Header

ARENA

Asia

Prog Related


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Asia Arena album cover
3.18 | 106 ratings | 12 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


Write a review
Buy ASIA Music
from Progarchives.com partners
Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Into The Arena (2:59)
2. Arena (5:16)
3. Heaven (5:17)
4. Two Sides Of The Moon (5:22)
5. The Day Before The War (9:08)
6. Never (5:32)
7. Falling (4:57)
8. Words (5:18)
9. U Bring Me Down (7:07)
10. Tell Me Why (5:14)
11. Turn it Around (4:28)
12. Bella Nova (3:10)

Total Time: 64:48

Lyrics

Search ASIA Arena lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search ASIA Arena tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Geoff Downes / keyboards
- Aziz Ibrahim / guitars
- John Payne / vocals, bass, guitar
- Elliott Randall / guitars
- Michael Sturgis / drums

Additional Musicians:
- Luis Jardim / percussion (Tracks 1, 2 & 4)
- Hotei Tomayasu / guitar (Track 1)

Releases information

Bullet Proof CDVEST 69

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
Edit this entry

ASIA MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

Buy ASIA Arena Music


High Voltage (CD/DVD)High Voltage (CD/DVD)
Frontiers Records (Universal) 2014
Audio CD$15.39
$17.97 (used)
Gravitas CD/DVDGravitas CD/DVD
Frontiers Records (Universal) 2014
Audio CD$13.74
$20.01 (used)
AsiaAsia
Geffen Records 1990
Audio CD$1.90
$1.09 (used)
Very Best Of: Heat of the Moment 1982-90Very Best Of: Heat of the Moment 1982-90
Remastered
Interscope Records 2000
Audio CD$5.98
$2.74 (used)
ResonanceResonance
Frontiers Records 2012
Audio CD$10.02
$10.50 (used)
OmegaOmega
Frontiers Records (Universal) 2010
Audio CD$3.01
$2.00 (used)
Definitive CollectionDefinitive Collection
Remastered
Geffen Records 2006
Audio CD$5.32
$5.31 (used)
XXXXXX
Deluxe Edition · CD+DVD
Frontier Records 2012
Audio CD$8.47
$10.96 (used)
AlphaAlpha
Geffen Gold Line Sp. 1996
Audio CD$2.85
$0.75 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Morita Club Monsoon Asia no Ashi no Fune - Japan CD-NEW US $8.99 Buy It Now 32m 37s
ASIA - ALPHA - QUIEX II - LIMITED EDITION PRESSING - LP US $14.95 Buy It Now 57m 2s
ASIA ENGINEER - Four Seasons - Japan CD J-POP - 15Tks US $8.99 Buy It Now 1h
ASIA - OMEGA (IMPORT) NEW CD US $51.42 Buy It Now 1h 18m
ASIA alpha EX/VG USA GHS4008 | 14-0326-048 US $18.99 Buy It Now 1h 38m
@ CD Asia - Alive In Hallowed Halls / RARE ZOOM CLUB RECORDS 2001 US $24.99 Buy It Now 2h 3m
Asia - Omega CD UMGD/FRONTIERS RECORDS US $11.62 Buy It Now 2h 6m
MIHALIS NIKOLOUDIS -1922 - FROM ASIA TO EUROPE -RARE GREEK SEALED CD US $18.90 Buy It Now 2h 17m
