The problem with the individual parts is that they are, basically, Yes parodying itself.

Save the somewhat redeemed Don't Kill the Whale and Madrigal, an awful, awful album that the die-hard Yes fan will buy anyway. Recommended for anyone working on an incentive program to stop online piracy. Another positive thing about Guantanamo Bay's closure is that this album no longer has a place in the civilised world.

Rating: One Star. But not a very shiny star. 4/15 Favourite Track: Madrigal or Don't Kill The Whale

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Still classic Yes line-up (and Anderson is here as well), but the music is not same as before. Possibly, band is trying to find his way on new musical reality of late 80-s. Result isn't satisfying though.

Music is still really melodic, but instead of organic mix of symphonic sound and rock there we can hear symphonic pop-rock, and it's far not the same. Songs are less complex, more accessible, and often looks as self parody. Musicians are very professional, and Anderson tries hard there, but musical material is real disaster.

So, we have possibly Yes worst album , coming from 70-s there. Quality musicianship saved the album from being useless, but it's really far not these great music band played very few years ago. (Happily very soon same band with very different line-up will release one of their great album - "Drama").

Can't recommend this album to no-one who knows taste of real progressive rock, still not so bad release for pop-rock fans.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars In advance to its time. Unfortunately Tormato represents a jump in the 80s even being released in 1978. In general I forget this album, only Don't Kill the Whale, sometimes played live, is able to make me remember its existence.

I see lack of ideas on big part of the album. Release, release is an exception. A song in line with at least Going for the One with some interesting parts and with these non-trivial passages and changes in the signature typical of the best YES.

What happened to Wakeman actually? While Howe, Squire and partially White play on their usual high standards, Wakeman seems lost somewhere else and Anderson sounds just high-pitched. Let's forget "Arriving UFO": If aliens listen to this song they'll likely go back home.

The old YES can be heard on the closer "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom", but also this is just a good track, not a masterpiece.

This is one of the few albums in the YES discography that I can easily do without. However it's not too poor. Good for fans.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars An album, just for fans!

Just one year after the grandiose "Going for the One", Yes released their album entitled "Tormato" which despite not being a bad one, it has nothing to do with their best compositions, it is far from being at the same level of those masterpieces we know. Despite the line-up is the same as its predecessor, this time they did not find the correct formula.

One may think that this was just like a "warning: the 80s are coming" but actually no, this album has that 70s sound, the fact is that the music is not so brilliant nor interesting as they used to be; and another thing, don't blame the 80s because the next album (Drama) is much stronger and of course good.

Well, let me remind you that I do not consider this as a bad album, not at all, the thing is that we already have a point of comparison, and it is evident (at least to me) that Yes released much better albums than this, so that's why I started saying that this would be only an album for Yes fans, like me, not really an album I would gladly recommend to newcomers.

The most known track on here is "Don't Kill the Whale" which also has a video. An nice short song with great Howe guitars and cool music. Other songs such as "Madrigal" or "Onward" are weak tracks that left much to be desired. However it also has its nice songs, pay attention to "Arriving UFO" and "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" and you will enjoy them.

My final grade will be two stars. Better get other stuff, this was a lowdown. Anyway?

Enjoy it!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Tormato.

One of the most maligned of Yes albums.

I'll have to admit, I was disappointed when it came out. But in hindsight, it's not so bad. Emerson Lake & Palmer released "Love Beach" that same year, Gentle Giant released "Giant For A Day", Genesis put out "And Then There Were Three". This album is better than any of those. What it's not is anywhere near as good as any of the previous Yes albums since Steve Howe joined the band.

It has some decent songs. Future Times/Rejoice, Release, Release and On The Silent Wings Of Freedom are all good, but not great Yes songs. And none of the remaining tracks are bad, just not up to the standard we had come to know from Yes.

Compare them to the Rabin band albums, or "Open Your Eyes", and this album sounds good.

Review by baz91
2 stars I could not take this album oh so seriously really!

If there's ever been a cringe moment, it's Tormato. On the previous album, we had the soaring Awaken. On Tormato, we have Don't Kill the Whale. FAIL! I honestly don't know how this sudden dirth in musicianship could have happened in such a short space of time. The liner notes of the Rhino remaster say that they tried to write more concise songs to emulate the Top 10 success of Wonderous Stories, and this could not have backfired worse. You know Yes, right? That band that's known for writing long songs and using symphonic arrangements? Yeah, they released an album of 'Top 10' songs, and it's a joke. It's a joke, but there are some entertaining moments though!

The first track, is a two-part song called Future Times/Rejoice, and I honestly couldn't care less about it. The entire song is grating on your ears, extremely squeaky, unmemorable, and downright unpleasant. What's more it's almost 7 minutes long and it seems to take forever to get through. Howe's guitar sounds horrible! There are moments of goodness, but they are extremely brief.

What you're probably here for is the single that somehow wormed its way into the Top 40, Don't Kill the Whale. In fact, this track actually isn't that bad to begin with. Howe's guitar intro is very memorable, and Squire's funky bass is simply sensational! The lyrics about whales are very silly, but somehow enjoyable. At 1:43 the band set off on an instrumental that doesn't sound bad at all, and you could see this song becoming a hit until 2:30 where it all starts to go wrong. The song just sounds completely weird, and rather dissonant. What's more, this is pretty much the rest of the song! There's no verse to finish with, just the weird instrumental thing. So they failed to even write a good single! This really shouldn't be that hard for the people who wrote 'Close to the Edge'. (By the way, if you want all your visions of Yes as an amazing band pissed upon, look no further than the music video to this song. That's right, a music video. Warning: Watch video at your own risk. Yes cannot be held responsible for any vomit on your floor.)

This album is going really well isn't it? Let's put on another wonderfully forgettable song! Madrigal is mainly based around Wakeman's harpsichord. This track is very short, and very inoffensive, and you'll forget it as soon as you hear it, due to there being absolutely nothing interesting in it.

