Eloy have had their share of creative ups and downs over the years. Some of their albums have been prog rock/space rock classics, and a few of them have been forgettable. Many longtime followers agree that Eloy hit a low point in the '80s, when they recorded some ultra-slick albums that were too middle of the road for their own good. There's nothing wrong with being commercial, but the type of high-gloss arena rock that worked for Survivor, Asia, or Journey in the '80s sounded awkward and insincere coming from Eloy. However, Eloy eventually got back on track creatively, and this 2008-2009 recording finds them in enjoyably good form. The band has had numerous personnel changes along the way; on Visionary, the lineup includes Frank Bornemann on lead vocals and guitar, Klaus-Peter Matziol on bass, Michael Gerlach on keyboards, and Bodo Schopf on drums and percussion. And with that team in place, Eloy favor a progressive rock/space rock approach that recalls their '70s heyday. The musical recipe is best described as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, and the Moody Blues by way of post-1965 Beatles; nothing groundbreaking occurs, but tracks like "Age of Insanity," "The Refuge," and "Summernight Symphony" are easy to enjoy if one has a healthy appreciation of Eloy as they sounded 30 or 35 years earlier. Some will argue that Visionary sounds dated, but then, what is dated to one person is classicist to another. Although not quite essential, Visionary is one of Eloy's more consistent efforts -- and it is definitely superior to the overtly corporate albums they came out with back in the '80s. ~ Alex Henderson
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