Asia - Under The Bridge LP Vinyl Record US $31.60 Buy It Now 2h 31m
GREETINGS FROM ASIA CD JAPAN 10 TRACKS RARE #12 US $5.49 Buy It Now 2h 43m
John Wetton / Geoff Downes - Asia - UK Compilation CD NEW US $3.30 Buy It Now 2h 52m
Mark, Jon .. Asia Journey US $17.59 Buy It Now 3h 7m
Asia - Dragon Attack - 2 Disc Set (SFMCD110) US $8.28 Buy It Now 3h 23m
Maroon 5 *Hands All Over* Asia Tour Limited Edition CD + DVD NEW Sealed US $12.99 Buy It Now 3h 28m
TRANSPACT PRODUCTIONS CHAP 2 PSY GOA TRANCE FRANCE CD ASIA 2001 KOMA CLUB US $60.00 Buy It Now 3h 37m
ASIA, MOODY BLUES, YES THREE RECORD DEAL VINYL LP'S US $21.00 Buy It Now 3h 44m
Lights Out Asia - Tanks & Recognizers CD US $17.62 Buy It Now 3h 58m
hong kong pop tvb/Orig pressed LP/1979 POP ASIA dancing cha cha/vol.12/stylers US $45.00 Buy It Now 4h 8m
D.J AMIT Asia Caribia Remix Album CD Guru The Train 10 trks DJ/DANCE USED US $4.87 Buy It Now 5h 7m
ASIA S/T JAPAN 1st Press 1982 CD 35DP-25 3500Yen RARE! US $29.00 Buy It Now 5h 12m
Asia Vs. Antipop Archigram Argento & Friends - Vampy Ep [CD New] US $10.20 Buy It Now 5h 22m
Cali Agents How The West Was One 2 x LP Rasco Planet Asia 2000 US $7.99 [0 bids]
US $14.99 Buy It Now
5h 36m
ASIA - LONG WAY FROM HOME CD SINGLE NEW/SEALED US $16.57 Buy It Now 6h 25m
ASIA (ROCK) - QUADRA [LIMITED] - NEW CD BOXSET US $28.20 Buy It Now 6h 33m
ASIA-RESONANCE - LIVE IN BASEL SWITZERLAND-JAPAN BLU-RAY 2 CD BONUS TRACK N95 US $78.99 Buy It Now 6h 54m
TOM JONES GOLDEN STAR TAIWAN ASIA japan US $149.99 Buy It Now 6h 56m
RICHARD MARX Stories To Tell Special Asia Edition CD + DVD Singapore GOLD DISC US $59.99 Buy It Now 7h 24m
* ASIA ASTRA / JAPAN MINI LP SHM CD US $34.99 Buy It Now 7h 35m
JOHN WETTON - Caught in the Crossfire (EX/NM) 1980 PROG ROCK King Crimson Asia US $14.99 Buy It Now 7h 46m
78 rpm 10" WINIFRED ATWELL vendetta / asia minor US $33.17 Buy It Now 7h 53m
ENINEM anger management tour asia/europe 2003 tour programme 28 pages US $11.59 Buy It Now 7h 59m
ASIA-RESONANCE - LIVE IN BASEL SWITZERLAND-JAPAN DVD 2 CD BONUS TRACK L45 US $54.99 Buy It Now 7h 59m
Asia (2) - Alpha/LP Geffen GHS 4008/NM+ USA/Steve Howe/Carl Palmer/Yes US $4.50 [0 bids]
8h 2m
Asia - Asia/LP Geffen GHS 2008/US NM/Yes Night Ranger Steve Howe US $4.50 [0 bids]
8h 3m
GIRLS' GENERATION - Into the New World: 1st Asia Tour 2CD NEW $2.99 S/H snsd US $18.99 Buy It Now 8h 36m
ASIA ALPHA LP US $5.50 Buy It Now 8h 40m
ASIA- Alpha 1983 Japan John Wetton LP e7232 VINYL-NM COVER-NM US $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 40m
RIUICHI SAKAMOTO " The End Of Asia + Danceries " DENON JAPAN 1982 LP MINT US $20.30 Buy It Now 8h 42m
Asia JAPAN 2 titles Platinum SHM-CD Mini LP SS + PROMO Alpha BOX SET US $114.99 Buy It Now 8h 49m