Now we actually get to a good song! When I say good, I don't mean that it has the high level musical quality of songs like 'Heart of the Sunrise'. No, no, no not at all sir. This track is actually extremely entertaining, and you won't get bored of it or fed up. After the awkward 3/4 intro, the song turns into an upbeat rock-y song. The verses are extremely enjoyable! There is also quite a few time signature changes, which we all love. There's even a drum solo! I think it's quite cheeky that Yes decided to include the sound of a cheering audience in the background to this solo. It's like when a TV show uses canned laughter. However this is a minor quibble. I have to say, I just love this song for how silly it is. If you're going to hear this album, listen to this track first!

Next up is Arriving UFO, and this is Yes at their silliest. And I love it. Jon singing lyrics about UFOs is great, and you have such classic bad lyrics as Put your feet on the earth, it is green. The music sounds silly, but there are some good moments in there, and this song is really memorable.

You know how I just said Arriving UFO is Yes at their silliest? I lied. They set a new height of silliness with Circus of Heaven. However, this is mostly Jon being silly, whereas on the last track it was the whole band. After tons of extremely silly lyrics, the song actually starts to sound sentimental and serious, and it's actually slightly touching. Jon's 5 year old son even makes a guest appearance (awww)! Still I'd be a bit embarassed to grow up and live with the fact I was in such a silly song.

Onward is a song that is somewhat reminiscent of Time and a Word. This would have done much better as a single than Don't Kill the Whale. The one bad thing about this song is HOWE! What the hell is he doing? The song sounds so beautiful and peaceful without his constant plucking in the background. Completely ruins an otherwise beautiful track.

The intro instrumental to On The Silent Wings Of Freedom, is much longer than you expect it to be the first time you listen to it. Squire's signature bass is given a proper workout here. Actually it's only at around 2:30 when Jon comes in. Some of this track is extremely cool. Lyrics like On the back of your forty-second screamdown are sung very powerfully. If you have the patience to put on this song, you'll find that it is actually quite interesting most of the way through.

Tormato is undoubtedly Yes's worst album of the 70s. The tracks I enjoy the most, are only enjoyable because they are silly. Not only is the quality of the music poor, but the album is also terribly produced, with instruments sounding in the wrong place a lot of the time. This also marks the first time Howe has ever annoyed me! The Rhino remaster includes far too many unintersting bonus tracks. With the splattered tomato on the album cover, it is hard to take this album seriously, and that's probably how it should remain. As a result, my review of this album hasn't been too serious either. To sum up, this is a terrible album with some good moments.

Review by colorofmoney91
1 stars Tormato is where Yes fans consider the band's material to start heading downhill. I can't disagree. I find the music here very uninspired and bland for Yes.

"Future Times/ Rejoice" is good enough a song, and follows a nice near-marching beat. It definitely sounds like Yes, but lacks any fantastic structure. The track is good while listening to it, but it doesn't stick in mind at all.

"On the Silent Wings of Freedom" is the last track on the album and sounds like it could've been on Relayer. It features the same style guitar playing as that album, but also features some random noises that serve no purpose. This is the most progressive track on the album, and I consider it to be the best of the album as well despite it's flaws.

Besides the first and last tracks on this album, all the other tracks only seem like above-par pop rock songs. I honestly can't say I'd suggest this to anyone for any reason besides the last track which is decent at best.

Review by tarkus1980
2 stars Ok, now this is just a bit too much fun. I'm all for the band enjoying themselves in the studio, but somebody had to bother to come up with some decent songs. And I'm all for assimilation of trends, but not at the expense of good taste.

Three problems abound here. The first and most critical, of course, is Anderson's songwriting. One might have guessed with Going for the One that he hadn't lost a step in writing more normal songs, but hoo boy one would guess wrong. There's one start-to-finish good track on here, one, and Anderson did not write it. Yup, "Onward" is a beautiful Squire ballad, with nicely moving lyrics and a lovely vocal melody - only the slightly inappropriate synth part mars it in the least bit. But the rest, ALL of the rest, is significantly flawed in some way.

The second problem is the arrangements. You know, I've enjoyed Yes' virtuousity and creativity in their arrangements as much as anybody. I like Howe's active guitar lines, I like Squire's hyperactive bass, I like Wakeman's synth meanderings, and I like White's take on polyrhythms. BUT NOT ALL AT THE SAME TIME. You cannot have success with everybody trying to solo and be overactive at once without somebody somewhat holding down the fort, and that is what utterly annihilates this album. It's like the egos of every band member suddenly flared up into an unstoppable beast, with all of them constantly trying to outdo the others (well, sort of - Howe is active on the album, but there really isn't a single decent guitar solo to be found). The result is that it is rare indeed on this album for anybody to be laying a solid foundation for the other members - I understand that that's more or less how free jazz works, but at least when it occurs in that context, it isn't over banal pop tunes that sound as if they were thrown together in about ten minutes.

Along the same lines is the choices of tone by Squire and Wakeman throughout. Squire's bass tone sounds hilariously stupid throughout the album, forcing itself higher in the mix without the additional benefit of actually doing something halfway interesting (though he pretends to, of course). But what is far worse is what happens to Wakeman, who somehow loses all semblances of good taste in his keyboard pallete. The sounds he coaxes from his various kinds of synths must have sounded dated a week after the album was released - perhaps he thought this would help make the album sell better, but in retrospect they're a large part of the reason this album is their weakest of the 70's.

Finally there's the problem of production. Before the 2004 remaster fixed some things, it was HORRIBLE. It was dry and papery, and none of the instruments cut through with any sort of crispness. The lack of any sort of decent separation in the instruments, combined with the fact that they're all galumping out in a nonsensical manner, ended up creating a cacophonous mess. The 2004 remaster made the sound better, but even it couldn't solve another problem; for the first time, Anderson's voice actually comes close to annoying me, as he shows neither force nor any sort of ethereality in his singing on this album.

