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Eloy Planets album cover
4.00 | 532 ratings | 29 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Introduction (2:01)
2. On the Verge of Darkening Lights (5:37)
3. Point of No Return (5:45)
4. Mysterious Monolith (7:42)
5. Queen of the Night (5:22)
6. At the Gates of Dawn (4:19)
7. Sphinx (6:50)
8. Carried by Cosmic Winds (4:35)

Total Time 42:11

Bonus track on 2005 EMI remaster:
9. On the Verge of Darkening Lights (live 1983) (4:09)

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Bornemann / lead vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, co-producer
- Hannes Arkona / acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards
- Hannes Folberth / keyboards
- Klaus-Peter Matziol / basses, backing vocals
- Jim McGillivray / drums & percussion

- Wolfgang Dyhr / strings arranger & conductor

Releases information

Artwork: Winfried Reinbacher (painting)

LP EMI Electrola ‎- 1C 064-46 483 (1981, Germany)

CD EMI ‎- 7243 5 63776 2 2 (2005, Germany) Remastered by Hans-Jörg Mauksch with 1 bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ELOY Planets ratings distribution

(532 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ELOY Planets reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars WOW! That's THE Eloy album! It is among the best progressive rock albums of 1981, with Rush's "Moving pictures". The modern keyboards here are at their BEST: many pleasant organ parts take place, but the overall modern keyboards are rather atmospheric, intense, melodic and absolutely futuristic. The omnipresent melodic moog-like keyboards are the trademark of this record. Frank Bornemann's sharp electric rhythmic guitar sound is quite razor, and he also often plays short & clean guitar notes. "Planets" is more progressive than hard rock, although the omnipresent electric guitars and organ textures provide a big dose of sophisticated hard rock. The very present bass always makes a melodic rhythmic texture. The drums are very good and varied. Again, like on most of the Eloy albums, the overall rhythm speed is rather slow.

"Introduction" is a perfect futuristic keyboards track. The futuristic atmospheres on "Mysterious monolith" are AWESOME: the keyboards really steal the show here! "Queen of the night" has some very good participating orchestral arrangements and delightful & powerful female backing vocals a la Roger Waters' singers. "At the gates of dawn" is another Kitaro-esque New Age track that Eloy used to produce around 1980: the AMAZING thing on this track is the BRILLIANT fretless bass and futuristic keyboards combination. "Carried by cosmic winds" still has very participating orchestral arrangements and keyboards, futuristic atmospheres and catchy modified backing vocals; the melodic organ is particularly impressive. ALL the tracks are at least EXCELLENT!


Review by Proghead
5 stars Second album with the '80s lineup, and the first to record a concept, in this case about the Planet Salta and the inhabitants known as the Ikareens. Originally "Planets" was meant to be a double album, but EMI/Harvest didn't quite like the idea (especially in the early '80s when double albums went out of fashion), so the band was forced to conclude this album the following year (1982) with "Time to Turn". I could not be more surprised with "Planets", especially since the album has often been looked at in a negative light compared to their previous, "Colours". I find little to complain of "Planets", it sounds to me like the band was making a compromise of their new, direct approach they explored since "Colours", and the spacy sound they explored when Detlev Schmidtchen and Jürgen Rosenthal were in the band ( "Ocean", "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes").

The album is loaded with great Moog and string synths, done in the '70s style, but since this was the early '80s, some new polyphonic synths (such as the Prophet 5, or something similar) was starting to surface, as demonstrated on songs like "Point of No Return" and "Sphinx". You can be certain the band was still reluctant to let the 1970s go. The album starts off with "Introduction" (nothing to do with another piece they titled "Introduction" from "Power and the Passion"). This is a purely electronic piece, proving that Hannes Folberth could have made some great electronic music solo, but he preferred to be in a band. Fine with me. The music then segues in to "On the Verge of Darkening Lights". Here's all the proof you need of the band merging their new sound with the old. It's still in a more accessible, direct fashion, but they included some great, spacy Moog solos that could've been done by Schmidtchen. "Point of No Return" is mainly a song-oriented piece, with polyphonic synths dominating. There's a heartbeat (likely inspired by "Dark Side of the Moon") that segues in to "Mysterious Monolith". I like the introduction part of the song, and the end part with the atmospheric synth solos.

The second half showed the band was oddly wanting to move back to the sounds of "Dawn". The reason for that was the presence of orchestra on all but one of the cuts. "Queen of the Night" is that prime example. It starts off with a piano ballad, before the band rocks out, then the string synth solo come in. In there are the strings that sound like they came off "Dawn". "At the Gates of Dawn" is a very pleasant instrumental number with spacy Moog and piano, with the strings, once again. "Sphinx" is the only piece on side two without the strings, and is truly one of the album's high points. Stuffed with great playing, I especially like the '70s synths found here. It then segues in to the final piece, "Carried On By Cosmic Winds", with some more great cosmic sounding synths. The orchestra comes in, once again bringing to mind "Dawn".

