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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Eloy - 1984 Metromania
Eloy - 1984 Metromania

ALBUM: Metromania
LABEL: Heavy Metal Worldwide
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1991, EMI (Germany), CDP 538-7 92502 2 * 2005, EMI (Euro), 7243 5 63779 2 9


LINEUP: Frank Bornemann - vocals, guitars * Hannes Arkona - guitars * Klaus-Peter Mtziol - bass * Fritz Randow - drums * Hannes Folberth - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Escape To The Heights * 02 Seeds Of Creation * 03 All Life Is One * 04 The Stranger * 05 Follow The Light * 06 Nightriders * 07 Metromania


AOR is certainly a genre full of surprises. Just when you think you've turned over every stone and there's nothing left to discover from the classic era, a band like Eloy can humble you in a hurry. George referenced them in his recent BJH 'Face To Face' review, stirring my curiosity ... Could I have overlooked something? Then finding a review of their 'Performance' album by Eric Abrahamsen, the contents of which read like a litany of Prog/AOR. So out comes the credit card to order said 'Performance' and the next album 'Metromania'. Now my research has revealed that 'Metromania' was much maligned in prog circles, and led to a temporary breakup of the band. The All Music Guide review even dismissed it by saying the Rodney Matthews album cover is the only good thing about the record. Ah, these folk who despise bands that incorporate AOR into their sound. But we know better, so we'll simply let the music do the talking.

The Songs
Our lead off track 'Escape To The Heights' certainly stamps 1984 AOR onto proceedings with some authority. From the synth intro into the main hook and melody, comparisons to period Saga are warranted, but did we notice 80's Styx peeking in the side window? Great song, an effervescent melody already setting the coffee meter to espresso. 'Seeds Of Creation' nails their prog colours to the wall, some complex time changes and a synth violin solo setting Kansas against the Saga template. Not as immediate as the opener but there is AOR value to be found here. 'All Life Is One' starts out like some loping electronic experiment, the vocals highly treated as if vocoders took over the planet. Yet such is Eloy's skill and craft that a worthy Prog/AOR workout slowly emerges from this backdrop. 'The Stranger' finds Eloy straddling the now familiar Saga template and 'Victims Of Circumstance' era BJH, culminating in a more straightforward prog AOR tune. This is top drawer material, revealing the band's class whether tackling a complex or simple arrangement. 'Follow The Light' reminds the listener that Eloy certainly started life as a pure prog outfit, clocking in around 9 minutes and going through more twists and turns than the Orange River. That said, the myriad AOR elements are undeniable, from a recurring hook to that anthemic chorus. Worth the time investment I'd say. 'Nightriders' is insistent and quite hard hitting AOR, an outrageously good joint guitar/keyboard hook reminiscent of Journey's 'Chain Reaction'. Orwellian lyrical themes add to the drama, after all it was 1984. Great tune. The title track curiously ends the record, but what an ending. Blending the best prog and AOR bits into a whirlpool of melody, guitars lending power and punctuation while the synths literally dance out of your speakers. This one will really stay with you, and although the Saga and BJH comparisons could be warranted again, this sounds to me like Eloy finding their own 80's identity.

In Summary
Seven tracks then, less than most albums of the period and yes some of them are lengthy. More important, not a single throwaway to be found and while the prog element is ever present, this is a strong AOR statement from what I now consider to be Germany's finest. Despite what detractors have said, 'Metromania' remains a towering achievement, deserving of legendary status in the Prog/AOR sub genre.

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#1 | Eric on September 07 2012 23:00:52
A fine album. Of note, Rodney Matthews original art featured the face of Jesus in the glowing orb as seen in his book of illustrations 'Last Ship Home' published by Paper Tiger.
#2 | gdazegod on September 07 2012 23:13:13
Talking of Rodney Matthews, his contribution can be found on the very latest Tygers Of Pan Tang album 'Ambush' (due out Sept 2012). http://classic-ro...album.html
#3 | AOR Lee on September 10 2012 05:52:54
How about the robot on this album cover ... Slightly reminiscent of the following year's Asia robot ?
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