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Eloy Ra album cover
2.79 | 253 ratings | 22 reviews | 6% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Voyager of the Future Race (8:51)
2. Sensations (4:46)
3. Dreams (8:05)
4. Invasion of a Megaforce (7:42)
5. Rainbow (5:21)
6. Hero (6:51)

Total Time 41:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Bornemann / lead & backing vocals, lead & rhythm guitars, producer
- Michael Gerlach / keyboards, bass synth, drums

- Tommy Newton / guitars (2)
- Achim Gieseler / keyboards (4,5)
- Paul Harriman / bass (2)
- Darryl Van Raalte / fretless bass (3)
- Stefan Hls / bass (4), backing vocals (3,5)
- Udo Dahmen / drums (4)
- Annette Strangenberg / lead vocals (3-5)
- Sue Wist / vocal intro (1)
- Diana Badey / whispering (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Michael Narten

LP ACI Records ‎- (1988, Germany)

CD ACI Records ‎- SPV 85-4802 (1988, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ELOY Ra ratings distribution

(253 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

ELOY Ra reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ELOY's compositions here are maybe slightly more diluted, less loaded and less progressive too, but the modern and futuristic sound and atmosphere are still present more than ever. The songs can be catchy and melodic: "Invasion of Megaforce" is the most progressive one: pure distortion-free guitar sounds, loud drums, catchy rythm bass, very good voice and efficient keyboards. The album is often smooth, but the modern sound and atmosphere give some colour to the ensemble and makes it pleasant to listen. It is clear here that they took care of the sounds of guitars and keyboards.
Review by lor68
3 stars Well this work is less psychedelic and closer to some albums by Saga, but with a touch of their own, which is finally diverse!! My rating is not so high, because the re-mastered version of this album should have been improved by their sound engineering; instead such promise has not been totally mantained !! The mixing is quite disappointing, even though the strings are well arranged as usual within their "space" orchestrations ... according to my opinion it is not enough (talking about their compositions or songs lay-out) to regard the whole album as their most complete, cause the harmonic solutions are simple and sometimes uneven:therefore their style should be a psychedelic space rock with use of synthezisers, instead it seems it's their first attempt to be introduced to such English New Progressive wave of the eighties and this is a strange situation.Nevertheless their imprinting is often orginal and modern enough...make your own choice!!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It was sad to know that this album did not meet the standard of ELOY music as what they did brilliantly with "Planets" or "Time To Turn". It's not a bad album at all but not all songs are good. To mention a very few one is the opening track "Voyager Of The Future Race" (8:51). This opening track has blended the roots of ELOY music: space keyboard work and psychedelic style and new style of ELOY which the band didn't seem to share until quite sometime later . I cannot deny that this band is truly unique. The other unique characteristic is the vocal quality of Frank Borneman.

In my opinion, this album was not made in a complete way as out of 6 tracks only one track that later became "enjoyable". It's not only that, the opening track has non-linear structure and tempo change. Once you listen to track 1, then you continue next racks what you might feel "bored" with the following tracks. Most of following tracks sound like a pop song with loose composition.

I leave it up to you on what decision you might want to take. It's not a good album but definitely it's suitable for ELOY fans. Keep on proggin' ..!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by richardh
1 stars This must be the worst Eloy album.BAD BAD BAD DRUM SOUND.Songs are very poor.No inventivness in the music at all.Some spacey keyboards but barely enough to keep you interested.If you want an album to give you a pain in the ear then this is it.Listen at your peril.
Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After 1984's Metromania, the members of Eloy went their separate ways until Frank Bornemann reconvened with Michael Gerlach to continue as a duo assisted by session musicains and a host of electronics. The band has come a long way from its roots. The material here is high quality arena rock, a semi-Prog return to form that ploughs the same musical furrow as Rabin's Yes [circa 90125] but much more progressive! The band's songwriting had never been better, and one song [Rainbow] might be considered adult radio fodder, but otherwise songs are intelligently produced with strong developing arrangements.

