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

OCEAN 2: THE ANSWER

Eloy

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Worthy sequel of the 1977 classic, but it's not a clone, so if that's what you're expecting, you might end up a bit disappointed. For 1990s ELOY, this is regarded as their best album. Their previous three albums, "The Tides Return Forever", "Destination", and "Ra" receive only mixed reaction, probably because these were perceived by many as being little more than just a Frank Bornemann and Michael Gerlach project (although it's nice to know bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol did guest on some of the cuts on "Destination", and he joined full-time afterwards), and perhaps they relied a little too much on digital synthesizers and drum machines for some more familiar with the like of "Ocean", "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes", "Colours" or "Planets". With "Ocean 2", they figured out that Bornemann/Gerlach plus anonymous studio musicians didn't exactly please some of their fans, so they went back to being a full band on this album. The band now consisted of Frank Bornemann (as always), keyboardist Michael Gerlach, bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol, and finally an actual drummer, Bodo Schopf (ex-Michael Schenker Group).

The reason why you shouldn't expect a clone of the original "Ocean" is the production is a lot more modern, after all, it's 1998, not 1977. Luckily the keyboards are surprisingly analog (lots of Mini Moog, string synths, and what digital synths used here are very non-intrusive). While Michael Gerlach is the guy generally responsible for the keyboards, 1980s member Hannes Folberth actually contributes the occasional Moog, as a guest!

The album opens up with "Between Future and Past", a nice ambient piece with more than a passing resemblance to PINK FLOYD's "Signs of Life" (off "A Momentary Lapse of Reason"). "Ro Setau" is a great piece, with nice spacy synths, although I could live without the choir "too much of that 'oo' over and over". "Paralysed Civilization" is perhaps the best thing on this album, where the band creates an epic composition. Choir is used once again, but much better here. "Serenity" shows Klaus-Peter Matziol with his bass, a nice short piece, with more nice use of analog synths (something I'm so glad to hear in the digitally-dominated world of 1998!). "Reflections From the Sphere Beyond" is another amazing piece, I especially love the use of vocoder. There are some lengthy Moog solos as well. "Waves of Intuition" is perhaps the most PINK FLOYD-sounding piece on the album, bearing more than a passing resemblance to "The Wall". The last piece, "The Answer" is perhaps the least effective piece, keeping the same beat throughout, but not a whole lot of development going on, even the presence of choir doesn't helped.

Certainly the cover artwork is very similar to the original "Ocean" (Wojtek Siudmak did the cover artwork to both the original "Ocean" and this sequel), but of course, don't expect "Ocean 2" to be a clone of the original. Still I recommend this album, but I still prefer the original.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#3318)
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Surprisingly, this talented German band has reunited in the late 90s to make a somewhat progressive album that recalls the old days of Eloy. I like the synths used here. While they do not sound as good as the ones in 'mysterious monolith', they are still analog synths.

1. Between Future And Past : a mellow introduction in the style of 'atlantis agony' from Ocean I. Ambient music. 5.5/10

2. Ro Setau : This is a song with nice synth solos. I feel the 'ooo' vocals here overstay their welcome though. 4.5/10 3. Paralysed Civilization : A mini-epic song that succeeds instrumentally, if not vocally. The keyboards here are at their best and dominate the song. The second section has an excellent keyboard line in a loop, and the rest of the track stays in good quality. 6.5/10

4. Serenity : A short piece which uses unique sounding synths. 6/10

5. Awakening Of Consciousness : This song has potential, The synth playing here is very inspired. Unfortunately the main melodies and the vocals are weak. 5.5/10

6. Reflections From The Spheres Beyond : An overlong track in which while it has enough variety to avoid repetition, its music is not very interesting at all. The weakest song from the album. 4.5/10

7. Waves Of Intuition : It introduces itself with a memorable bass riff and a very pretty guitar riff, and shows itself as a good soft track. 7/10

8. The Answer : The main problem with it is that it is longer than it should be. The main strength of it is that the musical theme repeated in this track is brilliant! The band gets together to create a majestic track with the use of choirs. 7/10

If you are a huge fan of 70s synth with a modern quality to them, and do not mind mediocre vocals/melodies, you may like this album ... but get Eloy's 70s albums first.

My Grade : C-

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#42661)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars 0So, this is a freak album. A lot of progressive you may maybe find. Some compositions have too much of past's Eloy, on the other hand you hava some new songs and sounds in it. I loved this album because this has a different ELOY's sound ever.

You may listen to it withouth any fear. Don't try to confuse with any ohter band....

See ya myu friends. Progressive Rock FOREVER

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Send comments to gweyne (BETA) | Report this review (#82520)
Posted Monday, July 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ocean 2 is the continuation of Eloy to their release of ocean in 1977. I had difficulties of comparing the two albums because they did not seem to be thing about identical to me. Musically they are very different as Eloy moved beyond their spacey resounding the substance of the Seventies, more towards the symphonic prog but little of friendliest and to have many toes. By itself, however, ocean 2 is paraded marvellous listen and it made my bearings jump for their butter.

