Many people who fancy progressive rock know that Eloy is a German prog rock band, whose musical style includes symphonic and space rock of which the latter prevails on the early albums. Despite their nationality and the time in which they started, Eloy isn't generally considered to be a krautrock band. This is the result of their sound which has much more in common with British prog bands as Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Yes. Eloy were founded in 1969 by guitarist Frank Bornemann, but the band endured several line-up changes with Bornemann being the only consistent member. In the eighties, after a series of major splits, Bornemann aimed for a more commercial direction with the albums Performance (1983), Metromania (1984), Ra (1988) and Destination (1992). On these albums you can only hear traces of the fantastic prog rock music they made on albums as Ocean (1977), Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes (1979), Planets (1981) and Time to Turn (1982).
However, their sixteenth studio album The Tides Return Forever (1994) marked the return to the original prog rock style. On this album bassist Klaus-Peter Matziol returned as a full band member. In addition the band also celebrated their 25th anniversary in 1994 with a big success. In 2011, this comeback album got a re-release which is more or less the result of the success of their comeback, the release of the new CD Visionary (2009, see review) and the DVD The Legacy Box (2010, see review), but also of the fact that the CD was no longer available. For the reissue of the album they remastered the entire album and made a remix of the title track in order to add it as a bonus.
The return of Matziol made of Eloy a trio with Bornemann (lead vocals, guitars) and Michael Gerlach (keyboards). Although drummer Nico Baretta was simply considered to be a guest musician, his playing over the programmed drums that Eloy used on Ra, was much appreciated. Baretta was accompanied by a host of guest vocalists and guest musicians, a trend that started when Eloy reformed as the duo Bornemann-Gerlach back in the late eighties. Apparently this change of direction was inspired by the Chronicles-project bringing former members of Eloy back together to re-record their classics on the albums Chronicles I (1993) and II (1994).
The seven tracks on The Tides Return Forever contain some of the best music Eloy had recorded since Time To Turn. The CD sounds like a mixture of Ra - but with real drums - Time To Turn and Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes. One of the best songs on the album is the final piece Company Of Angels. Bornemann must have been intrigued by the use of a choir on Jeanne d'Arc from Destination, which added a new dimension to Eloy's sound. So, he wrote another tribute to Jeanne d'Arc, but much better this time. It's probably one of the best songs Eloy ever recorded. I always get shivers down my spine while listening to the choir's impact. One of the guest vocalists is Miriam Stockley, who is best known as a session vocalist and most famous for her beautiful voice. The Japanese company Yamaha even used her voice for one of their products. Other highlights are the Pink Floyd related tracks Fatal Illusions and the title track. While listening to this remastered version it's striking how wonderful the keyboards sound. The playing of Mr. Gerlach is just awesome and makes this album a real progressive rock jewel. However, the weakest parts on the album are still the lead vocals by Frank Bornemann. You always recognize his strong German accent and the lack of variety in his way of singing. I guess he's aware of this fact since he used many gifted backing singers to cover his voice.
The Tides Return Forever was the long awaited return to the old musical style of Eloy. Obviously not as good as Time To Turn, Silent Cries... or Ocean, but it comes pretty close as far as I'm concerned. The top-notch production and the high level of compositions on this excellent remastered version makes this album highly recommended, especially for people who fancy Pink Floyd and Eloy's earlier work!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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