In celebration of the group’s 40th anniversary in 2009, Eloy mastermind Frank Bornemann invites previous band members to participate on this celebratory recording, the first under the Eloy banner in just over 10 years, recalling the classic spaced out Eloy style of the 70s albeit in less vainglorious fashion. Without overextending themselves the Eloy of the 21st century prove that they are still able to conjure a melodious work of conceptual symphonic rock that is also in tune with the present.
Although there are no spectacular revelations, Eloy’s prophetic ruminations of past lessons and the challenges of the future, remain as poignant as ever and are presented with a very uplifting philisophical tone that even gets into catchy grooves at times. Incorporating folky elements, hypnotizing bass rhythms, a girlie chorus and well placed instrumental sections with lush synth backdrops, Visionary is remarkably balanced and fluid. There are no orphan tracks and each one establishes it’s own individual mood while remaining integral and synchronous to the collective endeavours of the work. 40 years on, Bornemann’s vocals ( which have come under scrutiny in the past ) also acquire a certain astute quality making him sound more like a distinquished prophetic orator rather than an ageing rock star. His guitar has also mellowed with age and can be appreciated here in smaller doses, mostly playing background rhythms as opposed to the single-minded blowouts of Eloy’s days gone by.
Although some older fans may deride them for the lack of pomp and flash here ( which is not entirely absent ), Eloy, along with bands like Nektar and Uriah Heep form the last bastion of the old school progressive rock institution that remain steadfast to the classic convictions of that era. On Visionary, Eloy have never sounded more together and might even attract new listeners with a suprisingly enjoyable, thoughtful and inviting work.
1. The Refuge 4:54
2. The Secret 7:45
3. Age Of Insanity 7:56
4. The Challenge 6:44
5. Summernight Symphony 4:22
6. Mystery 9:00
7. Thoughts 1:22
* Frank Bornemann – electric & acoustic guitar, lead vocals, backing vocals
* Michael Gerlach – keyboards
* Hannes Folberth – keyboards ( tracks 2,3,4,6 )
* Klaus-Peter Matzoil -bass
* Bodo Schopf – drums/percussion
* Anke Renner – vocals (tracks 2,4,5,6)
* Tina Lux (tracks 2,4,6)
* Volker Kuinke – flute (tracks 1,2)
* Christoph Littmann – keyboards and orchestra sounds (track 5)
* Stephan Emig – additional percussion (tracks 4,6)