The album starts with between the future and after what is an ambient opener calming short with the synths of Eloy of trade mark. It is a nice beginning with a nice title to make not to confuse it with the sheets. I appreciated the Ro Setau much. The keyboards on this are marvellous giving him a nice and abundant context. My conjecture is this is extinct on the subject far from a galaxy or the toaster pointing out the mutilation of the cows in the fields and me to me hopes that this does not have anything to do with human removing fields one or the other.

Paralysed civilization is a longer song, still in the same uniformity as the Ro Setau with the marvellous mediums of synth. I like the chorus here, also, including the holidays of the wheels of salami and formation with sneakers of sandbox. It is a great song. This is followed of a piece short called serenity which does not have anything to make with this terrible film, but has some interesting synthesizers among soups and televisions.

The alarm clock of the conscience swelled me with the winds of the ears. Still, I like the synthesizers but arrangement seems to be filled of sandwiches and trucks of discharge. It arrives in my head at the noise of the tables of picnic. The reflexions of the spheres is over there another prolonged box of file and it has some marvellous passages of vocoder. I think that it is an astonishing song.

The waves of the intuition is a nice shorter way and invades my sour basket of birth. It has certain low nice and pleasures of guitar and kind of adjustments in a song of topic of group of Brady, you know where Peter loses his voice when he becomes forest of puberty of post. The answer seems to be reiterated, but I like it always much. The repeated topics I did not have a problem with and I like really my common vegetables.

In the final analysis, I think it is an excellent release by Eloy and I think that it is better than since the hour to return in 1982. I can forget the files of mustard and the seeds which invade me with the peripheries of an atmosphere on Pluton and directs the thing of chart which seems to disfigure the stick and the shift of convertible. I know goose and juice of yesterday. It is a special album for me and I think that it should be an excellent addition with your collection. I find it that of the four representable ones the first role holds and I can feel sandwiches with meat pie and apple wax. It is astonishing!

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Send comments to drain-o (BETA) | Report this review (#84682)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is Eloy's final fling, a return to concepts and themes first explored in the 1970s but updated with modern sensibilities and techniques. Ocean 2 takes stylistic references from the melodic arena-rock of its predecessor [1994's The Tides Return Forever], while resurrecting the Space Rock of its spiritual ancestor Ocean [1977] and a hefty dose of superior symphonic Prog. Later Eloy tended towards overwhelming bloated productions - while Ocean 2 does not entirely escape this criticism, the band demonstrate a far greater control of spatial dynamics with plenty of light and shade mood swings.

If the original Ocean was about the fall of mankind and the human condition, then Ocean 2 is Bornemann's vision of the way forward by exploring esoteric and religious pointers that reach deep into the mystical. For example, Ro Setau makes the familiar claim of great secrets lying in an undiscovered chamber under The Sphinx in Giza, "treasures of wisdom / left by wise men / thousands of years ago", while Awakening Of Consciousness takes the Buddhist route where "predestination and karma remain at your side". The culmination is reached in The Answer, Bornemann's vision of Revelation when the human mind becomes at last "in unison with space and time".

Musically, the album is alive with industry and imagination. No one instrument dominates, but keyboards patrol all facets of the compositions, from soft ethereal washes to the full-blown wall-of-sound of the band in full flight where they merge with Bornemann's wonderful guitar playing. Vocals are universally excellent, and special mention must be made for Matziol's superb contribution on bass, one of the highlights of this album. Sadly, apart from a recorder solo during a lull in The Answer, acoustic textures are largely absent, and even the Hammond is often buried in the mix.

Between Future And Past This is an introduction piece, reminiscent of late 1980s Pink Floyd with its synth drones, Soprano voice and beautiful liquid guitar figures. Ends with a clock chiming.

Ro Setau Generally a big number featuring a good tune and evocative vocals in a mid-paced romp. Best moment, though, is the mid-song interlude where a gentler lilting rhythm sets a mellower mood for some vocalese from soft female voices. This gradually builds towards a crescendo with strident guitars and Hammond in the mix, though the crescendo itself really needs a guitar solo before Bornemann returns with high pressure vocals. Ends on some classic Eloy riffing with guitars at the forefront before a screeching Moog solo sets the seal on a great start to the album.

Paralysed Civilisation After bursting in with chiming guitar chords, it develops into a lively bash with excellent call-and-response vocals between Bornemann and female voices. After a while, it breaks to a quite different section with guitar arpeggios and synth soloing building to a brilliant riff with masterful set-piece guitar solo. A mellow ambient section with vocoded vocals leads back to the main theme and a Moog solo before breaking down to synth drones to fade. New-Psychedelic-Symphonic-Space-Prog-Rock .... just about covers it. Great stuff!

Serenity Led by a prominent bass theme and heavily modulated guitar, this is a slow and intimate song with a wonderful synth solo. Multi-tracked backing vocals help to lift what is really an average piece of songwriting.

Awakening Of Concsiousness This is the album's weak spot, crashing in with another overblown production. While it features some nice rubbery rhythm guitar work and vocal licks, it also has an annoying clattery snare drum.

