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Yes - "Relayer, 1974 (re-release)"
Rhino Records 2003

"Relayer", band's sixth studio album, was a record done without Rick Wakeman. His place was filled by Patrick Moraz, versatile and experienced keyboardist who was very brave to accept this challenge. And result was? There is no reason which should appeal someone might miss Rick on "Relayer". Moraz easily jumped on Rick's place where he finds himself on the same page with rest of the Yes squad. It was very important for Yes that Patrick was able to follow effectively Steve Howe's "not from this world" guitar language. Main problem was solved and Yes were ready to launch another true masterpiece, a new stage of band's continuing evolution.

Remember Tolkien's "Silmarillion"? World was created by making melody. All Ainurs (angelic spirits, those who created Arda - Middle Earth) were in tune while singing their songs, until Melkor, the strongest among all Ainors appeared. He was singing out of tune and his cacophony created evil and brought disharmony into world.

"Relayer" speaks about contagious world and sickness of mankind that is headed directly to face apocalypse. Yes and Roger Dean found inspiration to bring Donald Lehmkuhl's verses written on the inner sleeve of "Relayer's" booklet to life. Yes did it through another amazing epical masterpiece that is pivotal "Relayer" song called The Gates Of Delirium, and Roger contributed cover artwork where everything is turned to grey and rock, no green no water. Just apocalyptic horsemen riding surrounded by giant stonewalls, fat poisonous snakes sneaking between the rocks and waiting for their pray to arrive. The Gates Of Delirium is song that delivers far more powerful and direct lyrics than any song from "Tales From The Topographic Oceans". Apocalypse is actually needed. We are misguided, our thoughts are misleading and our life surely lost its meaning. We lost our right path. Were we taught to kill? What a strong emotive picture Yes are drawing here. They are putting colours together that turns from green to grey, from pale blue to bloody red. No remorse! End is drawing near. War recharges the new one. It is endless circle. Prepared to slay our children, fears madly rule and run our mind drives, set to kill and to be killed in an endless game, where no one wins, but everyone looses. Steve and Patrick are painting via their conversation diverse emotions from anger and pain, fear and hate, an endless human suffering. Keyboardist and guitarist found the same language and put together their work as a perfect puzzle. But at the end, hope remains. Jon saved the human race with Soon. Through Soon (closing section of The Gates Of Delirium) sun begins to shine bright again, melting down our frosted hearts. Apocalypse was done, now we are ready to face our true meanings, cause our hearts are opened wide again, we found our reasons to be here, reasons that were long ago set into the rhyme. Don't forget The Ritual (Nos Sommes De Soleil). We are from Sun! We love when we play and love to be loved!

"Relayer" was a record where Steve began to produce heavier sound. He added more powerful layers consisted from a bit sharper combination of chords. At the same vein he carves a lot of melody done with his steel pedal, and spices up everything with endless portion of amazing diverse palette of new sounds. On "Relayer" steel pedal gives an overall impression as Steve's first instrument for his musical expression. Steve was freely exploring again, and again from my point of view, he was most important Yes article, responsible for "Relayer" that sounded again fresh and far different than all its predecessors. With "Relayer" and without Rick, Yes didn't loose even a sparkle. They turned heavier and approached to listener in more direct vein. "Relayer" features heavier Alan White, too. His rocking roots shines even brightly through this record in comparison with "Tales From The Topographic Oceans".

Sound Chaser is, as far as I am concerned, the fastest Yes song ever done by this band. Supersonically headed clash of jazz and rock elements fuses strong intense moments on a very special way. Main theme keeps on rolling and rolling, faster and faster, than unpredictably turns slower in next moment. It breaks into Steve's dramatic solo in the middle, and end through playing n upper gear with full muscular intensity of rhythm line. Chris and Alan were piercing through concrete here! This song captures many diverse moods. Sound Chaser blows the roof of. Hypnotic as only Yes can be!

The third and last song To Be Over is one of most beautiful and touching moments created in entire Yes career. It is Steve Howe's song. The way how he assembles and from where! Gently floating song with all instrumentalists softly following Steve's main verses. No overdose! Pure equilibrium at every moment. Atmosphere graduates slowly than sky opens through mid-eight, a mid-eight exactly needed for that kind of composition and than turns back into sailing venture, that breaks into closing section with some more power caught by Jon's verses. After all your soul will still surrender! Masterpiece!

This reissue offers crisper and clearer sound in comparison to it's nineties remastered version. We got also three bonus tracks. Sound Chaser and Soon are representing single edits. Well for collectors both of strong importance, but the rest could easily survived without them. Third bonus track is early version of The Gates Of Delirium that captures band's studio chemistry. Some of soloing parts are missing (especially Steve's parts), some themes inside song are placed elsewhere, and include some parts that were later cut out from its original studio version. With "Relayer" masterwork, Yes got heavier, yet offered new challenging versatile record full of new aged sounds, never caught onto recording tape before. Another Yes story unrepeatable in all senses.

Author:   Aleš

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