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Asia Silent Nation album cover
3.11 | 165 ratings | 14 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. What About Love? (5:25)
2. Long Way From Home (5:58)
3. Midnight (6:23)
4. Blue Moon Monday (7:16)
5. Silent Nation (6:03)
6. Ghost In The Mirror (4:35)
7. Gone Too Far (6:47)
8. I Will Be There For You (4:09)
9. Darkness Day (6:17)
10. The Prophet (5:15)

Total Time: 58:08

Bonus DVD from 2004 SE:
The Making Of 'Silent Nation' (23:46)

Line-up / Musicians

- Guthrie Govan / guitar
- Geoffrey Downes / keyboards, percussion, computer programming
- John Payne / bass, guitars, lead vocals, production & mixing
- Chris Slade / drums, percussion

- Ant Glynne / guitars
- Billy Sherwood / guitars, bass
- Jay Schellen / drums
- Kim Nielsen-Parsons / bass (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Thomas Ewerhard with Roger Dean (logo)

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 175 (2004, Germany)
CD + DVD Inside Out ‎- IOMSECD 175 (2004, Germany) SE with DVD including "The Making Of" video

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ASIA Silent Nation ratings distribution

(165 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (35%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)

ASIA Silent Nation reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I have always treated Asia as a project for those prog masters that wanted to do something else. It's because it was originally consisted of Carl Palmer (ELP), Steve Howe (Yes), John Wetton (K Crimson) and Geoff Downes (Yes). I could accept their debut album and assumed it as a hard rock music with some progressive touch (not that much, actually). The band then evolved with many changes in personnel with one member being constant: Geoff Downes. In its original form, it's actually similar with the GTR as a joint-effort between two guitar masters: Steve Hackett and Steve Howe. The only difference was that GTR disbanded after the two guitarists did not think would continue with the GTR project. With Asia, Geoff has carried the torch and brought the band into many albums with something I called it as pop rock music. Nothing wrong with this, it's natural as an evolution of a band.

Having been so long not in touch with Asia since their Astra album, I was triggered to enjoy their latest release "Silent nation" as some friends and some reviews mentioned that this album was good. What I found was a great regret. It's not because this album not prog at all as I had been aware that Asia was basically a pop rock band. Even by using a pop rock spectacles I don's see this is a good one to have. Almost all tracks are straight forward and boring. The composition is too loose, I would say. But, I can understand that those die- hard fans of Asia would love this album as they have enjoyed the music since the old days. That's why I would give this album only for collectors who truly love Asia. But for those who are new with the band, I think this album is not the best one to start with. Their debut album is much better than this one. If you want to evaluate using "prog" spectacles, this is NOT under that category. Keep on proggin' .!!! Yours progressively, GW.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Finally, another Asian aria!

I saw Asia live on the tour in support of this album in Copenhagen. It was a kind of mini-festival featuring Asia, Uriah Heep and Dio. I was primarily there to see Uriah Heep, while in the end I was very disappointed with Uriah Heep's performance (something wrong with the sound, I think), but I was impressed by Asia's and Dio's performances!

I don't remember exactly what songs Asia played, but I know that they played What About Love from this album as well as some classic songs from the debut including Heat Of The Moment (it was quite fun to see the metal fans sing along with this!). Overall, I think that Asia rocked much harder in this live performance than I had expected. Maybe they toughened themselves up because of the audience that night? Anyway, I liked it!

So, what about Silent Nation? Personally, I like this a lot better than the previous Aura album. Apparently, many people on this site like Aura, but I just can't get into that album. To me Aura is nothing more than a straightforward Pop album. Silent Nation is a much harder edged affair returning to the power of Aria, released ten years earlier. However, it does not sound as 80's as that album, which is a good thing of course! The return to the sound of Aria is for me a good thing since I much prefer Aria over both Aura and Arena (though, my # favourite is Aqua). What Silent Nation has in common with Aria is that these albums have more of a band feel, while others are just studio projects led by Geoff Downes and John Payne and filled up with session musicians and various guests.

The material of Silent Nation is strong and very melodic (admittedly, sometimes a bit too much so!); the electric guitar sound is great and the guitarist is very good; the keyboards are less modern, less electronic (with the exception of Darkness Day) and much more organic than on Aura. This is probably due to Geoff using a sound that is close to the old Hammond organ on several songs (though I suspect it is not a real Hammond he is playing here, but it sounds rather genuine) and also some grand piano. In addition, there are some strings and some acoustic guitar parts on some songs that further contribute to making this album more organic and genuine than other Asia albums that often had a somewhat artificial sound.