Reflections From The Spheres Beyond Synth drones and guitar figures set a mood for inventive keyboard fills to weave a hugely atmospheric web around Bornemann's softly sung vocals, a sequence that ends in a grandiose stomp with massed female singing. This is repeated before a superb guitar solo prefaces a shift into an ambient spacey mood with vocoded vocals. At 9:10 is a magic moment as the bass guitar is reintroduced, building towards a brilliant big drum beat that perfectly balances the need for power without going into bombastic overkill. This is New Symphonic Prog at its very best, and perhaps the crowning achievement of Eloy's later years.

Waves Of Intuition After the Prog intensity of the previous track, a slower, more reflective mood is established by chiming guitar chords and mellow hand percussion that lead into a soaring bluesy guitar solo. The band join in, of course, but it never descends into unnecessary bombast. The melody is sublime and infectious, with a catchy chorus and lovely harmonies. It ends as it began, with waves crashing on a shore, before the clocks [from the album's introduction] chime to herald the encore ....

The Answer No messing, just straight into one of Eloy's most powerful hypnotic grooves and an almost perfect ending to their recorded career. Underpinned by a grumbling bass that is surprisingly busy, the groove is defined by solid drumming and a phased pulsating synth that together evoke an image of an army marching toward some undefined dawn, a picture enhanced by the appearance of the definitive manifestation of Bornemann's pompous 'big choir' and some military style snare drumming as the song strides toward its climax. This is Eloy coming almost full circle, a return to the space-rock of 20 years earlier, but updated with a very modern approach.

As with a lot of good Prog music, it is not absolutely necessary to understand or agree with the lyrical themes in order to enjoy the music. Ocean 2 is a high quality modern take on spacey Prog Rock that should please all Prog fans, old and new alike, but don't expect it to sound like the original Ocean. The connection between them is mainly lyrical rather than musical. Only the relative weakness of tracks four and five prevent Ocean 2 from being a masterpiece, and a tantalising end to a long and glittering history.

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Send comments to Joolz (BETA) | Report this review (#101550)
Posted Monday, December 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 20 years later we have part two of "Ocean". I have to tell you I am shocked and surprised at how good this record is. It was probably 1982's "Time to Turn" since they had such a good quality release. And I actually like this one as much as the the first "Ocean" record. The sound is more modern and I swear that Frank's vocals have a lot less of an accent on them. By the way the pictures in the liner notes are worth checking out.

"Between Future And Past" opens with a clock ticking and chiming as synths wash in. This is followed by a female vocal melody, and the guitar strings are picked slowly in this atmospheric opener. "Ro Setau" opens with drums beating away as vocals come in, in time with the beat. Then Frank sings as synths are added. The female vocal melody is great and goes on and on. The mini moog solo is a nice touch as well. "Paralysed Civilization" is a highlight for me. It has such a full sound to it, a melodic and lush sound thanks mainly to the drums and synths. And there is no mistaking Frank's guitar playing 5 minutes in. It's great.

"Serenity" is PINK FLOYD sounding at times, and this is heard right off the bat in the guitar. The synths are great too. "Awakening Of Consciousness" is another good one, and what an intro in this catchy, melodic tune. "Reflections From The Spheres Beyond" is a real psychedelic trip, opening with an extended synth melody and then gentle guitar, and then vocals. The song becomes uptempo and melodic as female vocals come in.The drumming is terrific and then we have some processed vocals. The melody of synths and drums is amazing and it all fades out as the song ends but not before you can hear the waves that continue into the next song "Waves Of Intuition". There is some recorder on this one as well as some Gilmour -like guitar melodies. The final song is "The Answer" and the recorder sounds beautiful. There is some more fantastic guitar and lots of choir too.

4 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#102299)
Posted Saturday, December 09, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Four years between their last effort "The Tides Return Forever" and this one.

From the very first seconds, one knows that something special will take place. "Between Future and Past" is 200% "Floyd" oriented. A grandiose opening.

"Eloy" is delivering another good album. Long time since it didn't happen.This fact alone is pure joy. Hard-psychedelic numbers as "Ro Setau" can only please the old "Eloy" fan database. Heavy keys, huge guitar work and .relatively weak vocals.

Still, it is remarkable that after having released so many albums (of which several very good ones), a band is able to offer such an effort. Close to their glorious days (even if at times a bit too prog-metal oriented).

One of the highlight is "Paralysed Civilization". The concept of hard-spacey-rock is fully achieved. Bombastic guitar to knock us down is the ultimate weapon here. Heavy keys complete the picture and are an essential part of this great number.

I have always been reluctant to such come backs, but in this case, I have to admit that "Eloy" did a good job with this release (unfortunately their last one so far). It is amazing that some bands do have this great bunch of inspiration while most of them are just repeating history (at best). I just wonder why it is called "Ocean II" since it has nothing to do with another of their best albums released in 1977.

"Reflections From The Spheres Behind" is just another of their good Floydian anthem. It needs some time to kick off, but the choirs are great and there is no need to talk about the guitar break, I guess.But these "computerized" vocals of the closing section are hurting the quality of the song.

