Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Asia Gravitas album cover
2.84 | 139 ratings | 9 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

Buy ASIA Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Valkyrie (5:25)
2. Gravitas (i. Lento ii. Gravitas) (7:59)
3. The Closer I Get to You (6:38)
4. Nyctophobia (5:11)
5. Russian Dolls (5:05)
6. Heaven Help Me Now (i. Wings of Angels ii. Prelude iii.Heaven Help Me Now) (5:38)
7. I Would Die For You (3:11)
8. Joe DiMaggio's Glove (4:30)
9. Till We Meet Again (4:03)

Total Time 47:40

Bonus tracks on 2014 SE:
10. The Closer I Get to You (acoustic) (6:40)
11. Joe DiMaggio?s Glove (acoustic) (4:34)

Bonus DVD from 2014 SE:
1. Valkyrie (Video clip) (4:38)
2. The Making Of Gravitas (4:37)
3. An Extraordinary Life (Live *) (4:36)
4. Only Time Will Tell (Live *) (5:04)
5. Heat Of The Moment (Live *) (6:01)

* Recorded in Plodiv, Bulgaria

Total time 24:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Sam Coulson / guitars
- Geoffrey Downes / keyboards, co-producer
- John Wetton / bass, acoustic guitars, lead vocals, co-producer
- Carl Palmer / drums

- Katinka Kleijn / cello (1)
- Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra (DVD 4,5)
- Levon Manukyan / conductor (DVD 4,5)

Releases information

Artwork: Roger Dean

CD Frontiers Records ‎- FR CD 643 (2014, Italy)
CD+DVD Frontiers Records ‎- FR CDVD 643 (2014, Italy) With 2 bonus tracks plus a DVD

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy ASIA Gravitas Music

ASIA Gravitas ratings distribution

(139 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (27%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

ASIA Gravitas reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars That dragon has plummeted!

After having reunited in 2006, displacing the John Payne-fronted version of the band, the original line-up of Asia surprised me with the very strong live album and concert video Fantasia - Live In Tokyo. This live album and video was recorded before the release of the first studio album by the original line-up since the reunion and featured a very strong set list containing not only energetic and passionate performances of every track from the group's self-titled 1982 debut album, but also songs originally recorded by King Crimson, Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and The Buggles. Then came Phoenix in 2008 which was a good album by Asia's standards. However, even if Phoenix did not disappoint, it failed to live up to the momentum created by Fantasia.

In 2010 another live album and video followed called Spirit Of The Night, recorded on the Phoenix tour in 2009. This too was a good release, but again it failed to excite. In the same year the band released their second studio disc since the reunion in Omega, and by this time it was getting very clear that they were very quickly running out of steam just like they had done in their early days. The rapid decline of the reformed band was confirmed by Resonance, yet another live album this time recorded on the Omega tour in 2010. The latter wasn't bad, just lifeless and predictable, and after previous releases felt rather unnecessary. After 2012's slightly better, but still weak XXX Steve Howe had the good sense of abandoning the sinking ship and left the group, and everyone thought that this was the end.

But John Wetton, Geoff Downes, and Carl Palmer had not had enough and apparently they think that the "original" Asia can go on without Howe, so they hired a new, young guitarist to fill Howe's big shoes. But the absence of Howe is not the main problem here. After all, Howe's contribution and musical presence was already close to absent on Omega. The real problem is in the utterly weak song writing. Whatever shreds of inspiration that still remained on XXX are completely lost here. The band sounds tired and uninspired and Gravitas is disappointing even in relation to the weak Omega. Wetton seems to be the driving force of the band here and his vocals and lyrics are in the forefront with the other three members playing supporting roles. Palmer's drumming is particularly weak here. The best aspect of this album is the nice cover art by the great Roger Dean, but this album really doesn't deserve such a beautiful sleeve.

