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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2016
This is not as good as many other of their albums - how could it be to be honest? I had this album on vinyl and for some reason back then it didn't float my boat. I have to admit that I bought the CD to fill a gap in my collection but I have to say I love it. I would give it three stars in comparison with The Yes Album or Close to the Edge but Onward ranks with the best things they have ever done and this song lifts it to five for me. The rest of the album is really good but Onward is stunning.
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‘Tormato’ was by general consent the weakest album from Yes in the 1970s, part-redeemed by a few OK songs. It’s a lighter, more pop-oriented offering containing the kind of short 5-minute numbers revived in the mid-70s by the ‘new wave’ movement as a rebellion against the excesses of the ‘progressive rock’ era, and looked like an attempt by the band to distance itself from the legacy of musically complex & imaginative epics like ‘Tales’ and attract a new audience.

The line-up is that of ‘Tales’ and ‘Going for the One’: Anderson, Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White so you know what these guys can do, which makes the result on ‘Tormato’ all the more disappointing. Although the musicianship (as usual with this band) and production are exemplary, compositionally ‘Tormato’ doesn’t reach the heights of any of the band’s previous six albums. It’s unmistakably the ‘Yes sound’ but mostly forgettable though a few good tunes like ‘Don’t kill the Whale’ and ‘On the silent Wings of Freedom’ do shine – but not too brightly.

Well all things must move on, and the relatively disappointing ‘Tormato’ led to the opening of a new chapter in the Yes story. Jon Anderson quit the band for a few years to pursue solo work with Vangelis (leaving Chris Squire as the only surviving founder member), and Rick Wakeman left for the second time. ‘Tormato’ marked the close of the great creative 1970s era for Yes, and from this time on the band – which became a kind of venerable music-industry brand with a particular recognisable sound – entered a new dynamic, characterised by a collegiate caucas of musicians who came and went, performed the old favourites and occasionally composed some good original music.

The follow-up album carrying the Yes name was ‘Drama’ which, even with Anderson and Howe absent, was better than ‘Tormato.’
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on 8 August 2017
Not the most popular Yes album but one I like as it gives way to individual input more than the others. I have only one reservation about recommending the album and that is you may have a bad copy. I have had to return 3 copies to HMV where is gets stuck on track 4 around the 3:50 mark. This one has a slight hesitation on track 8, first time I had to hit the fast forward button but second time through it managed to carry on after a little hiccup. It does only happen on Tormato not on any other Yes CD.
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on 9 May 2017
I know lots of people loathe it but it has some wonderful songs on it. Future Times, Don't kill the whale, Onward, Silent Wings, UFO are among the best song-orientated pieces of their career IMO.
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on 26 April 2017
A good album, but it draws hot and cold. Not my favourite.
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on 18 July 2004
First Hour Yes Fanatics know that this is the Yes album you should say bad things about. Everything Roger Dean is Holy, and Everything Else is second or third rate.

Well, if that is your narrow-minded world, then you have chosen to Close Your Ears. "Tormato" is a Yes album for grown-ups, and thrives less on Yes conventions (long, epic pieces, incomprehensible texts and Roger Dean artwork) than on musical directness, experiment and fun. Remember how Howe stole the show on "The Yes Album" with a happy fingerpicking piece called "The Clap"? Remember the campfire music of "Wonderous Stories"? You love it, dontcha? And still it is *nothing* like hardcore Yes.

Tormato is in the same vein. Doing something different. Music that is meant to Open Your Ears, maybe Your Mind. No "Awaken" here, nothing metaphysical or overhyped-complex. To me, this is some extension of "Going for the one" or even "America". Good riffs, instantly recognizable though never simple tunes, and no compromising on rhythm, harmony or modulation. A much more direct melody and even meaningful lyrics - but only Jon is to "blame" for that - just listen to his 1981 "Song of Seven" album, which is fully comprised of comprehensible lyrics.

"Tormato" was the first new Yes album I got after becoming a Yes fan in 1977. From my spare pocket money I first bought "Yesterdays", "Yes" and "Time and a Word" (cutout bins), then "The Yes Album" and "Close To The Edge".

Then it was 1978 and "Tormato" was released. I received this album on December 5th, 1978 (Santa Claus, or Sinterklaas, in The Netherlands). A couple of days before that date I went searching through the house looking for the presents that I knew were hidden somewhere. Among them "Tormato", which I discovered in a suitcase in the attic. I gave it a test hearing in my room and was disappointed up to the point of being angry. Remember, I was 14 by then. The album did not meet my expectations of a Yes Album. Then, I started to *listen*, or Open My Ears. I learnt how Yes melted crazy harmonies with complex rhythms (Release, release), how they could tell fantastic stories with sparse musical means (Arriving UFO), how they could move directly to your heart, both lyrically and musically (Onward), how they could remain lyrically incomprehensible with words that linger on and on, on a classical background (Madrigal), how they could rock your socks off (Silent wings) and have an instantly recognizable intro for each and every song. Just listen to the first 3 seconds of each song and you will know what I mean.