It was 1981, MTV premiered, DURAN DURAN released their debut album, GENESIS released "Abacab", YES ceased to exist, ASIA formed (but no album released until the following year, of course), and ELOY pretended all the unfortunate things to happen in the world of music never happened (like new wave, the emergance of MTV, and old-time prog bands going commercial or ceasing to exist), making "Planets" one of the better prog albums I've heard from the 1980s. Definately the album to start first if you want to try '80s ELOY.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An Excellent Symphonic Space Rock album !

By the time this album was released, what a treat for me at the time. All the punk and new wave bands like The Human League, Robert Palmer, Mo, B 52's, Duran Duran were common music to all radio stations in Bandung, West Java, where I took my engineering study. About the same period, Genesis released "abacab", Yes with "90125". Prog was really dead. Planets soon became my favorite choice for my day-to-day rock listening pleasure. I don't know why this morning I grab this album and put my amplifier volume "high". Wow! What a great and memorable album! This album represents my first introduction to the band. Quite late actually, as the band was already there during the glorious years of the seventies. But I was so lucky with the release of this album - in the middle of punk and new wave that swept music industry in the world.

"Introduction" provides an overture that sets the tone for the album. It flows to the second track that represents my first "in love" with the band: "On The Verge Of Darkening Lights" - an uplifting song opened beautifully with an upbeat spacey music. The keyboard dominates the song. The vocal quality is very nice and powerful - it has the same timbre with the space rock music. Perfect! The keyboard solo after two verses of singing passage is simple but it's very enjoyable - especially it's augmented with a bass guitar and drum beats. The overall music is performed in an energetic style.

The next track continues with a transition of spacey keyboard and enters to "Point Of No Return" in a slower tempo. The beauty of this track lies on the keyboard sound at the back that fills in alternate with voice line. It's a great composition and it has an excellent melody. Guitar is only used at the end of the bars to accentuate the music. "The evidence of no future ." oh what a nice melody .. BTW, bass guitar plays an important role in this track. Overall composition of this track can be considered as a symphonic space rock music.

"Mysterious Monolith" opens with a nice combination between guitar fills and keyboard sound followed with a powerful vocal in this quiet passage. The music flows in a slow tempo with obvious bass guitar work. A very nice opening verse. The keyboard then enters the music smoothly followed with some effects. Bass guitar provides a transition that brings the music into a little bit faster tempo exploring the works of keyboards. Guitar is uses as rhythm section. The keyboard exploration in the middle of the track is simple and melodic. The break with bass guitar solo augmented with keyboard sound effects provide a spacey and futuristic nuance.

"Queen Of The Night" is a song with a very melodic opening, backed with an orchestration. The music moves in a crescendo with drum beats followed with female backing vocals. It sounds pop but it's very nice and enjoyable. The orchestration has helped a lot in strengthening the composition, overall. It reminds me to a sort of Electric Light Orchestra music but in a spacey mood. In addition to the simple orchestra, I love the vocal quality also.

"At The Gates Of Dawn" is an instrumental track with soft piano, keyboard and guitar fills performed in mellow style. The melody is made through the keyboard sound at background. It gives a spacey nuance of the song. Orchestration is added in the middle of the track. Overall, this track provides an excellent break to the album as a whole.

"Sphinx" brings the music into a medium tempo mood with - still - maintaining the melodic nature of a composition, using keyboard as the main pillar of the structure. Again, the band gives a very nice passage in the middle of the track where it turns into a quieter passage featuring vocal backed with a keyboard exploration. There is a simple drum solo that sounds poppy but it fits the whole structure of the song. Excellent!

"Carried By Cosmic Winds" is a very nice song opened with a melodic keyboard sounds that brings the music to vocal line. Vocal quality is really good. When the music enters with all instruments, the organ sound serves as main melody followed with a keyboard solo to accompany backing female voices. Some keyboard sound is emulating cello / violin sounds - it provide some orchestration flavor to the song. Excellent!

Overall, it's a highly recommended album. Despite it's relatively simple composition, this album comprises all excellent tracks that form a cohesive music as a whole. At the time of its release in 1981, it was a masterpiece and I still consider it the same after more than 20 years around us. I may be too naïve, but I think this album deserves a full five star rating. - Keep on progging!

Yours progressively,

GW - Indonesia

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars " awesome glow that shines through the sky attracts me strongly like an obscure shrine..."

With Planets Eloy definitely found a (partially) new direction. The first part of a double- album concept work based on a science-fiction' story by Frank Bornemann about the eternal battle of good and evil in a planet named "Salta", settled in the solar system of Hel, the largest solar system of the universe.

The band's usual and celebrated sound gets more refined, not changed. And in fact you couldn't say it has not to be included in the space rock sub-genre. The eighties don't seem to have contaminated Eloy's essence. They also enriched the music by introducing a wonderful strings' arrangement in the memorable track "Queen of the Night", the most convincing song of the whole record, in my humble opinion and in the good closer ""Carried by Cosmic Winds".

