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Asia - Aria CD (album) cover

ARIA

Asia

 

Prog Related

2.72 | 103 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progaardvark
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Aria was Asia's fifth studio album and the second album with John Payne behind the vocals. Carl Palmer had left during the recording of Aqua to join an ELP reunion and Steve Howe had left during the Aqua tour. Lead guitarist Al Pitrelli who joined the band for the Aqua album continues as the sole guitarist for Asia. Replacing Carl Palmer was drummer Michael Sturgis.

Aria really surprised me. Back in 1994 I had already accepted Asia as just an AOR band and was expecting more of the same as Aqua. In some ways they delivered, but this time it was more polished, better composed, much better produced, more tighter and cohesive, and ultimately rivaled Asia's famous debut album. True, it didn't sell at all and the Aria tour was hardly noticeable on the radar at the time, but what a delightful recording Aria was. Payne's vocal delivery was exceptionally well done for AOR music, even exceeding Wetton's skills (I still think Wetton was clearly better as a prog singer back with King Crimson).

Now in terms of progressiveness... Well, that's a far stretch like most of the Asia catalogue. Aria really isn't any different from any prior Asia album. It's straight-ahead AOR music, with just the barest hint of anything progressive going on. Still, it's enjoyable AOR music, much better than most in this area. Lyrically it is more diverse than the Wetton era.

Aria is clearly recommended for Asia fans and AOR enthusiasts. I think it may be the best album Asia ever did, even though their next album (Arena) would actually show signs of actual progressive rock. If this were Rock Archives, I would seriously consider it a four-star affair. Here on Prog Archives, two stars seems appropriate for its level of progressiveness.

progaardvark | 2/5 |

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