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Eloy - The Tides Return Forever CD (album) cover

THE TIDES RETURN FOREVER

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.50 | 161 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Joolz
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Despite its sterile computerised drumming and plastic samples, 1988's Ra represented a new start for Eloy and a new direction in high quality Proggish arena-rock. The Tides Return Forever continues largely in the same vein, though now with bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol permanently back on board and session drummer Nico Baretta spearheading a shift towards a much more organic sound, underpinning some excellent songwriting and superb musicianship from Bornemann and Gerlach and a cast of guests. I am not a fan of modern 'clipped' drum sounds, and I do find them a little intrusive on one or two tracks here, but otherwise the instrumentation is superb. Fortunately, those cheesy 80s keyboards and samples are consigned to the past!

The material can be divided into two groups. Three songs are 'jaunty', 'lively' arena-rockers - The Day Of Crimson Skies [nice harmonies but relentlessly bombastic], Generation Of Innocence [good guitar solo but you might have fallen asleep by then] and The Last In Line [erm .... ] are pleasant enough but ultimately somewhat superficial and tend to interrupt the flow of the rest of the album.

The remainder is top-drawer melodic-symphonic-Prog of the kind that Druid specialised in - solid songwriting with strong melodies that worm their way into the brain, inventive arrangements drenched in keyboard colours and exemplary performances. Listening to Bornemann singing these songs you realise just how far he has progressed - it is not necessarily that he is a better singer than before, but he has learnt to write good tunes and to present his voice with better use of studio tools. These songs sound as a proper band should with its textures - several different singers [including a 'big choir'], electric and acoustic guitars, and various retro analogue keyboards - all combining harmoniously to form a whole better than the sum of its parts.

Fatal Illusions begins a little uncertainly as a clone of Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond with guitar noodles over a synth drone, but soon evolves into an easy toe-tapping beat, a walking bassline and a memorable "here we are on the edge of time" refrain. It has satisfying light-and shade mood swings including a excellent quieter 'ambient' section followed by an up-tempo jam complete with synth solo and soaring atmospherics. By contrast, Childhood Memories is slow and dreamy, a big ballad with an emotive melody and understated guitars in a lush arrangement, bringing to mind The Moody Blues, or even Frankie Goes To Hollywood's The Power Of Love!

Title track The Tides Return Forever is introduced with Bornemann singing over acoustic guitars and pads in a pastoral setting building up to a big stately chorus with some nice chord changes along the way [pleasing rather than technically intricate]. Later, it switches into bombast mode with some uncomfortable wailing from a female singer. Final track Company Of Angels is an operatic Prog mini-epic about Jeanne D'Arc featuring vocal interchanges between Bornemann, a female singer and the dramatic 'big choir' interspersed with some lovely 1970s instrumental touches and a big synth solo.

Overall, it is an imperfect conjunction of differing styles, but removal of the three rockers would transform it into a fine example of melodic Prog, albeit a little on the short side. As it is, The Tides Return Forever is one of the best of Eloy's later catalogue, but be aware it is a far cry from their earlier spacey or harder rocking material.

Joolz | 3/5 |

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