Review

ELOY Ocean 2: The Answer

Album · 1998 · Non-Metal
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3/5 ·
Modrigue
The long awaited sequel of ELOY's "Ocean" album finally arrives 21 years after the original. Contrarily to what its title may suggest, the music of "Ocean 2" is quite different from the iconic 1977 opus. It also marks an evolution in style and production quality compared to their recent previous releases. All ingredients of Bornemann and co. are present: spacey guitar and synthesizers, epic choirs... and a flute. The tracks become longer and totalise nearly one hour of music, which make "Ocean 2" the longest and most ambitious studio release by the Germans. However, compared to ELOY's typical fantasy space prog style, the compositions sound more polite and smooth, less extravagant and memorable than usual.

The short opener "Between Future And Past" reminds PINK FLOYD with its clock and spacey "Shine On"-ish overture. It introduces the melancholic "Ro Setau", one of the best passages of the record, featuring an aggressive metal riff, female voices, and a nice minimoog solo by early 80's keyboardist Hannes Folberth, invited as a guest for this track. "Paralyzed Civilisation" is another catchy song with variations and an extended guitar solo by Frank Bornemann. The beginning and end parts are in the style of the "Planets" album. "Serenity" is a calm aquatic pause before the more rhythmic "Awakening Of Consciousness". Its heroic melody fantasy space rock sounds more like typical ELOY.

The 13 minutes "Reflections From The Spheres Beyond" sound overall rather flat and fails to really lift off. Despite its various ambiances, this track has too rare good moments to justify its length. The weakest passage of the record. The first part of "Waves Of Intuition" sounds again very floyd-ish as Bornemann tries to sound like Roger Water. This song is nonetheless pretty nice. In the tradition of ELOY's 90's albums closing tracks, "The Answer" is grandiloquent and features this time the Prague Philharmonic Choir. Despite its heavy metal ambiance, this tune is a little flat and repetitive and fails at being the awaited epic ending.

"Ocean 2" is an ambitious album but could have been shortened. It's a pity the longest compositions are also the weakest. Its polite sophistication in sound and arrangements also restricts a little the fantasy and magical side typical of ELOY's musical universe. Although this last opus from the 90's does not hold all the great promises due its title, it however remains quite pleasant and unique in the German space rockers' discography.
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