"If you play electric, bass, keyboards, or drums in rock, or compose songs, then you MUST hear this album!!!! It has some of the most innovative musicianship ever heard on a rock album. Steve Howe on electric guitar, Chris Squire on bass, Rick Wakeman on keyboards, and Alan White on drums. The bass has a remarkable "phat", fat sound throughout. The various guitars (electric and acoustic) do many remarkable and amazing things in counterpoint to the other band members. The keyboards (electric, harpsichord, etc.) also show excellent interplay with the overall sound. The drumming is innovative and extremely impressive at times. Singing and harmonics are fine but I warn you that this is echt-Jon Anderson and thus is very high pitched, sometimes almost shrill. I think this album has been overlooked and underrated for several reasons: 1. The band turned away from the "bigger is better" style of composition. Longest track here is 7:45. This shouldn't be held against them. The compositions are tight and loaded with ideas. 2. This is definitely the upbeat and comical side of the band. Most people are looking for something to shut themselves away with for 2 hours. Instead, this is progressive rock with a sense of humor. Prog rock people are often too serious to acknowledge humor and fun in their bands' music. 3. The singing turns some people off. I can also imagine the embarrassment felt by many at hearing a voice even higher than Jon's in track 6 - it's his young son! 4. Normal lay listeners will be mystified by the enormous complexities of a good deal of the music. (Stick with it, you'll figure it out and it'll grow on you. You'll wonder why you'd ever settled for less.)This is a brilliant album! Great innovation. Only track 7 is in straightforward song format, but it is very nicely done. "On the Silent Wings of Freedom" is a rock masterpiece. New listeners may just want to scrutinize that track alone for a while. "Circus of Heaven", "Arriving UFO", "Release Release" show a witty, playful yet artsy approach to the music that I just don't hear on any other album from the genre. "Don't Kill the Whale" was almost ordinary, but is then elevated in the last section by the grooviest combination of bass, electric guitar, and chromatic synths! "Future Times-Rejoice" is pure upbeat, positive music. Sophisticated but not depressing. And "Madrigal" shows the wonderful fusion of "rock" with classical as harpsichord, spanish guitar, voice produce truly marvelous textures. Same with "Circus of Heaven": what begins as a cycle of clever embellishments then shifts into an evocative, free-form, key-bending closing section. So many musical elements all played out with amazing lightness yet complexity in a little 4-minute work! Everyone please check out the lighter side of progressive rock and give it a chance here! Prog rock doesn't all have to be Pink Floyd's "The Wall" you know..."
Don't Judge This Yes Album By It's Cover
Alan Caylow | USA | 05/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's now do justice to one of the most undervalued albums in Yes' catalog, "Tormato." Why this album continues to get a bad rap is a mystery to me. I like this album very much, and consider it to be one of Yes' best, certainly somewhere in their Top 10 best. Honestly, what's so bad about "Tormato"? Absolutely nothing! Say what you want about the splattered tomato on the album cover, but the "Tormato" album itself is excellent. After several albums of lengthy, complex prog-rock (albeit great prog-rock), "Tormato" showed Yes loosening up a bit. The hallmark Yes sound is still there, but for "Tormato," the band channeled their sound into shorter, simpler, more-direct kinds of songs. There's eight songs (which, for an early Yes album, is a wide variety!), Jon Anderson finally wrote some lyrics that you could actually *understand*, and there was certainly a more radio-friendly feel to this album than previous ones. This decision by the band to streamline their sound was partially inspired by the punk movement happening at the time, but I truly believe that it was to Yes' benefit. They couldn't do "Fragile Part II" or "Close To The Edge Part II"---they'd done those albums already. I'm certainly not going to knock the classic early Yes stuff, which I love, but when I play "Tormato," I hear the band doing something fresh & different from their previous records. It's GOOD.The band's songwriting, playing, and Jon Anderson's majestic singing on "Tormato" are all in peak performance. "Don't Kill The Whale" is a great, catchy number that could've easily been a hit for the band. "Madrigal" is a lovely tune with Rick Wakeman playing some truly beautiful harpsichord. "Future Times/Rejoice," "Release Release" & "Arriving UFO" show Yes rocking on all cylinders. "Circus Of Heaven" (featuring a spoken word outro by Anderson's young son Damion) is quite charming. "Onward" is one of bassist Chris Squire's finest moments with the group. And "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" is a terrific album closer, a great jam with soaring vocals from Anderson. Whatever stresses & strains the band were reportedly under at the time they recorded "Tormato," you'd never guess it from the way they sound on this album---this is a very upbeat, happy-sounding Yes record that's always a pleasure for me to listen to. Honestly, I don't know what the heck anybody is talking about when they give "Tormato" a bad review. In my opinion, there's NOTHING bad about "Tormato." It's one of the group's finest works, whether anybody realises it or not! It's a great Yes album, splattered tomato and all."
The pressure's on- is there lack of concentration?
