ELOY — Metromania (review)

ELOY — Metromania album cover Album · 1984 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Modrigue
Welcome to synthesizer space rock city

As the last good album from ELOY's second life during the early 80's, "Metromania" marks the end of an era. Musically, the style is the globally the same as on "Performance", more direct and synthetic, except that the inspiration is constantly present this time. This opus can be seen as a matured version of its predecessor, with solid compositions. Some passages are nervous, others are more progressive, overall the songs are quite catchy space- rock pieces, sounding even heavy metal sometimes. The important use of synthesizer, electronic drums, vocoder and the absence of long guitar soli reinforce the robotic, dehumanized musical ambiance, which is finally adapted to the futuristic city theme.

One remark concerning the Rodney Matthews cover art: the classic ELOY logo (since 1975) has been replaced in favor of a new one. In fact, this is not its first appearance, as the U.K. edition cover arts of "Planets" and "Time to Turn" already features this new logo and art by Rodney Matthews. I personally prefer these alternative covers and find this logo more suited to the band's 80's sci-fi fantasy prog style. Furthermore, it is present on my three favorite ELOY albums from this period, a coincidence?

"Escape To The Heights" is one of the Germans' fastest track, as well as an efficient punchy opener. "Seeds Of Creation" is also good, a slower piece that makes you wandering into this distant megalopolis. The ambient "All Is One" is maybe the least interesting passage of the disc, but nonetheless enjoyable with its good finale. "The Stranger" is a nice synth rock song, proving that ELOY has not lost its talents. It even contains an aerial space disco passage.

The 10 minutes long "Follow The Light" is the most progressive passage of the record. Featuring many changes, it opens with a soft spacey electronic introduction to then unveil a powerful hymn. This track will often be played at concerts. The agressive "Nightrider" is a nervous hard / heavy metal composition, evolving in a dark atmosphere. The title song concludes the disc on a positive note with its galloping synthesizer and heroic melody.

To sum up, there is no genuine weak track, the quality is homogeneous, and the musical style is coherent with the cover art. Despite dated electronic sonorities, this album possesses its own charm and identity. Unfortunately, due to internal conflicts, the band will split up after this release. This will mark a sudden break in the Germans' career, as Bornemann and co. were regular in terms of release frequency (1 album per year since 1973) and musical inspiration.

"Metromania" is an underrated album, and ELOY's most futuristic opus, but also its last good one of the 80's.
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