Bornemann's singing, normally a major bugbear, is no longer an issue - it is tuneful, often multi-tracked and often harmonised with other voices. Female vocals also play a major part, including spoken sections at the beginning and end of the album. Instrumentally, the dominant feature is Bornemann's meaty guitar work, whether stretching over a Rabin-esque solo or inventively providing rhythmic support. 1980s keyboard samples and sequencing are often unloved, and their use here does tend to give an adverse impression but in general they are used wisely. So far so good! This is an excellent album with strong leanings towards the 80s sound of Yes [even down to some very Chris Squire sounding harmonies], Asia, Saga and Genesis, with echoes of Mike Oldfield and even Enigma! But .....

..... the 'drums' are awful! The decision to use sequenced percussion may have given Bornemann greater freedom, but it takes great skill to make it sound real. These are poorly integrated, sequenced with too much rigid quantisation and use generic samples that intrude to the extent of interfering with the flow of a song and listeners' enjoyment. Invasion Of A Megaforce is only an average song to begin with, but it becomes completely unlistenable. Voyager Of The Future Race, Sensations and Hero are all brilliant Proggy songs, with full and interesting arrangements that develop well and hold the attention. All are would-be classics spoiled by unsympathetic artificial percussion. Two songs manage to escape the general malaise - the catchy but over-repetitive AOR track Rainbows, and excellent shapeshifting Dreams with its infectious massed voice chorus.

Overall, this is a very frustrating album, five of its six tracks being so good that it would easily be considered 'excellent' and 'essential'. Approach with caution, but if you can force your ears to filter out the worst of the percussion, you will be rewarded with some very memorable songs.

Review by hdfisch
2 stars Actually I don't quite remember for what reason I purchased this record years ago (must have been out of the bargain bin) since I knew already their albums before this one and honestly I found Performance and Metronomia already very weak compared to Planets. Eloy had been decreased here to a duo of Bornemann and Gerlach supported by a bunch of guest musicians and this album is probably one of the worst examples for cheesy cheap plastic sound offered under the description of Prog. Computer-generated drum sound and plenty of synths combined with (admittedly) rather good guitar which is still the best component. Far from being considered good I would say unless one likes 80's arena rock but for that era maybe still acceptable and above average! Avoid it and as well the following Destination, not before ten years after this one they would deliver another worthy one with Ocean 2!
Review by Eclipse
2 stars This album is very cold. The electronic drums are so annoying and repetitive that spoil even more the average work here. The songs are long but don't have much variation, and sound really uninspired. I really miss the ELOY's materful way of creating catchy, simple and moving music. I miss the way they can transfer us to new places, creating an universe of their own. Instead of them, they make bad use of the 80's production to create a mediocre effort.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Enigmatic

By this time (1988) the band was effectively a duet of Frank Bornemann (vocals and guitars) and Michael Gerlach (keyboards, drums and synth-bass). The line up was however enhanced by a number of guest musicians.

Taking its name from the Egyptian sun god (as Todd Rundgren's Utopia had done previously), the opening minutes of "Ra" take us sequentially through Enigma (the band), Mike Oldfield ("Tubular bells"), and Tangerine Dream before a striking burst of guitar indicates that this is indeed Eloy.

"Voyager of the future race" is in some ways a forerunner for the work of Arjen Lucassen. There is a harder, metallic edge to the music, which when combined with electronic effects and a space theme lay a path for those who followed. At the same time, there is a retrospective element in the overlaps with Genesis "Watcher of the skies".

The vocals on "Sensations" (released in slightly edited format as a single) are reminiscent of AMON DUUL II's performance on their "Live in London album". The track has a heavy, powerful feel. "Dreams" has some effective female talking and excellent synth strings creating a lush dreamscape. At times, the track has the sound of 80's Yes.

"Invasion of a megaforce" could perhaps have been an inspiration for Ayreon/Star One link, with a strong multi-part vocal theme. The track develops through a captivating instrumental core with sweeping synthesisers before returning to the main vocal themes.

