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Asia - Aura CD (album) cover




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3.27 | 153 ratings

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3 stars First and foremost, I consider myself a fan of Asia(all line-ups). Yes, I have taken into context that this is not the Asia of the first 3 albums(having more line-up changes than Deep Purple and Uriah Heep combined). It says a lot about a band when the best tracks on "Aura" are due to outside help from some prog.rock heavies like Ian Crichton of Saga, Steve Howe of Yes, Simon Phillips and Tony Levin. Graham Gouldman of 10cc helps out in the writing department as well. I wouldn't necessarily consider this an Asia album, but more of a collaboration between prog.rock stars in the "pop prog." genre. Consider this a super supergroup. :-) The first 3 tracks are melodic soft rock AOR that might even sound good on a regular rotation if this were the year 1987, although "Awake" is a real keeper with back-up choir near the conclusion. A fine start. "The Last Time"(which is the 4th track) is the best track here; where you can tell Howe and Crichton are present on guitar. "Free" is the most progressive track with some great keyboard work from Geoff Downes and the outside prog.rock "heavies" I had mentioned. The instrumental "Aura" has a sound not unlike Santana(more like the band Malo...Carlos Santana's brother "Jorge"'s band). Other than that, nothing else is a stand out. 1 of 3 bonus tracks on the Windstorm Records label re-issue called "Hands Of Time" is a real keeper. Sounds like a cross between modern Uriah Heep and the harmony vocals a la Spock's Beard). Good album and the best of the Payne-era. The album gets better with repeated listens as it reveals many subtleties. If you're a fan of the last 2 albums by Canadian band MYSTERY and dare I say BIG BIG TRAIN from the U.K.; Asia's "Aura" would appeal to you.
Gooner | 3/5 |


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