Album Review: Tormato by Yes

Listening to this album retrospectively, I am given the opportunity to see the progression of Yes as well as where this album fits into their creative scheme. It is said by the members themselves that Tormato was a scattered and rushed effort, effectively giving them their least favorite album to date. However I personally enjoy this album and find it unique for its unparalleled instrumentals and lyrical creativity. Honestly I was set on reviewing another album this week, but I could not stop listening to the A-side of Tormato.

Primary it contains some very complex and interesting arrangements and instrumentals. The original lineup is present once again, featuring Anderson, Wakeman, White, Squire, and Howe. The album has a more synth overtone but I think it gives the album more style than limitation. Many may argue pieces like ‘Future Times’ and ‘Release, Release’ are dated, but I find them still very enjoyable and quite fascinating. Anderson’s lyrics still prove to be entertaining and just as mystical, Wakeman’s keyboards provide a dynamic and stunning display and Squire and Howe’s interweaving work simply astounds me and White really shines with his drum solos.

The B-side of album offers a more diverse mix of songs. ‘Arriving UFO’ and ‘Circus of Heaven’ are humorous pieces and although still very good, lack the dynamic energy I look for in Yes. ‘Onward’ is a rare slow song by the band and offer some really insightful and beautiful lyrics. It is one of the handful of songs written by Squire, which I really enjoy and tend to gravitate towards.

The album art is another departure from the cosmic landscapes of Roger Dean, and is done by Hipgnosis. Although I see why, upon it’s release it was initially dismissed, I think Tormato provides a sweeping display of Yes’s many talents, both as a solid union of musicians, and as individual talents.

Tormato by Yes
Jon Anderson: Vocal
Steve Howe: Guitar and Vocals
Chris Squire: Bass and Vocals
Rick Wakeman: Polymoog and Keyboards
Alan White: Percussion

Tormato LP Cover designed by Hypnosis.