Evil Lincoln | Dayton, Ohio | 02/26/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Tormato has a reputation as one of the worst Yes albums, but if you ask individual Yes fans their opinion of it, they're likely to say it's not that bad.And it's not. "Don't Kill The Whale," "Release, Release," and "Onward" are all very good songs. And "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom" is pretty much the epitome of "classic Yes."But unfortunately, there's also some really bad stuff here. The ear-grating "Madrigal" is Yes self-parody that is mercifully short, "Arriving UFO" is just plain weird (and not in a good way), and of course, there's the infamous "Circus Of Heaven," heavyweight contender for the title of "Worst Yes Song Ever."Another weak point is Rick Wakeman's shrill keyboards. Why on earth he went for this sound is beyond me- it sounds like a combination of a string section and Alvin and the Chipmunks. But the good far outweighs the bad on Tormato. "Don't Kill The Whale" has some pretty cheesy lyrics, but it rocks hard and is enjoyable. "Release, Release" is a tongue-in-cheek rocker with some great vocal performances, along with an Alan White drum solo (!) and an Asia-ready solo from guitarist Steve Howe. "Onward" is a simple, mellow love ballad that sounds oddly out of place here. "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom," however, is the reason to purchase Tormato if you don't have it. Squire and White are an incredible rhythm section, and no song better exemplifies that than "Freedom." Jon Anderson gives a great vocal on the song as well.And the bonus tracks? Well, there's not much to get excited about, unlike some of the Rhino Yes remasters. "Abilene" is as good as it gets, although it would sound much better as an instrumental. "Picasso" is a forgettable sequel to "Turn Of The Century," and "Money" will give you a chuckle but not much else. The a capella Jon Anderson demo "Days" is noteworthy, though, as is "Everybody's Song," an early version of "Does It Really Happen?" (it sounds very weird to hear Anderson sing lines from that song). There is also an unlisted, "hidden" 18th track, a beautiful orchestral rendition of "Onward."In the context of the masterpieces it comes between (1977's Going For The One and 1980's Drama), Tormato is indeed a disappointment, but taken on its own it's pretty good. Definitely worth a purchase for those on the fence about it."
Much Maligned by Yes Fans But Actually Pretty Good
Paul Allaer | Cincinnati | 03/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Yes issued "Tormato" in 1978, it was not received well by critics or Yes fans alike, and over the years this has become one of the "lost" albums of Yes. This definitive reissue is most welcome, not only for sound quality, but it offers a new opportunity to re-assess "Tormato", which is actually not nearly as "bad" as many want you to believe.The "Expanded & Remastered" version of "Tormato" (18 tracks, 79 min.) brings of course the 8 tracks of the original album, which brings a rockier and tighter sound than we are used to from Yes, spurred by the succes of the "Wonderous Stories" single of the previous "Going for the One" album. No 10 or 15 min. epic songs here. Highlights include "Future Times/Rejoice", the hard rocking "Release Release" (a minor hit), the brooding yet optimistic "Arriving UFO" (remember, this is the age of "Close Encouters of the Third Kind") containing some great Rick Wakeman keys, and "On the Silent Wings of Freedom", which finds Chris Squire working overtime on bass, as only he can. There is also the hit single "Don't Kill the Whale", still a concert staple these days.The reissue comes with a whopping 10 bonus tracks, which of course is a mixed bag. Highlights include "Abilene" (the B side of the "Dont Kill the Whale" single), "Days", Jon Anderson singing a capella, just beautiful, "Countryside", and "Everybody's Song", a demo of what would become "Does It Really Happen" on the "Drama" album.The folks at Rhino did a magnificant job again in this reissue, with great liner notes. "Tormato" is a fine album, if you can get away from the notion that Yes in 1978 was more than creating 10 min. epic songs. I have a soft spot for "Tormato" in the Yes catalogue, and this is the definitive release of it.PS The title of the album is a reference to "Yes Tor", a hill in the England country side near Okehampton, Devon. The album cover is deservedly much maligned, as it has nothing to do with "tomatoes", shame on Hipgnosis which dreamt up the album concept. What were they thinking?"
Still a great album.
M. Kell | NE Ohio United States | 03/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another fantastic Yes album remastered! Really, outside of the stupid album title I don't really find any complaints with Tormato. I guess since I was a youngin when I got into these guys in 95 or so (16yrs old) I didn't know the stigma hanging over this album. Thankfully, without the bias, I grew to love this album as much as anything they'd ever done. Solid song writing with some true Yes classics. Rick's keyboard work is awesome and some of the jagged edges of the previous few albums have been rounded off. Regardless, this album deserves the median rating of 3 at worst. No Yes fan could ever rightly call this album a piece of crap. As for me, I can't really point to a song that doesn't kick ass. Great stuff! Also, with this being the last disc with Jon and Rick for a bit, the bonus tracks are great. Same thing with Drama as that has the Paris sessions before Jon and Rick took off. Awesome to hear the multitude of extras."