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PLANETS

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.04 | 344 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Proghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Second album with the '80s lineup, and the first to record a concept, in this case about the Planet Salta and the inhabitants known as the Ikareens. Originally "Planets" was meant to be a double album, but EMI/Harvest didn't quite like the idea (especially in the early '80s when double albums went out of fashion), so the band was forced to conclude this album the following year (1982) with "Time to Turn". I could not be more surprised with "Planets", especially since the album has often been looked at in a negative light compared to their previous, "Colours". I find little to complain of "Planets", it sounds to me like the band was making a compromise of their new, direct approach they explored since "Colours", and the spacy sound they explored when Detlev Schmidtchen and Jürgen Rosenthal were in the band ( "Ocean", "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes").

The album is loaded with great Moog and string synths, done in the '70s style, but since this was the early '80s, some new polyphonic synths (such as the Prophet 5, or something similar) was starting to surface, as demonstrated on songs like "Point of No Return" and "Sphinx". You can be certain the band was still reluctant to let the 1970s go. The album starts off with "Introduction" (nothing to do with another piece they titled "Introduction" from "Power and the Passion"). This is a purely electronic piece, proving that Hannes Folberth could have made some great electronic music solo, but he preferred to be in a band. Fine with me. The music then segues in to "On the Verge of Darkening Lights". Here's all the proof you need of the band merging their new sound with the old. It's still in a more accessible, direct fashion, but they included some great, spacy Moog solos that could've been done by Schmidtchen. "Point of No Return" is mainly a song-oriented piece, with polyphonic synths dominating. There's a heartbeat (likely inspired by "Dark Side of the Moon") that segues in to "Mysterious Monolith". I like the introduction part of the song, and the end part with the atmospheric synth solos.

The second half showed the band was oddly wanting to move back to the sounds of "Dawn". The reason for that was the presence of orchestra on all but one of the cuts. "Queen of the Night" is that prime example. It starts off with a piano ballad, before the band rocks out, then the string synth solo come in. In there are the strings that sound like they came off "Dawn". "At the Gates of Dawn" is a very pleasant instrumental number with spacy Moog and piano, with the strings, once again. "Sphinx" is the only piece on side two without the strings, and is truly one of the album's high points. Stuffed with great playing, I especially like the '70s synths found here. It then segues in to the final piece, "Carried On By Cosmic Winds", with some more great cosmic sounding synths. The orchestra comes in, once again bringing to mind "Dawn".

It was 1981, MTV premiered, DURAN DURAN released their debut album, GENESIS released "Abacab", YES ceased to exist, ASIA formed (but no album released until the following year, of course), and ELOY pretended all the unfortunate things to happen in the world of music never happened (like new wave, the emergance of MTV, and old-time prog bands going commercial or ceasing to exist), making "Planets" one of the better prog albums I've heard from the 1980s. Definately the album to start first if you want to try '80s ELOY.

Proghead | 5/5 |

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