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Yes - Close To The Edge: How Yes’ Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock book review

Will Romano's exhaustive, well-presented insight of Yes’ 1972 opus

Yes - Close To The Edge: How Yes’ Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock book cover

Is there such a thing as the ultimate prog album? Now there’s a lengthy, inconclusive debate in itself. But New Yorker Will Romano does a cogent job in presenting the case for Close To The Edge.

Naturally, he goes into massive detail on every aspect of this record, including the background of the musicians involved, also providing a historical perspective of the era. If you’re after an in-depth analysis of Yes’ celebrated fifth album, then this admirably suits the purpose. Romano is adept at getting to the nub of Anderson’s lyrical inspirations, and explaining the clever wordplay on Siberian Khatru – if you don’t already know what it is, you’ll find out now. But in doing so, the author ensures the creative awareness that led to the recording of this album is never overlooked. He is clearly a fan – his first taste of Yes was a 45 of Roundabout, given to him by his uncle – and never lets intellectual observation cloud his love for the music. With first-hand references from key personnel such as Anderson, Wakeman and engineer Eddy Offord, its 288 pages – including a centre 12 pages of photos, but a surprising lack of the album’s feted visuals – reinforce the claim for this being the defining record in prog history.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio (opens in new tab), which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.