Ok, don't get me wrong - there are some aspects of the album that enjoy, as I haven't given it a *. "Future Times," once you get used to the annoying instrumentation and production, is reasonably enjoyable (until, of course, it cuts into its second part, the dull "Rejoice"). "Madrigal" is somewhat pretty, with a nice harpsichord underpinning it. "Circus of Heaven" actually has some gorgeous vocals, the only time on the album I can say that, and the arrangements are surprisingly pretty. "Release Release" has some interestingly tricky guitar work at times, and is (in theory, at least) whacky enough to work. And the concluding "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" has a fairly interesting introductory bassline, and the rest of the intro isn't horrid either.

On the other hand, "Madrigal" has an alarmingly awkward vocal melody. "Circus of Heaven" has extremely trite lyrics and another awkward vocal melody, not to mention that I can easily understand how many would be annoyed at the chiming in of Jon's son Damian at the end. "Release Release" has horridly corny arrangements and a ridiculous "live" drum solo near the end that short circuits any enjoyability it might otherwise have. And "OTSWOF" ... eek. The lyrics are stupid beyond words, and that's only compounded by the fact that the song has COMPLETELY lost steam by the fourth minute or so. I, for one, cannot STAND those "majestic" sounding chimes in the middle of the song, as the track does absolutely nothing to justify such an attempt at majesty. And this horror lasts for eight minutes, of course.

(I should note that I've heard one version of the track I like quite a bit, from the 1979 Wembley show)

Oh, and two of the other songs are pretty much just terrible. "Don't Kill the Whale" has more stupid lyrics (it's quite interesting that, as soon as Jon started trying to write "normal" lyrics, he suddenly couldn't think of anything decent to say), and it just sounds way too trashy and gross for my tastes. Then there's "Arriving UFO," which is slightly fun to listen when on, I guess ... until my brain kicks in in the slightest and lets me know what a dumb song I've just heard. The melody is of decent quality, and the lyrics might be funny in their own way, but then there's Wakeman. The "alien" noises are a bit of a hoot, but the rest of his keys are annoying and cheezy enough to make me want to bang my head against a wall. Where did your sense of good taste go, Wakey?

Indeed, where did your sense of good taste go, Yessy? I mean, I guess I can understand enjoying the fact that Yes is "having fun," but I want good songs. And well-constructed arrangements. And production that doesn't make my brain cramp. Not this, thank you.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Tormato" is the 9th full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Yes. The album was released in September 1978 by Atlantic Records. The album was genereally ill-received by critics and fans alike, but still managed to crack the top 10 lists in several countries. Several members of the band have since stated that Yes, at this point, felt unsure about their musical direction and that creative differences, with Chris Squire, Alan White and Steve Howe on one side of the fence and Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman on the other side of the fence, didnīt make the recording and mixing process any easier. After touring for the better part of a year in support of the album, the differences had become unbearable and as a consequence Jon Anderson and shortly thereafter Rick Wakeman left Yes.

...I donīt know if it was the internal strife or other factors that had an impact but "Tormato" just isnīt quite on par with the bandīs earlier material. Iīd say the opening track "Future Times/Rejoice" is the highlight of the album, but I actually enjoy most of the tracks. At least to some extent. They generally donīt sound as inspired or creative as the bandīs earlier output but I most definitely wouldnīt call "Tormato" a bad album. The production is professional, the musicianship is outstanding as ever (those harmony vocals are just yummi) and the tracks are full of progressive details despite the generally shorter song lengths and decreased structural complexity. The lyrics might be a bit cringe worthy at times, but really! Thatīs almost always been the case with Yes lyrics if you ask me.

So while "Tormato" is arguably Yes weakest album from the seventies, I still think a 3 star rating is warranted.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Throw a rotten tomato at the downward spiral of prog.

It is difficult to know what happened here but this was a brand new beast that still garners mixed reactions from the Yes faithful. I want to like this but it is impossible when it is full of such dire tracks and awful lyrics that never resonated with me. As always certain tracks jump out as excellent examples of symphonic prog. The problem is it is a rather inconsistent album and most of it seems to have been ignored both commercially and in the prog circuit. Indeed the songs rarely trouble a Yes concert set list.

There was nothing wrong with the band lineup, in fact it was the much celebrated lineup of Anderson, Squire, Wakeman, White, and Howe. In the same way as "Going for the One", the album is more accessible, poppy and seemed to be designed to reinvent the sound, brushing aside the prog elements that made the band so endearing to pave the way for a radio friendly approach. It did not work, as it alienated fans and did nothing to generate new fans with its list of mediocre tracks. There is very little to recommend this apart from the intriguing 'Don't Kill The Whale', the wonderful wild and wacky delight 'Arriving UFO', and the soaring 'On The Silent Wings of Freedom'.

Now for the bad points and there are rather a lot of them. The album starts with a benign piece of nonsense 'Future Times/Rejoice', which starts okay and then meanders into some very boring noodling. 'Madrigal' is pretty but that is about it. 'Release, Release' is forgettable and over complicated. 'Circus of Heaven' is just plain silly and never takes off with the worst lyrics that may be classed as a guilty pleasure, but it is rather grounded in polyphonics and pointless soloing. 'Onward' is forgettable, beautiful, but tripe with Howe overdoing it on the finger plunking.

There is not much else to say, except this is a step down from "Going for the One" which was a huge step down from the excellent standard of the previous albums. It is ironic that the album cover has a tomato thrown at it; perhaps this was a rotten tomato from the fans who were disillusioned by this new approach. Yes were on a downward spiral and believe it or not it actually became worse as the 80's kicked in, effectively destroying the prog genre for a time.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Tormato was an album revealing a band with serious issues. First off, as Rick Wakeman observed at the time the production on the album feels rather flat, which doesn't help the fact that the songs feel tight and claustrophobic. Trying to produce shorter tracks and steering away even from modest epics like Awaken from Going For the One, the band ended up producing overstuffed compositions which often (as in the case of Freedom and Release Release) sound like the band had written one of their usual side-length tracks and then trimmed the climatic portions of it. The band simply has no space to breathe - there's several tracks where Steve Howe seems to be soloing constantly, simply because there's no other way to cram his ideas into the running time of a track.

