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Asia - Alpha  CD (album) cover

ALPHA

Asia

 

Prog Related

2.76 | 225 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Crow
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A very worthy follow-up to the ultra-successful "Asia"!

And in my opinion, even better than the first one... Ok, the music is still far from what we could hope os the union of such musicians, but this time the result is a bit more symphonic, and less commercial. The chorus are so pompous like before, but the arrangements and some tracks are not so friendly for the masses like the band's debut. Just hear the great The Heat Goes On keyboard solo.

This time, I think the protagonist of the album (apart from Wetton's voice...) is the Steve Howe's guitar work. He is really wonderful in this album, while in the first time he sounded a bit diminished between the Downes's keyboards and the powerful Carl Palmer's drums. He really shines on guitar in tracks like My Own Time, where he plays a wonderful melody in the verses, and in the beautiful Midnight Sun solo.

The other fact that makes this album better than its predecessor for me, is the production... Maybe it's not so polished like in "Asia", but it's more direct, more organic, and not so artificial. Wetton's voice doesn't sounds perfect, like some drums and arrangements, but this make the album more natural, and not so factory sounding like the first one. Nevertheless, the Asia style is still here, with the magnificient chorus like Never in a Million Years and The Last to Know.

Best tracks: Never in a Million Years (I love the chorus, despite it's very commercial...), The Heat Goes On (specially for the great Downes keyboards solo...), The last to Know (one fo the jewels of the album, very sweet and with another great chorus...) and Midnight Sun (maybe my favourite Asia song... Wonderful verses, and a priceless guitar solo)

Conclusion: "Alpha" is not so commercial like the first band release, and thanks to its natural and less artificial production, sounds better in my opinion. Another good fact of the album is the good Steve Howe's work, having more protagonist than before... Maybe it's still a bit dissapointing hearing this great musicians making music that has almost nothing to do with prog, but if you like 80's AOR in the vein of Journey or Saga, then "Alpha" is an album made for you. Just like the band's debut, but even better in my opinion... Very good!

My rating: ***1/2

The Crow | 3/5 |

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