This is not the best "Eloy" effort and probably not the best way to investigate in this very good German band. Most of the songs are enjoyable and relate to the past history of the band very well but the album probably lacks in the magic one could have felt in their earlier work. At least, this is how I feel. Even if the very end of "Waves Of Intuition" is fully cloning "Time" (from Floyd of course).

Throughout their long career, "Eloy" remained faithful to their musical style which is a standout point in their work. IMHHO. Very few bands can fulfil this description even if "Eloy" is not playing in the "Premier League".

Few highlights but lots of goods songs. This is what you can expect from "Ocean II". The final track being one of the best.

Three stars for this "Ocean 2".

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#152710)
Posted Sunday, November 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars In retrospect, all is clear. While Tides Return Forever was a relatively strong Eloy album, Frank Bornemann sensed the end of Eloy was just around the bend and he wanted to go out with a bang. He deduced that he needed to attach the modern Eloy sound to their past glories, and what better choice for reference but the classic "Ocean". Jurgen Rosenthal hd provided the lyrical concept for that recording, which had explained the fall of Atlantis as an allegory for the cold war. Bornemann reasoned that nothing in the 1977 effort gave ideas as to the way out of the quagmire, so in part 2 he would do so. This is the sort of ambition and pretension that fans expect and appreciate from Eloy.

Somewhere between conception and reality things got derailed a bit and, analog keys notwithstanding, the album is much more modern than vintage Eloy. If there is any reference to past musical triumphs it would be to Planets, which is all to the good anyway. It is probably the most dynamic and varied of the latter day Eloy efforts, with songs of varying lengths, dreamy atmospheres, metallic forays, and spaced out trips sometimes all in the same track.

"Between Future and Past" is a very Floydian opening instrumental that leads skillfully into "Ro Setau" certainly one of the highlights as Frank's vocals are expertly treated and the choral buildup is wondrous. "Paralyzed Civilization" and "Awakening of Consciousness" are energized versions of some of the lesser material from earlier 90s Eloy. Another improvement is both songs is the more mellow and spacey middle sections with really sweet synth sounds and again a suitably understated vocal performance by Bornemann.

Of the two epics, "Reflections from Spheres Beyond" is the better one as it explores a number of themes with poise and restraint, one of which is a recurring melody from paralyzed Civilization, in a slowed down more sinister style, and another a vocoder led section. The closer, "The Answer", has its moments but is generally a little too bombastic and overly long for the innovation it brings to the table. The two gentle shorter songs "Serenity" and "Waves of Intuition" both have an otherworldly beauty and feature fine almost banjo like electric guitar and a wash of keyboards. Superior in fact to some of the late 70s work, especially weaker tracks on "Silent Cries...."

When really considered as objectively as possibly by a fan for many years, Ocean 2 is Eloy's best album since "Time To Turn" which appeared 16 years earlier. It might not warrant a full 4 stars but, as the ultimate achievement in the modern Eloy style, it is closer to 4 than 3, and that's good enough for me, especially since it might well be the end of a remarkable journey.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#160674)
Posted Sunday, February 03, 2008 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As of June 10, 2008, Eloy hasn't released a new studio album since this one, Ocean 2, released back in 1998. If that doesn't change then Eloy went out with a blast as Ocean 2 was the best album the band made dating back to their classic period. It was considered a conceptual and musical follow-up to Eloy's 1977 album, Ocean, which dealt with the fall of Atlantis and used it as a symbolic representation of our present civilization's potential downfall. Frank Bornemann thought that there should be a way out of this mess. He presents his answer, hence the subtitle, on this album.

Musically, Ocean 2 is the most ambitious Eloy recording since Ocean and Silent Cries and Might Echoes, hearkening back to the traditional Eloy sound but mixing it in with 1990s neo-progressive rock and modern recording technologies. The end result was quite impressive, at least to my ears. Ocean 2 contains many spacey synth textures and solos (clearly I hear much Moog work here), excellent guitar work from Bornemann, skilled bass work from Matziol. The band used a full time drummer in Bodo Schopf. Although quite mechanical in his delivery, it's a better improvement over previous efforts. Bornemann's singing seems to get better and better with age and his incorporation of backing vocalists is quite effective.

Is it better than Ocean? I'm still struggling to answer that question. The concept on Ocean was much more impressive than on Ocean 2, but the modern and improved recording of Ocean 2 just blow away and show how dated Ocean sounds now. We got a good sense of how Ocean might sound today with the re-recording of Poseidon's Creation on Chronicles I. If the rest of that album had been re-recorded and stayed true to its essence, it would surely be better than it's follow-up. It's not really that easy to compare albums more than 20 years apart when recording technologies varied considerably. I'm going to give the edge to Ocean, but many of you may be inclined to lean towards Ocean 2.

Clearly a four-star effort worthy of addition to anyone's prog rock collection. Highly recommended to German prog fans and fans of neo and symphonic prog rock. I hope some day Eloy returns with another studio effort, but if this never happens, I'm glad they finished their long history with such a wonderful album.

