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

SILENT CRIES AND MIGHTY ECHOES / COLOURS

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.85 | 8 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars

Eloy's music organically ebbs and flows with an ineffaceable virtuosity on 2 of their greatest triumphs. 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.

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 J'rgen 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.

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."

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.

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.

"Colours" is a very good album with a retro sound and some of Eloy's best material. 'Horizons' features the high pitched vocals of guests Edna and Sabine over a quirky time sig driven by keyboards and the hypnotic guitar melodies of Hannes Arkona and Bornemann. 'Illuminations' has familiar Eloy vocals from Frank Bornemann and the strong synth sound of Hannes Folberth. The pace is moderate tempo, and some heavier guitars are heard sounding like Nektar. The riffs are catchy, with terrific guitar work throughout, incredible keyboard solos, and I would say this is a highlight on the album. 'Giant' has a Pink Floyd vibe and some innovative guitars. The keyboard phrases are spacey and it tends to hook into a hypno groove with beatific passages and nice vocals from Bornemann.

'Impressions' has a whimsical feel with beautiful flute sound, keyboards and guitar picking with the vocals taking on a laid back style.

'Child Migration' is a keyboard domination, and the vocals are well executed. I like the way the crunching heavy guitar riff comes in later with an odd time sig. The release of tension into light passages is an outstanding touch, and it drives along with layers of keyboards.

'Gallery' has faster keyboard phrases with an 80s sound but Eloy somehow keep it progressive enough to hold interest.

'Silhouette' is the single and has a Pink Floyd style riff with a rock beat. The vocals are phased and effective. This has a solid melody line and scorching lead guitars.

'Sunset' finishes the album with acoustic vibrations and symphonic synths. The mesmirising beauty of the instrumental is as captivating as the album cover artwork. I would dare to suggest this is one of Eloy's triumphant releases and it certainly caps off the 80s that was devoid of innovation like this for the most part. Eloy managed to capture a modern sound without giving into commercialism and creating an album of progressive virtuosic musicianship.

Overall this 2 album set displays Eloy's virtuoso musicianship and song writing skills. This is a worthy addition to your prog collection and the price is definitely agreeable on this twin album sets.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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