Very Best Of: Heat of the Moment 1982-90, Asia, New Original recording remastere US $10.91 Buy It Now 9h 6m
ASIA 1982 Self Titled 12" Vinyl 33 LP Heat Of The Moment ROCK Wildest Dreams VG US $11.99 [0 bids]
9h 11m
YOSHIAKI FUJIKAWA EAST ASIA ORCHESTRA Shoyo Jurin SPECIAL EDITION **JAPAN 2 CD** US $10.74 [0 bids]
US $33.62 Buy It Now
9h 14m
Asia self titled 1982 Canada Cassette s/t US $1.75 Buy It Now 9h 14m
ASIA Then & Now CD Hits & New Tracks Heat Of The Moment, Only Time Will Tell US $2.49 [0 bids]
9h 24m
ASIA BAGUS! PETS, Eka Mairina, Dewi Astuti, Huang Hsiang Lin,ZAZoo JAPAN CD 1997 US $31.73 Buy It Now 9h 28m
PACIFIC MOON ARTISTS: GRACES OF ASIA - NEW CD US $11.78 Buy It Now 9h 41m
Asia Aqua Cd France 1992 US $2.47 [0 bids]
9h 53m
ASIA - GO / AFTER THE WAR, ORG 1985 JAPAN vinyl 7", EX-/EX+ US $5.99 Buy It Now 10h 13m
Asia - Heat Of The Moment: The Essential Collection - SPEC2137 US $9.15 Buy It Now 10h 16m
ASIA FEATURING JOHN PAYNE SCANDINAVIA NEW CD LIVE FREE UK DELIVERY US $9.92 Buy It Now 10h 20m
Taste Of Asia - Music From Laos/Thailand/China [CD New] US $10.23 Buy It Now 10h 21m
ASIA-RESONANCE - LIVE IN BASEL SWITZERLAND-JAPAN 2 CD BONUS TRACK G50 zd US $34.50 Buy It Now 10h 29m
Mega RARE Fania FIRST PRESSING Machito ASIA MINOR cha cha pa guarachar QUIMBOMBO US $244.99 Buy It Now 10h 34m
Mega RARE Fania FIRST PRESSING Willie Colon PRIMERA NOCHE DE AMOR asia MARTA US $44.99 Buy It Now 10h 34m
JOHN WETTON Nomans Land (1 Bonus Track) JAPAN CD OBI ASIA KING CRIMSON US $24.99 Buy It Now 10h 44m
ASIA ASTRA ORIGINAL 1ST PRESS STAMPED PROMO VINYL LP GHS24072 WAX IS MINT US $16.95 [0 bids]
US $22.95 Buy It Now
10h 45m
US HIP HOP VINYL x20 DE LA SOUL Dilated Peoples KOOL G RAP Masta Ace PLANET ASIA US $24.86 [0 bids]
10h 58m
JOHN WETTON Voice Mail JAPAN CD OBI ASIA KING CRIMSON URIAH HEEP US $17.99 Buy It Now 10h 59m
JOHN WETTON Welcome To Heaven (2 Bonus Track) JAPAN CD OBI New ASIA KING CRIMSON US $39.99 Buy It Now 11h 20m
JOHN WETTON Chasing The Dragon CD ASIA KING CRIMSON URIAH HEEP US $7.99 Buy It Now 11h 26m
JOHN WETTON Arkangel (1 Bonus Track) CD Korea ASIA KING CRIMSON URIAH HEEP US $9.99 Buy It Now 11h 32m
Vcd x 2 BOND Live At The Royal Albert Hall + Asia VIDEO US $35.00 Buy It Now 11h 36m
Alan Michael Lost In Asia LP Passport PJ 88041 1988 Vinyl US $7.99 Buy It Now 11h 55m
45 RPM RECORD/5) ASIA / DON'T CRY ( PIC SLEEVE ) US $3.00 Buy It Now 11h 58m
ASIA ALPHA LP WITH ORIGINAL SHRINK AND INNER SLEEVE 732 US $8.99 Buy It Now 12h 28m
From Asia, Hideki Togi, Good Import US $11.31 Buy It Now 12h 38m
Asia - Asia Lp Colombia US $20.00 Buy It Now 12h 41m
THe No. 1 Asia Techno Album 2 US $8.10 Buy It Now 12h 50m