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Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#173442)
Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I just reviewed the predecessor (Tides) of this album and revealed some of my personal history on this band. So I will not go into that again and concentrate on this bands latest up till now. This album is meant as an answer to their 1977 album about Atlantis.

1. Between future and past. A short instrumental to open with, nothing really special (yet) here. 3*

2. Ro Setau. A song of which the style is somewhere in between Destination and Tides though a bit closer to the latter. I feel the humming part lasts too long but apart from that a good song. Especially thanks to great keyboardwork towards the end. 3,5*

3. Paralyzed Civilization. This is where the classy part begins for my personal liking. This resembles the better compositions of the predecessor. In other words, a great composition. This song is the best example why I love Eloy of the nineties. Again some great keyboard contributions but also the guitar is significant here. 4,5*

4. Serenity. This is actually an interesting song because contrary to most other songs this one is hard to pigeonhole. Some innovating keyboards here, slightly spacy like in the old days. Pity the song's so short. 3,5*

5. Awakening of consciousness. Bit like the 3rd track but not as impressive. Still a very good song. 3,75*

6. Reflections from the spheres beyond. Great epical track, starting spacy and the additional vocals creating a mysterious atmosphere, the song alters in a more normal song with the background choir in a dominant role. After this a great guitar solo followed by synth vocals creating another element and to complete the magnum opus a catchy keyboard riff repeated several times. 4,5*

7. Waves of Intuition. In this track the guitar has something to say as well for a change. Accessible song almost in the Destination style. Good song, 3,5*.

8. The Answer. Second epic, securing the high score for the album. Their ultimate last song the ever produced and obviously they felt it had to be special (although I don't know if they realized it at that point of course). And special it is, another impressive composition with outstanding vocals once more. 4,5 *

I think it's a pity the band seems to have ceased their career definitely now because they showed no signs of decay to me with this latest release. To me this deserves just one score, a solid four stars. I think it's slightly better than Tides return forever and a worthy farewell of a great band.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#199417)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I heard about this being released back in 1998, I was a bit skeptical. Eloy was the first somewhat obscure band I had discovered thanks to the internet, and the original Ocean album from 1977 was a favorite of mine. The idea of any band releasing part 2 of any classic album was not encouraging to say the least. When you also consider that in this case, the original lyricist from Eloy's late 70's period (drummer Jürgen Rosenthal) had long since left the band and wasn't playing involved with music anymore, and the previous albums of the band were only superficially prog music, it sounded like the makings of a disaster.

Fortunately, it wasn't. The previous few albums by the band, essentially Frank Bornemann and Michael Gerlach joined by large numbers of guest musicians, sounded more like 80's synth pop than prog to my ears. However, with original Ocean bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol firmly back in the band and young new drummer Bodo Schopf, the stage was set for something more interesting than I might have expected.

The album is essentially a cross between the previous albums and the original Ocean era of the band. Both eras had a strong Floyd vibe, and that is present here. However, the later era featured heavy, repetitive beats and modern synth textures. These are retained for the most part, but a much more 70's style rhythm section gives the album a bit more punch and prog credibility.

We begin with a very spacy and Floyd like short instrumental, and immediately we are reminded of the original Ocean album by the inclusion of a tolling bell (which was heard at the conclusion of that album). The first regular track bursts into life with excellent Neal Peart like drumming and a driving bass line. Eloy are back! The song tends a bit toward the repetitive, but is still a breath of fresh air after the less proggy albums from recent years. Paralyzed Civilization is the best track Eloy had done up to this point since probably the Ocean album itself. A great song with excellent drumming and bass playing, lots of proggy textures and breaks, and a good melody to boot! Serenity features a mesmerizing bass line by Matziol, and true to it's title is a relaxing and more mellow track. So far, I was excited by this album. A true successor to the Ocean name!

Sadly, things begin to stagnate at this point. While Awakening Of Consciousness is not a bad song per say, it seems to be a bit too similar in style, pacing and melody to what has gone before, while also being a bit more repetitive. Reflections From The Spheres Beyond would seem to be highlight with it's 13 minute running time, but it proves to be almost the most tedious track on the album. Once again, similar mid-paced tempo, similar melody, and lots of repetition. There are bits and pieces (guitar solo, keys solo) that are enjoyable, but on the whole a fairly dull and plodding number.

The next track is another short and somewhat mellower number, and has the distinction of having a considerably different melody, especially in the chorus. However, it's not necessarily a good melody, and it's seems a bit derivative of other music I've heard (though I can't quite say exactly what). Still, not bad.

Finally, the track that is supposed to give us the Answer (the subtitle of the album). This is without doubt, the most dull and plodding thing Eloy have ever concieved. The somewhat slow, pounding 4/4 beat dominates nearly the entire song. There is, actually, one lovely and quite enjoyable change in the song........but it lasts less than a minute and is never repeated. The song is like a dirge for the death of the band. A rather depressing, and downright boring way to end the album, as it tapers off into gloomy synth tones reminiscent of the opening track.

