Eloy

Metromania

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The only thing not wrong on Metromania is Rodney Matthews' beautiful cover artwork. Otherwise, this LP bears all the signs of a fallen group on the verge of disintegration -- which is what happened as soon as the recording sessions were over. The music has absolutely nothing to do with earlier Eloy albums. It is very early '80s, full of cold synthesizers, vocoders, flat drums, and heavy metal guitars whenever things try desperately to rock. It could be the Buggles, "Mr. Roboto"-era Styx, or any other synth pop group of the day. But the major problem is that despite this radical change (for the worst) in musical direction, Frank Bornemann and friends stick to the same kind of lyrics they were using in the mid-'70s, tales of personal growth and metaphysical pondering best exemplified by these lines from "Follow the Light": "I was so lonely/Waiting, hoping for sight in the dark/ And it was only/The light inside that provided the spark." The inadequateness between progressive rock's spirituality and the cold production (and moral) values of the decade is very painful. At least an artist like Rupert Hine chose topics from the age of information to build highly respectable synth pop. All Metromania achieves is sounding like third-rate Hine, especially on the single "The Stranger" (a flop). "Follow the Light," the longest track at nine minutes, manages to push forward a catchy chorus the likes of which were found on Yes' 90125 album, but that's not enough to redeem this monumental failure.

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