ASIA , LP 1982 US $2.99 Buy It Now 12h 51m
ASIA**ARIA (RM)**CD US $6.91 Buy It Now 13h 13m
ASIA "DON'T CRY" 7" PICTURE SLEEVE 45 YES KING CRIMSON EMERSON LAKE US $2.99 Buy It Now 13h 14m
ASIA 1st LP PRO-MO ONLY QUIEX II PRESSING NM US $72.00 Buy It Now 13h 16m
Asia Minor - Crossing the Line [SHM] japanese mini lp US $36.99 Buy It Now 13h 22m
ASIA VINYL LP US $3.00 Buy It Now 13h 32m
Instrumental 45 - Kokomo - Asia Minor - 1969 US $0.49 [0 bids]
13h 37m
CD Double: Asia : Different Worlds Live - Brucksal US $12.42 [0 bids]
13h 42m
CD Double: Asia : Live In Japan US $12.17 [0 bids]
13h 42m
HECTOR RIVERA salsa AT THE PARTY asia minor HUESO E PELLEJO do it to me CALYPSO US $34.99 Buy It Now 13h 57m
NOW THAT'S PROMO PRINTED PRESSING CD DURAN Asia PHIL COLLINS INXS Billy Idol US $24.99 Buy It Now 13h 58m
Then & Now by Asia (CD, Oct-2004, Universal Special Products) Heat of the Moment US $14.99 Buy It Now 14h 38m
ASIA - Alpha - 1983 Vinyl Lp. w/ Lyric sleeve / VG+ / Prog. Rock US $4.99 Buy It Now 14h 39m
ASIA self titled [1982], original issue CD, 1990, VG, Steve Howe US $4.99 Buy It Now 15h
Kokomo 45 "Asia Minor / Roy's Tune" US $3.49 Buy It Now 15h 8m
Asia Classics 1 - Dance Raja Dance, Various Artists, Good Original recording rei US $7.96 Buy It Now 15h 12m
ASIA 2 CASSETTES ONE & ALPHA NO SLEEVE [HEAT OF THE MOMENT,TIME AGAIN] READ NOTE US $0.75 [0 bids]
US $2.00 Buy It Now
15h 14m
Live at Budokan, Asia, Very Good US $22.42 Buy It Now 15h 14m
ASIA GHS2008 LP US $9.99 Buy It Now 15h 34m
Back to the Mono Kero by Ex-Girl CD (Sep-2006, Ipecac) Asia Eastern Music FREE 4 US $8.99 [0 bids]
US $11.69 Buy It Now
15h 44m
GIRLS GENERATION - INTO THE NEW WORLD: 1ST ASIA CONCERT (IMPORT) NEW CD US $35.34 Buy It Now 15h 54m
Fantasia: Live in Tokyo by Asia/2 cd new/YES/ELP/King Crimson/Original lineup US $10.99 Buy It Now 16h
Asia Story by Asia (Rock) (CD, Aug-2003, 2 Discs, Retro) US $6.99 [0 bids]
16h 7m
Rock 45 Asia - Daylight / Don'T Cry On Wb Music Corp. US $5.00 Buy It Now 16h 36m
Then & Now by Asia (Rock) (CD) Geffen US $6.00 [0 bids]
17h 44m
45 KOKOMO ROY'S TUNE FELSTED 45-8612 ASIA MINOR US $8.54 [0 bids]
US $11.56 Buy It Now
17h 44m
Asia Alpha 33 RPM LP Geffen Phonograph record Mike Stone Enterprises US $3.00 [0 bids]
US $3.90 Buy It Now
17h 45m
Asia Johnson-Short Fuzzy Hair CD NEW US $16.90 Buy It Now 17h 47m
NEW ASIA UK 7" 45 minimal/synth CENTRAL PROPOSITION US $22.50 Buy It Now 17h 52m
VARIOUS ARTISTS SOUNDTRACK CASSETTE TAPE THE BIG CHILL MADE IN ASIA 1983 US $3.03 Buy It Now 17h 58m
ASIA Alpha Vinyl LP FACTORY SEALED 1983 GHS 4008 US $29.95 Buy It Now 18h 3m
KITARO ASIA TOUR SUPER LIVE JAPAN CD 3500yen 1ST PRESS US $69.99 Buy It Now 18h 29m

