Yes - Tormato

Year of Release: 1994
Label: Atlantic
Catalog Number: 82671
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:58:00

Sometimes I just don't know what to make of what I'm reading. Let's back up for a second, can we? I know very well that Tormato (1978 (19202)) is not the most beloved Yes album. I didn't love it the first time I heard it, but I didn't want to throw it out the window either. I didn't think it was the "worst progressive album of all time, maybe the worst album ever." I'll bet a lot of you don't think it is the high point of Yes' career, but ??? and I'm ducking down under my desk now ? I think it is a fairly good release. Oww! Quit it! I like it more than The Ladder, more than Magnification, more than anything produced during the Rabin era, so??.Oww!

One day, a few months ago, I put it on for the first time in a year or so. I'd only listened to it a couple of times when I acquired it, and ?. I listened, once, twice, then again, and again. I liked it. I still like it!

So what's with all the mockery, the vitriol? The vocals are "twee," Alan plays a lot of strange meter, but "maybe that's because he can't keep time," Wakeman's keyboards are "cheesy," and, of course, it's the worst record ever made. Wait, isn't William Shatner's cover of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" the worst record ever made? I'm sorry, but I have a shelf with some of the worst progressive albums and other releases that would qualify for the title of worst album ever recorded. There are no Yes CDs on that shelf. I'll tell you the title of the worst record ever made,? no. That's not the point.

Let me tell you what's good about Tormato: it's the last time Yes, the classic line-up of Yes, made a progressive rock album. That's something right there, but that's only the beginning. It, and its follow up, Drama, are the last times we would hear Chris Squire play anything more than root notes and octaves. It's also the repository for more of Rick's solos and great fills than all the other Yes releases that Rick played on, combined. Let me give you an observation about Rick. When he is interested and involved, he plays with great subtlety and care. When he doesn't give a damn, he runs wild. I heard a bootleg of a show from the Tormato tour, and I guessed Rick would be leaving the band soon after. He was all over the place, throwing in licks and solos everywhere, more notes, more volume, than anything I'd ever heard before, or since. I like to hear Rick play, like to hear keyboards played, ok? And another observation, I believe that Rick had just gotten some new digital keyboards about the time of the sessions for Tormato. Maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe. Perhaps he was in the experimental mode during this period of time, trying to find, trying to create a new generation of Yes sounds. Or, maybe he was just bored, and had a few too many pints in the studio. It doesn't matter. This is all pretty good stuff anyway. So don't compare it to Fragile and Close To The Edge. Compare it to any of the five star releases from some neo-prog bands from the 1990s. Is it sounding better?

This release starts with a great, classic Yes song, "Future Times/Rejoice." This reminds me a bit of "Parallels" from Going For The One. I'm not exactly sure why, but it does. It has a great bass line, good drumming, no, very good drums from Alan, classic playing from Howe, everything. A wonderful Yes song. And make no mistake, it is progressive rock. Time changes, soaring, ascending progressions, typically beautiful lyrics and vocals from Jon and Chris, this is GOOD.

I will admit that my opinion of "Don't Kill The Whale" went up considerably after hearing it played live on the Full Circle tour of 2002. This is my idea of what the Beatles would have sounded like had they written and played progressive rock. Steve, for some odd reason, reminds me of George Harrison on this cut. It has good harmony, nice sounding keyboards, and I like Rick's rather thin sound on his solo. I also don't mind hearing Jon sing "Dig it, Dig it." Doesn't bother me at all.

"Madrigal" is a pretty song, not my particular cup of tea, but so what? The harpsichord is beautifully played, Steve's acoustic sounds quite rich and the back-up vocals are nicely done and understated.

Next! "Release, Release" is an awesome tune. Yes hadn't done many all out rockers, and its great to hear this much firepower being unleashed. The guitar part is brilliant. I wish I could hear Steve kick up the energy level like this more often. Rick is really outdoing himself on this, as well. I would have rather he had used a growling, distorted B-3, run through a stack of Hiwatt amps, but one can't have everything, can one? The fills and solos are simply awesome. Steve and Rick don't get many chances to play off each other in the studio, this one, and ?."Roundabout?" What else?

"Arriving UFO." Well? Here goes; I like this one, wanna make something of it? Its lyrics are not going to win any awards, and some of the keyboards sound a bit like some $100 Casio keyboard. That's true. Maybe, just maybe, what you play is more important than the precise tone or timbre of the notes you play. I could be wrong. But, it has the classic, unconventional song structure, difficult meter, and fine playing from Alan. It has a very, very cool guitar sound where Steve uses a wah-wah or some similar device to create a talking voice sound during his solo lines. It has twists and turns, and I love it all. This is a better song than anything on The Ladder, no doubt in my mind about that.

Now, "Circus Of Heaven." I won't say much about this. It is one of the two cuts on this release that I'm not real crazy about. It did however, prompt me to look up the definition of "twee." Well, it and the scathing review on a site I will not stoop to name. I'll give you a hint though. This site actually lists Gerald Bostock. As if he were a real person! Really!

Lets look at "Onward." This song has made a bit of a comeback, and a lot of folks would say that it is the one good track here. It appeared on Keys To Ascension I, and has been played on some streaming radio that I've heard lately. It is simple and lovely, and would be a good addition to their set list for 2004 tour. It makes a great companion to the previous year's "Turn Of The Century."

