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Asia - Omega CD (album) cover




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3.10 | 165 ratings

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4 stars Parp, Parp...Here we go again, the latest release from the band for whom the word Spergroup was, or should have been, written. Wetton, Downes, Howe, and Palmer return for this, their fourth studio album as a four piece, and the follow up to Phoenix, an album I enjoyed very much.

Anyone expecting an album of Yes, King Crimson, or ELP will, of course, be bitterly disappointed. This album is very much along the lines of the pop-prog this band perfected with their first release, so will probably not appeal to absolute purists. Of course, for those of you, like me, who are somewhat more open minded, this is once again a hugely enjoyable collection of tracks, with stunning musicianship, especially from Steve Howe, who is becoming like a fine wine, becoming more proficient and excellent as the years roll by. His guitar work, so sadly neglected on the second release Alpha, is once again very much to the fore, and he is, of course, joined by three of the other finest musicians in music.

I cannot say that any track really stands out on this LP. All tracks are played to a very high standard, roll along to a fine intensity, and feel just as good as that stunning debut all those years ago. I will, though, make special mention of Holy War, which has a strong resemblance to Wildest Dreams from the debut, and End of the World, probably the track that would appeal most to purists, this features some some exceptional musicianship.

My least favourite track, and one I feel is awful, is Emily, which somehow reminds me of a Eurovision Song Contest entry (for those of you unfamiliar with this cultural "landmark", go to YouTube or, for the sake of your sanity, probably best you don't want to know!).

This is a difficult album to rate. The band play so well, and this is most clearly a great continuation of a strong reunion, one in which I am very grateful that new material is being produced, rather than simply playing on old glories.

It's not essential, it's better than good, so I suppose a four star rating in between is about right.

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4, because I think they are worth it.

lazland | 4/5 |


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