With this record, Yes showed that they were no dinosaurs of progressive (or symphonic) rock. They could rock. They could excite. They could renew. And they were not afraid to shock you, their first-hour fans, by omitting much of the 'mystic & spirituality' that was their hallmark. Real fans should recognize and appreciate that, instead of scorn it.

Buy it. Listen to it. Don't fear it, be not afraid to love it.

Tormato. Don't throw it. Eat it.
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on 3 October 2014
'Tormato' was considered quite a bit of a disappointment after the success of 'Going for the one' but it has one or two major things in its defence. Firstly, it couldn't be more different! After convincing themselves on 'Going for the one' they didn't have to always make songs that lasted over 10 minutes, this was an album where if they lasted over five they were pushing it. Secondly, it hangs together incredibly well. Yes I know most people say 'On the Silent wings of freedom' is the real knockout track on this album, which it certainly is (and also the longest at 7.45) . But what about 'Rejoice' as it's a deceptive little gem of a track, a mini epic beautifully put together as it takes you through several movements in two minutes something, rather than the expected ten! Add to that the album has other great tracks on it like 'Future times, 'Madrigal' with Rick and Steve's beautiful styling's on harpsichord and classical guitar and the rip roaring 'Release release' with only the turgid 'Onward' (a song they've done much better versions of live) slightly letting it down. All this and a catchy single in the shape of 'Don't kill the whale'. Yes, as Rick Wakeman has commented, it could have been better produced and mixed (the sound is a bit too compressed), but it also has its great moments. All in all not quite Yes at their classic best (4 1/2 stars would probably be about right) but not remotely the disaster some people would have you believe it is.
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on 22 September 2012
Many, many moons ago (or in this particular case many many SUNS ago...) I sat on the sunlit cliffs above Robin Hood's Bay with my huge ghettoblaster and listened to "Awaken" as the tide rolled gently in and the gulls wheeled above my head. It was THAT kind of an album. A year-and-a-bit later I took my Walkman to Ibiza with "Tormato" packed within and, bouncing along on a Skeedoo, heard the sound of a band kicking back and enjoying being released (albeit briefly) from the onerous task of having to produce ever-more-complex "EPIC" pieces for the forensic dissection of the kind of Yesfan who would quote bass guitar FREQUENCIES at them (honestly!). What emerges is a lighter bouncier ("Release! Release!") more upbeat fizzing album of short ROCK pieces with added personality from each of the band. The first two tracks are gloriously, ludicrously upbeat (oh to hear THEM live!), Alan injects a drum solo into a track, Chris contributes a lilting ballad, Jon introduces his son and indulges in some light-hearted whimsy, Rick wheels along on polymoog and...er, birotron! It's ALMOST a holiday album, rather than a let's-put-The-Lord-of-The-Rings-to-music piece of "standard" Yesfare. Oh God I know it has suffered the derision of the Yes fans, mostly because of the ghastly cover (in America they re-sleeved "Time and a Word", can't someone PURLEASE resleeve "Tormato"?), slightly because of the title (It was going to be called "Yes Tor" originally, after the Dartmoor monolith of the same name) and not lastly because of Roy Thomas Baker's "toppy/choppy" production job, but NONETHELESS, this is a gleeful and accessible album that deserves far better than its reputation. This new remix is a beautifully clean piece of work with some worthwhile bonus tracks (nyaaaaahh, I have the "Yesyears" compilation, so my need of extras is pretty well satisfied!) and would probably make an excellent "primer" for new Yes folk. It's also a good one to slot into the car stereo, but that's another story, officer, was I speeding???
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on 10 July 2000
This album is without doubt worth the purchase but if you are expecting the sheer brilliance of some of the earlier work be disappointed.
In my opinion it is too musically simplistic for Yes, tracks like "Release Release" sounding like an attempt to be something that they are not (a rather dodgy rock act) and it was certainly a mistake to use Jon Anderson's son on "Circus Of Heaven".
However, there are gems that make this album worth the purchace. "Future Times" is a well thought out song and at a good length, "Don't Kill The Whale" has a Led Zepplin esq groove that will delight and entertain while "On The Wings Of Freedom" takes us back to the classic improvising Yes that we all love.
Then there is the under-3-minute ballardette "Madrigal", simple vocals over a spinning and beautiful part by Wakeman......simply the most beautiful Yes that I have heard.
Not too bad an album, the good tracks make this one worth the purchase
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on 16 July 2012
I have a huge soft spot for 'Tormato' (1978) and as a time-served fan of Yes, this is one of their albums that I still come back to on a fairly regular basis. However, it was recorded during a difficult period in the life of the band and reflects many of their internal problems and uncertainties at the time. The album received generally luke-warm reviews from critics and fans alike on its release and has come to be regarded as an inferior sequel to the previous year's much-lauded 'Going for the one'. The shadows were beginning to lengthen over Yes' classic seventies line-up, but they still had just enough inspiration and unity of purpose to make 'Tormato' an interesting and, for the most part, enjoyable album.

