Has it really been 10 years since Ocean 2: The Answer? Believe it or not, it indeed has been a decade since Germany's top prog act, Eloy, last graced us with new music. With the arrival of Visionary on The Lasers Edge, Frank Bornemann and crew once again bring some of their unmistakable sounds to the progressive rock legions. This also happens to be the 40th Anniversary of the band, which makes Visionary all the more special.
Bornemann has brought back members from classic Eloy line-ups of the past, including Klaus-Peter Matziol (bass), Michael Gerlach (keyboards), Bodo Schopf (drums) and Hannes Folberth (keyboards), as well as guest musicians Anke Renner (vocals), Tina Lux (vocals), Volker Kuinke (renaissance flute), Christoph Littmann (keyboards, orchestra sounds), and Stephan Emig (additional percussion). It's all very 'Eloy' sounding, as the band seem to be trying to channel their classic period on albums such as Ocean, Colours, Planets, and Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes. Does it hit the mark? Well, yes and no. The Pink Floyd-ish space rock elements are here, complete with lots of keyboard noodling, tasty guitar work, and Bornemann's trademark vocal style. While some might want more guitar solos from Bornemann, as well as an increase in vast symphonic passages, there's just enough here to tantalize the taste buds. "Age of Insanity" for example is a fine piece that covers all these bases, a real throwback to the glory years of the band circa the mid 70's, featuring plenty of ripping synth & guitar solos. You'll love the melodic flute on the fetching "The Secret", and the dreamy epic
"Mystery (The Secret, Part 2)" is a moody, symphonic number chock full of synth washes that will just take you away on a intergalactic journey. Though "The Challenge (Time to Turn, Part 2)" sounds a little like second rate Alan Parson Project, and "Thoughts" is just a brief little acoustic/vocal ditty, most of everything else here is decent quality Eloy. The CD booklet is quite a work of art, complete with wonderful artwork and photography-it wouldn't be an Eloy album without all of that, now would it?
Classic Eloy Visionary is probably not, but as a modern statement from a veteran progressive rock band, it is by all means a success. There's enough here to bring back memories of the glory days of yesteryear, and for that, Visionary is quite enjoyable, and a welcome return for one of the most beloved prog bands of all time.
1. The Refuge (4:54)
2. The Secret (7:45)
3. Age of Insanity (7:56)
4. The Challenge (Time to Turn, Part 2) (6:44)
5. Summernight Symphony (4:22)
6. Mystery (The Secret, Part 2) (9:00)
7. Thoughts (1:22)