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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Eloy

Visionary

Review by Gary Hill

Eloy is one of those legendary bands from the 1970’s. You know, the kind who aren’t well known in the mainstream, but whose names are spoken with reverence by those in progressive rock circles. I’ve never really heard them before getting this brand new album. I have to say, I’m hooked. I like the disc a lot. It calls to mind many bands, but most often Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Nektar – and that’s a good combination. I’ll have to look into their back catalog now.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Refuge
The opening bit here feels a bit like Yes merged with space rock. The cut shifts out to more of a straight ahead rocking element that's perhaps a bit like Hawkwind. There are more mainstream prog things in the mix as it continues, though. There are some scorching hot instrumental sections built into this that really elevate it into powerhouse prog rock territory. This makes great use of the dynamics between mellower and more rocking stuff. A fast paced, harder rocking jam is the one that closes it.
The Secret
The motif that starts this is not that far removed from the one that began the opener. The track moves out into a cool slower moving and atmospheric jam (although it still has an insistent rhythmic structure) and processed vocals come over the top. Eventually normal singing joins and this continues onward. After the first couple lines of the chorus, though, the arrangement fills out and we get lush layers of keyboards laid over the top. This is a very cool track that reminds me a little of Pink Floyd, but also of Nektar. As they continue they take us through a number of changes. This is a great progressive rock track and I can hear bits of Hawkwind at points on this, too.
Age Of Insanity
A harder rocker, this is cool. It has a definite energized rock feeling to it and layers of keyboards swirl over the top as a great addition to the arrangement. I like the opening cuts, but this one is far stronger than those. I can hear hints of Uriah Heep on this, but with a much more purely progressive rock edge. They drop it back to a keyboard dominated movement for some spoken vocals and then power back out from there with an especially tasty guitar solo. Later there’s another spoken word section and as they come out of there we get a killer keyboard solo. 
The Challenge (Time To Turn, Part 2)
I hear a lot of Pink Floyd on this prog rocker. It’s definitely all Eloy, but it wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine this being done by Pink Floyd. Even the female vocals later in the piece are in keeping with later Pink Floyd albums. 
Summernight Symphony
A mellower cut, this has waves of sound that move and it again reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd, but also Hawkwind and other prog bands. Some of the keyboards here call to mind Rick Wakeman and I definitely hear Nektar in the mix. I like this track a lot. In fact, I’d peg it as one of the highlights of the set. It’s less dynamic, but the place it’s in is so nice that it doesn’t matter. 
Mystery (The Secret, Part 2)
This rocks a bit harder, but its pace is about the same. It reminds me a lot of Hawkwind and is another cool piece of music. There’s a tasty keyboard solo later in the number and this just gradually grows and grows in waves. It’s one of my favorites on the set. At over nine minutes in length, it’s also the longest piece on the disc. 
Thoughts
A little ending piece, this is less than a minute and a half in length. It starts with a Steve Howe-like guitar solo and then becomes a mellow dirge like piece that has an almost dreamy quality to it.
 
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