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Asia - Phoenix CD (album) cover




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3.20 | 175 ratings

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5 stars This album is definatly one of their best. Following off two of a dynamic duo; the jazz tinged Aura and the dreamy, but very inconsistent Silent Nation, this album really makes the latter look very weak. This album has so many great points, it's almost impossible to name them all. The added progressive nature of the previous bands that the group members were in is much more present now, and effects the music in a way that is almost unexplainable, but in a good way.

1.Never Again - A very rocking number, almost symphonic in places. With the return of Howe on guitars, the song has a truely hard edged type of feel. The lush keyboards give the song a more full feel, and the thumping bass and pounding drums is always accepted. The vocals are standard for John Wetton, though are high quality as usual. Average lyrics, as with most Asia songs. Great opening track to a great album. (9/10)

2.Nothing's Forever - Possibly my favourite track of the album. After a very forceful intro with loud keyboards and slide guitar, the track takes a more mellow approach. It continues this way for a while, and it never gets boring. Nice vocals and lyrics on this track, as the instrumentation backs it well. (10/10)

3.Heroine - Not the best track of the album, but not the worst. A more almost standard type of pop track, but it's definatly one of their better. The lyrics tell a story of a man with a broken heart, something they usually talk about. The track takes on some uneeded cheese with the keyboards, but it's always listenable. (7.5/10)

4.Sleeping Giant / No Way Back / reprise - Possibly the most progressive track on the album, and one of Asia's longest number. The thriving keyboards and excellent guitar playing are always appreciated, as well as the spot-on vocal performance by Wetton and the gang, this track could not get any better. Asia at their most symphonic. (10/10)

5.Alibis - A nice track that almost seems otherwordly in the intro. The track is a very happy and poppy track, and always will get a person in a better mood. The vocals are uplifting, the chorus is always Asia, the drum beat is unusual and well played. Bravo, Carl Palmer. A great way to start the day, in my opinion. (8.5/10)

6.I Will Remember You - Maybe the most ballad like of the tracks, not great lyrics, but the music really overpowers. A symphonic feel that is not commonly found in Asia tracks is here, as they play with a large amount of soul and calm energy. (8.5/10)

7.Shadow of Doubt - Another fine track that seems to be almost as lush as the opening track. Instrumentation is great, but particularly Howe's great guitar playing and Geoff Downe's soft keyboard flourishes make the song whole. (8/10)

8.Parallel Worlds / Vortex / Deya - Undoubtably the best track. The mellow energy and groove the vibes through the track is almost a trance like, though not electronica, as the symphonic keyboards may suggest. The lyrics are the best on the album and totally stray from the norm, which I appreciate. The bass playing that always sets the groove up perfectly take the song to a very parallel world. Howe's guitar playing is masterful, and Palmers steady beat is subdued. Wetton's vocals standout, as his pitch is perfect. A track that you really cannot miss. (10/10)

9.Wish I'd Known All Along - Maybe the underrated track on the album, but it's a nice mellow track. I do like thew way the incorperate some world sounds with the steady and modern bongo beat. The keyboards and guitar remind me of latin music. The track is totally nice and sets a great mellow, subdued mood. (9.5/10)

10.Orchard of Mines - Another mordern track, though not as well played, has a different atmosphere of the other more modern track. The clean playing of the instruments and vocals really connect, though, emotionally, the musicians are a little drained. That dosen't stop the almost futuristic track from being excellent. (9/10)

11.Over and Over - The worst track of the album, though still a good track to listen to outside. I feel a sense of some symphonic folk going on in this track, as the guitar playing is fairly acoustic and well played. The song is weak though, and lacks some force. (7/10)

12.An Extraordinary Life - A great closer to a greater album. The symphonic playing really shines here, as the keyboards flourish with synthesizer, piano, and even a lightly played clavinet that is appreciated and makes the song that much more interesting. The lyrics are fine, and the vocals are even better. The musicans play the best they do here, and the energy level is really high. Top cut, for sure. (9.5/10)

This album is truely great, but I still don't know what to rate it. I was debating with 4 or 5 stars, but I have decided that 5 is perfect as there are very few flaws. The symphonic and world music touches in some tracks are great, and the modern mellow feel is excellent and makes the mood true. You need to get this album if your a prog rock fan or a fan of Asia, as it is one of their best of the originals.

Jazzywoman | 5/5 |


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