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Eloy - Visionary CD (album) cover

VISIONARY

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.29 | 203 ratings

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usa prog music
3 stars Eloy is a German band that formed during the late '60s/early '70s post-psychedelic period. Unlike most of their German contemporaries (Amon Duul, Birth Control, Agitation Free, etc.) that formed the krautrock branch of progressive rock, Eloy followed a more anglophiled path. Their early space-rock roots had more in common with Hawkwind; later developing into a very pronounced Pink Floyd vibe, and still later in the '80s their songs became more traditional rock songs with easily recognizable verse/chorus structures. Through it all has been one constant: the guitar and vocals of Frank Bornemann.

Visionary is their first release in ten years, and their first with New Jersey-based The Laser's Edge label. Much like their last album, Ocean 2: The Answer, which was a sequel and return to concept-album motifs of 1977's Ocean; Visionary feels like the natural successor to the more song-oriented material of Ra, Destination and The Tides Return Forever. From the very first notes, the listener is instantly transported back to the Eloy sound of the early '90s ? a staccato rhythm section, vocorder vocals, mystic narration and anthemic choruses.

While there is little in the way of true progressive-ness on this album, it is still an enjoyable collection of songs. Frank Bornemann's vocals are not stellar, but they do have a unique sound, and his earnestness breathes life into rather mundane lyrics that explore man's humanity in an increasingly mechanized world, and man's place within the mystery of the cosmos.

Most of the songs follow a very formulaic verse/chorus, verse/chorus format, so there's little room for extended guitar solos or atmospheric instrumentals that peppered their concept albums. As with most prog albums, the longer songs tend to be slightly more interesting ? "The Secret" and "Age of Insanity" clock in at nearly eight minutes each, while "Mystery (The Secret Part 2)" makes it to nine minutes. These songs all contain slight nods to their more progressive roots, yet in each instance the song is quickly reigned back in by a return to the chorus. Indeed, the album as a whole feels slightly truncated, clocking in at just over forty minutes. The final track, "Thoughts", is just a short minute and a half and feels anti-climatic.

In summary, if you're a fan of later Eloy, and especially albums like Ra or The Tides Return Forever, this release will appeal to you. If you're a fan of the concept albums from Eloy you may want to sample before purchasing. If you're new to the band, then I suggest you start elsewhere. Ocean 2: The Answer is probably their crowning achievement with catchy melodies and adventurous instrumentals.

usa prog music | 3/5 |

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