It's great the band and the Harvest (EMI) label delighted us with that excellent remaster reissues. I only have to criticize, as I told before in another review, the decision to write the booklet's liner notes completely in german.

Back to Planets, now. I don't think this is a mastepriece as someone stated. It's an excellent work, though, showing the talent of the band in paiting vast and deep scenes, perhaps their peak of maturity (even if not their most relevant work) along with the following "Time to Turn" (the second and last part of the science fiction concept).

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Superb psychedelic space album

That's The Eloy album, in the '80, maybe the second best after Ocean. It is among the best progressive rock albums of that time, because the modern keyboards here are at the highest level, many pleasant organ parts take place, but the overall modern keyboards are rather atmospheric, intense, melodic and absolutely futuristic, Hannes Folberth is a master of keys, really stunning keys on Planets. The rest of the musicians are super, made this album to be a 4 star album. I find the best track Mysterious Monolith, here the key parts is absolute stunning. Nothing else to add just, put the hand on this one, among the best Eloy, and among the best prog albums of the '80. Super

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I was rather disappointed with their previous album "Colours"."Eloy" did not really well entered into the eighties. But who did ? So, it was with pleasure that I discovered this album which opens brilliantly on a very atmospheric and spacey instrumental : "Introduction" is peaceful but extremely catchy.

"On The Verge" is more on the rocking side, but not only. The closing part for example, is another very good space-rock moment. I only would have liked it to be a little longer (the finale I mean). No breaks between the songs since it is a concept album. The listener is plunged into "Point Of No Return" and its full floydian atmosphere.

Good tracks succeed top good tracks during this album. "Mysterious Monolith" should please all the synthezisers lovers. You' ll get plenty here. A flamboyant song. Not like "Queen Of The Night" which is the poorest one featured.

Would you believe that "Eloy" released a song called "At The Gates Of Dawn" ! And would you believe that it sounds as a "Floyd" one ? It is an instrumental track, spacey for most of it. Just a pity that there are some strings at the end which were not necessary at all.

I like very much the mood of "Sphinx". It vaguely reminds me of "Genesis". Heavy keys, heavy rhythm but pleasant melody. Vocals are not as catastrophic as on previous albums, which is a good news. This aspect was definitely a handicap. I'm not saying that Bornemann became a great singer out of the blue. But at least he is bearable on most of this album. The closing "Carried By Cosmic Winds" is another spacey / psychedelic song. Maybe a bit old fashioned. But, to me, "Eloy" has always been a bit out of mood.

I am very happy to change my mind with this album. In my review of their previous work, I said "if the giants were not able to produce good music, how could "Eloy" be different" ? Well with this good album, "Eloy" did better than most of the giants. Bravo ! Three stars.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars If the preceding "Colours" gets lumped in with "Planets" and its follow up "Time to Turn", this turns out to have more to do with the lineup, the time period, and the overall approach of generally shorter punchier songs than with the actual sound. While on "Colours" the question of what might Eloy sound like if they had an additional guitarist was answered, on "Planets" we understand what could happen when that second guitarist doubles as second keyboardist. Moreover, Frank takes a step back with his guitar, to the extent that he doesn't really play any solos on the entire album. This and the presence of orchestration on a few tracks puts "Planets" in a similar lineage to Dawn.

Indeed this 1981 album is much more overtly spacey than its predecessor, and it includes two lovely symphonic instrumentals. But elsewhere we have some great vocal tracks, like "On the Verge of Darkening Lights", that contains a gorgeous melody sung by Bornemann in the middle, surrounded by impelling keyboard work. This track ends in an ambient haze before we are jolted to life by the upbeat "Point of No Return". The theme of a collapsing civilization is captured by the musical movements and the lyrics of its chorus, as the population sways and loses control. The two epics are "Mysterious Monolith" and Sphinx. Both are built around the sort of riff that implants in one's subconscious, and the latter includes another elegant middle section with Bornemann in fine voice. "Queen of the Night" and the closer "Carried by Cosmic Winds" both feature gentle starts before they become more fitful, and female vocal accompaniment that works far better than it did on Silent Cries, perhaps because the rip off factor is not nearly so evident. It sounds fresh.

With "Planets", Eloy changed yet again and ensured its survival for at least a few more years. An easy 4 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars There's a lot less guitar on this one compared to the previous album "Colours", but man the lush keybords and orchestration sounds pretty amazing on this one. This is a concept album, in fact there's a short story in the liner notes telling us about it. Pretty cool story really.The next album "Time To Turn" is a continuation of this story.

"Introduction" is a 2 minute spacey ride laden with tons of synths. "On The Verge Of Darkening Lights" we get vocals and a good beat. I like this one. Some organ in this one as well. I like the 1 minute instrumental interlude. Vocals return 3 minutes in. A spacey calm after 5 minutes as it blends into "Point Of No Return". Again like the previous song a good beat comes in early as vocals join in. Lots of lush synths in this catchy tune. "Mysterious Monolith" offers up some nice bass lines before 2 minutes as the organ comes in as drums pound and synths play over top. Vocals return a minute later. More great bass after 5 minutes.