"Rainbow" is by far the most commercial track, being an infectious power ballad with a repeating chorus. Lovely song though. The closing track "Hero" has a more synthetic, 80's feel with stereo echoed guitar bursts over a rather plodding beat.

It is entirely understandable that long terms fans of Eloy may feel that "Ra" does not sit well alongside their earlier albums. For me, it is a fine example of 80's prog, with some excellent compositions and competent performances. Recommended.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Like "Easy Livin' "mentions, it is indeed true that the start of the opening song "Voyager Of The Future Race" has deep flavours from "Tubular Bells" as well of Tangerine Dream. These spacey three minutes are the best ones, because we'll be quickly embarked into an electro beat typical of the eighties. It won't be as awful as "Sensations" which features annoying drumming as well as an enjoyable chorus (even if repetitive towards the end).

I am still wondering where is the relation with "R" in this album. They could have produced a very atmopheric work around this theme but we are not getting anything close. Poor compositions, no spirit, no melody. Just some very average and uniform songs. "Dream" is the archetype of this type of music.

Compared to the other songs from this album, "Invasion of a Megaforce" is the best one. At least it revives their space-rock to a certain extent. Vocals sounds as Jon Anderson's ones. "Rainbow" is fully Floydian and is appealing as well. Not very original but pleasant. At this time of their career there is not much more to expect from the band I'm afraid. Two good songs in total.

And that's it! The closing "Hero" is another of those electro beat type of music. Slow paced, it also emulates "Floyd" but could not really touch me. All in all this album is another "Eloy" deception. But to be honest, there are little surprises here : their last two albums also ranged amongst the poorest ones from their discography.

Same rating : two stars.

Review by progrules
3 stars So this is their supposedly weakest album in history, along with its predecessor and its successor that is. Funny enough two (Destination being the other) of these three albums are my first two encounters with the band, so I will be looking at them in a slightly different way I guess.

This one starts with Voyage of the future Race, a song that starts very slowly with hardly anything happening in the first minute. After this a vocal part with a sound so typical for Eloy in the eighties. A bit mechanical, accessible, almost commercial. After a few minutes of this a sparkling guitar solo, the highlight of this first song and maybe even of the entire album. Next up is Sensations, an uninteresting song again saved by a bit of good guitarplay. Third song is Dreams, a well known song, I always considered it the best track of this album, good composition, accessible on one hand but varied enough to be interesting. Probably one of the best Eloy songs in the eighties and the preserver for an acceptable rating for this release. Also on this one some teriffic guitar performances. Just the end of the song is a bit weak. Invasion of a Megaforce reminds of the spacy lyrics of 70's Eloy although the musical and instrumental aspect can't really cope with the level in the great era for this band. Rainbow is a slower more ballad like track and probably responable for the boring reputation of this album (although I noticed not everyone feels the same about Ra). It is certainly not one of my favourites on the album and same goes actually for the closing track, Hero. Nothing special to say about this one either.

All in all nothing great with this effort by Eloy. A mediocre album but just about good enough for the rounding up to three stars for me (2,7).

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars It took 4 years for Eloy, or at least Frank Bornemann, to recover from the debacle of the two albums prior to their mid 1980s collapse, but recover they did, emerging deliberately and forcefully with "Ra" in 1988. The new group is basically a duo with his friend Michael Gerlach, and a host of guests.

The album is well produced even if the mixing and the sequenced percussion are a source of consternation to many fans. The synths are rich and modern yet the melodies and motifs also harken back to the 1970s. Bornemann's leads in the inspired opener "Voyager of the Future Race" are a joy to hear after so long, his voice seems to be on target and sympathetic with the backing singers, and the melodies in "Dreams" and the lovely ballad "Rainbow" are memorable. There is a conscious effort to create lengthy tracks that flow from one segment to another, carrying the listener along in a way that their last productions did not. So even the less enjoyable tracks like "Invasion of a Megaforce" and "Hero" cannot be faulted from a compositional perspective, and they contain some worthwhile moments that punctuate the occasional overdigitization both in instrumentation and in song format.

