Eloy - The Vision, the Sword and the Pyre

Eloy - The Vision, The Sword and The Pyre: Part 1
The Vision, the Sword and the Pyre
Artist Station Records
Let’s start this review by saying that a band like Eloy, a band that has been around since 1969 (experiencing brief hiatuses), that has released some 20+ albums, a historical as much as legendary band that has released milestone albums in its genre, is not going to be judged poorly because of its last album, their place in history is already cemented…
The first album Frank Bornemann & co have released since 2009’s well received “Visionary” is the first part of a “rock opera” about the life, times and struggles of Jean D’Ark and is fittingly entitled: “The Vision, The Sword & The Pyre: Part 1”. It shows both that Bornemann is greatly fascinated with the subject, as songs about the Maiden of Orleans can be found on both “Destination” (1992) and “The Tides Return Forever” (1994) – even resurrecting a melody here – but that despite his advancing age, he feels compelled to dedicate himself to the telling of such a grandiose tale, an undertaking that Bornemann seems to have underestimated as it has taken him both a long time to complete it and has also seen false starts in the past.
“The Vision, The Sword & The Pyre”, at least it’s first part, is recognizable as Eloy, but at the same time different than how the band has sounded in the past to a certain degree, as the scope of the album is greater and the ambition is to present it on stage as a semi theatrical / adaptation perhaps.
There’s probably more vocals on this album and a segregation of the various sections into more “songs” (I mean it’s 13 songs – when the band usually has half of those on a “regular album) with spoken parts often explaining the story and Anke Renner bringing the character nicely to life, complimenting Frank’s vocals, which sound a little worse for wear after a decade, but are still quite acceptable. I mean let’s face it, he was never a world class vocalist, but as the composer, he did manage to embody the various moods quite nicely. You can expect the signature key, guitar interplay, intertwined with sublime bass lines either “floating around” or on several songs sounding supremely epic with some neat themes that do tend to repeat… hell, “The Vision” could be described as the soundtrack to a movie, yet to be shot or one that purely resides inside Frank’s mind…
I could try and dissect this album up, but really in the case of bands like Eloy, it’s a bit of a blasphemy to do so. I’m only sorry that because the second part is not scheduled to materialize until sometime in 2018, it is frank-ly an incomplete piece. I would definitely love to see how “part 2” continues the story, after Jean’s triumph, with her capture and martyr’s death… leading her to be sanctified…
If you like Eloy and specifically the sporadic post millennial output, I doubt you’ll not like this one… looking very much forward to the completion of “Uncle Frank’s” magnum opus…

PS: The vinyl edition of the album is now available through Mig Music here. Eloy merchandise and other releases can be found on the band’s webshop.