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Eloy - Ocean CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.22 | 1083 ratings

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3 stars Despite Eloy's inability to crack the lucrative American market during their peak years, the group's popularity throughout central Europe had assured this most unashamedly progressive of German groups a long and successful career. After the uninspiring proto- metal of their self-titled debut, founder, guitarist and vocalist Frank Bornemann took control of affairs and steered the group in a more Yes-and-Pink Floyd inspired direction, ditching the lumpy riffs in favour of more complex keyboard-and-guitar arrangements, beefing up the production quality and adding a host of attractive, sci-fi inspired cover drawings that positioned Eloy firmly as a progressive rock outfit. 1973's 'Inside' was the first release to flex these colourful new muscles, which was in turn followed up by the spicy, Santana-flecked space-rock of 'Floating'; the measured, synth-heavy, Pink Floyd-styled 'Power & The Passion'; the glistening fan-favourite 'Dawn' and this critically-acclaimed and ambitiously- conceived double-album from 1977. Alongside 'Dawn', 'Ocean' has long been considered the group's stand-out album, with the epic fantasy themes that featured on each previous album combined with Eloy's trademark ethereal sound, which almost comes off a as kind of slickly-produced mixture of mid-period Tangerine Dream and 'Dark Side Of The Moon'-era Pink Floyd. With just four tracks on offer, 'Ocean' should please those progressive rock fans who like their music operatic, keyboard- drenched and full of fantastical themes, with Bornemann's guitar histrionics seemingly in check for now. However, despite the album's obvious - and many - qualities, there is a highly unoriginal feel to much of the material. Pink Floyd, Yes and Genesis have done much the same stylistically speaking, only they did it first. Eloy are by no means a cover group, and albums such as the more concise 'Power & The Passion' and the faster, more experimental 'Floating' showcase their glutinous prog style at it's finest. The problem with 'Ocean' is the fact that it finds itself consistently bogged down by the slow, at times soporific pace of the longer tracks, undoubtedly constructed so as to allow the compositions to breathe, yet ultimately they drag. There is much on offer, however, for those who enjoy the more space- rock themed side of symphonic prog, and like much of their 1970s output, 'Ocean' is recommended more as an enjoyable album than as a great one. The lofty claims that accompany this release are a tad misleading, though prog fans old and new should find much to enjoy across the whole of this singular group's large discography. Good then, but this is no masterpiece.

stefro | 3/5 |


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