While "Ra" does not reach the heights that Eloy attained earlier in the decade, it once again finds the band exploring new approaches while casting an eye to their roots, and to that I can only say "ra ra".

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars Eloy split as a band shortly after finishing their Metromania album in 1984. After a break of about 18 months, guitarist Frank Bornemann met keyboardist Michael Gerlach in Berlin and decided to form a duo under the Eloy name. The result of this collaboration was the album Ra, released in 1988.

Ra had a lot of potential that was mostly ruined by the technology of the day. It contains the futuristic and spacey keyboards Eloy was best known for, but sorely lacks in other departments, such as the heavy use of programmed drums, synth basses, and a whole series of session musicians. If only the lineup from Ocean could have performed this album. If only...

If you can get past the dreadful drum programming, Ra offers some delightfully nice numbers including Voyager of the Future Race, Invasions of a Megaforce, and Rainbow. The rest of the tracks border on mediocrity musically, although lyrically these may have been some of Bornemann's best written songs in years. The female backing vocals are nicely done too.

If programmed drums don't bother you, you might actually like this. Too bad Bornemann had not met Trent Gardner a few years later as Gardner's drum programming was quite unique and not as mechanical sounding as most albums tend to be that feature this. Other than that, most will find this album disappointing. Two stars. Chiefly for Eloy fans.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Ra from 1988 is a flat album from all directions and find Eloy exploring new techologies of that period, musicaly speaking. Is typical '80's in sound, the drums sound is awful on some pieces, like a broken can, the arrangements are fairly mediocre but not entirly bad. The keybords or better said the synths is modern in sound, but in places a return to form specialy in pieces like Voyager of the Future Race or the smooth ballad Rainbow. Overall a quite plastic in sound, most of the bads from that era uses this type of technology drum programming, here fits only partialy. Bornemann's voice is quite pleasent most of the time, no weak moments, the atmosphere and some arrangements are totaly dull. To many fans Ra is a disappointing album, maybe, I"m a fan I considered a so so release, not bad not so great either, and far from what was in the heyday. Still enjoyble to me2.5 rounded to 3 because I love Eloy, otherwise is almost a forgetable release.
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Not as bad as it could be.

I mean, what could you actually expect from any album released in 1988 by a band active since the early 70s? I've heard and read all the possible bad about it, but I have to say that I like it. Eloy is a band that even with a distinctive sound, thanks also to the voice and the strong German accent of Frank Bornemann is always been a bit derivative. Since the first albums, influenced by the Uriah Heep, passing through their Floydian period (their best IMO), now are somewhere between Genesis and Yes. Unfortunately the Genesis of Abacab and the Yes of Big Generator, but the result is really not bad.

"Voyager Of The Future Race", despite the very 80s sound and an initial remind to Mike Oldfield is a typical Eloy song. A real drum kit instead of the electronics would have made it suitable for a seventy's release.

"Sensations", in the heavy electronic drums has a bit of Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer, but the chorus is closer to the Yes. There's also another thing that I can't identify, a sequence of notes which sounds familiar and points me to the late Genesis. Well, it's surely not a masterpiece but it's a nice song.

What about "Dream"? Another influencer of this album, at least in the sounds used is Alan Parson's Project. Listen to believe. Add female vocalists as in Waters' Radio Kaos and high pitched choirs. They are not Anderson and Squire, however the link with YES will become clearer in the following song. This song could stay on a Parson's album even maintaining some characteristics which clearly identify it as an Eloy song. Especially the guitars.

"Invasion Of A Megaforce" is my favorite track here. The one closer to the YES also in the choirs. Of course I mean the Yes of Trevor Rabin, so whoever dislikes 90125 to ABWH can probably skip this track.