More places to buy ASIA music online Buy ASIA & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for ASIA DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

ROGER DEAN & PROGARCHIVES.com Partnership : Put a genuine Dean on your desktop

ASIA Arena ratings distribution


3.18
(106 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(22%)
22%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (36%)
36%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)
8%

ASIA Arena reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I must admit that I have always had a little spot in my heart for ASIA over the years and will never forget their debut album. ASIA have always toyed with the mix of prog and pop rock with "Arena" being no real exception. "Arena" features original member Geoffrey Downes and John Payne who deliver their pattented ASIA sounds with pompous keyboard runs and excellent vocals. "Arena" is a concept album with some lovely progressive moments and features some great song writing. When the boys get going like on "The Day Before The War" they unleash some of ASIA's most progressive sounds yet. Lead guitarist Elliott Randall adds some lovely lead guitar solos throughout this album and is supported on the drum kit by Michael Sturgis. Every now and then ASIA get it right and everything works for me on "Arena" to perfection. This is one of those albums which will really surprise you in its completeness and degree of energy.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#26824) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Messrs Howe, Wetton and Palmer have left the arena

A strange album for Asia this one, as it finds the band in something of a transition phase. It's generally heavier and less accessible than previous albums, with no obvious singles. The "big" sound which made the early Asia albums so popular is missing, replaced by a softer less in your face style. Asia appear to be trying to move away from their original pop based music towards a more progressive style, but falling between the two stools.

The problem is, the music here isn't really strong enough to sustain the new direction (things would improve substantially on later albums). The most progressive track on the album is the nine minute "The day before the war", but in truth its still a fairly basic song. "Into the arena" and "Arena" merge together well to form a pleasant if understated opening piece, which sets the scene for the rest of the tracks. "Two sides of the moon" has a light, almost pop feel to it, "jaunty" is probably the best word to describe it.

It's difficult to identify any real highlights with "Arena", not because it's a bad album, it is indeed enjoyable, but the band appear to be in cruise control and lacking in inspiration. (Ironic that the album name is that of one of the best prog bands around!)

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#26826) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars First of all be careful with this AOR work, enriched with a few hints only of the progressive rock-genre.well I try to clarify my idea: if you are an "extremist", fond of such a "pure" prog music, you could remain disappointed; otherwise you could be helped by Prog Archives in search of different issues, which are not necessarily "labelled" as "prog" (such as the sub genres and correlated styles of an alternative rock-genre, but also something closer to the AOR music). Secondly, as you can find the pomp rock of bands like Kansas, Asia or Styx, but also the post rock by Sigur Ros (always inside its encyclopaedia), you could be excited if you discovered some other interesting groups that -on the contrary- Prog Archives at the moment of my review has not inserted into yet. I think for example of the remarkable ensemble of "Don Caballero" and other experimental bands in the vein of Djam Karet, always remaining in the borderline . After my necessary digression, now I like to remark the present interesting work entitled "Arena": here you can appreciate the taste for the melodic arrangement by Geoffrey Downes, the powerful and simple guitar lines supported in the vocal parts by the remarkable vocalist, and a certain epic mood !! Of course it's not a masterpiece, but it's always pleasant and sometimes quite intricate too, talking about the arrangement. I don't know whether it's enough or less,however for me it's the ideal album for your spare time, because there isn't any particular song over the average but it's pleasant after all, until you add another half star!!

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#46093) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 09, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I can only comment on the music this ASIA Arena delivers. Actually, I like this band especially the first three albums. After that, I did not follow closely with their development unless I purchased the live albums because there were many old tracks being performed.

The opening track "Into The Arena" is an instrumental track with excellent guitar work while the rhythm section is percussion-based, it reminds me to the music of Santana. "Arena" starts with an ambient keyboard work which reminds me to first album of Asia. The music moves into upbeat style with a pop-rock music where the rhythm section is dominated by percussion. The music flows like Toto band. It's not a bad song at all, in fact it can be enjoyed by most people because it's simple and easy to digest. The melody is also good. "Heaven" intro lends the style of Pink Floyd "Another Break In The Wall" especially the guitar rhythm and the keyboard. But the following music is something like Toto music - a pure pop rock song.