It doesn't help that the compositions are also just a muddled step down from the crystal clarity of Going For the One. Don't Kill the Whale is amusing enough but forgettable, but the others lurch into self-parody all too regularly. (Has Jon Anderson ever sung anything as ridiculous as Arriving UFO?) Closing not-quite-epic On the Silent Wings of Freedom is the other album highlight, if only because it suggests what the band were still able to accomplish in a longer song format, even then it's hardly essential if you already have the albums from The Yes Album to Going For the One.

Tormato would end up being Yes' weakest album since Time and a Word or the self-titled debut, but at least those two albums showcased a band who were growing into their prime. Tormato, by contrast, captured the group in decline. That said, there's still material of interest here, and it's pretty evident that the band were already looking into adopting more modern synthesisers and production techniques, which at least indicates an attempt to recalibrate their sound with changing times, even if some of the novel technologies they play with here have ended up dating a little poorly.

Review by stefro
2 stars Of all Yes' albums, none manage to split the fan vote in same way as 1978's 'Tormato'. Cherished by some, loathed by others, 'Tormato' finds Yes stuttering across a stylistic crossroads with blind-fold firmly fastened. This was, of course, Yes' ill-judged answer to the awful punk rock onslaught that had from 1976 started to cast it's ugly shadow over Great Britain, with the same career-threatening fate also befalling many of their progressive rock colleagues who were faced with a stark choice in this darkest of musical hours: split-up, or go 'commercial'. Although still featuring many elements of their trademark symphonic sound, 'Tormato' is notable for it's short songs, sentimental edge and polished production values. Whereas the previous years 'Going For The One' had hinted ever-so-slightly towards this new direction, it still featured a couple of lengthy epics in the mould of their classic, early-seventies guise. However, for many, 'Going For The One', which saw the return of star keyboardist Rick Wakeman, would prove to be the last truly decent Yes album of the 1970s(and in all probability their least 'classic' release). 'Tormato', which features the same line-up of Wakeman, Steve Howe(guitar), Jon Anderson(vocals), Alan White(drums) and Chris Squire(bass) would prove popular throughout the USA, yet it's poppy sheen found many detractors in the group's homeland, and for good reason. This is Yes at their most churlish and simplistic, reeling off a messy and over-produced album filled with sub- standard tracks that barely resemble the seminal epics and sharply-structured instrumental passages found on the likes of 'Close To The Edge' and 'Relayer'. With only the driving, environmentally-concious rocker 'Don't Kill The Whale' deserving any kind of mention, 'Tormato' therefore goes down as one of the group's real low- points, charting a sugary pop-prog sound from a group running out of ideas. One for the die-hards only.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One thing I will never understand is the hate for this album and all the love for GFTO. Both are weak compared to Relayer but also about equal in terms of quality. I actually prefer Tormato to GFTO. Slightly. Possibly the worst title of any Yes album and certainly one of the worst album covers. Wakeman throws a tomato at a picture and you call the album Tormato and release it that way? Whatever. The criticism about the production and Wakeman's choice of keyboard sounds seem fair. The playing and compositions, however, are far better than most would have you believe. Some don't like the lyrics on this album. Maybe they don't like songs about whales, UFOs and children's stories but prefer to hear Jon Anderson sing about moving movements on lawns instead.

Speaking of Jonny boy, this will be his last Yes album for awhile (he will co-found a new group called Cinema who will be forced to change their name to "Yes"). Wakeman will also leave. Again. The next album has the New Wave duo The Buggles as members. It seems the members of Yes were keeping up with a lot of the current music at the time. I think another reason some don't like this album is the presence of some funk, reggae and R&B influences in the music. Tormato also sounds a lot more 'happy' than previous Yes albums did. Interesting for a band with a lot of in-fighting at the time. I like the tones that Chris Squire uses for his bass here but some do not. It sounds like he is using some kind of auto-wah (Mu-Tron III?) on his instrument of choice.

"Future Times/Rejoice" is not a bad opener. The keyboard sounds here really suck and tarnish what is otherwise a well-written song. This track features some of Alan White's best drumming on the album. I don't know if there was a whale-killing epidemic in the late 1970s or not but Jon felt a need to write a song about it. Dig it. I've always loved this song, a reggae-influenced mid-paced rocker. Features a great synth solo from Wakeman that leads into a cool slightly spacey mantra/chant section. Great symphonic ending as well. "Magrigal" is pure filler, sounds like the bastard child of "Wond'rous Stories" (another song I hate). Mostly a harpsichord based vehicle for Jon's vocals. "Release, Release" almost sounds like the bands attempt at punk. Overall a mediocre song. Some hate the mock 'live' part in the middle with the pointless drum solo and boogie-woogie guitar playing but I think it's the best part of the song.

"Arriving UFO" is one of the most criticized songs on the album, yet is one of the most interesting and one of the stronger tracks compositionally. It has a nice flow to it. I really like the rockin' instrumental parts. "Circus Of Heaven" is another song that usually gets universally bashed. Most of the hate comes from the fact that Jon's son talks in the song. As if that's reason alone to dismiss an entire song. Lyrically it is based upon a story Jon wrote for his son (you hear the child's actual response to the story). I like when bands throw in little things like that into their songs. Musically it starts off very tropical island sounding; it's hard to listen to this and not think of sunny beaches. Later on becomes more, uh, nighttime-y and childlike-y. I prefer the studio version of "Onward" to the much later Keys To Ascension live version. I really like Steve Howe's guitar playing on this song which reminds me of something else. Never really cared for it but it is a pretty little song anyway.