The vocals are great here, Payne has a distinctive voice. The drums sound very good too, but they are not very elaborated and are never allowed to stretch out. This is one of the main problems with Silent Nation. The production is, on the other hand, absolutely top notch but not glossy like on Aura. I would also say that Silent Nation might be the most progressive Asia album overall. There is no individual track that stands out as being more progressive, or better, than the others, like the excellent The Day Before The War from Arena, but the progressive influences are more evenly spread over the whole album this time.

And finally, I must mention the lyrics. The lyrics have been a constant problem for Asia throughout their whole career. Indeed, I would say that several Asia songs compete for worst Prog (related) lyrics of all time. On Silent Nation however, the lyrics are not horrible apart from on I Will Be There For You; 'anything you want, anything you need, I will be there for you'. Come on! This song is clearly the worst here, with basically the same lyrics as Anytime from Aria! Why repeat something that was so bad in the first place?! What About Love is also quite plain lyrically and has an overly catchy chorus, but the rest of Silent Nation is very acceptable from both the lyrical and the musical perspective.

Conclusion: Silent Nation is a stronger and more dynamic album than we had heard from Asia since Aqua. Recommended, but not quite excellent because of some minor flaws.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars First of all I want to state that the only reason why I donīt give this album a 5 star rating is the fact that there is little prog on it. If PA was a hard rock or AOR site this would be halied as a classic, no doubt. Not that I approached this CD with reverence. Not at all. in fact I had much prejudice for it. To me, Asia was Steve Howe, John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes. The simple thought of an album carrying Asiaīs name with only Downes as a original member sounded too much a sell out for my taste. Thatīs why it took it so long for me to even listen to it. Now I have to eat humble pie, as they say.

I was impressed from the moment I first heard the CD. And the more I listened the more I got the feeling that it was not only excellent, but also it could be par to any of the bandīs best, except maybe the first (well, that one has a little more prog in it, hasnīt it?). I also found Bill Payneīs voice very similar to Wettonīs. The guy is a fine singer. But nothing would work so well if it was not for the fine songs included on this album. This is probably Asiaīs best compositions since their debut: inspired, strong, darker than usual, very convincing. Also there is a kind of īback to the basics` feeling on it: that might explains why Downes plays a lot more Hammond organ here than he was doing up to then. The guitar parts are also very well done and very 70īs sounding.

Production is also top notch. The arrangements are very well done, of course. There is not a single filler in the whole album, and the traklist is very balanced. There are even some novelties like the gregorian chants used on Darkness Day. Itīs hard to point a highlight since there are too many good songs on it. Every time I hear it it I donīt skip one track.

Silent Nation stands as darker and edgier album than one would expect from a band like Asia. But it is also very melodic and tasteful. If you like good pop rock with prog influences, or is just an AOR fan, you should not miss this one. I heard this CD is the best from the Bill Payne era and I believe it, even thouhg I havenīt heard the others. And it is one of Asiaīs best, with or without the classic line up we all love. As I said before, I can not give it the 5 star rating I was thinking of here on PA. For this site a 3,5 star is quite fitting though. A (very) nice surprise.

Review by patrickq
2 stars On the cover of Asia's Silent Nation is a striking image of two men. In many ways they're ordinary and anonymous. Each is a white man dressed in a suit and tie, walking down the middle of the street in a sepia photo in what looks like late-depression-era New York City. One of the men is wearing sunglasses, further emphasizing his anonymity. What's immediately eye-catching is the fact that neither man has a mouth.

This music on Silent Nation is similarly anonymous and ordinary, and to carry the metaphor one step further, it doesn't have much to say - - or, to be fair, it doesn't have much to say beyond the ordinary.

The best lyrics on the album are those which seem to have been given the least thought. Unfortunately, the songwriters (singer John Payne, keyboardist Geoff Downes, and on two songs, future bassist-singer Billy Sherwood) attempt the occasional clever turn of phrase. For instance, the title song seems to vaguely address government surveillance ("the eagle is listening today") by conflating it with other inevitabilities of big government (e.g., "no longer have a name / a number will do"). Confusingly, singer John Payne argues that "it's not up to me to change what has been done," and then says "we must change what has been done" before reverting to his claim that "it's not up to me to change what has been done." My issue is not that the lyrics don't make sense; I'm all for alligator lizards in the air. The problem here is that the lyricists seem to have unwittingly set the bar too high for themselves.