That leaves "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom." At a bit less than eight minutes, it is the longest track on Tormato, and the most meandering. If you're paying attention, you know that this is the second cut off this release that I don't really like a great deal. But it is not a bad tune, and I will say again that this is a whole lot better than most "good" songs by a lot of other bands. And anyway, it provides Chris with material for his live bass solo slot. Since he didn't do "The Fish" the last few times I've seen Yes, he needs something to add to the "Tempus Fugit" riff that forms the body of his solo. In fact, both "Silent Wings" and "Tempus Fugit" would make great additions to the set list for this year's tour.

Ok, that's it. Direct hate mail and small explosives to me in care of???no. Just kidding. This is a pretty good release. Let me be even more outrageous. This is more fun to listen to than "The Ancients" or "The Remembering," or a few other Yes albums I've already mentioned.

In fact, I'm going to go out right now and buy a copy of the new Rhino re-issue of this CD. I'll bet some of the thinness that plagues the mix on the original issue has been taken care of. I'll be listening to it again and again?again.

Future Times/Rejoice (6:44) / Don't Kill The Whale (3:56) / Madrigal (2:23) / Release, Release (5:46) / Arriving UFO (6:03) / Circus Of Heaven (4:29) / Onward (4:02) / On The Silent Wings Of Freedom (7:46)

Jon Anderson - vocals, guitar
Rick Wakeman - keyboards, harpsichord
Steve Howe - guitar, mandolin. Spanish huitar, vocals
Chris Squire - bass, piano, bass pedals, vocals
Alan White - drums, percussion, synthesizer, glockenspiel, gong, bells, vibraphone, crotale

Yes (1969)
Time And A Word (1970)
The Yes Album (1971)
Fragile (1972)
Close To The Edge (1972)
Yessongs (1973)
Tales From Topographic Oceans (1974)
Relayer (1975)
Yesterdays (1975)
Going For The One (1977)
Tormato (1978)
Yesshows (1980)
Drama (1980)
Keys To The Studio (1980)
Classic Yes (1982)
90125 (1983/2004)
90125 Live - The Solos (1985)
Big Generator (1987)
Union (1989)
Yesyears (1991)
Yesstory (1991)
Greatest Hits (1993)
Highlights: The Very Best Of Yes (1993)
Talk (1994)
Affirmative: The Yes Solo Family Album (1994)
Keys To Ascension I (1996)
Keys To Ascension II (1997)
Open Your Eyes (1997)
Yes, Friends And Relatives (1998)
Beyond And Before: BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (1998)
Something's Coming (1998)
Friends & Relatives (1998)
The Ladder (1999)
Millennium Collection (1999)
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (2000)
Yes, Friends and Relatives - Volume Two (2001)
YesSymphonic (ep) (2001)
Magnification (2001)
Keystudio (ep) (2001)
3 For 1 Box Set (2001)
Original Members Of Yes (2001)
Extended Versions (2002)
Friends And Relatives: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 (2002)
Yestoday (2002)
In A Word (2002)
Yes Remixes (2003)
Friends And Relatives: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 2 (2003)
Roundabout: Best Of Yes Live (2003)
The Yes Story Gold (2003)
The Ultimate Yes - 35th Anniverary Collection (2004)
(Re)Union (2004)
Topography: The Yes Anthology (2004)
Inside Yes 1968-1973: A Critical Review (2004)
The Word Is Live (2005)
Live And Solo: The Collection (2006)
Greatest Hits Live (2006)
An Evening Of Yes (2006)
Yesstories: Group & Solo Tales (2006)
Essentially Yes (2006)
The Definitive Rock Collection (2007)
Roundabout & Other Hits (2006)
Live At Montreux 2003 (2007)
Works (2007)
The Best Of Yes: 1970-1987 (2007)
Symphonic Live (2009)
The BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (2009)
Introducing Yes (2009)
Wonderous Stories: The Best Of Yes (2009)
Union Live (2011)
Fly From Here (2011)
In The Present - Live From Lyon (2011)
Heaven & Earth (2014)
Songs From Tsongas (2014)
Like It Is: Yes At The Bristol Hippodrome (2014)
Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two (boxset) (2015)
Like It Is: Yes At The Mesa Arts Center (2015)

9012LIve (VHS/DVD) (1985/2005)
Greatest Hits Video (VHS/DVD) (1991/2001)
Yesyears: A Retrospective (VHS/DVD) (1991/2003)
Yes: Live - 1975 At Q.P.R. (VHS) (1993)
Live In Philadelphia 1979 (VHS/DVD) (1996/2003)
Keys To Ascension (VHS/DVD) (1997/2001/2009)
The Union Tour Live (DVD) (1999)
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (VHS/DVD) (2000)
The Best Of MusikLaden Live (VHS/DVD) (2000/2003)
Live In Amsterdam (VHS/DVD) (2002)
Symphonic Live (DVD+CD) (2003)
Yes: Special Edition EP (DVD) (2003)
YesSpeak (DVD) (2003)
YesAcoustic (DVD) (2004/2006)
35th Anniversary Concert: Songs From Tsongas (DVD) (2004)
YesSpeak - YesAcoustic - 35th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Critical Review 1968-1973 (DVD) (2005)
Greatest Video Hits (DVD) (2005)
Inside Yes Plus Friends And Family (DVD) (2006)
Acoustic Live (DVD) (2006)
Total Rock Review (DVD) (2006)
Close To The Edge: Rock Milestones (DVD) (2007)
Live At Montreux (DVD/BR) (2007)
The Lost Broadcasts (DVD) (2009)
Rock Of The 70s (DVD) (2009)
Union Live (2011)
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavilion October 3rd 1971 (2014)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin UK

Added: March 22nd 2004
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website:
Hits: 979
Language: english


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