"Rainbow" is the melodic moment of the album and another very nice song. Probably in this case having Bornemann singing quite overriddenby the choir and the back vocalists is an improvement. Very 80s but nice. As I have written since the beginning, there are no masterpieces, but there are goos dongs. Unfrotunately this one ends fading off. Something that I hate.

"Hero" is a decent closer. The mood is Floydian but the backing guitar and the keyboard sounds seem coming from Genesis. A nice song also this, apart of the chorus that doesn't appear very much inspired.

I think there is still enough of the classic Eloy in this album to make it enjoyable. Probably it should have been a moment of transition. The bad thing in the 80s was that apparently who wanted to sell albums had to adapt the sound to the mode of the times: electronic drums, fairlights and so on. The decade of the "look" pretended to impose its fashion to the music, too.

Filter out those bad feelings and you'llhave a decent three stars album.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Eloy's "Ra" has a very strong 80s aroma, with those synthy drums, tons of spacey keyboards and echoed vocals. It is not half as bad as some of the dross churned out in the late 80s and really deserves more credit than it gets here. There is prog on tracks such as Invasion of a Megaforce, that thankfully has nothing to do with the "Megaforce" movie trash. It has a lovely melody on the well executed 'Rainbow'.

It has a great driving rhythm on 'Voyager of the Future' and a nice proggy intro with birds whistling, dialogue about a new chapter of mankind's history, and angelic vocals.The synth sequencer screams the 80s but it is a cool vibe, and the guitars are layered with twang, but the drums are mixed by an 80s engineer of course, never a good thing. The melody on the opening track is certainly an Eloy signature, it is the music that has changed over the years.

The songs are overall forgettable but while it is playing the album has a pleasant vibe, everything is crystalline production and upbeat musical atmospherics such as spacey keys on 'Sensations', the fretless bass of 'Dreams' and the reverberating electro drums and snyth lines of 'Hero', along with its extended lead guitar break. Bornemann is still with the band and lends his unique vocals to the sound. Michael Gerlach is still here on keys, but the rest are guest musicians and singers, so it was not really a band in their prime; but they survived!

There are no bad songs really but nothing jumps out and bites this reviewer as being anything more than a good song with some interesting musical structures. I guess the first track is the stand out along with 'Invasion of a Megaforce' with its Yes like vocals and style. I like the lead guitar work on the album by Bornemann especially on 'Hero', and the lovely vocals of Annette Strangenberg on 3 songs. This is an atmospheric album, by no means their worst, and as such is worth a listen for all Eloy fans.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Eloy's 1988 album `Ra' saw the band essentially whittled down to just vocalist and guitarist Frank Bornemann and keyboard player Michael Gerlach, but with the aid of a few guest musicians to fill out the sound. The music presented here was still often in the song-driven direction the band had been on since `Colours' back in 1980, so that meant streamlined, guitar/synth driven rock often with verse-chorus structures, but there is still plenty of worth to discover here. Despite a loud arena rock sound throughout much of it, the album is still coated in those defining shimmering synths and Bornemann's heroic guitar soling, but the killing factor for many listeners may be the overuse of crashing programmed drums. This time around there are also plenty of quasi-spiritual lyrical pleadings and cosmic proclamations, but the band's keen melodic skills and skilled playing are all still evident.

Nine minute opener `Voyager of the Future Race' instantly sets the sci-fi template of so many Eloy albums past. After a serene ambient intro, the piece comes screaming to life with wailing guitars, thick synths and the most bombastic and loud programmed drums imaginable that could only come off an 80's album! The track crashes down on you with repetitive hard-rock riffs, an introspective middle and victorious guitar solo, and check out loopy lyrics such as "Life and death are now just a status, look around - you'll see a celestial glow..." - Oh Frankie, give me more! `Sensations' is not the most complex of arrangements, instead it's a gutsy rocker driven by more of those aggressive pounding drums, a forceful vocal from Frank and a very catchy chorus. `Dream' is a big dramatic symphonic piece with ethereal space-whisper female voices and a dreamy, almost uplifting chorus lifting over floating synths. It's also full of rambling New Age contemplations such as "Peace and love reunite in everlasting burning light, you feel your aura expanding, bathing in virginal joy, just like a flower in bloom...". I love the innocence of it!

