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Asia - Omega CD (album) cover




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3.10 | 166 ratings

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3 stars My review is based on the copy of the album that has been available for steaming through Spotify since its release on April 23rd. After listening to the album over the course of the last 48 hours I feel that the material has settled in enough for me to comment on it.

It hasn't been too long since the original Asia lineup announced their reunion which they then followed up by a studio release titled Phoenix. To me that was originally bad news since it meant that John Payne's Asia had to cancel their scheduled performance at Sweden Rock Festival 2006. But all was definitely forgiven once I heard Phoenix and realized that it sounded like a worthy successor to their '80s albums. To me that also was the pinnacle of Asia's career marking their best album to date. Two years later we get another album from the reunion lineup titled Omega which is a very Asia-sounding kind of album title. In a way, it can been considered a play of words considering that their second '80s album was called Alpha. John Wetton acknowledged this by saying that it no more means "final" than Alpha meant "the first" album, since it wasn't.

No matter how I try to approach this new material I always end up comparing it to Phoenix which is quite natural considering that both of these albums were released recently and feature the same four-piece lineup. Starting with the album opener Finger On The Trigger that kicks off the album with a strong stadium rock vibe. It might not be as memorable of an opener compared to Never Again or Heat Of The Moment but it does manage to break the ice with the listener transporting them to this specific Asia set of mind that we've learned to like so much.

Ever Yours is an almost shameless rehash of the previous album's track Heroine where Wetton even has almost identical vocal style towards the song's chorus section. This might have been expected since Arena Rock is generally very limited style and since Asia doesn't offer us a single longer instrumental performance, like Sleeping Giant - No Way Back - Reprise or Parallel Worlds - Vortex - Deya that threw a bone to the progressive rock fans, there are only so many types of songs that can be offered here. The final track titled Don't Wanna Lose You Now is another great power ballad that, just like An Extraordinary Life off Phoenix, ends the album on another high note.

I was surprised that Steve Howe didn't get any acoustic solo spots like the ones he had on Phoenix. Also, there aren't any distinct Howe compositions like Wish I'd Known All Along or Over And Over which could imply that his commitment to the band has diminished. Could this mean that Asia's history is about to repeat itself once again? All speculations aside, Omega is still a much stronger album than Alpha.

Unlike Phoenix, that felt like a great Asia album from start to finish, Omega took a few spins to grow on me. It wasn't until my third revisit that the album transitioned from a fans only release to a good, but non-essential one for me. Although I personally rank Phoenix and the band-titled debut album over this new release the fans should not be disappointed by the material offered here.

**** star songs: Finger On The Trigger (4:30) Holy War (5:59) Ever Yours (4:05) End Of The World (5:39) Emily (5:13) I'm Still The Same (4:44) I Believe (4:43) Don't Wanna Lose You Now (4:36)

*** star songs: Through My Veins (5:09) Listen Children (5:57) Light The Way (5:00) There Was A Time (5:57)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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