Some have referred to Silent Nation as a concept album, but I don't see it. There's a concept underlying the title track, and the album artwork fits the concept. And the concept is so broad that you might find hints of it in the lyrics of one or more other songs. But that's as far as it goes.

There are a few exceptions to the ordinariness of Silent Nation; "Blue Moon Monday" has some odd synthesizer moments and a nice false fade-out. But "Long Way from Home" sounds like 2000s adult contemporary (not that genre's golden age, by the way). The verses of the similar "Midnight" sound like Mike and the Mechanics. And so on.

Silent Nation is a far cry from Asia's 1982 debut album, recorded by bassist-vocalist John Wetton, drummer Carl Palmer, guitarist Steve Howe, and keyboardist Geoff Downes. By 2004, the band had consisted for more than a decade of Downes and bassist-vocalist John Payne, with a revolving cast of drummers and lead guitarists. I was underwhelmed by the first Payne-Downes album, Aqua (1992), but decided to give Silent Nation a chance, partly because Sherwood and drummer Jay Schellen made some contributions. Unfortunately, Silent Nation pales in comparison even to the lackluster Aqua.

Two stars for an uninspired album that I'd recommend only to Asia collectors, or perhaps Billy Sherwood completists.

Latest members reviews

2 stars SILENT NATION is the last official ASIA album featuring John Payne as lead vocalist and primary songwriter... and it hearkens back to the band's 1994 ARIA album in many ways, although somehow not quite as vibrant. The songs are all quite straight-forward. Some are basic upbeat Rock, while ot ... (read more)

Report this review (#1547903) | Posted by altaeria | Monday, April 4, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Coming off what could be considered Asia's best album, this is a huge disapointment. The music itself sounds, as with most Asia records from any era, sounds the same as it did before, only with John Payne, which is to say, not that bad actually. The jazz tinges that were found on some of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#309317) | Posted by Jazzywoman | Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As the cover shows, Silent Nation is Asia's darkest record ever. It shares a bit of the heroic mood of their previous albums but except from one or two tracks (Ghost in the Mirror, I Will Be There for You) it's got a lack of happiness. Most of the lyrics deal with the world ruined by mankind: po ... (read more)

Report this review (#189342) | Posted by Diaby | Saturday, November 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album was for me a great disappointment. All the inspiration the band had when writing "Aura" is gone here, leaving a bunch of insipid songs. Listening to those songs makes me feel that I'm listening to some demos or unreleased material like on the Archiva releases. Clearly the influence ... (read more)

Report this review (#71278) | Posted by zaxx | Monday, March 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album "Silent Nation" is undoubtably their best album of the Payne Era. Even though Aura is also a great release. In spite of not being really a "PROG" band, ASIA still can rock. It is a hard album with lots of brilliant songs like Ghost in the mirror, gone too far, silent nation, I'll b ... (read more)

Report this review (#63059) | Posted by gweyne | Tuesday, January 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars To be honest, this album is not my fav of the band but it still keeps the trademarks of the band: good melodies and more complex than other AOR stuff. Some tracks are weak like What about love or I will be there for you (the only two in fact) but others just rock like Blue moon monday, Long wa ... (read more)

Report this review (#39516) | Posted by fairyliar | Friday, July 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Asia is since evermy favorite group and I was happy to see them live in Luxebmourg. Asia and myself missed the public but the performance was excellent. Silent Nation is a good album but there should be more songs as "Long way from home" that remembers more and more to the old lucky Asia style ... (read more)

Report this review (#32259) | Posted by | Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Being a fan of mainly the older Asia lineups I find it strange to see that people are comparing this new album to the classic ones. After listening through this album I am sad to say that as a former fan of Asia, there is nothing for me here. To me the album just sounds completely uninspired, ... (read more)

Report this review (#32256) | Posted by | Monday, October 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Since the addition of John Payne to the Asia lineup in the early 90's, the band has charted new and creative territory with impressive results. "Silent Nation" is the reward for those of us who have waited for new material since the excellent "Aura" from '01. Great from start to finish. A nic ... (read more)

Report this review (#32255) | Posted by | Wednesday, September 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Asia's latest release "Silent Nation" is undoubtably the finest album of 2004. While not exactly a "prog" effort, it is nonetheless inventive, imaginative and truly brilliant. A must-buy for all interested in rock music, as well as prog fans who don't mind more straightforward music from time ... (read more)

Report this review (#32253) | Posted by | Thursday, August 19, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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