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Asia - XXX CD (album) cover




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2.98 | 159 ratings

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3 stars In January 10th of 2013, it was announced that Steve Howe has left Asia once again to concentrate in his work with Yes and in his career as soloist. I still have not listened yet to the other 2 studio albums he recorded with Asia after their reunion in 2006 ("Phoenix" and "Omega"), but as in those albums the main songwriting in this album is from John Wetton and Geoff Downes, like it was predominantly in their "Alpha" album from 1983, an album which was the last the original line-up of the band recorded until their reunion this century happened. I think that maybe the old tensions in the original band surfaced again, but this time the split with Howe was managed as an "amicable" one, but after listening to this album I can say that maybe Howe felt not only restricted as a songwiter in Asia but also as a guitarist, because the main instruments in this album are the keyboards, and the songs structures donīt give very much space to Howe to play lead guitar parts as in their "Asia" and "Alpha" albums. So, the songs are full of lyrics and without very much space for solos, not even from the keyboards. The central space is for the lyrics and for John Wettonīs vocals. The songs are good, but without changes in the rhythm. So this album is very Pop Rock in musical style, with most songs being ballads, sung very well by Wetton, whose voice is still very good and powerful. Of course, every member of the band plays very well as they still are very good musicians, with a lot of experience. The recording and mixing of the album is very good. It is an enjoyable album, but some songs are predictable in their structure and they donīt leave very much space for variety.So, this is a good album done by a very good band, without question. I prefer to listen to this "old band" instead of listening to much of the "modern music" which is mostly done without "soul and feeling". These "old musicians" still have that "feeling and soul" even if the music is not very Progressive in style. Asia also announced that they have a new guitarist and they are going to carry on playing together. Good luck for them and good luck for Howe, but as it happened before, I think that without Howe the bandīs sound changes drastically as his guitar playing style is very much "entangled" with the original sound of the band.
Guillermo | 3/5 |


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