There's plenty of driving power throughout the second side's `Invasion of a Megaforce', a more up-tempo and surprisingly positive piece. Moments of symphonic bluster and urgency run alongside a subtle yet infectious Yes-like quality to the chorus vocal harmonies with murmuring slinking bass, and Frank get's to briefly let rip with a tortured bluesy guitar solo. The gentle power-ballad `Rainbow' may just be one of the sweetest and more heart- felt tunes Eloy ever delivered, with a classy dream-like chorus that's not unlike those softer moments that showed up on most Alan Parsons Project albums. I love the naivety of such lines as "Find your peace of mind, leave all cares behind...and your dreams will come to life." With words like "You can't control the whirlpools in your mind, you try to find a value in yourself, but the way is too long. But your spirit's fighting back under the storm...", `Hero' is seemingly an ode to crashing and burning but rising again. There's a gentle melancholy to the plodding drama, but Frank offers a final stirring and sympathetic guitar solo.

Eloy may have released endless stronger albums, but this one has always been a personal favourite of mine. It still has many of the trademarks I associate this wonderful German band with, especially Frank Bornemann's charmingly accented delivery and the deep-space synth atmospherics. The programmed drums have always made this album a very divisive one amongst Eloy fans, but I feel it gives the music a suitably robotic quality, perfectly appropriate for their science fiction sound. The cover is also beautiful, full of fantastical sci-fi imagery. It's certainly superior to their next album `Destination', which would replace their usual sound with hard guitar driven AOR. But chances are, especially if you enjoyed the previous albums `Metromania' and `Performance', you'll still find plenty here to enjoy.

Three stars, but rounded up to four for my own selfish love for this great little unloved album!

Review by Progfan97402
3 stars I found this LP for next to nothing at a Eugene, Oregon record convention. The seller was a prog junkie, and likes Eloy just as much as the next proghead, but I was under the impression he never cared for Ra, which is understandable, it's not well liked in the prog community. That's why I got it for next to nothing, along with several prog albums more worth noting, including Melody's Yesterlife (1977), a band that's not in ProgArchives (although should be).

I knew right away this was not going to be like Ocean or Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes. I didn't even expect it to be like Planets or Time to Turn, their best 1980s albums. It's not bad, although having a real drummer could have benefited big time (listen to Ocean 2 from a decade later, which had a real drummer in Bodo Schopf and you can see the difference). Put this against Ocean or Silent Cries and Ra crashes and burns. Put this up against popular mainstream music of the time like teen bubblegum of the Debbie Gibson and Tiffany variety, or cheesy hair metal of the Bon Jovi, Poison, Whitesnake, and White Lion variety, and this sounds like a breath of fresh air. The music is straight out of the late '80s. Digital synths (including the Yamaha DX-7) and drum machines all over the place, heavy metal guitar riffs (at least more tolerable than cliched hair metal guitar riffs as done by those kind of bands mentioned). There's no denying the intro of "Voyager of the Future Race", a nice ambient piece, and one could have imagine this becoming the Ocean of the '80s, but you know that wasn't going to me. But the album does have some really nice melodies, and not the most offensive of '80s sounds so I did find it enjoyable. Ballads like "Dreams" and "Rainbow" clearly showing them attempting to score a hit, and Frank Bornemann attempts a ridiculous falsetto he never did before, but does on this album (and on Destination and even parts of The Tides Return Forever). I guess this album probably would not have been so trashed on had it been released as a Frank Bornemann & Michael Gerlach album. I guess Bornemann felt that he'd be able to sell more copies by slapping on the Eloy name. I guess if you are strictly '70s for prog rock, you probably should stop at Time to Turn, and avoid anything they done after. But to my ears it's not bad, and I didn't expect it to be like their classics and found it nice listening, but not really essential, so three stars. Love that cover, though (which leaves such bad covers as Yes' 90125 and Big Generator, King Crimson's Beat, Emerson, Lake & Powell's sole album and ELO's Balance of Power totally in the dust).