"Queen Of The Night" opens with piano as reserved vocals join in. It builds as female vocals come in. Some strings in this one too. Very spacey 3 1/2 minutes in. "At The Gates Of Dawn" is dominated by a lush, spacey soundscape, great tune. "Sphinx" opens with some nice synths as vocals join in. A good rhythm to this one after a minute. It settles after 3 minutes then kicks back in. It ends with the wind blowing which continues in the next track called surprisingly "Carried By Cosmic Winds". I like the FLOYD-like synths early. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. A fuller sound a minute later with strings to follow.

An enjoyable album for me and well worth 4 stars. The bonus track is a live version of "On The Verge Of Darkening Lights" and it's better than the studio version.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is one of the two Eloy albums I own and although Ocean has the upper hand Planets is not that far behind. Once again I find it difficult to enjoy Frank Bornemann's vocals because of his accent and Mysterious Monolith is certainly one of the more extreme examples of my case and point.

What makes this album a bit less interesting in comparison to Ocean are the shorter track lengths which take away the opportunity of establishing an atmosphere which is a must have when it comes to space rock! Gone is also the magnificent drum work by Jürgen Rosenthal that made Ocean into a real treat.

On the positive note the album doesn't sound all that much like an 80's release although it doesn't have the 70's sound either. It's mostly a mix of the two and I like it! Overall it's an enjoyable space rock title and a must-have for most genre enthusiasts. I also believe that Planets can be a good introduction album since the shorter track lengths can actually be easier to digest for anyone who is new to space rock.

***** star songs: Sphinx (6:50)

**** star songs: Introduction (1:58) On The Verge Of Darkening Lights (5:37) Point Of No Return (5:45) Mysterious Monolith (7:40) At The Gates Of Dawn (4:17) Carried By Cosmic Winds (4:32)

*** star songs: Queen Of The Night (5:22)

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Eloy's 1981 album is an incredible fusion of two marvelous genres, resulting in symphonic space rock- a fantastic blend. Similar to Yes's Drama, one can hear the 1980s flavor grabbing a hold of the music, but only coloring it just a bit. It is like some intergalactic medieval world- sword and space ships, queens and quasars, extraterrestrials and excommunications...portcullises and planets. The swirling keyboards as the most fascinating aspect- they are the centerpiece that refuses to remain in the center.

"Introduction" Dazzling synthesizer textures create an expansive atmosphere.

"On the Verge of Darkening Lights" The first stop on this journey involves a speedy rocker featuring rapid drums, light electric rhythm guitar, a thudding bass, flashes of synthesizer, and an urgent lead vocal. The masterful instrumental segment weaves synthesizer, shimmering guitar, and that same steady bass around one another. Gentle keyboards fade the song out, but bleed into the next.

"Point of No Return" Retaining the feel of the previous track, this song shows the creeping influence of the 1980s more so than some of the others, but makes for a hard-hitting and great song nonetheless.

"Mysterious Monolith" Gorgeous guitar and synthesizer begin this wondrous extended piece. The instrumental passage relies on organ for the foundation alongside the guitar, drums, and bass, but uses varied synthetic tones to paint over it all.

"Queen of the Night" Sweet strings dance over this heavy, fast-paced song, which relies on feminine backup singing quite a bit. Again, the diverse tones from the keyboards do not disappoint, and are an integral aspect of the song.

"At the Gates of Dawn" More delicate guitar and bright synthesizers flow through this breathy instrumental. The beautiful strings return, adding yet another dimension.

"Sphinx" Decidedly 1980s in sound, this piece has a decent drive and melody, but is really like a cross between early ELP and latter-day Pink Floyd. It has its own distinctive flair, however, and employs a militaristic theme throughout.

"Carried by Cosmic Winds" The final piece seems to borrow from early Mike Oldfield. It employs the organ more than any other song, and even uses a Vocoder for a few sections. At times, it may be compared to The Alan Parsons Project. The strings are once again phenomenal additions.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A planet plagued by "greed, vanity, egoism, wars and atrocity"? What a strange idea!

The 1980 release "Colours" was not received with the usual enthusiasm by Eloy fans. While the music was well performed, the album as a whole was lightweight, with commercial leanings. Band leader Frank Bornemann took these criticisms to heart, and decided that the band should record another full blown concept album. He duly came up with a story, working with Sigi Hausen on the lyrics and the rest of the band on the music. The project came together quickly and successfully, and Eloy found themselves with sufficient material to put together a double album (based on LP lengths that is). While the record label was delighted with the band's enthusiasm, they felt that it would be best to release the resulting tracks as two single albums. Thus this album "Planets" appeared in 1981, and the other half of the project "Time to turn" appeared in 1982.

The story is centred on one particular (fictitious) planet called "Salta", which is Earth like with humanoids called Ikareens. The planet is visited by supreme beings and darker forces leading to inevitable problems. As you will gather it is all in the best traditions of all things prog, the story on this occasion even justifying a full narrative in the sleeve notes.

