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Asia - Astra CD (album) cover




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2.56 | 234 ratings

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The Crow
Prog Reviewer
2 stars A short-lived new phase for Asia!

After the fiasco of joining forces with the missed Greg Lake and parting ways with Steve Howe, Asia tried to retrieve the right path with Astra, joining with the young and talented guitarist Mandy Meyer. But the result was an uninspired and very foreseeable album with some of the lowest moments in the band's history.

Meyer's heavier approach to prog gave some of the song a litter "heavier" feeling, but that was not enough to recover the energy and strong songwriting that Asia had on their first album. Let's talk about the songs...

Go is a lousy attempt to make another hit, just very predictable. Voice of America lacks some kind of hook, and its chorus is a just shameful. Hard on Me is better, a good AOR song with strong riffs. One of the highlights? of the album. It strangely remembers me of what John Payne would make in this band years later.

Whishing opens with a beautiful keyboard arrangement, but after that it turns into a poppy AOR tune which lacks real interest beyond its beautiful guitar bridge. But while Rock and Roll Dream is an obvious attempt to make something progressive and symphonic, is by far the best track on the album. And the funniest moment despite its repetitive chorus.

But then comes Countdown to Zero, a pitiful ecological song with bad songwriting. And so, the album goes on till the end... Love Now till Eternity is just uninspired, Too Late is another lousy attempt to make a hit, and Suspicion is far from being memorable despite its good keyboard solo.

After the War is another attempt to sound progressive and symphonic, but it's just pompous. But it contains a good guitar solo and good guitar melodies, giving an idea of how good Meyer really was and how wasted he was in this record.

Conclusion: the first Asia album were by no mean great records, but pretty enjoyable nevertheless. But this Astra does not reach the good copositive level of Asia and Alpha, despite its good guitars and lavish production, making hearing this disc a boring and uninteresting experience, despite a pair of good songs. For this reason, I consider this album worthy just for fans of Asia's first era, is there are still some out there.

Best Tracks: Hard on Me, Rock and Roll Dream.

My rating: **

The Crow | 2/5 |


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