Review by Lewian
1 stars The strongest element of Eloy has always been the rhythm section with the wonderful bassist Matziol and the pretty strong and characteristic drummers Rosenthal and Randow. On Ra none of them is present, instead we have synth bass and very electronic sounding drums played by a non-drummer (except Udo Dahmen on Invasion of a Megaforce but he doesn't sound much better which is a pity because I know he has more in his hat). Put on top an obsession with the most thick and showy 80s synthesizer sounds and Bornemann's ever so bombastic lyrics and thin voice. You can imagine that the result is a desaster. It's not so much the typical 70s prog band goes 80s commercial desaster. Eloy, you've got to give it to them, are in some way true to their progressive past, at least they still try to put something more into a song than verse-chorus-verse-chorus. Unfortunately, replacing their inspiring and lively rhythm section by something boring and unengaging strangles the whole thing. As songwriter, Bornemann can come up with the occasional well working melody and chord progression, but without his former partners it all lacks groove, becomes static and is ultimately hard to bear.

I should probably note that I can imagine why some die hard Eloy fans are still able to like this; if I imagine Matziol/Randow shaking up the compositions, some potential for acceptable prog may be revealed, some guitar and keyboard arrangements on their own are fine if the listener is able to forget the overall sound for a moment, but as things stand, my verdict is "hands off"!

Review by Modrigue
2 stars 2.5 stars

The weakest ELOY studio album of the 80's. During the late eighties, Frank Bornemann and keyboardist Michael Gerlach met in Berlin and planned to resurrect the band. If the musical style can be to linked to the previous studio release, "Metromania", the overwhelming presence of the programmed drums give to "Ra" a cold artificial aspect and, above all, a terribly dated sound. The songs go back to a more progressive format, but unfornately the inspiration has not been totally recovered yet. By the way, in case you're wondering, the music has no relation with R, the Egyptian god of sun.

The mini-epic "Voyager Of The Future Race" opens with an ambient "Tubular Bells"-ish introduction to then unveil a nice space progressive rock song. Not great, but pleasant. "Sensations" is clearly the best track of the record. Although the keyboards are more present, this well structured tune is both aggressive and futuristic. A potential hit single. These were the only interesting moments of the record.

The rest is forgettable and does not resemble typical ELOY. To be honest, it can merely not qualify as space-rock. Despite its 8 minutes duration, "Dreams" is soft and dull, while "Invasion Of A Megaforce" sounds rather flat. "Rainbow" could have been enjoyable, but its lengthy arrangements make this song finally average and cheesy. To finish the record, "Hero" is quite transparent and useless.

"Ra" is not a very coherent record as well as a deception. Only the first third - the space-rock one - of the album is worth listening. One more time, the band does not really succeed in trying other genres. ELOY's genuine resurrection will have to wait...

Latest members reviews

5 stars A seriously (and no idea why!) underrated album which contains a lot of innovative moments, for example, choir lead vocals in some tracks, totally new (for Bornemann) principles of melody making and revolutionary (for Bornemann) arrangements in at least a half of the album, and major tonality as a p ... (read more)

Report this review (#1007211) | Posted by proghaven | Sunday, July 28, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is by no means "Ocean" or "Silent Cries and Might Echoes", but at least it is not as bad as some progressive bands have fallen to. Likje many reviewers here, my main complaint is the intensity of the programmed drum sounds. Very 80's and very repetitive. None of the tracks are really weak ... (read more)

Report this review (#801298) | Posted by mohaveman | Monday, August 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I really like this album. It's not quite as poppy as Metromania, the last album that the band did, but it's got a little more progressive elements to it. Just look at the name, Ra, the sun god of Egyptian history. Of course, the music is much more progressive too, it's alot better than the ... (read more)

Report this review (#251816) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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