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Eloy - Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes CD (album) cover

SILENT CRIES AND MIGHTY ECHOES

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.03 | 441 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Eloy's music organically ebbs and flows with an ineffaceable virtuosity.

It is difficult to see where the pinnacle of Eloy's career is located but surely it must have been during the mid 70s with 4 masterpieces in a row being churned out, many of which were visionary concept albums; "Floating" (1974), "Power and the Passion" (1975), "Dawn" (1976) and then they stunned us with "Ocean" (1977). One would be forgiven for thinking that these were hard acts to follow and their glory days may be coming to an end. However Eloy had other ideas and created what many consider to be their all time master work, the amazing "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes" (1979). Once again it was a massive concept album with some very complex and ingenious passages of music. It is even more stunning as it came in 1979 when prog was beginning to grind to a halt with the upsurgence of new temporary fads of music such as interminable punk and even worse the disco infestation. Nobody, except the very discerning music connoisseur, cared about concept albums and lengthy compositions with time sig changes and virtuoso musicianship.

All that was required to get people hyped was a 3 minute song with 3 chords and no singing ability; I present The Sex Pistols. If that was too heavy for you, there was always the booming beat, with orchestra strings, funkadelic bass and manufactured singing; I give you the discoteque scene. As shameful as these musical diversions that lasted a few years were, prog rock had no chance and the synthesizer was about to become the best friend of the 80s, with the rise of new Romanticism and processed artists churned out of a mixing machine in a studio. The artists didn't even need to perform live anymore as lip synching for TV appearances was sufficient and if you couldn't sing, fine as long as you looked pretty and could make girls scream. Again bands like Eloy were doomed. You either jumped on the bandwagon and emulated the next big thing or your career was sunk. One prog band after another sunk without trace to the bottom of the ocean, swallowed up by the craze of the inferior musical landscape of disco and commercialism, and the ones that survived had to transform image and sound or end up also drowned in their own progressive juices. Genesis, Rush, ELP and Yes were victims of the new changes and gained new fans but lost old ones. Pink Floyd were about to change their sound after enormous success with the mother of all concept albums "The Wall" right on the cusp of 1979.

Where did Eloy fit into all this? They decided to bite the bullet and produced another concept album with huge progressive delicacies, and the result is one of the best progressive albums of 1979, and indeed one of their triumphs among a plethora of 70s masterpieces. It was to be one of their last crowning achievements, though "Colours" (1980), "Planets" (1981) and "Time to Turn" (1982) proved they still had some excellent musical ideas left in the tank.

"Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes" opens with the ominous drone of a synth, with majestic cathedral organ. The opening of 'Astral Entrance' as the soft guitar chimes in, is reminiscent of Pink Floyd's 'Shine On' intro with the same measured tranquil beauty and atmospherics. It builds with 'Master of Sensation', with a faster cadence and strong vocals by Bornemann. His delivery is quite forced with Hawkwind spacey echoes; "It is real, so unreal, it's the magic sign, Make us rise, makes us kneel on the edge of time, Here dwells the lord of creation, Here comes the master of sensation." Even the lyrics by Jürgen Rosenthal have Hawkwind references but no complaints from me as I love that. The instrumental section is dynamic with trade-offs of synth and lead guitar. As usual the heavy use of Hammond is electrifying. The band are incredible when they are in full flight on these instrumental sections. The lead break is awesome and this is a powerful way to open this album on every level. The cathedral organ at the end is absolutely wonderful. A triumphant song by Eloy and they are at their best here.

After an energetic opening the album moves into a tranquil passage of music with a 15 minute suite of songs under the banner of 'The Apocalypse' in 3 sections. The first part is 'Silent Cries Divide the Nights' and I am almost in tears at the beauty of the music at 1:58. The lead guitar augments the beauty with spacey echoes over a layer of synth pads and a pulsating bassline. The music organically ebbs and flows with an ineffaceable virtuosity. Bornemann's vocals are transfixing on part 2 "The Vision ? Burning", as he sings of esoteric and high conceptual thoughts of the astral plain of existence; "The air will be afraid of our mortal frame, Ethereal we are, the air we breathe, The storm that's stirring up all fire, I see, our life and limb will still, Not come to harm at the moment, That's the reason why we still think, Of everything to be alright, But our hidden souls already dwell, In seas of flames, red hot solution." The next section is an ethereal instrumental, "Force Majeure", with some angelic female intonations, something like 'Great Gig in the Sky'. The lengthy instrumental section contains some breathtaking musicianship, with buzzsaw synths, mellotron nuances and emotional guitar soloing. At the end it even reminds me of 'Thus Spake Zarathustra'. Then the rhythm changes into a pulsating electronic sound like Jean Michel Jarre and some swirling synths take it into the stratosphere. There is not a moment that does not take my breath away with the powerful jaw dropping musical intensity. It really is a work of mesmirising beauty concluding another stunning masterpiece track for the band.

Next up is "Pilot to Paradise" driven by an undulating bassline by Klaus-Peter Matziol and powerhouse keyboard playing. This is a wonderful track and especially exciting due to some glorious vocals and an exuberant tempo. The musicianship is exceptional particularly the keyboard finesse of Detlev Schmidtchen trading off with the soaring guitars of Bornemann.

'De Labore Solis' is a mellow ballad with softer vocals and ambient keyboard with acoustic layers'; mesmirising and beautiful. 'Mighty Echoes' closes the album with a very melodic infectious atmosphere. There is a nice steady rhythmic pace, and Bornemann's vocals are simply stunning here; so original and emotional. There is a tirade of symphonic keyboards and guitars that drive the melody. The two bonus tracks on the remaster are very worthwhile, featuring 'Child Migration' with amazing percussion from Jürgen Rosenthal and a rollicking tempo, and 'Let The Sun Rise In My Brain' with Moog synths and cosmic space rock nuances with some wonderful flute solos.

Overall, "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes" is a sensational album, with some of Eloy's best songs of their lengthy career. It is totally killer and no filler, and came out at a time when prog was beginning to decline. The no-holds barred original approach to the music is awe inspiring, and sets them apart, though they clearly are enamoured with Pink Floyd (but who wasn't?). The musicianship is virtuoso and overflows with innovation and power from beginning to end. Once again Eloy has produced a masterpiece and I am in awe of how they can consistently produce one brilliant album after another; "Floating", "Power and the Passion", "Dawn", "Ocean" and now this album are 5 star treasures of prog. The band would produce other excellent albums after this, not masterpieces but still incredible music by any standard. Eloy are one of the greatest prog bands and deserve the highest recommendation.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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