Eloy - Down (1976)

Dawn represents a new start for Eloy. As the previous band disintegrated due to differences arising from managerial interference, so from the ashes arose a new band with Frank Bornemann as sole survivor of the fall-out. With this influx of new blood and ideas came a new musical direction. Long gone are the extended rock work-outs and solo improvising of yore, to be replaced by carefully orchestrated and structured arrangements - less space-rock and more 'conventional' Symphonic Prog. Guitars and keyboards are more integrated, often merging to form a wall-of-sound not unlike contemporary Genesis, the Hammond now merely one voice among many. Soloing is severely restricted, in some cases almost incidental to the arrangement.

Psychedlics are not entirely avoided however, as a couple of tracks set up grooves to explore the spacier side of the band's character, but new bassist Matziol plays in a busier technical style, tending to play complex fills around the riff which doesn't suit this kind of material. Also, Rosenthal's drums are occasionally annoyingly frantic and overpowering, similar to Mel Pritchard's early style, but due to a crisp and punchy production they become distractingly intrusive, especially when the need is for a simpler flowing beat to let the groove flow and breathe.

Bornemann's vocals are still an acquired taste of course, but he has clearly made much progress, especially with his phrasing, and now he is supported by a richer, fuller soundstage. Lyrics, however, remain as unfathomable and obtuse as ever! It would seem this is another concept album, continuing the theme from Power And The Passion, but somehow turning it into a homage to the sun, or perhaps using the sun as a metaphor for that album's Jeanne character. Beyond that I am not going to speculate!

The album effortlessly flows from a thunderstorm and lush orchestral strings of opener Awakening towards a blissful conclusion in the quintessential chill-out space-groove of final track Le Revéil Du Soleil which maintains a single rolling ding-dong bass pattern throughout. In between, compositions are almost all Prog based: some with truly Symphonic foundations, like Lost!? (Introduction) which undergoes several moods before ending on a beautifully plaintive orchestral melody; others are simpler melodic balladry with progressive leanings, like the soaring strings and evocative chord progression of majestic The Sun-Song.

The one exception is The Dance In Doubt And Fear, a hybrid which evokes a haunting spacey mood induced by trippy spoken lyrics and a repeated bass pattern. Aside from aforementioned title track Le Revéil Du Soleil, the highlight would have to be The Midnight-fight / The Victory Of Mental Force, a busy track which develops from an organ motif, speeds up, slows down then finally races towards a brilliant second half featuring a wonderful yowling gun-shot effect on guitar and a running descending bass riff.

Another excellent album from Eloy, maintaining earlier high standards despite the unfortunate upheavals, though still falling short of being a masterpiece: a couple of tracks are relatively weaker; Bornemann's singing voice remains an issue to be overcome; and, lyrics could be better. But above all, while all songs are good, none has an absolute killer melody for Bornemann to sing! Nevertheless, with this album, Bornemann would at last begin to see some commercial reward that had thus far eluded him. Bigger and better would follow, but this was a solid start. - Review by Joolz (Julian Mackrell)

Track Listings

1. Awakening (2:38)
2. Between the Times (1:50)
3. Memory Flash (1:55)
4. Appearance of The Voice (1:12)
5. Return of The Voice (1:08)
6. The Sun Song (4:55)
7. The Dance in Doubt and Fear (4:27)
8. Lost!?? (Introduction) (5:15)
9. Lost?? (The Decision) (5:51)
10. The Midnight Fight/The Victory of Mental Force (7:18)
11. Gliding into Light and Knowledge/The Dawn (11:04)

Total Time: 48:08

Track listing of EMI remaster (2004):

1. Awakening (2:39)
2. Between The Times (6:07)
- a. Between The Times
- b. Memory Flash
- c. Appearance of The Voice
- d. Return of The Voice
3. The Sun-Song (4:24)
4. The Dance in Doubt and Fear (4:28)
5. Lost!? (Introduction) (5:20)
6. Lost?? (The Decision) (5:01)
7. The Midnight Fight/The Victory of Mental Force (8:07)
8. Gliding into Light and Knowledge (4:16)
9. Le Réveil Du Soleil / The Dawn (6:48)

Total time: 48:12

- Fank Bornemann / vocals, guitars
- Klaus-Peter Matziol / basses, vocals
- Detlev Schmidtchen / keyboards, mellotron, guitars, vocals
- Jürgen Rosenthal / drums, percussion , voices
- Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Maus
Releases information

LP EMI Electrola - 064-31 787
CD EMI Electrola - CDP 538-7 91129 2
CD EMI 535159 (2004 remaster)


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