Yes
Close to the Edge


5.0
classic

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
November 20th, 2010 | 2573 replies


Release Date: 1972 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A cornerstone of progressive rock.

Often and rightfully cited as Yes’ greatest achievement, Close to the Edge features the seminal 70’s progressive band at the peak of their combined powers. Along with its predecessor Fragile, it is also definite proof that the quintet of Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire and Wakeman remains the non-debatable classic line-up, that sadly enough could not last for more than these two albums. Though featuring only 3 epic tracks and running merely 37 minutes in length, the album carries none of the group’s former rough edges or future missteps. Close to the Edge is blazing with masterful, ambitious musicianship, but ultimately focused and, as strange as it may sound for something a group notorious for their self-indulgence, concise.

The centrepiece here is of course the title track that originally took up the whole first side of the LP and makes, at almost 19 minutes, for almost the exact half of the running length. Messy yet captivating barrages of riffs, gorgeous melodic guitar leads, elfish vocals, a haunting two-minute organ solo (YES A RICK WAKEMAN ORGAN SOLO), and a lyrical concept that can’t be quite figured out, it’s got everything a pretentious progressive epic needs. And despite that length, it flows very well indeed.

In short, it’s pretty damn epic.

Also Close to the Edge’s second half does all but disappoint. And You and I is quite different and serves an excellent position as middle piece, relying less on virtuosity and more on atmosphere. Immediately notable is the beautiful acoustic work by the classically-trained Howe, on whom and Anderson the majority of the track relies. When Wakeman once again joins in, however, the magic really happens; the instrumental bridges with the organ in the mix are stunning. The conclusion is brought by Siberian Khatru, at 8 minutes the shortest, but also by far the most upbeat track. Like Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise, it is a very powerful showcase of Yes’ only constant member. Chris Squire is widely known for his fantastic skills on the bass guitar, and this may just be his best performance ever. Even though both Howe and Anderson both perform at their very finest, the whole song is built around Squire’s crunching lines, who dominates it nearly every second. The way guitar and bass are interplaying here is a pleasure to listen to every time, and the song is a fitting, energetic ending to a brilliant album.

Close to the Edge is not only Yes hitting their peak, but one of the best examples of how awe-inspiring progressive rock can be. Like all genuine classics, it is also a record that gets a little better each time, carefully unveiling new layers upon new listens, proving how well-composed it really is. Spending enough time with Close to the Edge will pay off considerably, making you realize that it deserves its reputation as one of the cornerstones of the movement, and why all the progressive nuts have been telling just you that all this time. Quite simply: essential.

Close to the Edge’s Yes was:

- John Roy Anderson ~ Lead Vocals
- Stephen James Howe ~ Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Christopher Russell Squire ~ Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Richard Christopher Wakeman ~ Keyboards
- William Scott Bruford ~ Drums, Percussion

TO BE CONTINUED...




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user ratings (1496)
Chart.
4.6
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
November 20th 2010


8247 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A SEASONED WITCH COULD CALL YOU FROM THE DEPTHS OF YOUR DISGRACE

I know the Fragile is still up, but I won't be back for most of today. Leave some comments, will you sputnik?

Blaizend
November 20th 2010


647 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

'And You And I' is like the best song ever.

DoubtGin
November 20th 2010


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

imo, this is the best prog album ever.. the title track is just too damn good

Piglet
November 20th 2010


4654 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I haven't listened to this in like a year...
And that's a nice piece of writing you have up there, engaging stuff.

LepreCon
November 20th 2010


4094 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

YES A NAGRAROK YES REVIEW

KILL3
November 20th 2010


601 Comments


album is so beautiful

Jethro42
November 20th 2010


12440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes Nag! Damn your 200th is rapidly approaching! Great review for one of my favourite prog albums. What is left to write when Close to the Edge is covered? :D
My fav part in the t/t Wakeman's performance is more like his moog synthesizer solo right after his haunting organ display.

EVedder27
November 20th 2010


6088 Comments


Awesome review. I like this album quite a bit but not as much as I probably should.

MindTrain
November 20th 2010


1093 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Amazing album.

Nice review, but what's the "TO BE CONTINUED..." for?

Jethro42
November 20th 2010


12440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^He's doing their discog.




AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2010


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of my favorite albums of all time. Quite deserving of yet another 5 review lol. But a good one at that.

Jethro42
November 20th 2010


12440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nag is gonna reach his 200th pretty easily since he intends to start one or two other discogs.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2010


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, what a machine. I wish I had the time, discipline, and work ethic haha.

Jethro42
November 20th 2010


12440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Talking about ethic, I wish I could write reviews in French on here. I would have a lot more than 4 reviews under the belt.
Edit: And yes, reviewing represents a great deal of time and energy.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2010


16137 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes, I'm sure it's quite inhibiting.

Jethro42
November 20th 2010


12440 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, especially since writing is all like my native French language: a passion. It has always been so.
Edit: English is beautiful too, but it's a bitch =P

MindTrain
November 20th 2010


1093 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Far better than just "good"

NeutralThunder12
November 20th 2010


8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

and you and I is phenomenal

ShadowRemains
November 20th 2010


20742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

goddammit

Digging: Banks - Goddess

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 21st 2010


23826 Comments


album is rad. I really hate the vocals though so I don't know what to rate it.... It's my favourite Yes! album for sure.



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