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Eloy - Metromania CD (album) cover

METROMANIA

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.10 | 190 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars 'Metromania' is the sound of Eloy in 1984 and as a mega fan of the group I was not impressed with this direction of the band. They sound like they were swallowed by 80s synthesizers and spat out into a commercial radio station. It begins immediately with retro 80s synth, on 'Escape To The Heights', a jumpy upbeat song that grows on me very quickly. The sound is very different of course from the 70s Eloy but it is nowhere as innovative. I enjoy the vocals on this one though with that strong melody. The keyboards are too chimey and sound like Depeche Mode or Gary Numan of the era, yet Eloy are capable of more complex passages of instrumentation.

Seeds Of Creation continues the synthetic drum sounds and crystalline 80s sound and then there are some female chorus voices to contend with. I still like Frank Bornemann's vocals that feel like an old friend I have become so accustomed to them. The section that says 'stand back stand back' sounds familiar in the melody and I am not sure where I have heard it. The violin sounds are nice on this track and it is certainly not a bad song, one of the better ones on offer here. All Life Is One begins with piano flourishes, and that 80s synth drum sound resounds that is annoying these days. The synths and vocoder spacey effects are quite effective, but the sound is worse than the 80s Genesis pap. It drags on interminably with a crawling tempo and bright synths inundating the scape. By the time the lead guitar breaks through I have lost interest. The sound is so tinny and no low end bass just a treble drenched metronomic synth drum

The Stranger has a sharper sound, cool guitar chugging, and the melody chimes nicely. The icey synths dominate but I like the way the guitar answers in angry distortion blasts. A definite highlight on this mediocre collection, and the muscular lead break helps to empower the sterile production sound. Follow The Light is a lengthy song (9:37) so I was expecting some instrumental freakouts and jamming as in the golden era of Eloy. It begins with a synth sound that sounds like Gary Numan entered the studio and took over. I love Numan, a progenitor of synth and electronica, but I didn't expect Eloy to ever sound like this. The voice is mixed under the loud synths and it has an odd sequencer layer, with a spacey texture. It gets into Hawkwind territory with more space rock atmospheres, then it diverts into a cool groove with pulsing bass and drum. The female voices are as bad as when Numan used them on 'The Fury' or 'Metal Rhythm', the worst of his 80s era. It seemed all music of the mid 80s had to survive this kitsch style and chiming cheesy music does not help either. Somehow this still has a nice effect on the album and becomes another of the better songs, thanks to it's cool melodic anthemic nature that is maddeningly infectious. Nightriders is also long (9:39) and has a plodding tempo and synth drums throughout. The lead break is a major asset but it does not last long. This feels like Genesis' Invisible Touch era, that was interminable, but I actually love the rhythm on this and it could have rocked if the production could get their hands on the bass knob instead of the treble. That engineer should be lynched for this mess.

Metromania closes the album with another blast of commercial 80s sounds and is not one that I can recommend. It has a sequenced synth but awful keyboards wreck the song, sounding worse than 80s Yes or Genesis.

Overall this is a new direction for Eloy after a wonderful 70s period where masterpieces abounded. It feels completely dated with that unmistakeable dreadful 80s sound with crystal clear synthetic production; everything is hospital white sterile and engineered with treble that pierces the ears. It needs more grunt and power and creative juices, this music does not have enough power to blow the fluff off a peanut. Eloy play it very safe with this album and I am not used to that from these innovative masters. It is far more recommended to listen to their first 7 albums that are veritable master class releases showcasing the very best of Eloy. Do not make this album a starting point as it might put you off for life. 2 and a half stars at most, but to warn off those wanting Eloy at their best I am giving this 2.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 2/5 |

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