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Eloy - Ra CD (album) cover

RA

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.80 | 159 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Enigmatic

By this time (1988) the band was effectively a duet of Frank Bornemann (vocals and guitars) and Michael Gerlach (keyboards, drums and synth-bass). The line up was however enhanced by a number of guest musicians.

Taking its name from the Egyptian sun god (as Todd Rundgren's Utopia had done previously), the opening minutes of "Ra" take us sequentially through Enigma (the band), Mike Oldfield ("Tubular bells"), and Tangerine Dream before a striking burst of guitar indicates that this is indeed Eloy.

"Voyager of the future race" is in some ways a forerunner for the work of Arjen Lucassen. There is a harder, metallic edge to the music, which when combined with electronic effects and a space theme lay a path for those who followed. At the same time, there is a retrospective element in the overlaps with Genesis "Watcher of the skies".

The vocals on "Sensations" (released in slightly edited format as a single) are reminiscent of AMON DUUL II's performance on their "Live in London album". The track has a heavy, powerful feel. "Dreams" has some effective female talking and excellent synth strings creating a lush dreamscape. At times, the track has the sound of 80's Yes.

"Invasion of a megaforce" could perhaps have been an inspiration for Ayreon/Star One link, with a strong multi-part vocal theme. The track develops through a captivating instrumental core with sweeping synthesisers before returning to the main vocal themes.

"Rainbow" is by far the most commercial track, being an infectious power ballad with a repeating chorus. Lovely song though. The closing track "Hero" has a more synthetic, 80's feel with stereo echoed guitar bursts over a rather plodding beat.

It is entirely understandable that long terms fans of Eloy may feel that "Ra" does not sit well alongside their earlier albums. For me, it is a fine example of 80's prog, with some excellent compositions and competent performances. Recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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