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YES - 'Heaven & Earth' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b8/1f/ea/yes-heaven-and-earth-100-1418332761.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 11, 2014    
 
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The 21st studio release from this seminal Prog band in their forty-six year career.

‘Heaven And Earth’ is the 21st studio release from this seminal Prog band in their forty-six year career and their first since 2011’s ‘Fly From Here’ which featured Benoit David. Glass Hammer’s Jon Davison has since taken over vocalist duties and unlike Benoit has been given the chance to make his mark in a big way on the album, contributing co-writes on seven of the eight tracks (he wrote ‘Light Of The Ages’ himself). Roy Thomas Baker produced the album.

Opening track ‘Believe Again’ is a catchy opener with excellent vocals from Davison and fine backing vocals. It is quite a “soft” track and sets the tone for the album. Steve Howe plays a trademark Jazzy solo and Geoff Downes’ keyboards are very simple and reminiscent of Asia’s sound. ‘The Game’ has an AOR ring to it and Howe is more prominent with some typical guitar flurries.

Downes puts his stamp on ‘Step Beyond’ with a simple keyboard sound which some may find quite annoying, Howe occasionally plays a heavy riff which is sadly lacking on the majority of the album. ‘To Ascend’ is primarily an acoustic driven number with Downes’ piano backing it up; this is the weakest track on the album and contains some Anderson Cosmic style lyrics harking back to the seventies.

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‘Light Of The Ages’ has some wonderful steel guitar from Howe and again is a slower number, however it does contain some pumping bass from Chris Squire. ‘It Was All We Knew’ has an intro which reminds me of GTR’s ‘The Hunter’ which of course Howe played on and Downes produced in the mid-eighties; Howe again reminds us that this is Yes with snippets of his familiar guitar work.

Final track ‘Subway Walls’ clocks in at nine minutes and begins with a keyboard intro which again sounds as if it should be on an Asia track. Squire finally springs to life and reminds us what he is capable of with some superb bass lines. Alan White also has the chance to shine (his drumming is very understated throughout the rest of the album). The middle part of the track has a Downes’ Hammond duel with Howe’s Jazzy style guitar. This is the “Proggiest” song on show.

Many traditional Yes fans from the early days will struggle to come to terms with how “Prog-lite” the album is, that said I don’t think it was recorded with them in mind; fans old and new will enjoy the Roger Dean artwork. Davison does a commendable job and I hope that he is given the chance to record another album with the band and maybe then we may hear some more traditional Yes sounding tunes.

Az Chaudhry

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