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

OCEAN 2: THE ANSWER

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.79 | 224 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars More Lunar Sea?

With the core trio of Frank Bornemann, Klaus-Peter Matziol and Michael Gerlach firmly reconvened, Eloy continued to tour in the 1990's. Drummer Bodo Schopf (ex McAuley Schenker Group) completed the line up during the tour and stayed on for the recording of this album. Eloy's relatively small but immensely loyal fan base turned out in force for each gig, and made sure the band were fully aware of what was considered to be their best material. Meanwhile, the growth of the internet had made it much easier for band and fans to communicate, and for fans to place demands upon their heroes.

All this meant that when Eloy came to record their follow up to the well received "The tide returns forever", they looked back to their highly acclaimed 1977 album "Ocean" for inspiration. Naturally, when fans became aware that 1998 was to see the release of "Ocean 2" (sub-titled "The answer"), the hope was that this would be another collection of magnificent symphonic prog.

While the original album's concept was based on the city of Atlantis and a physical ocean, here the themes are ethereal, mythological and astral. The lyrics take us on a journey through ancient civilizations and their legacies with words such as "Spirit", "Karma", "Infusions" and "Presentimental" being the order of the day.

The brief opening piece "Between future and past" contains the reassuring Floydian influences we are looking for, with female chorale vocals presenting a distinctive "Wish you were here" like guitar motif. We even have a "Time" like chiming clock which segues the track into "Ro setau". Here, the differences with "The ocean" start to become apparent. Eloy have moved with the times, and while this album makes for a fine partner for its namesake, it also draws its influences from the band's more recent work such as "Ra" and "Destination". There is therefore a more straightforward feel to some of the music, with strong rock phases and symphonic keyboards vying for prominence. The middle part of "Ro sedau" actually pays homage to tracks such as "Child in time" (Deep Purple) and "July morning" (Uriah Heep) with a developing ah-ah theme building towards the track's climax. Guest Hannes Folberth adds some nice mini-moog to the piece.

It is slightly disappointing that the tracks as a whole do not run together to form a contiguous whole, the jump from "Ro setau" to "Paralysed civilization" being somewhat jarring. The latter sets out as a guitar driven hard rock piece but the core section is largely instrumental, featuring some fine lead guitar. "Serenity" is little more than a brief (3 minute) interlude piece. Light and melodic, the track has some pleasant vocals backed by wispy synth.

"Awakening of consciousness" would probably have been the first track to be dropped had the album been restricted to the 40 minute LP length of "Ocean" (and then of course added as a bonus track on the remaster!). It is not a bad track, but the rather monotone vocal melody is uninspired. There is some good synthesiser here though, at times reminiscent of Jeff Wayne's "War of the worlds".

Running to some 13 minutes, "Reflections from the spheres beyond" is the longest track on the album, and Eloy's longest track for many years. The extra space is exploited to the full, the track being a magnificent piece of symphonic prog from the 1990's. Listen out for the highly effective closing instrumental section too. "Waves of intuition" does actually segue well from its predecessor. Like "Serenity", this is a sort of link piece but it does feature some evocative lead guitar and a nicely understated vocal.

At the time of this album's release, "The answer" was assumed to be Eloy's "Fading lights", in that it would be the last track on their last album. History now tells us this was not to be the case, but this epic 11+ minute track did make for an all guns blazing finale back then. The return of the "Time" like chimes introduce a plodding, symphonic number with chorales (the Prague Philharmonic Choir no less!) and complex vocal arrangements. The piece is rounded off by some fine David Gilmour (who else!?) like lead guitar. This track would undoubtedly inspire Arjen Luccasen's Star One project some years later.

Overall, this is a superb symphonic prog album. To compare it with its earlier namesake is futile, this album deserves to be heard in its own right. The three epic tracks sit perfectly with the shorter pieces to form an album of significant depth. Recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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