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Tormato (Expanded and Remastered)

Review by Greg Olma
Back in the late 1970's, Yes must have been a bit scared of the changing musical landscape. Punk was trying it's hardest to kill off bands like Yes; calling them dinosaurs. After the critically acclaimed Going For The One, I can see how this album was a letdown. It's not that it is a bad album, it's just that Yes had such a phenomenal track record that each release tended to get compared to what preceded it. This CD feels a bit disjointed with the tracks sounding more like solo releases then full band compositions. Having said that, there are some outstanding moments on this album like "Don't Kill The Whale." The good folks at Rhino have done a nice job with this Yes reissue by tacking on 10 bonus tracks. Along with the bonus cuts, the booklet was expanded with additional photos and liner notes making this a worthwhile purchase.
Track by Track Review
Future Times/Rejoice
In fine Yes tradition, this track starts with all of the elements that made Yes special. Even though they were trying to write more commercial songs, the band still kept things very Yes-like by kicking off with a 2 part song.
Don't Kill the Whale
This is the single off of the album and it starts off with some very un-Yes sounding guitars. If it weren't for Jon Anderson's distinctive vocals, you might not recognize that this is Yes. Perhaps the band was trying to strike back at the emerging punk/new wave scene by writing a short prog-less number.
Although this short number is typical Yes (and that is certainly not a bad thing), Steve Howe adds some nice acoustic guitar work.
Release, Release
The beginning is very close to "Don't Kill The Whale" but it quickly turns into a fast paced Yes rocker.
Arriving UFO
I believe it was tracks like this that got this album panned. It's not a bad song; it just does not seem done. If they had spent a bit more time in the studio, this cut would have been more complete. Also, it is just over 6 minutes long but it could easily have been shortened to 3 or 4 and not lost any of its purpose.
Circus of Heaven
The song has an almost renaissance feel to it. This has to be a track that Jon Anderson brought into the writing sessions. It has all of his solo trademark sounds. The inclusion of a child's voice (Jon Anderson's son Damion-ed.) toward the end is pointless.
This number starts off where "Circus Of Heaven" leaves off. They are very similar sounding except this cut sounds even more like soundtrack music.
On The Silent Wings of Freedom
Of all the songs on this CD, this is the most progressive. 2 ½ minutes go by before we get any vocals from Jon Anderson. This is also probably the heaviest song on this disk. It's a shame that they placed this cut at the end of the album because it would have made a great album opener. Rick Wakeman puts in his best performance on this track but the real star here is Steve Howe, who does some great guitar work both at the beginning and throughout.
Bonus Tracks
This track was the B-side of the "Don't Kill The Whale" single. It is not their best effort and is it obvious why this was relegated to non-album track status.
Yes try giving their music a bit of country flavoring and is does not work. The lyrics are weak and there is an annoying voice (Rick Wakeman's - ed.) talking over the whole track. Clearly, this was an experiment that failed.
Like "Circus Of Heaven," this tune has a renaissance feel to it. It's not a bad little piece but I don't feel that it stands on its own. It would have been a good section if it was coupled with another song.
Some Are Born
The song starts off in promising fashion but then fails a bit. This is another case of a cut that would be improved if given a bit more time to fine tune it.
You Can Be Saved
Jon Anderson gives a good performance on this otherwise ordinary track. This is the kind of music soundtracks are made of.
This number has a bit of a Styx (Grand Illusion-era) feel in the beginning. It's not a bad song but needs to be remixed. Jon Anderson's vocals are too far back in the mix.
Days (Demo)
Jon Anderson carries this whole song by singing acapella.
Of all of the bonus tracks, this track is the best. It has elements of early Yes and then turns into a bit of a Spanish style tune. This should have been added to the original album instead of "Onward."
Everybody's Song (Early Demo Of "Does It Really Happen")
There is some heavy, jazzy guitar work on this track. Since it is titled an "Early Demo," I will cut it some slack. It is a good start and is a good glimpse into the world of fine-tuning a song.
Hidden Track
This is just a piece of music that is mainly keyboards. It also sounds like the type of thing you would hear when the movie is over and the credits are rolling. I guess it is really appropriate that it is put on this CD last.
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