Reviewed by Others on 01 Nov 2001
Patrick Moraz, strong from his effort with Refugee, is asked to join Yes after a disgruntled Rick Wakeman leaves the group. The result, an astonishing display of musicianship one would expect from this fantastic band! The opening cut literally introduces Moraz with a flourish on the Fender Rhodes electric piano. One can't help but recognise the signature playing of this unique keyboard player. In this first track there can be no doubt that the guys clicked right away! Beautiful sounds, beautiful melodies, and the sheer energy of the middle bit of Gates of Delirium is jaw-dropping. Definitely a 16-thumbs up!
Reviewed by Nuno on 06 Jul 2002
In my modest opinion, Relayer is one of the most defying albums in the history of 70’s prog. It has always been one of my favorites from that period and, naturally, one of my top Yes albums. The music is complex, always played on the tip of the toes (many times crossing the boundaries of reasonable security).
From the fantastic keyboard work by Patrick Moraz, doing here his best performance to date (that perhaps only find parallel in the Refugee self titled album), Steve Howe taking impossible notes from his electrifying guitar (a hero, really) and the revolutionary Bass visions of Chris Squire made this album a real stellar production of the most eclectic progressive years. Alan White is also defying the laws of drumming, as he keeps pushing the limits of his gear. Finally, the exquisite and unique vocal tone of Jon Anderson have always make this band a Love or Hate it one, though I can only imagine this band with this singer…
The 22 minute epic The Gates of Delirium is just a fine example on how you can perfectly match a name to a song. The instruments seem to haze in a labyrinth of delirious and visionary chaos, interluding the furious vortex attacks with pure delicacy tunes in which they expand their siren song to the real proggers (and I cannot escape its grasp).
Sound Chaser takes this experimental opus album even further, as it comprehends pure narcotic “organized anarchy” in which the players are granted with wings to explore their full speed capacities and talented abilities to score unimaginable sequences.
To be Over closes the album with a clear demonstration of the duality the band is able to achieve in one album, as it is set upon cheer fantastic melodies that seem to be played on the edge (specially by Howe).
Many will question why is this album one of my favorites from Yes…Well, it has really a sentimental value, to top the obvious brilliancy of its music: Back in middle 80’s (1986, to be exact), I took a week trip with my school mates. This week still remains as one of the greatest times of my life. Of the whole lot of music we shared in this week time, there were two albums that really made the grade and became part of the remembrance of those fantastic days - Relayer by Yes and (you can laugh out loud now) Master of Puppets by Metallica. Using a quote from a famous TV series – Those were the days!!!
Reviewed by MJBrady on 31 Aug 2002
Yes, the band that has received as much praise in the progressive rock circles as they have criticism for their most recent efforts (this is a 2002 review), which are very good in my opinion, though it seems the band is trying to rediscover the magic of their most progressive days. This generally mixed feeling from the prog community has prompted me to going back to this recording to hear the difference.
Relayer, saw the departure of what seemed like two irreplaceable musicians in Rick Wakeman - keys, and Bill Bruford - drums, and considering the magnificent effort prior to this one, Close to the Edge, bringing in two new members, and trying to regenerate that same magic would be a task perhaps seemingly impposible. Surprisingly, the replacement players Alan White - drums, and Patrick Moraz - keys, added a new and fresh element to the band, in fact, if the current rendition of Yes is looking for what made them one of the icons of the progressive rock genre, all they need to do is lock themselves up and listen to this album, as well as Close to the Edge.
What I am hearing that sets these albums apart from the most recent outputs, are the fact that the band is playing some extensive instrumental masterpieces, not to take away the importance of Anderson's voice, as he is THE voice of Yes, but this album has proportionatly much more ambitious instrumental focus than anything since. Whereas, most of the modern era Yes music has given way to the vocals as the focal point. One thing is for sure, this is an immensely talented band, with an undeniable sound, all the players were in outstanding form on this recording, and the newcomers White and Moraz were both allowed to inject their creativity into the already established Yes sound. When I listen to this album, It makes me wonder if Alan White has played his drums like this since, or if Steve Howe is as involved in the musical direction of the band anymore.
A classic album, that rates on most progressive rock fans 'best of' list for sure. I believe what most people enjoyed about Yes in this era, was that the band was being musically creative as a group, they were mixing classical, and rock, along with virtuoso musicianship, and complex arrangements, each player was given a space in the music to lay out their personal instrumental voice to be heard. There are no conventional songs on this album, no radio directed purposes, and the album provides a nearly perfect soundscape to the beautiful artwork on the cover provided by Roger Dean.
One interesting point, the music on Relayer, is perhaps in a style that was near jazz/rock fusion, while maintaining a progressive rock identity, this groundbreaking sound allowed for what became a perfect marriage of styles, by incorporating the detailed structure of classical music, and the complexity of progressive rock, they also blended the virtues of fusion with their soloing prowess, and since, this album can be an example of the fine line these two genres are separated by.
Relayer, a classic progressive rock album, that sounds as fresh and futuristic today as it did when it was intially released. And one that every Yes and progrock fan should return to often to remind them of what it is about progressive rock that hooked them.