Musically, after the brief lapse with "Colours", "Planets" finds the band continuing to develop the prog side of their music with swaths of synths, complex arrangements and imaginative lyrics being the order of the day. Once the brief instrumental "Introduction" has set the scene, "One the verge of darkening lights" offers the first of the finely crafted symphonic prog pieces. The segue into "Point of no return" is seamless, the two tracks knitting together to form a fine 11+ minute whole.

Lyrically, the album is quite intense, with tracks such as "Mysterious monolith" being verbose. Even here though, plenty of space is found in the fully developed track for some superb multi-part synth. "Queen of the night" sets out as a softer ballad, but features a raucous female vocal driven chorus with strings accompaniment. There is an Ayreon /Star One feel here, the track being somewhat more commercial than its peers.

The Pink Floyd reference may be somewhat obvious in the title of the instrumental "At the gates of dawn", but this beautifully constructed track feels more like a Tony Banks (Genesis) piece than a Floyd one. "Sphinx" continues this Genesis interlude, the distinctive rhythm and vocal passages being very "Squonk" like. The album closes with "Carried by the cosmic winds", a fine prog title for a closing track. The plink plink opening is rather Oldfield like, and the song as a whole is a light melodic number.

In all, a full return to form for Eloy, who deliver an album of great beauty and majestic power. The concept album side is not overplayed, but helps the band to focus on maintaining a consistency which allow the album to flow superbly.

The remastered CD (beware of the dreaded "copy controlled" version with the dubious software) has one bonus track, a live version of track 2, "On the verge of darkening lights". This slightly shorter rendition is interesting, but far from essential.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars On the verge...

While many classic Prog bands from the 70's seemed to be in a downward spiral in the early 80's, Eloy were instead on the verge of the peak of their career. The previous Colours had been an improvement over the somewhat lazy Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes and the present album is again an improvement over Colours. The positive trend would continue even further with the next album. Planets was the first of two thematically connected albums that apparently were originally intended to form a double album. However, the band was persuaded by the record company to make two separate albums instead, and that was probably for the better in the end. The other of these two connected albums, Time To Turn, was released the year after this one and is in my opinion Eloy's best album bar none. But already here you can notice how the band had matured over the years and I would say that Planets was their best efforts up till that point. Ever since the beginning, they progressively became better songwriters, they were advancing their melodic sensibilities and developing a stronger musical identity of their own and Frank Bornemann's sometimes annoying German accent was gradually being tamed and moderated even if never fully overcome.

Both Planets and Time To Turn are rather keyboard dominated albums with strong compositions and Symphonic Prog leanings as opposed to just Psychedelic ones, but Planets is perhaps even more keyboard dominated with the guitars often being relegated to the background. This makes the album stand out from previous Eloy albums and I think they achieved a better balance between guitars and keyboards on Time To Turn. The tunes are generally very enjoyable and the album flows very well from start to finish. It is not very easy to pick out favourite tracks as the album works best as an organic whole.

Recommended, especially in addition to the more powerful Time To Turn

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Interesting how my opinions about the Eloy albums tend to diverge from the prevailing viewpoints of their fans. Planets isn't a bad album but just like Ocean I can't see why it would deserve any rating higher then just plain good. No, I find Inside, Floating and Silent Cries to be Eloy's best albums and haven't been much impressed by anything else.

There's some splendid argumentation behind my logic though. Just like the preceding Colours, Planets is an album that focuses on songwriting and vocals, Eloy's particular weaknesses. For this particular album you can add the formulaic approach and the mainstream tendencies of the material to the growing list of things that bug me.

Let's start from the top, Introduction is easily one of the most forgettable introductions of any Eloy album. It's an instrumental bit with lush and bubbling synth that goes absolutely nowhere. I might enjoy this if they sustained the mood by expanding it to a whopping 20 minute drone. But like this no thanks. On The Verge is a lot better. The verses and rhythmic drive are great but the predictable old-school chorus is somewhat less engaging.

Also Point of No Return, which introduces some AOR sensibilities into Eloy's sound, can't convince. It's not a bad tune but Borneman's accented and tuneless whine is particularly annoying. Mysterius Monolith is possibly the best song but the poor vocals turn it into another tough experience. I could hear Fish breathing some life into this though, especially with the great Trewavas-alike bass riff that drives the song.

The operatic AOR pop of Queen of The Night is beyond help . I'm sure this song reminds me of something, possibly from Alan Parsons but I don't have the courage to sit through my APP albums to find it. After a bit of synth filler we get to Sphinx, which starts with an intro that is completely nicked from Genesis (Squonk). The song that follows only adds further proof how very much below Genesis this band is. Carried by Cosmic Winds flows better but again it has that familiar APP ring to it.