Album closer "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" is the standout track. Howe and Squire sound great in this song. Love the instrumental buildup before Jon starts singing. Just about everything in this song is perfect and it's probably the closest Yes came to sounding like pre-1975 Yes since, well, 1975. There is no epic here but overall Tormato is perhaps a more 'proggy' album than GFTO. All in all, Yes would never reach the heights of the early 1970s again but the three albums they made after Relayer still have their fair share of good prog. I'll give this 3 stars.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Tormato - Yes (69/100)

There seems to be a general consensus that Tormato marked the end of Yes' winning streak. There had been personal differences arising in the band since Tales from Topographic Oceans, and combined with their conflicts of artistic vision and a greater level of alcohol consumption than should normally be attributed to a progressive rock act, suffice to say there was a steady foundation for things to fall apart. Though it seems to have earned its own small cult of respect as the years have passed, Tormato sounds undeniably disjointed and unrefined when compared to its predecessors- it's as if Yes were no longer interested in playing together, instead hopelessly entertaining a notion that inspiration and chemistry would suddenly start up again. In spite of the obvious lack of inspiration and synergy, Tormato still manages to be a fairly engaging and surprisingly underappreciated record, although the band's better bouts continue to weigh heavily against it by comparison.

Like the album's title, Tormato is itself an awkward portmanteau, pairing Yes' flashy progressive style with the then-nascent 80's pop kitsch they would deliver in the decade that followed. Like Yes' first two albums, Tormato seems to have flown under the radar, even for many otherwise-hardcore Yes fans. While the collective amnesia towards Yes and Time and a Word struck me as being criminally unfair, it's quite understandable why Tormato hasn't received much attention in hindsight. After all- virtuoso musicians they may be- who wants to listen to musicians without inspiration or passion? Listening to Tormato, I get the mental image of a band of musicians playing with their backs turned to one another- there's the general impression they're working together towards the same goal, but there's no collusion or chemistry between any pair of musicians here. "Future Times / Rejoice" is a finely written, atmospheric song, but it feels like the musicians have each fled to their own little worlds. Quite a few of the songs here are otherwise well written: "Onward" and "Madrigal" are two beautiful ballad-type tracks, and "Don't Kill the Whale" features some great melodic writing- I understand it became a minor hit for the band. Whatever the case, it's less the composition of Tormato, and more the respective execution that proves to be most problematic for the album.

While I appreciate the impact Rick Wakeman had on most of Yes' canon masterpieces, I've never been a fan of him outright; his attempts to reflect classical orchestrations seemed like an echo at best. However, by Tormato, my ambivalence has turned to disdain- there are parts here where it actually sounds like he's trying to sabotage the album. His synth solos are abrupt and seemingly aimless, and the budget tones he's chosen are becoming of a garage neo-prog act. The lack of chemistry may extend to Steve Howe and Chris Squire's respective noodlings as well, but Wakeman's carelessness is by far the most obvious.

By all means, Tormato is saved by Jon Anderson, who seems to have tried to compensate for the ambivalence of the others. So much of Tormato has his rose- tinted signature on it. "Future Times / Rejoice" and "Circus of Heaven" are each coloured with overt tinges of Anderon's psychedelic Romanticism. The beautiful slower tracks (and album highlights) "Madrigal" and "Onward" showcase his angelic vocal qualities. In fact, it's the more band-oriented tracks that fare less successfully here; "Release Release" is hyperactive and a little disorganized, "Arriving UFO" is rather boring, and "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" is a half-hearted attempt at an epic. It's possible Tormato may have been better-received had it been labelled as a Jon Anderson solo record. Yes' signature vocalist would fly the coop after this album and make way for some Buggles replacement; had he not returned to front the reimagined pop Yes on 90125, this album would have made a fine swansong for him.

An audibly compressed production, lack of chemistry and awkward flow all serve to hold Tormato back from its potential. It's a shame, really, because I'm convinced there was a great album lurking somewhere in its framework. Had the songs here been given the same attention to detail and drive as Yes had with Fragile or Close to the Edge, it would have been excellent. Of course, the same could be said about a great many albums we've collectively dismissed as mediocre. Tormato is scarred by its role as the beginning of the end for Yes, but there are a few gems here that are nonetheless worth the experience.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars On "Going For The One" YES had come full circle regarding their musical differences and successfully reunited the lineup of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Alan White, Chris Squire and Rick Wakeman. It was a transitional album that honed down the bombastic complexities of albums like "Relayer" and "Tales From Topographic Oceans" and simplified the song structures with the intent to fit into a changing musical world where simplified music had dethroned the earlier 70s perceived excesses. YES successfully crafted an album that stayed true to their sound while taking the first step into their progressive pop style without totally severing the progressive umbilical chord from the past by adding the beautiful "Awaken" to finish off the album and perhaps the era of fully progressive rock.

Their 9th studio album TORMATO finally jumps ship altogether from the full-fledged progressive rock of the earlier years and delivers one of their very first progressive pop albums that would usher in a couple decades of similarly inspired music to follow. The first thing about this album that confuses the first time listener is the question of just where in the world did they get the album title? Is a TORMATO a tornado that hit a vegetable market that happened to have all tomatoes that day? A craggy outcrop of rock on the summit of a hill in the town of Mato on the island of Sarawak in Malaysia? Or is it a radioactive tomato that morphed into a Godzilla type creature that is ready to devastate Baltimore? Guess again. The name was actually derived from Steve Howe's idea of naming the album "Tor" after the highest point in Dartmoor, England. The artist Hipgnosis who designed the "Going For The One" album also did this one and after Wakeman objected to the design he threw a tomato at it which ended up as the album cover of choice, so TORMATO is simply a combination of the "Tor" idea and the tomato being thrown. Not my favorite album title or cover either, but there it is.

Musically TORMATO is a strange beast which features virtuosic classical trained progressive rockers unleashing their full musical prowess into short radio friendly track lengths. It's actually kind of interesting if you can embrace the irony of it all. As horrible as this album is purported to be, i personally don't find it that way at all. No doubt i do find this to be the weakest album of their 70s output, but a weak album by one of the greatest prog bands in history is still a worthy album to experience and much better than some of the utter crap like "Union". Right from the get go "Future Times / Rejoice" embraces a musical glee with the vocals of Jon Anderson who seems to take lead on this album as the centerpiece which the musical "noodling" revolves around. While the melodies tend to be pleasant enough pop inspired songwriting, the virtuosic performances around them are a bit surreal to say the least. The lyrics of YES have always tended to be a little spacey and hippie dippy and they only become more so here whether it be about environmental concerns on "Don't Kill The Whale" or new age fantasies on "Arriving UFO."

