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Asia - Aqua CD (album) cover




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2.86 | 203 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The first album with John Payne taking the place of John Wetton on bass and vocals was a far better efford then both Alpha and Astra, but it was also another band entirely. Don´t be fooled by the booklet photos of Carl palmer and Steve Howe as band members, this is not quite the case. Howe appears more like a guest, adding mostly acoustic parts on some tracks. Al Pitrelli (ex Alice Cooper and future Savatage and Megadeth) did most of the guitars here, with the help of Payne and Anthony Glynne. Carl Palmer left the band midway through the recordings and is featured only on three tracks, the remaining ones were done by session musicians.

Having said that I must say I was impressed by this work. For such a confusing line up and 7 years after their last full studio album, Aqua sounds powerful and convincing. Geoff Downes is a much maligned musician, but thanks to his skills as songwriter and producer, the album has a very cohesive, stunning sound. It is far more darker and heavier than all previous Asia albums and except for the first one, also more inspired and with better songs. Of course nothing here is too progressive per se. It is more on the vein of AOR/hard/melodic rock that they do so well. Payne´s voice is perfect for the style and the overall musicanship is obviously very high (higher than most other bands that pedal on this field).

There is no fillers on this CD and several good tracks can be said to be a highlight, depending on your musical taste. For me Someday is definitly the ir biggest achievement here although Who Will Stop The Rain, Heaven on Earth, Back In Town and the acoustic Voice Of Reason are also great tunes. Great instrumental parts, excellent vocals, tasteful arrangements and a top notch production round up this fine CD.

Conclusion: an excellent melodic rock/AOR album. Quite impressive first for the ´John Payne era` of Asia. If you like this band you should check it out. My rating would be at least 4 stars for a general rock site, but for such specific prog place like PA a 3,5 star rating is more fitting.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |


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