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Asia - Gravitas CD (album) cover




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2.80 | 114 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Probably best to start this review with a couple of admissions. Firstly, when the first Asia album came out it was purchased immediately and I very nearly wore the needle out playing it (yes it was vinyl, yes I really am that old). But, to me it was a state of diminishing returns as each album wasn't quite as good as the last and I soon lost interest. It was only later that I listened to some material and realized that there were still some good songs, but that it wasn't really working for me. But, when I heard that the original line-up was going to get back together then of course I was excited, but while 'Phoenix' and 'Omega' did have some good bits here and there, 'XXX' had little in the way to save it. So, when I was offered this album I was quite in two minds, especially when I saw that Steve was no longer involved and instead they now had Sam Coulson (who has worked with Paul Gilbert and Walter Trout).

After I had played the album a few times I found myself questioning how to actually review it. If one is looking for groundbreaking music then this isn't it, but if one wants an album filled with anthems that just beg the listener to sing along then maybe it is. Although this has Asia on the sleeve, and is filled with Asia-style harmonies and songs, there is a real feeling that this is actually a Downes-Wetton album. Carl always played a more subdued role with Asia than ELP due to the style of music, and Sam seems to be content to provide backing riffs and has little to do with the way of lead roles (although they do throw him the occasional solo and he does a great job) and this makes the album somewhat one-sided. But, did I enjoy listening to it? The answer to that has to be a resounding yes, and I know that if they deigned to tour down here then I would be delighted to go and see them. So, for pure listening pleasure (and I know that this is weighted with sentiment) it has to be 4/5, but I wouldn't be surprised to see others rate it much lower than that. But, it is a million miles better than 'XXX', although that wasn't too hard to be fair.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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