Overall this is not a horrible album but after all i love good pop music as much as i love good prog. There are many examples where a band is successful in one style and is pathetic in the other. YES proves here that they have what it takes to create a very decent middle of the road album that peaks and troughs in both arenas of pop and prog. I assume the main objection to this album revolves around that it went in the pop direction at all, but for me that is not a problem as living in the real world of the day, YES also proved they had the foresight to see the writing on the wall and adapted to the new world without compromising the sounds and style they were known for. Ingenious if you ask me. I can honestly say i like every track on this album except for the "Circus Of Heaven" track which kinda makes me wanna hurl. While i wholeheartedly concede that this was indeed a major step down in quality and the beginning of a loathsome era for their original prog fans, i can only admire the tenacity of YES for steering their musical vehicle into arenas that kept them relevant at the time without totally watering down the music to unlistenability (that would eventually come). By keeping the band name alive and kicking was relevant for new fans discovering older progressive rock and wished to delve into their discography. Successfully maneuvering the business aspects of the musical world in the late 70s aside, i actually find this to be an enjoyable album for the most part and while not a desert isle pick it is by no means designated to the completists only file because i find the melodies on this one infectious.

In the end, this album was the breaking point for a band who was obviously placating a musical market to the best of their abilities and after this album and tour both Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman would jump ship leaving the band's future in question, but with hind-sight being 20/20 we know that the band would constantly reinvent itself in most unforeseen and unorthodox ways with some successes and unfortunately, ho hum, way too many that were not.

While i rarely find bonus tracks on the YES remasters to be essential this one actually has some total winners that for me are worth the price of admission alone. The track "Money" for example is so experimental and different from anything the band has done that you would hardly guess that it is a YES track at all.

3.5 but rounded up because TORMATO doesn't get enough love in these here parts ;P

Review by Modrigue
2 stars Strange cover art, strange title and no more long suites. Is this the end of YES as we know it? Looks like it... One of the torment of this album are Rick Wakeman's keyboards, much too present and dated. Steve Howe's guitar interventions remain quite rare. To be honest, the guitar dominated songs seem to be the best passages here. However, more important, the compositions are pompous without providing the enchantment and evasion of the previous records.

The opener "Future Times / Rejoice" is a good illustration of the synthesizers problem of "Tormato". A little irritating, this song is barely listenable and hard to follow. On the contrary, "Don't Kill The Whale" is the best track of the disc. Essentially guitar-driven, this groovy melancholic rock contains beautiful Howe and Wakeman soli. Lifely and nice. Back to boredom with the baroque "Madrigal", which could have been included on an annoying solo album of Rick Wakeman. In contrast, the most surprising moment is the punchy "Release, Release", an energetic hard blues-rock! YES' response to the punk explosion? Maybe, however it does not necessarily result in a good song...

"Arriving UFO" sounds cheesy with its falsely futuristic sonorities, whereas "Circus Of Heaven" and "Onward" are more delicate, but unfortunately rather average. Nonetheless, the second half of the record is saved by the other good track, "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom". Also guitar dominated, this ender is sort of a cool spacey jazz/rock improvisation, the YES way.

"Tormato" is clearly YES' weakest studio release of the 70's. The magic and the ambition that could be found on "Relayer", "Close to the Edge" and even "Going for the One" is now gone. The music does not transport you to Roger Dean's world enough this time. Listen to "Don't Kill The Whale" and "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" though.

After the first recording sessions of the next album, "Drama", Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman will left the band, and another decade will begin...

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 75

'Tormato' is the ninth studio album of Yes and was released in 1977. It became for being the last studio album with the group's usual classic line up. In 1980 Jon Anderson left the group and returned only in 1983 with their eleventh studio album '90125'. After de departure of Anderson, Rick Wakeman also quit the band, because he believed that Yes couldn't continue without the Anderson's voice, which was one of the key elements of the band's sound. He only returned in 1991 with their thirteenth studio album 'Union'. 'Tormato' became a mark in Yes's musical career, because after it, there was no more stability in the line up of the band, with practically constant changes from album to album, in the future. This line up would only be joined again on their compilation album, 'Keystudio', released in 2001.

After 'Going For The One', it was also Hipgnosis who made the design for the art cover of 'Tormato'. However, the photographs taken by Hipgnosis for the album's cover were so impressive that Wakeman, displeased, decided threw a tomato to the pictures taken for the album. As the original album title was to be 'Yes Tor', due to a geological formation in southern England, the cover and the title of the album were adjusted accordingly to this new occurrence.