"Two Sides of The Moon" combines the pop rock music like Steely Dan with reggae at the end part of the song. "The Day of The War" is another light rock music with interesting part at the end of the song where keyboard performs its solo in a bit symphonic style. This is probably the most progressive track of this album. "Never" starts with keyboard work that reminds me to the style of debut album. But when the music and vocal enter it's basically another light rock song in the vein of Toto. "Falling" is a good track with keyboard style similar to Supertramp music. "Words" has powerful opening which brings the nuance into symphonic style followed with acoustic guitar rhythm section.

Looking at the duration, "You Bring Me Down" should be something with prog touch and I am very close with this because it's I think the best track from this album. The opening part reminds me to the dynamic composition of legendary music using organ / keyboard as main instrument. The vocal enters the music beautifully and the music flows nicely from one segment to another maintaining organ work represents the main rhythm section. The guitar solo that starts at approx 4:55 is stunning and it makes the song is very interesting and enjoyable.

"Tell Me Why", "Turn It Around", "Bella Nova", and "That Season" are all good tracks that conclude this album. Well, when I say "good" it does not mean a prog music because almost all music featured here are basically easy listening pop rock with little complexities or, in fact, no complexities at all.

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#157228) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 31, 2007

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Asia's sixth studio album (third with Payne behind the helm), Arena, was the most progressive effort the band had made up through 1996. It's sort of strange that a band that consisted primarily of former progressive rock artists would take nearly 14 years to actually make a single progressive rock track. Admittedly, most of the album is in the AOR arena, but this time Asia let themselves get a bit more creative on The Day Before the War and U Bring Me Down, the former timing in at over nine minutes, the latter at seven. They're not tracks you'd rave about, but upon hearing them the first time, you definitely take notice in a big way because this style of music was so uncustomary of Asia. True, they showed signs or tendencies towards prog rock, but this was a first for them at making actual, real progressive rock music.

Although the rest of the album is AOR, Asia clearly shows a trend at experimenting in that form too. The down side to this is that the album seems less cohesive than Aria, or even Aqua. The upside of course is that Asia got a new breath of fresh air.

And in other ways, Asia got this breath of fresh air in new personnel. Guitarist Al Pitrelli left Asia to join Savatage (and later Megadeath). He was replaced by two guitarists: Aziz Ibrahim (formerly of Simply Red and a member of Steve Hogarth's H Band) and Elliott Randall (session guitarist and formerly of Steely Dan). Also, Arena featured guest percussionist Louis Jardim. The percussion is an interesting addition to this more experimental Asia sound.

After having said all this about Arena, the two prog tracks were an eye-opener and I only wish Asia had considered more of them. The two tracks are enough for me to actually rate this with three stars. Even so, I still think Aria is a better album, but I only gave that two stars primarily because it had no progressive rock on it. Aria is better but it gets less stars? Yes and I realize that might sound like a contradiction, but my opinion on ratings is that the album should show some progressiveness to merit a higher rating, and thus Arena gets the extra star. A nice album, but like other Asia albums, not essential in anyway.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#162868) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Review 43, Arena, Asia, 1996, PR (but with some progressive material)

StarStarStar

After really enjoying the plain high-quality rock of Asia's debut and subsequently being extremely disappointed with the banal Alpha, I decided to take a look at some of their later and more progressive output. The material and sound has completely changed from the 80s supergroup, and only Geoff Downes remains from the original line-up. It is, however, still quite satisfying, especially on the longer songs, Day Before The War and U Bring Me Down. The playing is good throughout, even if John Payne's voice goes very weird during the harmonies, and occasionally the AOR block-choruses don't really work. Essentially, a good album, and worth getting for the high points. It's a bit of a shame that we have to put up with some of the dross among these.

Some wallowing drums from guest open Into The Arena, which is a soft instrumental with a rather Latin feel. Geoff Downes gives us some standard background keys while the two guitarists play around, one providing acoustic edges, the other electric soloing. After a few minutes, a percussion solo calmly leads us out.

The following Arena is a very good, in my opinion, rock song, with a combination of swelling organ (and occasional keys), a relaxed percussion-bass combination and tolerable vocals and lyrical material. Short twists on the guitar feature throughout. A fairly good piano near-solo from Geoff Downes features (separately we get an equally decent guitar solo), and the song ends on a subdued and distinctly good note. Good song.