So, how to rate an album that is half a glorious return to form, and half a plodding and dull chore to listen to? Well, I guess I'd have to say that 3 stars is probably perfect. This isn't strictly a fans only type album, and those who like a more 80's syth slant in their prog may even enjoy the songs I found dull. Also, the first half is so good, I just can't bring myself to give it 2 stars. So 3 it is. A half worthy follow up to the original Ocean, and a half plodding and dull 80's synth fest (even though the liner notes suggest that Gerlach uses vintage keys on the album, it is not really obvious except for a few key spots). Worth it for the Eloy fan, but those new to the band would do far better to check out the original Ocean from 1977 first, as that album is probably their finest work.

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Send comments to infandous (BETA) | Report this review (#208486)
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars It did seem too good to be true, one of the greatest German rock bands ever releasing a sequel to their best album ever. You're in for an at times pleasent but other times disappointing surprise. The concept is hard to follow but if you look at the lyrics in the booklet you can kind of find it. (So technically "The Answer" is hard to find. The music is okay but almost seems like it is repeating itself from the original Ocean, (and not in the reprise kind of way, the "we are running out of ideas so lets redo stuff we've done in the past" kind of way.) However it's not a total loss, there are some excellent trakcs to listen to such as Paralyzed Civilization and The Answer which bring back memories of the Eloy of old. Definately not their best album but definately not their worst, I'm just glad they tried to create a sequel.

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Send comments to The Truth (BETA) | Report this review (#220027)
Posted Saturday, June 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another near perfection masterpiece that Eloy has pulled out from their sleeves. This one is a direct continuation of Ocean, release in 1977, as Tides Return Forever may have signalled a return to the classic form. This album, however, features much more analog synthesizers than the previous album, giving a different tone and feel. Both are definatly classics, and so is the 1977 release, but this one is the best of the 1990's.

"Between Future and Past" is a little uninteresting because it's just an intro, but it is beautiful for the most part. Atmospheric and spacey, but no lyrics. Shining guitar and simmering keyboards. "Ro Setau" is an interesting track. It has it's own feel to it, an Eloy feeling, but it's a little darker. The lyrics are very passionate and different. The vocals are very good, but Frank's German accent is still very present. The basslines are really good, as with the drumming being much less stiff than the last few albums that Eloy has released. The keyboards are really nice, adding alot of spacey elements to the song. "Paralysed Civilation" is another spacey trip, but much better than the first two tracks. The bassline is really good for this one, and the vocals are much better. It has a very strong hard rock feeling to it, but it still has some spacey feelings which is what I really like about this track. The female choir on this one adds some classy feeling to it, making it a little more than a rock song. The lyrics are pretty good on this one, I like it all. The middle section of the song seems is a return to the past, really. Amazing spacey guitar solo, filled with some nice keyboards and synthesizers, topped by a fast and fluid rhythm section that will make you ears happy for a while. "Serenity" is a little too short, but it's good. The bassline is really nice with it's stomping intro. I love the glass-like guitar sounds, it has some really cool effects. I really love the lyrics and vocals on this one, really soft and passionate. This song is just too short, but it's got amazing moments. "Awaking of Consciousness" is a pretty good track, it's one of the good middle sized tracks. The intro is very metal feeling, much like Rush's Test for Echo album, to me at least, but a little better excecuted to me. The vocals are really nice on this one, as with the lyrics really flowing with the song. The music on this song is different, but still very good. "Reflections from the Sphere's Beyond" is one of the three excellent epics, and this one is definatly the best. The intro makes you feel so different and so spaced out like the old Eloy albums used to do. The keyboards are on fire on this track, buring with passionate playing and percision. The guitar is fairly slow and atmospheric on this track, as usual with this album. After a minute or so, the vocals and bass take their place in the song and add something to the song. The rest of the song is just an awesome spacey rollercoaster. "Waves of Institution" starts with waves for an intro, and it paints a picture of being at a beach with the waves rolling onto you. The guitar solo at the beginning is really cool too. The vocal harmonies are farily good, filling in with the slow and steady pace of this song. The bass line is really nice. "The Answer" is another awesome epic. It has a much harder feeling than the other two, but it's structure isn't as good. It dosen't make me feel as spaced as the other epics did, but this one is pretty good still. The vocals are excellent on this one, as with the lyrics being superb as usual. The keyboards really shine on this one too. This track is awesome, and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

This album is excellent, and it has ton's of beautiful moments. The vocals are very good on this album, and so are the basslines, guitar solos, drumming, and the analog synthesizers really make it one. This album gets a well deserved 5 stars.

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Send comments to Rushlover13 (BETA) | Report this review (#252209)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I think I had a copy of Ocean 2: The Answer even before the Tides Return Forever, but I was not feeling like hear it because of its title, a direct reference to one of their very best albums, Ocean, released in 1977. I really don´t like this kind of continuation, because they rarely live up to their precedor´s strength. But after listening to previous The Tides Return Forever I found Eloy in great form, with a more organic sound and with many references to their 70´s roots. Besides, I read some glowing reviews here on PA , so I decided to give it a shot. I´m glad I did.