I have heard every album that Asia has put out since their inception and I must say that Gravitas is the band's lowest point ever. If they can't do better, I hope this is their last. My hope now lies even more firmly with the other incarnation of the group, Asia featuring John Payne to carry the spirit of the band onward.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars What makes an album is good? I think it relies on how you look at it instead of the musical quality per se. For me personally, music is emotion. It touches something very substance in people's mind and in my case also heart. When Asia was first formed in the 80s all ears were focusing on how the music would sound like as most of members were coming from pioneers of prog with bands like ELP, Yes, King Crimson. People expected very high but forgot that the real intent of the members to create Asia as project was for them to take a refresh mind by making something else other than prog. So when it was launched there were many people disappointed as they asked question like: where is the PROG element? I was disappointed as well at first listen.

But then I took another standpoint by forgetting who actually played in the band and reposition Asia as a straight forward rock band and BOOM! I like it. Of course Time Again and Wildest Dreams as my favorites. But overall the album was quite good for my ears. The melody as well as chorus lines were all OK to my ears. And now I am facing this new album by Asia named as "Gravitas" with major disappointment not because of the composition or performance - yes both components are not good as well. The chief disappointing factor with this album is that it has lost its soul. There is nothing such as the nuances of legendary prog masters. Well that should be fine ...and I reposition it already this album as an AOR kind of music style. But the music fails to prove me the good quality of it unless one thing: the stunning guitar work by the new boy. I think ...almost all songs are weak but the guitar solos are almost all great. The only song that deserves good rating is the album title "Gravitas" where it has stunning guitar solo. Most of songs have very weak and damn boring chorus line. It's really waste of time listening to this album. Actually "I Would Die For You" is potentially a good track ...but again ... the chorus line is so boring ....

Overall, I would not recommend this album not because of bad composition but more on the lost of soul in the music. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Probably best to start this review with a couple of admissions. Firstly, when the first Asia album came out it was purchased immediately and I very nearly wore the needle out playing it (yes it was vinyl, yes I really am that old). But, to me it was a state of diminishing returns as each album wasn't quite as good as the last and I soon lost interest. It was only later that I listened to some material and realized that there were still some good songs, but that it wasn't really working for me. But, when I heard that the original line-up was going to get back together then of course I was excited, but while 'Phoenix' and 'Omega' did have some good bits here and there, 'XXX' had little in the way to save it. So, when I was offered this album I was quite in two minds, especially when I saw that Steve was no longer involved and instead they now had Sam Coulson (who has worked with Paul Gilbert and Walter Trout).

After I had played the album a few times I found myself questioning how to actually review it. If one is looking for groundbreaking music then this isn't it, but if one wants an album filled with anthems that just beg the listener to sing along then maybe it is. Although this has Asia on the sleeve, and is filled with Asia-style harmonies and songs, there is a real feeling that this is actually a Downes-Wetton album. Carl always played a more subdued role with Asia than ELP due to the style of music, and Sam seems to be content to provide backing riffs and has little to do with the way of lead roles (although they do throw him the occasional solo and he does a great job) and this makes the album somewhat one-sided. But, did I enjoy listening to it? The answer to that has to be a resounding yes, and I know that if they deigned to tour down here then I would be delighted to go and see them. So, for pure listening pleasure (and I know that this is weighted with sentiment) it has to be 4/5, but I wouldn't be surprised to see others rate it much lower than that. But, it is a million miles better than 'XXX', although that wasn't too hard to be fair.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars ASIA was announced in 1982 as a "super-group". Many Prog Rock fans then were "excited" to see the names of three very respected Prog Rock musicians working together in a band (Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and John Wetton), still expecting to listen to great musical things in Prog Rock terms by the combination of their talents. The only musician in the band without a full time Prog Rock music background was Geoff Downes, who previously was part of a Pop Rock band called THE BUGGLES who in 1980 became part of YES for their "Drama" album, being recruited then by YES more as "urgent replacements" by their manager as they had contracted tour dates to be played and to satisfy some pending financial problems that the band had when Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman left the band. So, "Drama" was surprisingly a very good album done by a tired YES, which had some success, but the tour was not as successful as the album because THE BUGGLES ` former lead singer Trevor Horn had great problems singing the old songs from the band in concert. So, YES split for a time, and Steve Howe and John Wetton were put in contact by one very famous A&R man to form a new band. This A&R man was very influential and had some plans to form some "super-groups" . ASIA was one of them. So, Palmer and Downes later joined that band to form that "super-group". Despite the very good quality of their first album from 1982 (which was more Pop Rock oriented than Prog Rock oriented), many Prog Rock fans were disappointed by the commercial musical direction the new band followed ("the new musical trends of the eighties"). So, I can say that ASIA really was like other "super-groups": a very good combination of very good musicians which apparently only could work together well for one album. After the success of this first album, some problems started to appear between the egos of some members, and the record label executives and managers declared Wetton and Downes as the "official composers" of the band, another thing which caused a lot of problems which in the end caused the split of the original band after the tour for a second album titled "Alpha" (1983), an album which was even more Pop Rock oriented than their first. Anyway, the band was not the same without Howe as guitarist, but the band reunited in 2006 with their original line-up. Unfortunately, maybe the chemistry was not as good as it was for their first album from 1982, so Howe finally left again in early 2013. So, like other "super-groups", ASIA was maybe destined to be remembered for a really very good first album and nothing more.

