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




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.06 | 761 ratings

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4 stars The ending of the '70s was admittedly not very kind to progressive rock. With the exception of few albums such as Rush's Hemispheres, Pink Floyd's The Wall and Steve Hackett's Spectral Mornings, the scene had lost its initial levels of creativity, enthusiasm and innovation. Old-school psychedelia was giving its place to the synthesizers and those who couldn't embrace the change, as in real life, perished.

Despite the above, one band that found its form during that period was Eloy. Releasing their strongest material from 1976 until the end of the decade, Eloy combined the sound of Pink Floyd with a few elements that characterized their country of origin, Germany. The outcome was a highly atmospheric form of progressive/space rock. If the word space brings Hawkwind to your mind, Eloy will probably surprise you as they're not as energetic as the Brit pioneers even though arguably equally cosmic; if Hawkwind makes you feel like moving in space similarly to a meteor or a comet, Eloy feels like a cloud of dust particles floating peacefully.

Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes followed the band's magnum opus and at first glance shares a few similarities with its predecessor and the previous material from the band (with the exception of Dawn), in that it comprises of a low number of long compositions. However, it is less dark and epic than Ocean as the feeling that prevails here is that of melancholy. From the very first notes of opener "Astral Entrance", the listener can feel the resemblance to Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and even though for some this is a drawback, it creates a sense of familiarity. After the first three minutes of the song, Eloy depart on a journey of their own with emphasis on creating a dronish ambiance. The selling point of the album is definitely the use of keys in terms of sounds, melodies and eventually creating a very compelling atmosphere. Talking about keys, one of their most brilliant uses can be found on album highlight "The Apocalypse". A suite, extending for almost 15 minutes with an incredible mid-section that features choral and female vocals and evokes images of flying over the ocean at dawn, or floating in space.

The guitar work of Frank Bornemann with timely leads and fitting solos flies regularly under the radar whereas the exotic nature of his voice contributes to the trippy nature of the album. His German origin is very evident, with an accent that brings to mind Klaus Meine during the early days of Scorpions, while his vocals are a blend of reciting and singing. At moments, the similarity to Pink Floyd or a less commercial version of The Alan Parsons Project's ambient moments is glaring but the heavy use of synths along with the distinctive vocals separate Eloy from the said bands. It's also worth to be noted that even though the album begins with two lengthy suites, the emphasis is on songwriting rather than indulgence so the music doesn't become tiresome. Probably for that reason, the band placed a more energetic song in the middle of the album; "Pilot to Paradise" with its pulsating rhythm and grandiose finish with synth and guitar is a refreshing change of pace before Eloy go into semi-Wish You Were Here mode again. The start of it is rather unspectacular though, as "De Labore Solis" never quite picks up which results in a relaxing yet quite flat listen. Album closer "Mighty Echoes" with an opening key melody that would fit in nicely in a dungeon synth record and a riff that suspiciously or maybe intentionally brings to mind that on the first half of Floyd's "Echoes", is a very fitting end to an album that might not impress with its innovation but certainly draws the listener with its undeniable atmosphere.

Lastly, the band's similarity to Pink Floyd has always been the elephant in the room, so whether one enjoys Eloy also depends on if s/he can accept that. However, Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes with its calm and introspective nature is still essential Eloy or even space rock just for its brilliant use of keys, the soundscapes they create and imagery they can evoke.

Trevere | 4/5 |


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