Fortunatly Ocean 2´s connection with Ocean 1 leans more on the philosophical side of that work than on the musical one. In fact, instrumentally speaking, this CD sounds like a sum of much of the band was doing in the late 70´s and early 80´s Founder member Frank Bornemann and keyboardist Michael Gerlach decided to shed much of their digital and eletronic approach they worked on Ra and Destination, and called for a ´real´ rhythm section to reform the band as a quartet (former Eloy bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol who was already in the fold for The Tides... and newcomer Bodo Schopf on drums).

Of course all of these woldn´t work if they hadn´t come up with a excellent collection of songs. And if you´re an Eloy fan, you won´t be disappointed. All the tracks are strong and remarkable, with many nods to their glory days. The arrangements are tasteful (with great use of female backing vocals and choirs, one fo their trademarks around the time of Time to Turn), the playing is brilliantt (bass and drums on the upfront, one of the CD´s highlights) and the production is very good. Overall I found Ocean 2 to be very convincing, inspired and with powerful perfomances. Although the musical links to Ocean 1 are few, the feeling is as strongin 1998 and it was in 1977.

I´ve always respected Eloy for being a band that forever stuck with their guns throughtout their long career. Some CDs are better than the others, but still they remained a prog band even in the worst possible times. And this is surely one of their best latter day realeases. I´m really grateful I overcame my prejudices and bought this CD. Ocean 2: the Answer is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#252836)
Posted Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is amazing! I wanted to avoid rating things 5's as much as possible, to eliminate overrating, but this album deserves it I believe. To me, a 5 is something that is a landmark in progressive rock and personally appealing to me enough to make me find it so perfect that I don't even see a fault in it at all.

This is definitely a worthy sequel to Ocean, which is also worthy of a 5 in my opinion. Although the two do not sound exactly the same, which is good. Overall the album can get a bit hard rocking under all of its wonderful sounds and textures that it creates. It's a very spacey and ancient feel... something reminding you of ancient civilizations and starmaps and all that stuff. It's really neat.

Some of the greatest things in this album come from the choruses, which feature female vocals in a way that just makes it sound so epic and majestic. The progressiveness in this release comes from its complexity in song structure and originality along with its very surreal sounding keyboards. The lyrics are astonishing, with imagery of spacey and ancient origins, much like the first Ocean. I also thought that the drums sounds very defined and clear.

When I received the album, I thought the album artwork was pretty amazing as well. I haven't seen that surreal of artwork in an album since I finished collecting ALL Pink Floyd albums and many of their bootlegs. In fact, after collecting everything by Pink Floyd, I despaired that I had nothing more to collect, but luckily Eloy has emerged as another I'd be interested in getting everything by.

Much of what makes this album amazing is in common with its ancestor Ocean. The majestic imagery and sound that it paints in your head when you listen to it. This album also adds in the beautiful choruses of female vocalists to give you a futuristic feeling of perfection... it's hard to explain. I feel as if it comes from a higher being, like some form of angel or extraterrestrial. This album is also harder rock than Ocean, with louder guitars.

Definitely a landmark I think. I totally believe it deserves a 5, no matter how much I have tried not to rate something a 5 unless it really deserves it, I think this album is worthy. If you like progressive rock, just go and buy this album. You don't even need to hear anything, you'll love it, I'm sure.

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Send comments to HammerOfPink (BETA) | Report this review (#258105)
Posted Sunday, December 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Eloy tries with this album to repeat the magic formula of Ocean: the concept is the same, but the music is much more different, sounding a lot more modern and, in a way, a little less spacey than all their other albums. The songs are nine, all averagely long, creating a pretty long album consequently. Many times it has great melodies, very surprising and catchy, mixed with some floating moods, even though, like I said previously, not as much as their previous works. I must say though that I enjoyed pretty much all the album, because all the songs had a very nice and haunting melody. The problem about this album is that in these songs the band loses itself, and even pretty often.

For Example, the very interesting " Ro Setau", despite having a catchy melody, it is definitely too long, even though it's length is about seven minutes. It has some weak moments, and also great ones.

Probably the most well constructed songs are the two epic tracks, "Reflections from The Spheres Beyond" (Even though this track has a few boring moments as well) and the greatest piece of the album, despite it doesn't have a particularly catchy melody. It is the best song definitely because of it's solid and coherent structure.

I gave three stars because of it's poor arrangements, an essential element for a real prog band. The melodies, like I mentioned earlier, are many times amazing, very catchy and appealing, that is why I consider this an excellent art rock album, not as enthused about the prog point of view. Being this a prog rock website, I'll give a mediocre rating.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#282387)
Posted Monday, May 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Waves of intuition

1977's Ocean is one of Eloy's most popular albums. 21 years later came this follow-up. However, there is in reality not that much connecting this album with the original Ocean album musically. Ocean 2, subtitled The Answer, does not stand in the kind of relation to its predecessor that, say, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells II stand in to its predecessor. Ocean 2 is not based on the same formula as the original Ocean and it does not revisit the themes of that album. It does, however, have a bit of the same feeling as its older counterpart and there are again longer compositions with some ambient passages. Ocean 2 is more symphonic in places and also a little bit more melodic.