'Tormato' has eight tracks. The first track is divided in two parts 'Future Times' written by all band's members and 'Rejoice' written by Anderson. This is a good track, not as great as some others from their previous studio albums, but still is a track where we can even see some progressiveness. It's a good opening to the album and represents, for me, one of the best three tracks on the album. The second track 'Don't Kill The Whale' written by Anderson and Chris Squire is a very interesting song chosen to be released as a single with the aim of promotion the album. This is the Yes's animal rights protest song, the ecological message of the band. In those times, these songs had a respectable and important message when the environmental concerns were beginning to rise. The third track 'Madrigal' written by Anderson and Wakeman is the shortest song on the album but it's also an amazing piece of music. This is clearly a Wakeman's song where we can clearly see some influences of the medieval music. This is one of the three best songs on the album. It has great melody and it has also great harpsichord and acoustic guitar works. The fourth track 'Release, Release' written by Anderson, Alan White and Squire is also another interesting track. It's clearly a song influenced by rock, very energetic and with some interesting performances by all band's members. The fifth track 'Arriving UFO' written by Anderson, Howe and Wakeman is, for me, the most weird and weakest song on the album. It's an uninspired song that reflects the fascination for the star trips, so usual in those times, but that doesn't deliver in musical terms. I even don't like the way of singing of Anderson on the track. The sixth track 'Circus of Heaven' written by Anderson, represents another weak point of the album. I don't say that this is a bad track, but this is clearly an Anderson's song that shouldn't be part of a Yes's album. This song should be part of an Anderson's solo work, because has nothing to do with Yes. The seventh track 'Onward' written by Squire is a simple, calm and beautiful love ballad with excellent arrangement and orchestration, dedicated to his wife. This song is different, in style, of the rest of the album, because besides the orchestra there is few use of other instrumentation by the other band's members. The eighth track 'On The Silent Wings Of Freedom' written by Anderson and Squire is the lengthiest song on the album. It's the last of the three best songs, the third best track on the album. It's also considered the only song genuinely progressive of the album. It may be the favourite track on the album by some, perhaps due to its sound, which is more Yes than anything else on the album. It's a symphonic and a jazzy song with good individual performances by Howe and Wakeman, guided by the energetic drumming beat of White and the harmonious bass of Squire.

Conclusion: 'Tormato' is undoubtedly the Yes's album from the 70's less loved by their fans. Many believed that half of the album only serves to occupy space and others said it was a logical progression from 'Going For The One'. In my opinion none of them have reason. When the album was released I bought a copy and me and my friends liked the album. 'Going For The One' is one of the best albums from the band and 'Tormato' isn't as bad as many say. We mustn't forget that 'Tormato' was released in the high of the punk rock era, during which, Yes were seen as old dinosaurs of the progressive rock and were criticized by representing it. So, it's for me evident that Influenced by such musical ambient, they began to change some aspects of their sound and composing shorter songs, performed in a lighter style. So, it was born 'Tormato', a transitional album and an album that even the band's members themselves said that they weren't sure about some of the material on it. However, the album maintains the basic and unmistakable sound of Yes, unlike Gentle Giant's last studio album 'Civilian', where the band's sound is practically unrecognizable.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Tormato has already been reviewed several times and as to be expected, the reviews are mixed, most people considering this album one of the band's weakest. Most of the classic line-up was involved in this album including Rick Wakeman back on the keys, Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on the guitar, Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums. Everything was set up for a great album. But because of dissention among the members, and the inability to agree on which direction the album should take, what we ended up with is a mostly disjointed album with terrible production. Wakeman had it right when he said that they ended up with good enough songs, but the production was bad.

There are some salvageable tracks here that would have become classic Yes songs on another album, specifically "Future Times/Rejoice", "Don't Kill the Whale", "Onward" and "On the Silent Wings of Freedom". But for the most part, you get disjointed songs, with solo sections that feel like they were just dropped into a track. I notice this mostly on "Release Release" where there is an annoying high pitched Hammond solo by Wakeman that doesn't match everything else going on in the song.

So, it's true its far from being their best, but it isn't their worst either. And, if nothing else, it ushered in what would become another classic in the next album "Drama". Someone needed to hit the reset button after this album, and after Jon and Rick left the band in 1980, that is what happened. And it was a much needed change that ended up saving the band in the end.

Review by patrickq
2 stars I'm a bit of an outlier on a couple of points here. First, I don't mind the artwork. True, it's not Roger Dean, but it's ambitious and I like the color scheme. Second, I think "Arriving UFO" isn't as bad as some claim, and it seems unfair to lump it with "Circus of Heaven," as seems to happen regularly.

But where I concur with many Yes fans is in considering this among their weakest albums prior to the band's 1980 breakup. Personally, I place Tormato at the bottom of that list, alongside Tales from Topographic Oceans. Tormato is not a terrible album, but it's a letdown, even after the middling Going for the One. Reviewers have blamed the lower quality of Tormato on the lengths of the songs, the use of Dolby noise reduction, and even on the rise of punk rock. To me the issues are (a) continuing erosion of quality control, brought on in part by a self-inflicted touring-and-recording cycle; (b) lack of compositional input from Steve Howe (guitar) and Chris Squire (bass) - - or, at least, a lack of inclusion of their input; and (c) the absence of an outside producer in song selection, arrangement, and mixing.

From the bonus tracks released on more recent reissues, we can tell that the band had a sufficient quantity of song ideas; and given how quickly parts of Drama came together, it's clear that Howe, Squire, and drummer Alan White were capable of producing worthy contributions. But in my opinion, the problem is an overdose of keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Yes has traditionally been a guitar-based band, and to great effect. While the Wakeman-Howe balance was nearly perfect on their first two albums together (Fragile and Close to the Edge), by the time of Tormato there's either too much Wakeman or not enough Howe. This is true in both in the composition and the arrangements of the songs here. Among the downsides to this approach is the situation throughout the album where Howe and Wakeman seem to be playing simultaneous lead parts which fight for the same sonic space.

Combine this with mediocre material - - substandard, really, for this band - - and you have an album whose problems can't be fixed by lengthening the songs or bringing back Roger Dean. It seems like the issues were internal and related to personal disagreements, and when these were later resolved via the (temporary) departures of Anderson and Wakeman, a much more cohesive band emerged.

I believe I could justify either a two- or three-star rating for Tormato. I'm going with two because the LP pales in comparison to the other four Yes studio albums from 1974 to 1984, and thus, is really only for fans or collectors. Get Relayer (1974), Going for the One (1977), Drama (1980), and 90125 (1983) first. If you're a fan at that point, Tormato is certainly worth a listen.

Review by The Crow
4 stars "Tormato" is some kind of logical continuation of "Going for the One".

Not only did the band repeat the same line-up, but they also deepened their vocation for shorter and more direct songs. This time, they don't even include a long song like Awaken from their previous work, with the longest composition reaching less than eight minutes.

