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Asia - Aria CD (album) cover

ARIA

Asia

 

Prog Related

2.73 | 104 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
1 stars The second of Asia's early 1990s comeback albums and their fifth overall, 'Aria' finds the once-successful British outfit producing another slickly-produced set of earnestly-manifested pop-rock tunes for their quickly diminishing following, albeit by now the group weren't even close to the mainstream. With the international focus firmly on Nirvana, Seattle and Grunge, the music of Asia wasn't really needed in the world 1995, yet produce an album they did, under the guise of final original member Geoff Downes and recent additions John Payne(bass, vocals), Al Pitrelli(guitar) and Michael Sturgis(drums). However, despite those various changes in personel, 'Aria' sticks resolutely to the sound conjured up on 1982's hugely-successful 'Asia', the group's popular debut album that dominated North American rock radio during that summer, and the musically-similar yet commercially-disappointing sequels 'Alpha' and 'Astra' that followed in it's early-eighties wake. As a result, distinguishing between Asia records has always been a difficult task for non-aficianado's, though in spite of the group's many unattractive qualities there are at least two strong reasons why 1982's debut is a better album than this mid-nineties affair. Firstly, 'Asia' was issued during arguably the peak of North America's 'soft-rock years'(dominated by the likes of Journey, Air Supply and Foreigner) thus fitting them nicely in to the current trend; secondly, the Asia line-up of 1982 featured some of the cream of the 1970's progressive rock crop, with Downes augmented by Yes guitarist Steve Howe, ELP-drummer Carl Palmer and former King Crimson and Family bassist-and-vocalist John Wetton. That apart however, the difference between Asia albums - whether they be produced during the eighties, the nineties or even now during the 13th year of the 21st century - is pretty negligible. 'Aria', just like 'Astra' or 'Aqua' or any other of there A-word titled albums, features precious music that would interest proper, dedicated progressive rock listeners. Briefly, Asia made a bit of cash for its hard-working participants, sold a few albums and enjoyed a few months in the sun. The actual music though - which is best summed up by the hit 1982 single 'Heat Of The Moment' - has absolutely nothing in common with the sounds of Yes, ELP and King Crimson. Asia were, simply put, a progressive charade dressed up in classy Roger Dean artwork. Outside of their immediate fanbase, there won't be many who enjoy their brand of anthemic-yet-empty pop-rock. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
stefro | 1/5 |

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