(5/10) Prog rock legend Yes added another studio record to their almost endless discography. The name: "Heaven & earth". It's the first Yes album since 2013 when the prog rockers published "Fly from here". The line-up stayed almost the same. It is founding member Chris Squire (b/v), Steve Howe (g/v), Geoff Downes (key) and Alan White (d). The new guy in the band is Jon Davison, the man behind the mic.
I don't want to compare the new album with former releases of the band. In general I would like to say that I like it better than the last release "Fly from here". So that's good news. To my surprise "Heaven & earth" is much softer than I thought. Prog rock is NOT what you can expect from the album. With a few exeptions the record is extremly soft and has a dominant pop appeal. In case you expect rocking tunes like "Owner of a lonely heart" you will be disappointed.
Considering the before mentioned the opener "Believe again" is actually a good start. Jon Davison's vocals fit pretty good to the sound of Yes and the guy has a good vocal range which he can present in this song. But already the second track "The game" is too trivial for a band like Yes. At least "Step beyond" gives a kind of rock feeling eventhough the Atari-like keyboards are a bit annoying. At least in certain parts Steve Howe can show up with his guitar. But don't expect too much. The ballad "To ascend" is the song where the guitar is most dominant. But it characterizes the album that we are talking about a ballad which is dominated by (at least) an accoustic guitar. "In a world of our own" spreads a kind of Queen vibe before you enter the Supertramp world with "Light of the ages". "It was all we knew" is for me the weakest track on the album. I never got into this track. Far too trival the song doesn't take an end. I was tempted to use the the skip button, but I made it to the end.
The closer "Subway walls" finally makes a difference. With 9 minutes the tune has an epical length and comes with the complexity and the musical diversity that I expect from a band like Yes. Keyboards, groove and arrangements make the track exciting from the beginning to the end. Chris Squire's bass is pumping and the multilayers in the song make it standing out from the others.
I have to say that I had high expectations for the album, which unfortunately haven't been met. "Heaven & earth" isn't a real disappointment. It's the prog rock element which is almost completely missing. After the latest Asia release the second disappointment from a legendary prog band.
- Believe again
- The game
- Step beyond
- To ascend
- In a world of our own
- Light of the ages
- It was all we knew
- Subway walls
Label: Frontiers Records
Genre: (Prog) (Pop) Rock