YES — Relayer (review)

YES — Relayer album cover Album · 1974 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Prog Zone
Review - #8 (Yes - Relayer)

After releasing Tales from Topographic Oceans in 1973, the band would decide to take a few steps back while taking a few steps forward in their seventh studio album entitled Relayer. This album would introduce us to different yet phenomenal line-up with Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on guitar, Chris Squire on bass, Alan White on drums, and Patrick Moraz on keyboards (replacing Rick Wakeman). After keyboardist Rick Wakeman left the group in May of 1974 over disagreements with the band's direction, Yes began to do rehearsals as a four-piece at bassist Chris Squire's home in Virginia Water, Surrey. During this time, they also auditioned several keyboardists including Vangelis before choosing Patrick Moraz who incorporates elements of funk and jazz fusion all over the album. Relayer is formed of three tracks, similar to Close to the Edge, with "The Gates of Delirium" on side one and "Sound Chaser" and "To Be Over" on side two. Now, lets enter the gates and see what all the praise is about?

The Gates of Delirium has always been a track that I've considered to be on par with the masterpiece of Close to the Edge. However, these two tracks are also entirely different. The Gates of Delirium remains to be one of the best songs in Yes' vast discography. Not to mention the uniqueness found here has not been fully replicated since. This track was described by Jon Anderson as "a war song, a battle scene, but it's not to explain war or denounce it. There's a prelude, a charge, a victory tune, and peace at the end, with hope for the future." Jon Anderson had originally intended to have the entire album to based on War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, but instead had a side-long track inspired by the novel. During the battle section the band decided to include crashing sound effects that were created by Alan White pushing over a tower of used car parts that he and Jon Anderson had collected from a scrap yard. Interestingly, Steve Howe remembered Anderson becoming too excited in what he envisioned the battle to be, leading the group to produce one mix that was "too far" and another "too safe. Following the battle section, the track finishes with Soon which is incredibly beautiful. All the band members are at their peak, including Patrick Moraz, who plays tremendously while adding a completely unique style and sound to the album. In fact, I would say he fits perfect here. This is Yes at their most progressive.

Side two of the album is just as equally worthy of praise. If this is Yes' most progressive album, Sound Chaser is Yes' most progressive song with the only other song coming close being the third movement on Tales from Topographic Oceans entitled The Ancient - Giants Under the Sun. During Moraz's audition session with the band, he was asked to play an introduction to the song, which was recorded and used on the album after only a few takes. Similar to The Gates of Delerium, all of the musicians here shine through while contributing to the grandeur of the entire track. In addition, there is a tremendous amount of jazz fusion elements and themes which complement the album perfectly. Steve Howe also has an incredible guitar solo that is harsh yet gorgeous. The last song on the album, To Be Over, seems to be one of the most forgotten tracks in the entire discography of the band. Containing some of the most beautiful melodies the band has ever created. It is equally masterful as the rest, however, not as jazz fusion orientated.

This album is a masterpiece from start to finish. This can be considered to be Yes at their peak. After this album, the band would take a break before working on Going for The One in 1977. I believe this is the last masterpiece Yes would release. It is an album that has aged like fine wine, I would highly recommend it to anyone who a fan of Yes or progressive rock in general. However, do not expect this to be an "easy listen" by any means. "Cha Cha Cha!"

- π˜›π˜©π˜ͺ𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘷π˜ͺ𝘦𝘸 𝘸𝘒𝘴 𝘰𝘳π˜ͺ𝘨π˜ͺ𝘯𝘒𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘳π˜ͺ𝘡𝘡𝘦𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 π˜—π˜³π˜°π˜¨ 𝘈𝘳𝘀𝘩π˜ͺ𝘷𝘦𝘴 (
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