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Asia - Arena CD (album) cover




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3.33 | 168 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I had written a long and detalies review on this one, but somehow it was erased when I tried to submit it. Oh, d******! So IŽll make it short.

The third ŽJohn Payne-era Asia` CD is probably their most unsual and different. Michael Sturgis is still on drums, but guitarrist Al Pitrelli was gone, replaced by famous session musician Eliott Randall and Aziz Ibrahim. This is a much more experimental (for AsiaŽs style) efford and there is not much of their famous trademark AOR/prog/pop stuff. the only song that reminds of their former works is Words. The remainder tracks are melodic, ok, but now with several different elements like jazz, bossa nova, eastern rhythms, raggae and even some longer tracks that could be labeled as slightly more progressive. However, the results are not as satisfying as their previous two albums.

Certainly in terms fo sales it did not live up to the expectations. and rightly so, since the tracks here are way less accessible. So you see the band stuck between a rock and a hard place: the new songs were not progressive enough for that market and not as radio friendly as their audience might expected. Artisticly I guess they proved to be far better songwriters and musicians than most people would like to believe. John Payne is a surprisingly versatile singer, while Geoff Downes keys are more subtle than before, but as elegant as ever. Production is also top notch.

Conclusion: different, but good album. While it takes more time to sink in, I found Arena quite pleasant. You better get their earlier material before tackling this one. But if you like Asia, this is a worth addition anyway. 3 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |


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