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Eloy - Ocean 2: The Answer CD (album) cover

OCEAN 2: THE ANSWER

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.81 | 223 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

infandous
3 stars When I heard about this being released back in 1998, I was a bit skeptical. Eloy was the first somewhat obscure band I had discovered thanks to the internet, and the original Ocean album from 1977 was a favorite of mine. The idea of any band releasing part 2 of any classic album was not encouraging to say the least. When you also consider that in this case, the original lyricist from Eloy's late 70's period (drummer Jürgen Rosenthal) had long since left the band and wasn't playing involved with music anymore, and the previous albums of the band were only superficially prog music, it sounded like the makings of a disaster.

Fortunately, it wasn't. The previous few albums by the band, essentially Frank Bornemann and Michael Gerlach joined by large numbers of guest musicians, sounded more like 80's synth pop than prog to my ears. However, with original Ocean bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol firmly back in the band and young new drummer Bodo Schopf, the stage was set for something more interesting than I might have expected.

The album is essentially a cross between the previous albums and the original Ocean era of the band. Both eras had a strong Floyd vibe, and that is present here. However, the later era featured heavy, repetitive beats and modern synth textures. These are retained for the most part, but a much more 70's style rhythm section gives the album a bit more punch and prog credibility.

We begin with a very spacy and Floyd like short instrumental, and immediately we are reminded of the original Ocean album by the inclusion of a tolling bell (which was heard at the conclusion of that album). The first regular track bursts into life with excellent Neal Peart like drumming and a driving bass line. Eloy are back! The song tends a bit toward the repetitive, but is still a breath of fresh air after the less proggy albums from recent years. Paralyzed Civilization is the best track Eloy had done up to this point since probably the Ocean album itself. A great song with excellent drumming and bass playing, lots of proggy textures and breaks, and a good melody to boot! Serenity features a mesmerizing bass line by Matziol, and true to it's title is a relaxing and more mellow track. So far, I was excited by this album. A true successor to the Ocean name!

Sadly, things begin to stagnate at this point. While Awakening Of Consciousness is not a bad song per say, it seems to be a bit too similar in style, pacing and melody to what has gone before, while also being a bit more repetitive. Reflections From The Spheres Beyond would seem to be highlight with it's 13 minute running time, but it proves to be almost the most tedious track on the album. Once again, similar mid-paced tempo, similar melody, and lots of repetition. There are bits and pieces (guitar solo, keys solo) that are enjoyable, but on the whole a fairly dull and plodding number.

The next track is another short and somewhat mellower number, and has the distinction of having a considerably different melody, especially in the chorus. However, it's not necessarily a good melody, and it's seems a bit derivative of other music I've heard (though I can't quite say exactly what). Still, not bad.

Finally, the track that is supposed to give us the Answer (the subtitle of the album). This is without doubt, the most dull and plodding thing Eloy have ever concieved. The somewhat slow, pounding 4/4 beat dominates nearly the entire song. There is, actually, one lovely and quite enjoyable change in the song........but it lasts less than a minute and is never repeated. The song is like a dirge for the death of the band. A rather depressing, and downright boring way to end the album, as it tapers off into gloomy synth tones reminiscent of the opening track.

So, how to rate an album that is half a glorious return to form, and half a plodding and dull chore to listen to? Well, I guess I'd have to say that 3 stars is probably perfect. This isn't strictly a fans only type album, and those who like a more 80's syth slant in their prog may even enjoy the songs I found dull. Also, the first half is so good, I just can't bring myself to give it 2 stars. So 3 it is. A half worthy follow up to the original Ocean, and a half plodding and dull 80's synth fest (even though the liner notes suggest that Gerlach uses vintage keys on the album, it is not really obvious except for a few key spots). Worth it for the Eloy fan, but those new to the band would do far better to check out the original Ocean from 1977 first, as that album is probably their finest work.

infandous | 3/5 |

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