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Eloy: Visionary

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.

Track Listing
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)

Added: May 9th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 5930
Language: english

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Eloy: Visionary
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-05-09 12:10:00
My Score:

How many legendary progressive acts are fortunate enough to still be together after forty years, but more importantly are still creating new music as well. Well Germany's Eloy is one such band and to celebrate this historic occasion band founder Frank Bornemann has put together a lineup consisting of past members and delivered Eloy's first album of new material in ten years entitled Visionary.

While there is definitely room for some debate as to whether or not Visionary is a true return to form and some will no doubt question just how well it measures against the band's peak period output from the mid 70's when they released classic albums like Planets and Ocean, I don't think fans of the band will have to worry too much because Bornemann has done a pretty good job overall to ensure that all of the key elements of Eloy's progressive / symphonic sound are duly represented here. For example the punchy sounding space rock of "Age Of Insanity" features loads of sizzling synth passages as well as a superb but brief guitar solo from Bornemann, while there is some excellent melodic flute work flowing through both "The Refuge "and "The Secret" playing. I have to be honest though in that I've never been a huge fan of Bornemann's voice, so while I can definitely get into what the band is doing musically, more often than not I find that his limited vocal range tends to hold things back somewhat. Maybe it's just me but I think it's an acquired taste.

The packaging and artwork is excellent and as an added bonus the band has tacked on a ten minute behind the scenes video that shows them in the studio rehearsing and recording the material for Visionary. If you're a fan of the band and have followed them from their 70's heyday then I think you'll find that while Visionary isn't one of those timeless Eloy albums, just the fact that the band is still together and willing to create exciting, vibrant new music once again should be reason alone to celebrate.

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