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Eloy - Planets CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.99 | 456 ratings

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3 stars If you like lush and densely layered keyboard textures, crammed with just about every sound available in the early 1980s, wrapped in pressure-cooker Stadium-Prog with a merest nod to the spacey soundscapes of former glories ..... then you might love Planets. Guitars are used sparingly, mostly as secondary rhythmic support and sometimes hard to spot behind the barrage of keyboards, while a genuine string section provides a welcome diversion in places. Generally, the mood is relentless and unvarying with little respite from high levels of intensity and short on light-and-shade contrasts as the music bounds from one big theme to another. Ambient atmospheric pieces like Introduction and At The Gates Of Dawn provide some relief, but this music cannot be described as intimate.

Planets is a Concept Album, using oblique references to ancient history and Greek myth-cycles to tell of the rise and fall of the human race and its destructive occupation of Earth, dressed up in a story of an imaginary planetary system and its battles between good and evil. The story's background is clear enough, thanks to a 'Prologue' printed in the liner notes. However, actual song lyrics are often mystical and occasionally profound, and nearly always somewhat esoteric or obtuse, but they usually reward deeper study in helping to understand Bornemann's view of human nature. The music is not interpretative so its appreciation is unaffected by any ability to grasp the lyrical concepts.

Unlike some Eloy albums, there are no real issues with Bornemann's singing, even though he has entered a field where melody and vocal lines are more important than in his previous incarnation as a space cadet. He does a respectable job, but is not helped by a clutch of uninspiring melodies that spoil some otherwise good ideas. Sphinx is an example of a good song crying out for a killer melody to take it onto another level - its big-synth arrangement and stomping rhythms harking back to the likes of Genesis and ELP would be stunning with a half-decent tune. Musically, the album is creative and accomplished, but none of the core songs are at all memorable if you remove the camouflage. The best melody lines are saved for uncredited female vocals in Queen Of The Night!

Despite its faults, there is much to like and admire. On The Verge Of Darkening Lights and Mysterious Monolith are excellent shapeshifting Prog tracks and the orchestra helps to lift At The Gates Of Dawn and Carried By Cosmic Winds above the ordinary. In its first couple of minutes, the latter promises to deliver something lighter than the usual bombast, but it too finally succumbs to the general malaise and you are left feeling a little cheated and bewildered. Some people claim Planets is a masterpiece. Perhaps, if you like lush and densely layered keyboards ..... but others should approach with a degree of caution.

Joolz | 3/5 |


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