- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
|Steve Howe||Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Steel Guitar, Vocal Harmony, Group Member|
|John Wetton||Bass Guitar, Vocals, Group Member|
|Geoffrey Downes||Keyboards, Group Member|
|Carl Palmer||Percussion, Drums, Group Member|
|Mike Ragogna||Executive Producer|
|Martyn Dean||Cover Design, Computer Editing|
|Steve Rispin||Producer, Engineer|
|Dax Kimbrough||Executive Producer|
Posted October 1, 2010
I've missed Asia throughout the 90s. Oh, there was a band who called itself Asia, even using the Roger Dean-created logo. But that band was not, in any practical sense, Asia. Most of their work didn't get near Asia's quality, except perhaps Aqua and Arena, and even then it didn't sound anything like the band they were substituting. What do you expect with only one original member and a vocalist who sounds nothing like John Wetton? To me, the last Asia album was the grossly under-rated Astra-- until now.
As soon as Phoenix started playing, I felt like all was right in the world again. It's all there: the huge but less sterile production, the familiar guitar riffs and licks, the big keyboard passages-- like the band was put on ice back in the late 80s and then reanimated back to life. That being said, this music is not stagnant. These venerable rockers have some new tricks up their sleeves, including two fantastic three-part suites that at times sound more like UK or classic Yes. "Alibis" is the song ELO wish they could have recorded, while songs like "Wish I'd Have Known" playfully incorporate world music into the set. If this were 1988, it would have been a huge hit. Perhaps it's just old wine in new bottles, but it's done extremely well. A couple of songs are perhaps a little sappy-- but only a couple, and they do grow on you.
All said and done, this is Asia's-- TRUE Asia's-- finest recording yet.
Posted October 1, 2010
It is SO hard to turn back the clock and pick up the pieces, to take up the mantle and relive those glory years but Asia, hot from a year and a half successful reunion tour, have managed to beat the odds and have released an accomplished record. Having the original quartet (Wetton, Downes, Howe and Palmer) in the same room again was the first miracle. The next was releasing this worthwhile record. Howe and Palmer have more than kept up their chops over the years with Yes and ELP reunions plus various side projects. But the real treat, as always with Asia, is the songwriting of Wetton and Downes. For really, Asia is a balance of two great songwriters and two virtuoso musicians. Highlights: "Never Again", "An Extraordinary Life" (which the band currently showcases live), "Nothing's Forever", "Sleeping Giants", "Parallel Worlds" and "Wish I'd Known All Along." This is a good mix of progressive music and pop melody. There are few, if any, weak tracks. And while, some tunes may be very similiar to the recent Wetton/Downes Icon projects (also highly recommended) and others are definitely a throwback to the sound of the 80's, these songs are informed with heart and vision worthy of the band's phenomal first record. I have read some fans' reviews who wish to dredge up comparisons to the Payne years, or the Asia as Downes solo period. For me, the magic of Asia has always been THIS quartet and starting with Astra, the magic began to wane quickly. In fact, Payne and the other ex-Asia members now call themselves Asia featuring John Payne! I love it! Warring over that almighty dollar that only the magic of the Asia name brings. (It's almost like a schism in a major religion...or worse, the great divide of Trekdom with the Old and New Generations!). Well, with Asia, what is old is NEW AGAIN! The Phoenix rises! This is the quartet that brought it to life in this first place!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.