Slowly but surely, the Eloy back catalog continues to be reissued. Dawn, originally released in 1976, marked a new phase in the career of this German outfit. Their previous album, The Power and The Passion, had divided the group to the point where they essentially imploded, leaving only guitarist and vocalist Frank Bornemann to pick up the pieces and rebuild the band. With Dawn, Eloy began their most popular era, performing a kind of arena rock style of Pink Floyd inspired progressive rock. New drummer Jurgen Rosenthal took an active role in the band and his busy style of playing along with his vast drum kit complete with all manner of kettle-drums, timbales and temple blocks brings Neil Peart of Rush to mind. Rosenthal also parallels Peart in that he became the band's lyricist as well.
Dawn is a concept album but I frankly cannot find any trace of a coherent storyline. It appears to be a sequel of sorts to The Power and the Passion as the "heroine" of that album, Jeanne, is mentioned a few times here as well. But the lyrics are so painfully awful, that I cannot help but wonder if Rosenthal wasn't parodying the genre. Sample lyric: "I'm blind/I hide behind my raving tear/You'll find your mind inside my hollow ear/My eyes staring throughout my opened head/So rise and fight against face and time-'space and rhyme'".
The best way to enjoy Eloy is to forget about the (copious) lyrics and focus on the music, which is actually quite accessible and very often brilliant. The second half of the album is particularly successful because the band do some terrific instrumental work to almost make one forget about the self-consciously cosmic lyrics. "The Midnight Fight/The Victory of Mental Force", "Gliding into Light and Knowledge" and "Le Reveil du Soleil/The Dawn" greatly lift the album into near classic territory and are all almost on par with Eloy's next album, Ocean.
The new digital remaster is a vast improvement over the previous CD edition; far punchier sound with nice top end and better bass definition, one can now fully appreciate the over the top, but enjoyable production. Full lyrics, vintage band photographs and a lengthy German essay are all enclosed in the booklet. WARNING: The new CD is copy controlled so you may have a hard time playing this CD on some machines. I personally rank Dawn a notch or two below Eloy's best albums because of the cluttered first half, not to mention those cringe inducing lyrics. However, the German music buying public disagreed because the album would sell 150,000 copies shortly after its initial release. But on the whole, Dawn is one of my favorite guilty pleasures.
- Awakening (2:39)
- Between the Times (6:07)
- The Sun-Song (4:24)
- The Dance in Doubt and Fear (4:28)
- LOST!? (Introduction) (5:20)
- LOST?? (The Decision) (5:01)
- The Midnight-Fight/The Victory of Mental Force (8:07)
- Gliding Into Light and Knowledge (4:16)
- Le Reveil du Soleil/The Dawn (6:48)
Total Playing Time (47:51)