Given my deviating opinions on Eloy albums, it would be safest just to ignore whatever I say if you are a fan of the band. However, if you would feel disappointed after checking out their best rated albums, there's still a chance you might find something to enjoy amongst their less popular titles. Despite an acceptable start this album is only a 2.5 for me, maybe 3 if I'm in a friendlier mood next week.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Until this release all the Eloy's albums have had the same defect: they were concentrated on an "influencer". They had the Uriah Heep period followed by the Pink Floyd period which have likely limited their creativity. Planets is the first album that even with influences can be considered an Eloy original effort.

The instrumental parts, probably because of the 80s sounds, remind to the Tangerine Dream of the same period and this is everything but bad. The rest is almost original even if the influences can't be totally removed. The voice of Frank Bornemann has the usual strong German accent, but he has found a way to integrate his voice better in the songs so is less disturbing than it was on the previous recordings. Thinking to Eloy and TD in this period one may think that Germany was a happy island for music in the 80s.

Now the album: it has spacey sections but its strength is in the long instrumental parts. The most electronic are in the vein of Tangerine Dream while the more acoustic are more Floydian. An example of the second kind is "At The Gates Of Dawn", but respect to "Ocean" or to "Silent Cries" they are not trying to sound like somebody else. The only bad thing with this track is the final fadeout.

I think the best track is " Sphinx". I find it representative of Eloy. Clearly recognizable as an Eloy song but at the same time it wouldn't possible to relate it to a specific influencer if it wasn't for that Roger Waters' bass in the middle of the song. The same octave-up-and- down of Careful With that Axe Eugene or Set The Controls, only a bit faster . "Carried By Cosmic Winds" seems borrowing the intro of Tubular Bells, but is an excellent closer.

I don't really care if it sounds like somebody else in some parts. It's less evident than on the previous releases anyway. Having music like this in 1981 was good, thank you Eloy.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Certainly Planets can be easily regard as one of Eloy´s best. I´ve always loved this album, specially if one remembers it was released in 1981 when progressive music was treated as a disease by critics and considered totally out of fashion by recording companies and much of its former audience. So it was a good surprise to see that Eloy not only kept the faith, but also developed a lot during this period. While others bands (like Genesis) were going to pop or simply gving up music altogether, this german band carried the banner high. It was really amazing that they were still releasing their albums through the giant EMI. But, as faithful as they might be about Eloy, they certainly wouldn´t go as far as taking the group´s idea of putting out a double concept album of sorts. The second part of this sci fi story would only see the light of day in the following year (Time To Turn).

On hindsight, it was a good move to do so. Both albums are quite similar and as much as I love both discs, it would be too much of the same for the time and certainly those two records would not be as much appreciated as they were if they were to be released in the same package. Planets sees the band going quite far as keyboards as concerned: here the guitars take a kind of back seat and Hannes Folberth´s synths are much more on the forefront now than on previous ones. However, unlike 99% of the bands of the time, the synthesizers timbres are much different from one might expect from the 80´s. Instead of those robotic, cheesy sounds, the group uses fine, beautiful, futuristic tones that are quite different from any band at the time, giving Planets an unique, timeless aura. Unlike much of the works of the period, this one has not dated at all.

The production is excellent and I really don´t think there is one single track I don´t like. But some are real strong ones like Mysterious Monolith and the powerful Queen Of The Night ( real nice female background vocals and great use of real strings). This surely the case of an album I always hear from start to finish without skipping any tracks. Naturally Frank Bornemann´s voice (and his ever present german accent) is quite acquired the taste, but now he can claim he had a style of his own, like it or not. While it is not really my cup of tea, I´m not bothered by it at all. After all, it wouldn´t be Eloy without him anyway.

Conclusion: one of the best early 80´s prog CDs. A real fine record that aged very well. The Pink Floyd influences are stil strong, but the group has come a long way and definilty created a sound of its own. An excellent addition to any prog rock music colletion. Four strong stars.

Review by Warthur
3 stars An interesting shift in Eloy's sound sees the band toning down the role of vocals in their music - an aspect which had never been particularly stellar - as well as modifying their musical approach, tempering their space rock stylings with some nods to the more accessible end of the symphonic prog spectrum (in particular, some of the keyboard work on this album reminds me of Tony Banks' style). This mixture which would prove to have an inspirational effect on the growing neo-prog movement, as well as refreshing the band's sound at a point when yet another rehash of Ocean or Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes would have felt disappointing. Along with its companion piece Time to Turn, a pretty good Eloy album, though it doesn't quite hit the high standards of its more lush predecessors, and subsequent neo-prog acts would ultimately outdo them at this particular style.
Review by FragileKings
4 stars My fourth Eloy album after "Floating", "Dawn", and "Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes", I was leery about the release date being 1981. Was I going to hear a lot of 80's-styled synth-pop weakly disguised as prog? Surprisingly, no.

"Introduction" to this allegory of good and evil fighting for control of a shining population of an planet is a simple spacey synthesizer instrumental. "On the Verge of Darkening Light" launches us into the album proper and I find the similarities to the sound of "Silent Cries" remarkable. It's as if the feast of new sonic delicacies that became available (for better or for worse) in the 80's had not yet reached the Eloy menu. The rock guitar is kept to minimum space in order to exploit the keyboard sounds more. The song takes on a symphonic prog feel near the end. The last 35 seconds or so sound like a separate track that serves as a transitional instrumental that takes us into "Point of No Return". This song has more weight to it with some simple heavy rock chords, but the synth-weighted approach is maintained. This has become my favourite track on the album.

