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Eloy - Ocean CD (album) cover

OCEAN

Eloy

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.22 | 1041 ratings

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JLocke
Prog Reviewer
2 stars What a boring album

First, I need to make it clear that I have absolutely no problem with Eloy. I think a lot of their work is really quite good. But if you would ask me what I thought was the band's very best album, Ocean wouldn't be anywhere close. Which is odd, because so many people do seem to think this is Eloy's magnum opus. Upon first hearing it a few years ago, the reasoning behind this opinion eluded me. Now, as I listen to it today, I'm still stumped.

But why is it such a disappointment to me? Well, for one thing, I know these guys can do better. Secondly, so much of the music featured here is a clear and blatant rip-off of Pink Floyd. I realize Eloy IS somewhat of a Floyd clone anyway, but typically they can avoid sounding like shameless plagiarizers. In this case, however, the more intense musical breakdowns or much too close for my own comfort. You may feel differently, but to me, there is much more originality to be found on virtually every other Eloy release besides this one.

Aside from the moments where they attempt to mimic their idols, the rest of the record is lacking in musicality of any sort. I guess it was intentional to give this album somewhat of a stagnant feel, and I can appreciate the poetic reasoning behind it, since this is a story taking place on/under the water, but musically it just isn't very interesting, especially since every song is over eight minutes; the longest being nearly double that length! Again, this isn't true of all Eloy music, but this album in particular always struck me as much too slow-paced with very little going on for the length that it is.

It is no secret that Frank Bornemann, in the early days of the band, was virtually incapable of actually speaking English, and as much as I wish that didn't matter, his thick accent is at its most annoying and grating on Ocean. If he got a few words wrong here and there, that wouldn't bother me (after all, Mikael Akerfeldt's diction isn't always spot-on, and he is one of my favorite metal vocalists ever), but it's more than just a few hiccups. This man pronounces nearly every syllable with incredible strain and effort, and unfortunately, it causes me to strain as well as I listen, because lyrics are very important to me, and I'd like to be able to understand what the hell he's talking about. I honestly didn't realize he was even singing English lyrics when I first heard it. That's how hard to understand he is.

In situations like that, I personally think it would have done the music itself a favor if Bornemann had simply sung in German. I'd much rather he speak correctly in his own language than confuse the daylights out of me in mine. I'm honestly not trying to linger on this aspect, nor do I want to seem unnecessarily cruel; I just think it's important for a vocalist to properly convey what he's trying to say without feeling like it's somehow required of him to sing in a language that is not natively his own. For a lot of foreign singers, they are able to pull it off, and Bornemann is a hit-and-miss kind of singer in this regard. However, on Ocean, he misses big.

Turns out in this particular case, the words themselves aren't even worth paying attention to, because the 'epic tale' of Ocean is juvenile, cliched and uninteresting. Atlantis sounds like a really neat lyrical concept on its face, but it seems they weren't able to present it in a very poetic or interesting way. It feels very cheesy and uninspired.

Please don't think me rash; I understand why some people enjoy this stuff, but I just can't see why so many people find this album to be the masterpiece they claim it to be. So much better stuff is out there from this great band (and they ARE great in a lot of ways!), I really don't think this album should be held any higher than the other Eloy material, especially since most of the band's other works have a lot more going on musically.

If you are already an Eloy fan, and for some reason haven't listened to this one yet, you'll most likely really enjoy it, but if you want to get into this band and have heard all the hype surrounding Ocean, I truly think you could choose a much better album as an introduction to them.

So, in my view, Eloy's Ocean is a pass as far as newcomers are concerned. Intermediate fans of the band have a such better chance of getting into it, and of course the die-hards are already in love with it. However, I cannot recommend it as being among the top Eloy records, or even the average Eloy records. I really do think it's one of their weaker efforts, and may even be my personal least favorite. Ultimately you'll have to decide for yourself, as always, but please take notice of the three-star and two- star reviews that exist for this album-- they may just save you from making a rash purchase decision.

JLocke | 2/5 |

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