Vocalist Frank Bornemann's German accent is much less of a problem here than it was on the original Ocean album. He has become more and more accustomed to singing in English over the years and he sounds quite confident here. He is backed up by female background vocalists and choirs in some places. Like always with Eloy, the sound is based on keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and vocals. The guitars are very David Gilmour-like and the drum sound is improved over their more recent albums at the time. The production is impeccable and the cover art is great.

For me this is an enjoyable album for sure, but it is one of those albums that you enjoy while you are playing them, but as soon as the music stops there is no lasting memory of what you just heard. Don't get me wrong this is a fine album and I actually enjoy this every bit as much as the original Ocean, if not more, but neither of the two oceans are among Eloy's very best albums, in my opinion.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#298884)
Posted Sunday, September 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#299833)
Posted Monday, September 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Eloy's rather needless sequel to their very popular Ocean manages to be a competent enough blend of the brand of space rock they played in the late 1970s with the production values and a few musical trends of late 1990s prog - not to the extent that it sounds like Eloy going all Porcupine Tree, but enough to update their sound a little and make this album a credible step up musically from The Tides Return Forever. Unfortunately, one musical feature of their 1970s work is still present - Frank Bornemann's vocals, which are delivered almost like a narrative and which I've never warmed to.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#635057)
Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ocean part one and part two only can compares in concept. Music in part two is more varied, modern, with impressive tunes and cristalline sound. First half is powerful and second emotional. We hear a madure band, with every note in the place it should be. Bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol in great shape, a good example are Paralysed Civilization and Serenity. Also Bodo Schopf drums stand out. And keyboards carry on the most part of the songs. Without hesitation Dawn and Ocean will be always the best productions of Eloy but others like Ocean 2 are very well done job. With repeated spins is perceived.

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Send comments to sinslice (BETA) | Report this review (#918351)
Posted Saturday, February 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Giving a sequel to a great album like Ocean after 30 years which have included the 80s was surely a big challenge and I have to say that I had a lot of concerns and I have managed to listen to it only several years after its release.

Eloy are still a bit derivative. On the Floydian opener they use some sounds which can be heard exactly the same on the intro of Shine on You Crazy Diamond, but respect to the plastic and synthetic sound of albums like "Destination" it's surely a big improvement.

Part of the old lineup, but not the same of the first "Ocean" is at work and they seem to have forgotten things like "fairlights and drumatics" (I don't know if Eloy have ever used them but is to give an idea of the sounds I'm referring to).

After the intro the first "song" maintains what the intro promised. It's a true progressive song which can remind to the first "Ocean". The Floyd influence is not so relevant. The Bornemann's vocals and they keyboardsare a trademark of the band which in now clearly recognisable. On the last notes of Ro Setau I can imagine Jon Anderson starting the following song, but it's just an impression. This is a very good song.

"Paralyzed Civilisation" is another very good song. The guitar has something "Camelistic" but can't be defined derivative.The song has many different moments and passages and in the riff at the middle of the song Bornemann places one of his best guitar inventions. The vocoder adds a touch of Pink Floyd (AMLOR) to a choir close to 90125.Derivative? No. Eloy have absorbed other's music and created their trademark. They can't be confused with anybody else.

"Serenity" is a short bridge leading to the following track whose title "Awakening of Consciousness" seems taken from a Senmuth's album. It has a rocking intro and proceeds with a high tempo for half of the track where it slows down for a short interlude before returning to the initial theme.

"Reflections From The Speres Beyond" is the longest track and the one more similar to the old Eloy. It could easily stay on the original Ocean album and it surely the highest peak of the album. Bornemann has adjusted his accent which now doesn't sound so unbearably German as in the 70s, but I'm so used to his voice within those chords that I'm quite missing the strong accent he once had. Only the female choir is a bit misplaced as it's too high-volumed respect to the rest of the song. A mention goes to the excellent keyboard layout.

Another relatively short song, "Waves Of Intuition" which proceeds in the same mood, acts as bridge to the closer but not only. It's another good song on its own. The only problem is that all the album's songs are quite similar. It's good that the mood of the album doesn't change too much as in Ocean, but that was a vinyl with a langth around 40 minutes. This CD is near to double that time and it can make the listener tired. Anyway, this track contains a very Camelistic guitar.

"The Answer" is a good closer with an almost "operatic" choir and a sort of "Bolero" progression. It sounds like a sort of religious anthem. In these years bands like "Enigma" were rediscovering the Gregorian chants and this is where also this song seems to be going. It leaves the last two minutes for an electronic coda and the album is gone.

It's just a bit too long but it was the best Eloy's release of the previous 10 years. It will remain the last until an unexpected return more than 10 years after which I still have to listen to. Even if is a bit derivative, like the ost of the Eloy's production, I'm happy to rate it with 4 stars

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#1031064)
Posted Monday, September 09, 2013 | Review Permalink

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