"Mysterious Monolith" begins with an organ sound which is accompanied by a spacey synthesizer bit, and soon bass and organ again. In between the vocal parts are passages of guitar and synthesizer with a nice melody. There's an interesting synth-fuelled instrumental ending with solid bass and drum backing. The guitar is once again almost nonexistent, a big difference from "Floating".

Side two begins with "Queen of the Night", which for me is another song worthy of mention. It begins with piano and vocals and then a string section comes in. Next the drums and guitars make their entrance and then a chorus of female background singers. There's a distinct late-70's feel here with a groove that sounds like disco rock without the dance part. There's a by-now-obligatory synthesizer solo before the male vocals return with the rock band and strings. The finale is dramatic with the string section hard at it.

"At the Gates of Dawn" is a mood-setting instrumental piece with piano, clean electric guitar, synthesizer, bass, and percussion but no drums. It seems to suit very well the early 80's planet theme. Strings join in again and though it's nothing to tell your cousin in Denmark about, the track fits in nicely on the album. We're back to the ball game with "Sphinx" and an intro that sounds like Alan Parsons Project going heavy. It would almost make for a good heavy metal tune; however, the synthesizer, bass, and drums still figure in prominently. In the middle we receive a nod to "Goodbye Cruel World" from Pink Floyd's "The Wall" with a simple two-note bass line. The music is, however, a little more tense than sedate. After a short but simple drum break, we are back to the song, which soon begins to fade out with cosmic winds blowing in.

The closing track of the album, "Carried by Cosmic Winds" has a good composed-for- synthesizer introduction. There's the synthesizer-bass-drum band but the guitar player has gone home. A violin joins after the vocal parts and perhaps a second one follows. There is a swift dramatic conclusion and the album reaches its close.

The music here is nothing too complex and relies heavily on synthesizer and keyboards. It's very different from "Inside" and "Floating", but also thankfully not too much like the music of the early 80's. It sounds firmly and thickly stuck in 1978 for the most part. A very good album given the times and certainly one Eloy fans are likely to praise.

Review by Modrigue
4 stars A little fantasy space prog opera

After the musical directions explored on "Colours", the band has focused and matured its new style. More ambitious and coherent than their former opus, "Planets" was initially planned as a double-album with "Time to Turn". As the progressive genre was not very popular at this time, the Harvest label refused. The two albums were finally released as a dyptic, which was a good decision. This time, the music is dominated by keyboards and synthesizers, there are hardly no guitar soli here. The compositions are fluid, more direct and homogeneous, and the inspiration has been recovered.

The short spacey synth "Introduction" opens the album to announce "On The Verge Of Darkening Light", a cool space rock tune that immediately sets the tone. The guitar is more present on "Point Of No Return", another good song of the record. The nice "Mysterious Monolith" has a melancholic soft opening and then changes to deploy a somber enigmatic ambiance. "Queen Of The Night" is the catchy lyrical moment of the record. You just made a leap into another part of the universe. As its title suggests, it features female vocals. The ambient instrumental tune "At The Gates Of Dawn" is intended to let the listener breath between the songs. "Sphinx" is the weakest song of the record: a little boring, but enjoyable though. The disc concludes on "Carried By Cosmic Winds", a soft synthesizer ending with a violin finale.

"Planets" has a good flow and unity, the spatial theme is respected. The eventual reproaches may be that the final result sounds too polite, too clean, because of the lack of risks taking and the dated soundscapes due to the predominance of 80's keyboards over guitar. However, this album possesses its own identity and the quality of the compositions is constantly present, which is the most important.

With "Time to Turn", "Planets" is ELOY's most convincing album of the 80's.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A band that has never really connected with me due in part to the rather blatant Pink Floyd similarities but also to the rather mundane and straightforward rhythm patterns they chose (which were, I know, de rigueur in Germany during the 1970s and 1980s.

1. "Introduction" (1:58) spacey synth movements. (4.25/5)

2. "On The Verge Of Darkening Lights" (5:37) very nice, spacious music with bass, synths, guitars, and sparse drum play as Frank Bornemann sings. The music fills and gels in the instrumental section between vocal sections with some great synth work from Hannes Folberth--work that continues as the song decays into what will become the intro to the next song. (9.25/10)

3. "Point Of No Return" (5:45) At times it's Frank's forced storytelling vocals (which so similar to/imitative of those of the Pink Floyd lead singers) that I find irritating. The sound palette here is quite likable but the music coming out of it gets a little repetitive. (Being that it is obviously intended as a support to the lyrical message of Frank's vocals, I get it. I guess that one of the things I like most about prog is the interesting expressions being put down by the instrumentalists; here those are lacking). (8.66667/10)

