Prog Rock Blitzkrieg
Psi Powers | London, England | 10/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't quite believe this album has 110 reviews. This one will make it 111.
Yes have a lot to answer for. They seem to have invented this whole superblown, gargantuan, prog rock style. They made Genesis seem like The Ramones in comparison. Here in the UK, admitting to liking Yes was fairly dodgy even in 1974.
And by 1976, no-one would actually admit to having gone to any of their massive gigs. But tens of thousands did and I was one of them. There, I've come out. However, despite all their colossal indulgence Yes really did produce some astonishing work and Relayer was one of the best albums they ever made. More violent than Sabbath, The Gates of Delerium really is a crushing recording. You have to remember that in those days there really was nothing like it. In this way it has a special relevance to those who heard it back then. It was a revelation. Something that no-one born after the 1960's can possibly appreciate.
It seems that the US only really started to 'get' Yes after all that 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' nonsense. When the producer behind 'Frankie Goes To Hollywood' got involved it all took on a rather tacky feel. The meat of the matter as far as Yes are concerned is contained in all the albums leading up to and including Relayer. After that - 'Going For The One'? Ooh nasty! And 'Tormato'?? Dear God in heaven!
So it's good to see that 'Relayer' is still right up there in the minds of the massive American buying public. Vindication, if you will, of a quality piece of work.
And, as other reviewers have noted, the original vinyl version really is better than any of the CD incarnations.
But what the hell, a friend of mine once said that the only way to listen to early '60's Stones records was to hear them in the original mono on an ancient Dansette record player. Well, this may be true but all truly good music shines through whatever the medium.
God damn it, on a good day you can hear this on a cassette and it will still take you there because it's that good.
No need to recommend this album. It recommends itself.
Roll on review number 112.
Relayer - a rock solid adventure
Richard W. Abrams | Oklahoma, USA | 05/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With over one hundred reviews already, there isn't anything I could add however in my opinion, after the departure of Rick Wakeman during this recording, the addition of keyboardist Patrick Moraz worked out great. Moraz brought his own trademark sound to this album. After having to invest a great deal of time to fully digest "Tales..." "Relayer" is a step back, albeit small step, from the Topographical music-scape the group nearly lost themselves in their previous release. "Tales" was and is the anti-climatic peak of the bands adventures in this type of rock opera musicals. The Gates of Delirium, aptly named, shows the group refocusing their energies and concentrating their final "Topographic" installment in this final 21 minute tale complete with the sounds of footfalls running, swords clashing, doors slamming... that ends with the pleasing Top 40 release, "Soon".
I didn't like this album at first but after a while and some additional years of maturing, I came to discover that his album actually was the pinnacle of their success. They could go no farther than they had on "Tales" so this, as I said, was a step back from that style and a tentative reach toward the bands more accessible rock sounds. Up to this release, the Yes fans had become conditioned to expecting and receiving an entire vinyl album of perfection. Thinking of Yes as having a bad release was unthinkable at the time. But later came other releases that would cement the fact that Yes was a group of individual musicians that were bound to change and try new areas of music and sounds. Some with much less success than others.
"Relayer" stands the test of time in that the sounds actually paint musical images when one uses the imagination. It would take the group nearly ten years to come up with another album where each song was enjoyable and memorable which is what happened when Yes released Atlantic album number 90125. The period of time between "Relayer" and "90125" had only minor memorable songs. Even the much anticipated "Big Generator" was a huge flop, following so closely on the heels of "90125" which only goes to show that the group had continued to grow and evolve and the glory days of successive smash hit releases was over. Yes continued to reinvent itself over the years with Wakeman returning and leaving the band much as the tide ebbs and flows. The once in a lifetime chemistry that produced the first three albums could never be repeated even when the same band members rejoined as each of them had matured and changed. "Relayer" is still a solid album after all these years. Perhaps it takes a more mature ear to appreciate what the group had back in 1974."
Poorly transfered to CD.
Mike In NYC | 02/21/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is almost completely unlistenable because the quality of the CD is so poor. This is true of all the YES records. They weren't transfered to CD very well. Re-mastered versions have more recently come out. I haven't heard them, but this is not worth buying and, unlike the other single-star reviewers, I LOVED this record when I was in my early 20s."