Heaven is a more awkward song, with the AOR vocals in full position on the chorus. A fairly dancy combination of the guitars and keyboards open the piece. Payne's vocals sound entirely right for the verses, but the repeats of the chorus (complete with jumpy keys) at the end do make it a little less fun to digest. We get a tolerable, even if it's not Carl Palmer, drum part from Michael Sturgis, and also another good guitar solo. A rather weird glockenspiel-like use of the keys features throughout the song. Not especially good, but not terrible.

Two Sides Of The Moon is a progressive-leaning track, with the guitars especially seeming quite odd to me, occasionally appearing quite dissonantly. Geoff Downes again provides his pretty standard keyboards, and we get another tolerable drum part. The vocals aren't particularly strong, but they're fine for the song's purposes, as are the lyrics. A rather more grainy section (bass-driven) with a guitar solo and weird percussion choices, features around the three minute mark. After the vocals are finished, we get another bizarre section with more of the odd percussion and a weird guitar solo, as well as a sung 'Two sides of the moon'. A good song, and the first of the album's real art rock/crossover prog offerings.

Day Before The War (clocking in at around 9 minutes) begins with a tense combination of instruments, very atmospheric and quite cautious in its development. After a minute or so of this, the organ-guitar riff kicks in, along with a thunderous piece of double-bass drumming. In another minute, the battle is concluded, and a more relaxed piece of music appears, with acoustics and keys featuring most prominently. An appropriate vocal from John Payne continues for a couple of minutes, before another more rock-based instrumental section kicks off with a bass-throb behind it, good drumming. A more martial continuation of the song, following another couple of verses, is very well-handled, with another set of crashing drums and dissonant guitar-work. A good piece of art rock, I think.

Never is the first example of banally-bad material on this album, with a completely uninteresting upbeat feel, tapping, repeated drumming, boring jumpy keyboards, and only slightly redeeming guitar-work. The vocal is generally mediocre, and degenerates into a rather bored chorus with a generic guitar behind it. Terribly boring, and an abberation, given that we've so far had a set of good, or at least, not-bad songs.

Falling does again pick up the album a little, though it's not particularly impressive. A rather awkward performance on the vocals and a needlessly repeated keyboard part does limit the piece. There are a couple of better moments when the song is a bit quieter, and the guitar-work is given the opportunity to be heard, but I'm no particular fan of this song, either.

Words again features a needlessly optimistic and jumpy feel. Not particularly interesting, even if it opens and continues a lot better than the previous two. Repeated riffs and ideas simply don't do that much for me, and the AOR vocal-demon again features, which isn't too desirable.

U Bring Me Down (7 minutes or so in length) is a complete 100% overhaul of the banality of the previous three pieces, with a masterfully-developed opening, some 'Pakistani-influenced' parts from guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, and a superb keyboard-riff from Downes. The vocals are brilliantly handled, and the counter-rap (it's not as bad as it looks on paper, believe me) is very intelligently used. The lyrics are good, the music is superb, with great guitar-parts, especially, fairly interesting drumming and some keyboards which are slightly more eclectic and catchy than most Downes choices. Absolutely great art rock/crossover prog, and the album is worth getting for this reason alone.

Tell Me Why begins with a fairly random keyboard effect and continues as a weirder AOR piece, with a repeated guitar part and some keyboards which feel rather vestigial. The piece just feels rather unnecessary, with far too many annoying vocal repeats to be pleasant to listen to. Not as bad as, say, Never, but not particularly great, either.

Turn It Around is a slightly more sophisticated vocal-driven piece, with some good keyboards and a decent rhythm section. The guitar part is quite enjoyable, and it does provide a good, conclusive feel.

Bella Nova is an uplifting instrumental conclusion to the album, with an unfortunate amount of repetition of individual sounds, even if you do have some more added every now and then. I'm not really the best person to judge this sort of layering, but I don't think it really adds anything to the album.