4. "Mysterious Monolith" (7:40) a little more Genesis in this song's palette with the 12-string guitars and Hammond organ. I like the tempo change as we enter a new motif after Frank's first stint at vocals. Interestingly, the new motif is maintained when the vocals return. Lots of interesting keyboard work, if bursting in flourishes more than providing foundational elements. Great synth work--and bass, too--in the extended instrumental passage of the final two minutes. (13.75/15)

5. "Queen Of The Night" (5:22) piano provides the sole accompaniment to Frank's plaintive vocal for the opening and first minute. Unfortunately, the melody chosen for the vocal track is lifted straight from Pink Floyd's "Time." Orchestral strings join in during the second minute and then female choral vocals to accent and sometimes lead. It may have come across as kind of cool back in its time, but now it sounds kind of cringe-worthy. The final two minutes tries to restore the rock elements. (8.66667/10)

6. "At The Gates Of Dawn" (4:17) opening with another more-Genesis palette to host a prolonged synth solo in the vein of the afore-mentioned band's "Entangled" song, this instrumental song presents a nice interlude. Very nice strings incorporation in the final two minutes. Nice song even though it feels as if it is missing something. (8.875/10)

7. "Sphinx" (6:50) once again a factor of GENESIS imitation is felt with this song (similar to the style of "Squonk"). Once again, the lyrics seem to be the most important element to the band since the contributions of the instrumentalists are very laid back and supportive, seldom flashy or isolated. (13/15)

8. "Carried By Cosmic Winds" (4:32) nice multi-keyboard opening for the first 75 seconds before bass joins in and Frank enters with the vocal. I like the way Frank's voice is incorporated more within the mix with the instruments on this song. Very cool instrumental passage filling the third minute after Frank's first verse--with vocoder and great keyboard work. Don't know why the strings were deemed necessary for the next verse and beyond as Hannes Folberth was, I think, doing quite nicely on his own. Weird, rather abrupt end to the song--and album! (9/10)

Total Time: 42:01

To my ears, this is the Eloy album that allows the keyboard mastery (and experimentalism) of Hannes Folberth to come shining through (though the contribution of authentic strings sometimes confuses or confounds this factor). Did anyone else notice the absolute absence of lead guitar solos throughout the album? Interesting! Also, the band seems to have been quite enamored and inspired by Genesis' A Trick of the Tail album since there are so many songs displaying striking elemental "similarities."

B+/four stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection and the first Eloy album that I have actually felt some connection to.

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4 stars Eloy took a more concise and streamlined approach starting from this album. There's nothing to blame them for - times were changing, the keyboard world was preferring synths now; long compositions were considered dated. Eloy were still more progressive at this stage than 80% of their contempora ... (read more)

Report this review (#2954409) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This has to be, without a doubt one of my all time favourite records! It gets played at least once a week and seems to have one of those warm, enveloping quality to it! In fact, if you haven't heard this album I recommend you stop reading this right now... guaranteed that you'll listen to "On ... (read more)

Report this review (#660623) | Posted by JontyCollinson | Friday, March 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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Report this review (#301195) | Posted by jean-marie | Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Soon after release the 2 more expressive albums of his career ( in my humble opinion) , 'Silent Create & Mighty Echoes" (1979) and "Colours" (1980), the band ELOY records one of the most peculiar disks than I already heard. Peculiar, due to the fact that in a disk in that the line-up of the b ... (read more)

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5 stars What we have here is another excellent space rock voyage by the band Eloy, and it's one of the last albums in the 1976-1982 excellent albums. There is so many keyboards full of lush power with some interesting textures that give the ear that sensation of excellence in the music. This is a co ... (read more)

Report this review (#250399) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the top-spacerock albums of all times. Those who wish to hear lots of guitarsolos and heavy riffing should avoid this one. This one is the Eloy-record wich is prominently dominated by keyboards and even adds orchestra to the overall sound. From beginning to end this is symphonic sp ... (read more)

Report this review (#189203) | Posted by Kingsnake | Friday, November 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars With hearing the first sounds of "Introduction" it seems that in this album Eloy showed many changes. These synthesizers became equal with other instruments. Some would say that on their earlier albums the band used them too. Maybe, but on such big scale. But it's good that Eloy didn't cut awa ... (read more)

Report this review (#102273) | Posted by Patique | Saturday, December 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars great album, something you never heard before. great synth arregaments, music that really takes you to a fabolous musical journey. this was the fist eloy´s album i heard when i was like 13 years old, and since then i´m a great fan of them. many progressive fans doesn´t agree with the sound of ... (read more)

Report this review (#3270) | Posted by | Sunday, March 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first Eloy album I ever listened to (on Fluff's Friday Night Rock show on Radio one if I remember rightly!) Much more synth and electronic in feel than the earlier stuff - not so reliant on rock guitar. On a parr with, but not quite as heavy as some of Hawkwind's more electronic material (Levi ... (read more)

Report this review (#3259) | Posted by | Monday, December 8, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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