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Visionary

(The Laser's Edge; US: 12 Jan 2010; UK: 24 Nov 2009)

One of the more underrated progressive rock acts to come out of the 1970s, Eloy might not have been as innovative as other peers like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and Camel, comfortably following rather than leading. However, the band still managed to put out wonderful records in 1976’s Dawn and 1977’s Ocean. After enduring countless lineup changes and abandoning the leisurely paced, spacey compositions during the 1980s in favor of a more direct, commercial sound, Frank Bornemann and his band faded even deeper into obscurity and eventually disbanded after its 17th album, 1998’s Ocean 2: The Answer. A dozen years later, though, Bornemann resurrected Eloy just in time for the band’s 40th anniversary, including bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol, who was a band member during the Dawn and Ocean era.


Released by the excellent progressive metal label The Laser’s Edge, Visionary sounds as if the last 30-odd years never even happened. The band has put on that old glove only to find it still fits perfectly: the trance-like pace; Bornemann’s stilted, German-accented English singing; his wordy, bombastic lyrics and story lines; and the tasteful keyboard and guitar solos. It’s all here, and it’s impeccably performed throughout its surprisingly economical 42 minutes. Songs like “Age of Insanity” and “Mystery” glide along gracefully. Like much of Eloy’s past work, it’s not the sort of album that’s going to turn the progressive rock world on its ear, but it is the sound of a band finding its niche again after a long time away, and those who enjoy Eloy’s deep back catalog will love this effort.

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Adrien Begrand has been writing for PopMatters since 2002, and has been writing his monthly metal column Blood & Thunder since 2005. His writing has also appeared in Metal Edge, Sick Sounds, Metallian, graphic novelist Joel Orff's Strum and Drang: Great Moments in Rock 'n' Roll, Knoxville Voice, The Kerouac Quarterly, JackMagazine.com, StylusMagazine.com, and StaticMultimedia.com. A contributing writer for Decibel, Terrorizer, and Dominion magazines and senior writer for Hellbound, he resides, blogs, and does the Twitter thing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


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