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Asia - XXX CD (album) cover




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2.98 | 159 ratings

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2 stars I wasn't sure that the original four piece would return for another album considering that they only managed to release two albums back in the '80s before Steve Howe decided to leave the guys behind and create his own supergroup with Steve Hackett called GTR. After the magnificent comeback with Phoenix, an album I personally consider to be the best in the entire Asia catalog, and following it up with Omega really seemed like this supergroup quartet were content on reliving their glory days from back in the '80s. The first two comeback albums really had a nostalgic ring to them by featuring exactly the same classic sound and John Wetton's voice certainly sounded as if it was carefully preserved for the last 25 years. Now that those 25 years have turned into 30, that is 30 years since the release of the band's debut release, it was time to mark the occasion by releasing the appropriately titled XXX (pun intended).

After giving the album a few spins it was clear that Asia were still at it with their nostalgia style that will most certainly appeal to the fans who enjoyed them back in 1982. Still, there are a few differences with this record compared to the previous two reunion albums. First off, the sound is not as '80-sounding as before, which does ruin some of the momentum for me. I also was slightly excited about this album's lengthier track listing with most songs going way past the 4 minute mark that Asia are otherwise known for. Unfortunately there is really nothing to be excited for here since the songs are for most part just prolonged with an extra chorus, hence no chance that Asia will convert to a prog act any time soon. The final and biggest problem that I have with this release is that the songwriting is just not there anymore. I was not impressed after hearing the promo single Face On The Bridge for the first time, back in May, since it really sounded like one of their least interesting tracks yet. Luckily there are a few stronger moments on the actual album that do blow this first single out of water. Songs like Bury Me In Willow and Faithful still have those strong chorus lines that made Asia the enjoyable act that they are today but what I do lack are those strong ballads like Ever Yours and I Don't Wanna Lose You Now from Omega or Heroine and I Will Remember You from Phoenix.

Overall, XXX sounds like a collection of tracks that I consider subpar whenever I try comparing it with the previous two releases. It really sounds like the combination of old age and a longing for the past has gone overboard with this release but things get even worse whenever Asia tries something different on tracks like No Religion and the bonus track Reno (Silver And Gold). Let's just say that I would have been perfectly content if the band had called it a day after Phoenix and Omega because things will certainly not get any better from here on.

**** star songs: Tomorrow The World (6:47) Bury Me In Willow (6:01) Faithful (5:37) Ghost Of A Chance (4:21)

*** star songs: No Religion (6:36) I Know How You Feel (4:53) Face On The Bridge (5:59) Al Gatto Nero (4:36) Judas (4:43) Reno (Silver And Gold) (5:16)

Rune2000 | 2/5 |


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