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Asia - Alpha CD (album) cover




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2.79 | 295 ratings

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2 stars Scarce listenings from Asia's early albums have created the impression to me that this is not an exceptional band, but maybe worth investigating further for particular albums. Now I seriously doubt that "Alpha" is one of them.

With the exception of the simplistic, pop (childish would fit better here) approach of the opening track, the rest of the compositions are not bad as such. Without any glimpses of progressive music (not that this is a bad thing per se), the band executes its AOR-based compositions quite pleasantly. The album is, however, dominated by a large number of indifferent ballads or power-ballads - 4, if I have counted well - without a single memorable moment, even in the relatively better-worked tracks (i.e. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes).

Fortunately, there are a few moments where the compositional abilities of the famous members (only) start to appear. The Heat Goes On is probably the best track, with a solid verse and melodic chorus, careful riff-work and pieces of interesting keyboard and guitar soloing. Never in a Million Years is based on its catchy verse and decent mid-tempo rocking rhythm section, despite suffering from a rather cheesy chorus. True Colors is the last worth-mentioning composition, which, starting from a nice keyboard passage, slowly builds up to a bombastic and catchy chorus; this was the first track that caught my attention from the album.

The biggest problem I see with this release is not the absence of innovative musicianship, but the lack of strong melodies; an integral part of any good AOR album. Unless someone is a devoted fan of bands like Boston, Journey etc, I can not see how he/she would rank this album higher than the level of mediocrity (that it probably deserves).

aapatsos | 2/5 |


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