That Season is a tolerable piece, with a fairly good guitar solo. It's nothing to shout about, but its inclusion doesn't really hurt the album as a whole. The acoustic version of Two Sides Of The Moon is a nice inclusion, though, with a decent feel and a twist on the album version.

So, all-in-all, there is some very good material on here, as well as a few pathetically bad songs. Not a bad album, and I think most progressively-minded people here will find something to like in the three or four more sophisticated pieces.

Rating: Three stars. Favourite Track: U Bring Me Down

Edit: Dropped to two stars, in retrospect. It's a difficult one to rate, as there's far too much dross, but equally some really stellar material. If you want some good progressive rock, there is some on here, and I'd recommend it to someone looking for a different kind of progression, using vocal arrangements and some world influences neatly.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to TGM: Orb (BETA) | Report this review (#172098) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 24, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Not quite arena rock

By the time of the release of Arena the 'new' Asia, led by Geoff Downes and John Payne, was well established. The time when Asia could be regarded as a supergroup was long since passed. This situation probably created a creative freedom for Downes and Payne, allowing them to take Asia in a slightly different direction. Arena is distinctively more lightweight and less hard edged compared to the previous Aria. Ironically, Arena also features possibly the most progressive song the band has ever done in the excellent, nine plus minutes The Day Before The War. Sadly, this great song feels rather out of place on this otherwise mostly rather lightweight Pop album.

The biggest problem I have with this album is that it leaves behind the strong band feeling of Aria. Arena, and even more so the next one Aura, sounds more like a Downes/Payne project with session musicians adden than a real band. In this respect too, The Day Before The War stands out having more the harder edged sound of Aria, but more progressive in structure. The strangest thing about this album is that even the production and mixing sounds different on different songs! The opening Into The Arena somehow sounds like it was tagged on at the beginning of the album after it was finished!

Having this said, Arena is filled with nice, rather accessible songs and is by no means a poor album. If you loved the previous two albums by the group, you will undoubtedly find something to enjoy here too. After all, all the three Payne-era albums were not that dissimilar up to this point, neither in quality nor in musical approach. The very consistent song writing talents of the Downes/Payne leaves no room for any serious criticisms other than perhaps a lack of surprises. In terms Prog content, these albums are rather meagre. Other than the very progressive, The Day Before The War and possibly the Far Eastern influenced U Bring Me Down, the next longest track here, this music will hardly blow the Prog fan away. This music is certainly not very original or inventive, but the band's fans will not be disappointed.

The Roger Dean disciple Rodney Mattews once again provides a very nice cover art. And once again the album's title begins and ends with the letter A. These guys are rather dependable.

Overall, a more than decent album with some excellent moments! For me it is worth having for the superb The Day Before The War alone.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#178330) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 28, 2008

Review by 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.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#349832) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is Asia turely at a high mark for progressive lovers. Geoff Downes and John Payne stray away from mainstream prog pop long enough to release this great album. The music is a mix of mainstream pop, progressive rock, progressive metal, and symphonic touches that make the album truely stan ... (read more)

Report this review (#308636) | Posted by Jazzywoman | Saturday, November 06, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Overall, this is an outstanding effort from the wettonless ASIA, although not exactly for everyone.It starts and ends with a beautiful instrumental, respectively, "Into the Arena" and "Bella Nova". The title track is probably my favourite one from the album, and is a really majestic one, I find i ... (read more)

Report this review (#87023) | Posted by VelBG | Sunday, August 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album leaves more or less Asia as a duo Downes/Payne. This time they tried to do a more progressive album compared to the heavy "Aria". Seems that they didn't succeed very well... The opener "Into The Arena" is a fine instrumental, but considering that it replaces at the last minute the ... (read more)

Report this review (#71097) | Posted by zaxx | Saturday, March 04, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 'Arena' is my introduction to ASIA, I'm more of a harder rock, alternative, metal, fan but I do enjoy well played quality prog. such as this. The vocals are high quality and the melodies are pretty. The music is quite full and complex, it has more of a pop sensibility than a lot of 'Prog" does ... (read more)

Report this review (#26827) | Posted by | Friday, September 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ASIA "Arena"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.45 seconds