First of all, lets get all the bad stuff about 'Tormato' out of the way:

- The sleeve is a disaster. One can only presume that designers, Hipgnosis, couldn't make head nor tail of the brief they were given by the band (i.e. design a cover incorporating an interesting rock formation!) and cooked up the lamest, most nondescript excuse for a sleeve design imaginable. The splattered tomato which adorns it is a failed attempt at a joke which really just compounds the error. An emergency phone call to Roger Dean (speciality: cosmic rock formations) was definitely in order.

- Anderson's lyrics on 'Tormato' are mostly terrible and occasionally cringe-inducing. Having simplified his style on 'Going for the one' to good effect, on 'Tormato' his muse inexplicably deserts him. When he's not indulging in toe-curling whimsy, ('Circus of heaven') he's regurgitating old ideas and catchphrases from previous albums, or trying desperately to be hip and 'with it' (the infamous 'Dig it, dig it' from 'Don't kill the whale' springs instantly to mind, although the album is littered with other examples).

- Wakeman's keyboards sound strangely tinny more or less throughout and lack variety. There is virtually no mellotron, piano or Hammond anywhere on 'Tormato'. When he does abandon the tinny synths it's only to use an equally tinny-sounding harpsichord ('Madrigal').

- Curiously, Howe's guitars often don't seem to fit together with the music. Unusually for the great maestro, many of his guitar parts sound like peripheral after-thoughts that skate around the music rather than bedding into the mix.

- The songs themselves are shorter and don't develop musically and thematically as they do on previous albums. What we have on 'Tormato' is more a collection of individually-written tracks and even the longer, collective band compositions lack the customary flair and creative swagger.

- One other factor, which hampers people's perception of this album is that it was the last release produced by the classic line-up for over two decades. What followed was years of squabbling, acrimony, numerous changes in personnel and attempts to re-invent the band. Seen in retrospect through this prism, it is easy to see 'Tormato' as the terminal, half-baked product of a band in decline - out of sorts with itself and out of step with the musical trends of the time.

In view of this lengthy list of shortcomings and deficiencies, why do I still like 'Tormato'? Basically, the album's one enduring strength is the band's undiminished sense of melody. One can spend a great amount of time picking holes in each of the individual songs, but the tunes are fine. The songs don't necessarily hold together as well as they should and the album lacks cohesion, direction and consistency, but somehow the tunes manage to surpass most of the individual shortcomings and just about bring the album together. In this sense, 'Tormato' very much has to be accepted on its own terms and taken 'with a pinch of salt'. However, there is much here to enjoy if you don't dwell too much on the negatives:

'Future times / rejoice' is a strong opener. Brisk, positive and melodic with a subtle contrast in feel between the track's two halves and some excellent shifting chord patterns in each closing section.

'Madrigal' is a straightforward three-minute song, based around an ornate Wakeman keyboard composition, boasting a simple, pretty melody with some nice classical guitar touches from Howe.

'Release / release' is an engaging rocker, only slightly diminished by corny lyrics and a somewhat contrived middle section containing a drum solo and fake crowd noise.

'Arriving UFO' is a passable attempt at something a bit different for the band. It contains a sci-fi storybook lyric with extra terrestrial sound effects gleefully provided by Wakeman and Howe and tongue-in-cheek alien noises presumably from Anderson. Don't take it too seriously - it's actually quite fun.

'Onward' is a classy and highly affecting ballad. A real high point on the album, it is beautifully arranged and performed by the band and a telling example of how 'short' doesn't necessarily mean 'bad'.

The most serious flaw evident on 'Tormato', and the single feature which the album truly lacks, is a great, epic album closer. In this respect 'On the silent wings of freedom' is the single most frustrating song in the entire Yes canon. True, it is good as it stands, but it could and should have been so much better. Despite a soaring, uplifting melody and a great central theme, somehow the band never realise the song's true potential. In previous years one suspects they would have relished developing the main structure of the song, providing it with a contrasting section and a fitting, climactic ending. However, in its released form it flits around for ideas before being wound up abruptly and coming to a shuddering, unedifying halt. I can't get away from the conclusion that a truly satisfying album closer would have made it easier for fans to accept the shorter, more insubstantial material on the album and appreciate all the songs for what they were. It would also have enabled the album's one true clunker, the abominable and utterly wretched 'Circus of heaven' to have been omitted from the running order and banished to a Jon Anderson solo album of his own choice.

'Tormato' is an album of many flaws and missed opportunites. By 1978, there were internal divisions within the band and the the presence of punk and new wave bore down heavily on morale and confidence. However, Yes' instinctive ability to produce memorable tunes was still intact and this alone is the album's salvation. Aside from this, the album has a heart, an almost child-like honesty and a simplicity that is easy to warm to. Although it lacks the quality, musical scope and invention of previous albums it is nonetheless straightforward and very accessible -- 'Yes-lite', if you will. Look at it in that context, forgive 'Tormato' its many sins and just enjoy it for what it is.
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