But ASIA is not finished yet as a band without Howe. Even if the guitar role has been increasingly diminished in this band in their last albums with Howe, they recruited a young guitarist called Sam Coulson for this "Gravitas" album. But again, replacing a very characteristic sound as guitarist like Howe`s is not an easy task. Coulson is a good guitarist, but his style of playing is more related to other guitarists that the band had before (Mandy Meyer, Pat Thrall) than to Howe`s. So, this "Gravitas" album is similar in some ways to "Astra" (1985) but without the eighties very characteristic production sound and style that "Astra" has. The songs are very good, all composed by Wetton and Downes with their very characteristic composing style, and with very good arrangements. These musicians are very good and with a lot of experience, of course, so one can expect really very good albums from them, even if the Prog Rock arrangements are not very present and even if the style of the music is more Pop Rock oriented than before. Wetton and Downes became the "definitive" composers for this band, and the sound of this band is more related to their composing style since "Alpha". Their first album should be remembered really as a "one-off" very good combination of talents which produced a very good album which still had some Prog Rock things, and for that reason it is maybe their best album. But with Wetton and Downes as composers and with Palmer as a very good drummer plus Coulson`s guitar style the band still sounds very well. I think that Downes really shines with his keyboards playing and arrangements in ASIA more than in YES (on which the guitars are the predominant instruments more than the keyboards). So Downes`s best musical place in a band is in ASIA, working together with Wetton as composers and producers.

In conclusion, this is a good qualiy album, very well recorded, mixed and produced, and with a very good cover design by Roger Dean. Not very Prog Rock in musical style, but good anyway.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I have been a follower of Asia since their beginnings. Yes Asia is prog pop prog...but in this vein one of the best groups. Maybe Asia Asia was the only one in a line of symphonic heavy prog. a more popular line. Maybe it got better(in my opinion yes) with their other ... (read more)

Report this review (#1158702) | Posted by robbob | Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Contrary to popular opinion, I think this new Asia album is their best after original line-up reunion. Despite the stellar line up (well, without Howe this time), I think people should have already learnt what to expect from the band - good old AOR, with Wetton's characteristic melodic touch. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1156793) | Posted by Thandrus | Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I have no experience of Asia. I just knew it was a prog "super group" with old progers who gathered in the early eighties and recorded some quite popular records, but as I can see here, not so well ranked by prog listeners. Especially this most recent record from 2014, "Gravitas" which feature ... (read more)

Report this review (#1156595) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Tuesday, April 1, 2014 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Asia were never prog, AOR with ocasional prog leanings at best. Still, because of the musicians involved i (and i believe many like me) have tried time and time again to enjoy their work. Their debut (even though nothing special nor above average) is still their best and most inspired work. I wa ... (read more)

Report this review (#1153823) | Posted by ScarRitual | Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars One more time... I am just listening to the album for the 2nd time. An album I really was looking forward to. But one more time I have to say none of the songs is able to catch my attention. After hearing 'Gravitas' no impreesions remaining in my head. A really sad thing that the band's great intr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1152903) | Posted by keepitsimple | Monday, March 24, 2014 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ASIA "Gravitas"

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


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).

Forum user
Forum password

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

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.