DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Eloy - 'The Legacy Box' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 16, 2011    
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A magnificent package to mark the 40th anniversary of Eloy.

This (in many ways) quite magnificent double DVD package is a true representation of how influential the efforts of a band's fan base can ultimately become. Not only has this abiding enthusiasm of the friends of the German progressive rock band Eloy led to remastered editions of 'Ra', 'Destination', 'The Tides Return Forever' and 'Chronicles' being made available recently (and including previously unreleased pictures and new liner notes from Frank Bornemann) but also to a band reunion and the release of a new album - 'Visionary'- (the band's first for eleven years, and one that captures so much of their abiding musical legacy) at the beginning of their 40th anniversary year. My interview with Frank during the autumn of 2010 confirmed that this heritage DVD was also on schedule to appear just before the end of the year: and duly did so, right on cue.

The first disc of 'The Legacy Box' comprises a 110 minute documentary ('Mighty Echoes') that journeys through the entire 40-year history of Eloy, and in so doing identifies four main epochs in this history ('The Beginning And First Steps Forward (1969 – 1975)'), encompassing the albums 'Eloy', 'Inside', 'Floating' and 'Power And The Passion'; ('Years Of Success (1976 – 1979)') encompassing the albums 'Dawn', 'Ocean' and 'Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes'; ('New Paths And Old Values (1980 – 1984)') encompassing the albums 'Colours', 'Planets', 'Time To Turn', 'Performance' and 'Metromania'; (and finally 'From Project To Band (1985 to present)') and covering the albums 'Ra', 'Destination', 'The Tides Return Forever'. 'Ocean 2: The Answer' and 'Visionary'.

It is a well-observed historical document of a band whose history might have terminated on several occasions but for the temerity and perseverance of Frank Bornemann and of his determination to let the tumultuous (and it would also seem quite antagonistic feelings) subside (as at the end of each of the first three "epochs" mentioned above) before continuing the quest. And yet there is an incredible warmth generated by the documented contributions of the present and former members of Eloy included here (Frank Bornemann himself, of course, plus Klaus-Peter Matziol, Jurgen Rosenthal, Hannes Folberth, Michael Gerlach, Fritz Randow and Hannes Arkona). Other key individuals are also featured, all of whom contribute fascinating insights into the story of a band that could at times be annoyingly enigmatic.

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The documentary is also a triumph of substance over paucity. A relative lack of archived imagery is cleverly circumvented by the ways in which what is available has been weaved around the recently recorded interview footage. However, for the seasoned admirer of the band (okay, read "fan") such as myself, this does leads to frustration when considering the second DVD of this set comprising as it does some 19 "clips" from TV shows, live videos and promotional material and with a running time of 105 minutes.

Some of it is really quite dismal stuff; and yet it is impossible to be critical of its inclusion because Eloy was not a band that had much coverage in the pre-MTV age, and even subsequently, there was little that could be gathered together and we must therefore be grateful for the crumbs presented here, such as they are: 'The Sun-Song', 'The Midnight Fight/The Victory Of Mental Force', 'Decay Of Logos', 'Illuminations', 'Silhouette', 'Shadow And Light', 'Fools', 'Heartbeat', 'On The Verge Of Darkening Lights', 'Voyager Of The Future Race', 'Rainbow', 'Poseidon's Creation', 'Generation Of Innocence', 'The Tides Return Forever' and 'Age of Insanity'. To these are added four "bonus" clips comprising 'I Work It Out', 'The Midnight Fight/The Victory Of Mental Force', 'Shadow And Light' and 'Fools'. The last two are from a TV show featuring a seated and clearly bored and non-plussed audience and have obviously been included here for being so bizarre!

Overall, however, this is a magnificent package to mark the 40th anniversary of Eloy, and is a definite "must buy" for fans of the band, while more casual acquaintances should also find much of interest.

Paul Jerome Smith

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