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ASIA

Asia

 

Prog Related

3.11 | 390 ratings

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Hercules
3 stars Asia are one of the most reviled groups in rock history. When punk swept the monsters of prog rock away, they took one of 3 routes. Some, like ELP, Druid and Gryphon, simply packed up or died. Some, like the remnants of Genesis and Yes, went commercial. A few, like Camel, stayed true to prog whilst modernising their approach.

Asia formed in the early 80s from the remnants of Yes, ELP and King Crimson (via Wishbone Ash). Rapidly hailed as a "supergroup", this album was their first release and has sold over 9 million copies to date. This is no surprise; the album is undeniably prog in its heritage but the style is much more commercial with all 9 songs being around the 4/5 minute mark. There are no 20 minute epics here! This is probably where the revulsion comes from; some cannot cope with prog that is designed to sell.

The musicianship is generally of a very high order, though I do not feel that Steve Howe really matches the rest of the band; this is some of his least inspired work and I never felt he was really in the very top rank of guitarists anyway. Geoffrey Downes should have been the weak link but is surprisingly effective. John Wetton's voice, however, is quite superb throughout. The songs often have catchy, singalong lyrics and choruses. All are good, enjoyable songs but none really stands out. I like all of them but love none.

Clearly this is not a masterpiece but it is enjoyable and still worth 3.5 stars, rounded down because I could actually live without it if I had to. It certainly is far better than any of their subsequent efforts.

Hercules | 3/5 |

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