However, taking the songs individually, "Tormato" seems to me to be a more complete and compositionally superior album than "Going for The One", and I would even dare to say that for my taste it is their most enjoyable album since "Close to the Edge".

Therefore, I would encourage the listener to listen to "Tormato" without prejudices, forget about the bad fame that has always followed him, and enjoy the wonderful melodies that Howe, Wakeman and company created for this album.

Best Tracks: Future Times / Rejoice (Howe's guitar work is simply amazing, as are Wakeman's melodies towards the end), Don't Kill the Whale (one of the band's most recognizable riffs), Release Release (furious, rocking and with impressive instrumental work, drum solo included), On the Silent Wings of Freedom (the longest and most instrumentally complex composition on the album)

My Rating: ****

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3 stars Review - #11 (Yes - Tormato) Tormato is the ninth studio album released by Yes that follows up their previous album, Going for the One. It was released in September of 1978 and is their last album for quite some time that would have both singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman togeth ... (read more)

Report this review (#2537264) | Posted by Prog Zone | Thursday, April 22, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The ninth studio album by YES with the same line up as preceding 'Going for the One' album. Well, it was 1978 and progressive music had started to face its tough challenge from musically more accessible New Age. Although great album like Rush' 'Hemisphere' was still released in that year, other ... (read more)

Report this review (#2489672) | Posted by Mark-P | Saturday, January 2, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is usualy rated rather poorly here on PA and I can't fully understand why. Well partialy I see - returning to shorter tracks may be or had been disapointing at the time, but short tracks are nothing new for classic Yes and this album is still prog AF! I consider it strong statement from the band ... (read more)

Report this review (#2487326) | Posted by Artik | Wednesday, December 23, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review # 51 Totally underrated album! "Tormato" was published in 1978 and, for some reason that I really don't understand, this album hasn't earned high popularity among the fans of YES and Progressive Rock in general; I'm not saying this album is on the same level as "Fragile" or "Close to th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2481971) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Wednesday, December 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I always considered this album to be one of one of the most underrated Yes albums. The music found on here is not nearly as great as the music found on Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans or Fragile but it still is fantastic. The musicianship here is still top notch. Especially Steve Ho ... (read more)

Report this review (#2459186) | Posted by BlazingProg | Saturday, October 24, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After the magnificent Going for The One and their subsequent successful tour, it seemed that the band was taking a new momentum, and with the most representative lineup of their flagship records (except for the Bruford / White alternation on percussion), there were expectations about what that ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441470) | Posted by Hector Enrique | Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | Review Permanlink

2 stars All you really need to assess from this album is in the opening song, Future Times. After the bright start it runs out of steam by the second verse. Likewise, in the concluding song, On The Silent Wings Of Freedom, it begins with a great bass line from Chris Squire, then comes to a grinding halt ... (read more)

Report this review (#2411064) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Sunday, June 7, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Throughout this album, it feels like a whirlwind of confusion. Sometimes a bad thing, sometimes a good thing. They definitely saw fit to slingshot themselves back and forth from unique sounds to commercial-like songs. I found the bass to be underwhelming throughout the album, unfortunately. And th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2379257) | Posted by Spacegod87 | Monday, May 11, 2020 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I remember being incredibly disappointed when this album came out, the production was awful and the good songs were thin on the ground and lacking melody, Don't Kill The Whale was alright, the recorded version of Madrigal was no match for the live version they played on the Tormato tour, on ... (read more)

Report this review (#2010154) | Posted by karlthec | Tuesday, August 28, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not so bad, actually. While this album is largely panned, I think it gets a worse rap than it deserves. While I agree that Yes could have done better, if you compare this album to the albums that came later, there are very few that are better than this. There are indeed hints of greatness here. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#1696014) | Posted by Walkscore | Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars [3,5 - 4 stars] I consider Tormato to be quite an underrated album in Yes' discography. While there's no doubt that the band's sound started to become more commercial and accessible at this point, there are still some awesome songs on this record, and the overall quality is at least decent to ver ... (read more)

Report this review (#1588437) | Posted by Harold Needle | Tuesday, July 19, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've often thought that if this album had been given a Roger Dean cover, it would have recevied a better response from fans. The press had said the album would be called "Yes Tor", but, by the time it had come out the Tor had become Tormato. I can remember looking at the cover in the record store an ... (read more)

Report this review (#1564048) | Posted by fenman | Saturday, May 14, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Winter Time Yes. For me "Tormato" has always been a very special album in Prog Rock and one of the very best Yes ever produced. Their fifth best after the debut, "Fragile "and "Yessongs" triple live album and the prog mammoth "Tales from Topographic Oceans" from the Golden Age of Prog. Act ... (read more)

Report this review (#1437874) | Posted by Son.of.Tiresias | Wednesday, July 8, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The late 70's. When a lot of our heroes went broke, got fat, couldn't keep up with the times and still had an album or two left on their contracts. While groups like ELP were making "Love Beach, Genesis were starting their conversion to pop and Gentle Giant were defecating "Giant For A Day" on the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1349673) | Posted by ster | Wednesday, January 21, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I almost never submit ratings only - this review of Tormato will come in under 100 words. In fact, this is only the second one I've done. I simply believe that Tormato deserves a better fate than an overall rating of less than 3 stars. No, Tormato's not Fragile, or even Going for the One, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#1221620) | Posted by thwok | Friday, July 25, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars 2.5 stars. The beginning of the end almost for the band Yes. Four years earlier, they had released Relayer, a magnificent experimental record. In 1978 they came up with this underwhelming mish-mash of ideas. What happened? Maybe the times were just changing. Yes could no longer take risks with their ... (read more)

Report this review (#1164023) | Posted by thebig_E | Monday, April 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Tormato is not quite as bad as some people make it out to be. There is some excellent material on this record, for example Future Times/Rejoice, On the Silent Wings of Freedom and Circus of Heaven. But the album has poor production and the synth and bass sounds are below Yes' previous standard ... (read more)

Report this review (#917869) | Posted by The Mystical | Saturday, February 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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