YES — Tormato

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YES - Tormato cover
3.13 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1978

Filed under Jazz Related Rock


A1a Future Times 4:05
A1b Rejoice 2:41
A2 Don't Kill The Whale 3:55
A3 Madrigal 2:21
A4 Release, Release 5:40
B1 Arriving Ufo 6:02
B2 Circus Of Heaven 4:28
B3 Onward 4:00
B4 On The Silent Wings Of Freedom 7:45


Bass [Gibson Thunderbird] – Chris Squire (tracks: A5)
Bass [Harmonised Rickenbacher] – Chris Squire (tracks: A1 to A3, B1 to B4)
Bells [Bell Tree] – Alan White (tracks: A4)
Cymbal – Alan White (tracks: A4)
Cymbal [Crotales] – Alan White (tracks: A1, A4, B2, B3)
Drums – Alan White (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B2, B4)
Drums [Military Snare] – Alan White (tracks: A1)
Glockenspiel – Alan White (tracks: A1)
Gong – Alan White (tracks: B1)
Guitar [Alvarez 10 String] – Jon Anderson (tracks: A1, B1, B4)
Guitar [Fender Broadcaster] – Steve Howe (tracks: A5)
Guitar [Gibson 175d] – Steve Howe (tracks: B4)
Guitar [Gibson Les Paul Custom] – Steve Howe (tracks: A1 to A3, B1, B3)
Guitar [Martin 00045] – Steve Howe (tracks: A2)
Guitar [Spanish] – Steve Howe (tracks: A4)
Harpsichord – Rick Wakeman (tracks: A4)
Keyboards [Bass Pedals] – Chris Squire (tracks: A1, A4, B1)
Keyboards [Birotron] – Rick Wakeman (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B2, B4)
Mandolin [Gibson Elec. & Ac.] – Steve Howe (tracks: B2)
Organ [Hammond] – Rick Wakeman (tracks: A1, A2, A5)
Percussion – Alan White (tracks: A5)
Piano – Chris Squire (tracks: A3), Rick Wakeman (tracks: B1)
Synthesizer [Drum Synthesiser] – Alan White (tracks: B1)
Synthesizer [Polymoog] – Rick Wakeman (tracks: A1 to A3, A5 to B4)
Synthesizer [Rmi] – Rick Wakeman (tracks: B4)
Vibraphone – Alan White (tracks: B3)
Vocals – Alan White (tracks: A5), Chris Squire, Damion Anderson (tracks: B2), Jon Anderson, Steve Howe (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B2)

About this release

Atlantic ‎– ATL 50 518 (UK)

Recorded At – Advision Studios

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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Prog Zone
Review - #10 (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 together before their departure from the band in 1980. The rest of the musicians present include Steve Howe on guitar, Chris Squire on bass, Alan White on drums, and Andrew Pryce Jackman who is credited with orchestrations and arrangements on two of the songs on the album. Tormato seems to generally get mixed reviews by the progressive rock community, which corresponds to how I feel about the album when listening to it. My opinion on it seems to differ every few months. At one moment, I feel as if this album is underrated, and at the next moment I feel like it is overrated (if it even can be). There are some truly great moments found on this album, but they are surrounded by a sort of mediocracy that persists through the entire listening experience. I feel as if any of these tracks were put on Going for the One, they would have fit almost perfectly. However, the biggest difference between Tormato and Going for the One is that this album doesn't have an Awaken to back it up. Still, I do believe that there is more here than reviewers give it credit for.

The first song on the album, Future Times / Rejoice, is my favorite on Tormato. Now, that doesn't mean it is equal to the greatness of Heart of the Sunrise or Starship Trooper, but within Tormato it is my personal highlight. Interestingly enough, it features Chris Squire playing bass with a Mu-Tron pedal effect which adds a very interesting element to the track. In fact, both Steve Howe and Alan White also do a great job within their respective roles here. Overall, it is a wonderful track that I continue to find myself returning to. Next, we are greeted to Don't Kill The Whale which is the single of the album. Despite preconceptions, the song is somewhat nice. Containing the best keyboard work from Rick Wakeman found throughout the entire album. Rick Wakeman once said that the keyboard solo involved him adapting a sound that he had configured on his Polymoog which produced "weird sounds" that resembled a whale, interesting. The next song on the album is Madrigial and it is simple yet not disappointing. I got what I expected when hearing it was a form of English evening song that features Rick Wakeman on harpsichord. Jon Anderson does some beautiful vocals here, but that seems to be persistent throughout the entire album. I believe he is the largest saving grace on Tormato. He really gives it his all! The last song on Side A on the vinyl is Release, Release. This song has a great energy to it that I am somewhat fond of. The instrumental section includes a crowd cheering with the guitar and drum solo, which Wakeman reasoned was added because it "sounded a bit dry" on its own. He recalled the crowd was taken from an English football match. In addition, Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun visited Yes in the studio and heard "Release, Release", which he liked and suggested the whole album sound like it. However, the song was slightly difficult for Anderson to sing on stage as the many high notes in the song strained his voice, and it was dropped early into the tour. Overall, a good song!

Side B of the album is where most of the faults come in. It begins with Arriving UFO which is based on a tune that Anderson had developed while watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind twice. Wakemen's keyboard sounds on this song haven't aged all that well and come across as annoying at points. Nevertheless, it is not bad by any means. I just feel as if the song had a lot of potential, but it was released underdeveloped. The track leaves a lot to be desired. Circus of Heaven is up next, and it tells the story of a travelling fantasy circus and its visit to a Midwestern town, featuring unicorns, centaurs, elves, and fairies. Its direction came from Anderson's pursuit to write songs aimed at children and gained inspiration from a book by Ray Bradbury. This is definitely the weakest track on the album, both Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman don't do their best work here. Not to mention, the ending keyboards are absolutely dreadful and doesn't fit the mood of the song at all. Onward on the other hand, is a truly superb ballad only credited to Chris Squire! It features orchestral arrangements by Andrew Pryce Jackman, who had worked with Squire as a member of The Syn and on Squire's solo album Fish Out of Water. Squire later considered "Onward" as one of the best songs he ever wrote. It is a truly moving song that is the best ballad Yes ever wrote. Lastly, we have On the Silent Wings of Freedom which includes Chris Squire playing with a Mu-Tron Envelope Shaper effect. This song seems somewhat aimless and doesn't really go anywhere. Not to mention, Rick Wakeman's keyboards sometimes verges on the edge of becoming a dog whistle. Despite those complaints, it's still a good song but feels underdeveloped similar to Arriving UFO.

Overall, Tormato is not an album you need to rush out to hear despite it being a pleasant listen. This album isn't bad by any means and is still better then anything I think I could ever write, just when compared to what came in the past this album doesn't really hold up as well. A good album containing generally good performances by some of the best musicians of all time. But Tormato is not particularly essential.

- 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘨 𝘈𝘳𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 (
siLLy puPPy
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.

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  • stefanbedna
  • lunarston
  • Phrank
  • MoogHead
  • Ponker
  • KK58
  • Unitron
  • ProgMetaller2112
  • Lynx33

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