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Eloy - The Best Of Eloy Vol. 1 The Early Days 1972-1975 CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.02 | 29 ratings

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4 stars The world of German progressive rock has a few heavyweights like Tangerine Dream, Can and Faust, all of whom I had read about extensively before I heard them. Eloy on the other end, proved to be a genuine discovery that I made simply because the CD was cheap, the songs had "progressive" titles and lengthy running times, and the compilation album was dated 1972-1975. Bought in the latter half of that distant decade that is the 90s, this CD remains the most listened-to slice of German prog in my collection.

While it's hard to deny the power of the original albums from which this compilation draws its material (Inside, Floating, Power And The Passion), I have a strong sentimental attachment to this excellent compilation. It's worth pointing out that Eloy had a number of phases and this compilation focusses on the second phase which saw Frank Bornemann (lead vocalist/guitarist), Manfred Wieczorke (organ), Fritz Randow (drums/guitar/flute) and Wolfgang Stöcker (the bassist who was replaced by Luitjen Jansen after Inside) forge an extremely raw heavy rock/space rock hybrid. In fact I rate some of their riffing during this phase as up there with the best of Black Sabbath and Rush.

The eight pieces on here are generally fantastic and the fun starts with Inside. It's a tune that has its all ... a moody intro, great organ lines, a stong "structured jam" feel that defines Eloy's sound during this phase with the odd spacey moments cropping up. Future City begins with a more ethnic acoustic vibe, before taking off with lots of nice attacks and a jam that would appeal to Santana fans with lots of percussion backing. I really like the vocal melodies and although Bornemann's incredibly thick German accent seemed laughable when I first heard it, I'm now really fond of it and I couldn't imagine Eloy without it.

The songs from Floating include The Light From Deep Darkness a generally impressive epic with another moody beginning, energetic hard rocking attacks, strong organ playing, lengthy solos and a spacey feel. The band take it down around the 6 minute mark before finding the stratosphere again, although I admit it does drag a little towards the end. Castle In the Air with its awesome Arabic sounding riffs is one of my favourite Eloy tracks and Madhouse features great interplay between Bornemann and Randow, although by this point the compilation reflects the fact that Inside and Floating were similar albums and the jam style is in danger of getting repetitive.

Fortunately the next track Love Over Six Centuries is the most subtle piece they recorded during this phase, with a wonderful build-up and glorious yet simple keyboard work, showcasing Wieczorke's move away from "just" organ to other synths which help expand the spacey sound. I also love Mutiny, which is a perfect encapsulation of the band's evolving style, more atmospheric, but still the tendency to speed up and rock out towards the end ... imagine Hawkwind with Mannfred Mann on Moog! The album concludes with one of its most futuristic songs The Bells Of Notre Dame, a concluding piece reflecting the fact that Power And The Passion was a concept album ... the development of the keyboard palette on this one clearly points the way towards Eloy's future sound (which is more than a little influenced by Pink Floyd) .. although ironically Wieczorke himself would not be around to see it happen.

I know it's almost criminal for prog fans to hear albums divided over compilation but I still think this particular selection works very well as an entity in its own right. The omission of Land Of No Body (from Inside) and Plastic Girl (from Floating) prevent this from being the perfect collection of Eloy highlights from this era, but really there's no song I would have dropped from it. ... 75% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 4/5 |


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