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Asia - Asia CD (album) cover




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3.16 | 509 ratings

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2 stars The debut from Asia was released in 1982. About this time prog rock didnīt really exist anymore. At least in 1982 almost every major prog rock band from the seventies had pursued a more commercial pop/ rock career. Just to mention a few bands Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant and Kansas who were all considered as part of the seventies prog rock movement all had turned their music in a more commercial direction. So even though Asia is a kind of supergroup that consists of Geoffrey Downes ( Yes), Steve Howe ( Yes), Carl Palmer ( Atomic Rooster, Emerson Lake & Palmer) and John Wetton ( King Crimson, UK) who all four were considered as some of the most prolific progressive rock musicians you shouldnīt expect anything remotely proggy on this album. Well thatīs not all true, but there isnīt much prog rock here.

The music is more in the vein of Foreigner, Survivor and other early eighties AOR bands. There are prog rock tendencies here and there but there are no real prog rock songs here. I remember this was a big disappointment to me, when I got this album and it has been collecting dust on my shelf for many years. Recently I have started listening to the album again to make this review and I must say I have found more interesting things than I imagined even though I still donīt like the album much.

I think there are many links to a band like UK even though Asia is much more commercial and not nearly as good as UK. Now and again a riff takes me back to the great UK albums, and that part of Asiaīs sound is something I enjoy. What I donīt enjoy on most songs are the vocal melodies which are really radio friendly. On the good side on things I can mention that I have never heard John Wetton sing as well as he does on this album. The vocal melodies are a big problem in my opinion. This is simply too accessible. One thing I like about prog rock is that it takes a lot of time understanding the music. With Asia itīs the exact opposite. This music is made to be remembered the first time you listen to it. This is allright if you want your music played on the radio, but itīs not allright for a prog head like myself who wantīs to be challenged.

There are actually some good songs on the album. The best might be Without You, but also the symphonic ending to Cutting it Fine is to my pleasure. Time Again with itīs swing rythm is also pretty good and not too commercial. But itīs songs like the opener Heat of the Moment, Sole Survivor and Only Time Will Tell that makes me press the skip button time and again. This is simply too cheesy for me.

The musicianship is of course excellent. How could it not be with musicians like these ?

The production is a real eighties sounding flat production. How did they manage to drown the drums like that ? Everything is dominatied by the vocals and the keyboards.

As you can sense this is not my favorite kind of music and Iīll make an exception to my own rules by rating this album 2 stars. Normally I would rate an album like Asia 3 stars because the compositions and the musicianship is very high but as I really dislike the style I canīt give more than 2 stars for this one. This is not recommedable to anyone else but people who love Eye of the Tiger and other AOR hits like that one. Fans of the bandmembers former bands shouldnīt automatically buy this album. Most of you will be extremely disappointed.

UMUR | 2/5 |


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