Eloy - Inside. 1973 Germany

Eloy - Inside. 1973 Electrola

CD reissues: 1985 Electrola; 2000 Harvest (EMI)

Release details: The LP stayed in print well into the 1980s. We've recently discovered that the true original press is a uni-pak, with the inside of the gatefold as the entry point for the LP. This is the version I own, having picked up my copy in January 1986 at the Record Exchange in Houston. There is also a slightly later press that is a traditional gatefold. As for CDs, I'm still limping along with the 1985 Electrola version. I keep expecting these to turn up in a Japanese mini-LP box, and I'll be ready to pay top dollar then.

Review: Originally published in Gnosis on August 19, 2006.

"Inside" is Eloy’s second album and their first foray into progressive rock. This was one of my very first Continental European albums to own, and would have to consider it a strong influence on my personal preferences, especially upon initial discovery in the mid 1980s.

More overtly complex than most albums from Germany, and not really Krautrock in the traditional sense of the word (i.e. Brain, Ohr, Pilz, Bellaphon labels). Blindfolded, and not knowing any better, I’d say Eloy on "Inside" anyway, sounds more like an early 70s group from England. While vocal/guitarist Frank Bornemann is the clear leader of the band, the musical focus on "Inside" is squarely on the shoulders of organist Manfred Wieczorke. He carries most of the solos, as well as many of the melody lines. In fact, the organ virtuosity displayed here is some of the finest to ever be committed to a rock album (and that’s quite a statement!). In some ways, it almost seems they’re hiding Bornemann’s guitar playing. Without question he’s competent, especially during the composed melody runs, but does seem uneasy in the improvisational solo sections. Bornemann’s vocal style heavily resembles Ian Anderson, which I think leads to the frequent Jethro Tull comparisons Eloy gets tagged with (during this stage of their career at least). Also of note is the rhythm section of Fritz Randow and Wolfgang Stöcker, which is strikingly crisp and fiercely driving.

Side long opener ‘Land of No Body’ contains Manfred’s jaw dropping organ performance (both the atmospheric sections and in the ripping solos). Following this, the title track demonstrates the group’s complex compositional side. ‘Future City’ is Eloy at their most creative, with the musical emulation of a wind-up toy gone mad. ‘Up and Down’ is more in line with what other Germanic groups were doing at the time, recalling the haunting work of Paternoster or the more inward looking songs by Twenty Sixty Six and Then, My Solid Ground or Murphy Blend. Interesting to note that Wieczorke took on the vocal duties here, and his heavy German accent gives it a completely different feel than Bornemann’s more refined English. Without a doubt, this is a Hall of Fame album, and one of the finest German symphonic rock albums ever made.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Word of Life - Dust. 1995 Sweden

The Word of Life return with their sophomore, and ultimately last effort, Dust which is somewhat different from the predecessor. There'...