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Asia - Alpha CD (album) cover




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2.80 | 323 ratings

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1 stars As much as this reviewer loves Yes, John Wetton's work with King Crimson and Steve Howe's guitar, ASIA will always be seen as the corporate cheese-rock cop-out super-group who produced a string of dire albums through the 1980's and forever stained the resume's of all involved. After the brutal musical genocide that is otherwise known as Punk-Rock mistakes were made, and only the brave or the very successful were still producing straight-ahead progressive rock. YES had splintered into several squabbling factions, Robert Fripp had dumped KING CRIMSON and America was being taken over by a clutch of slick 'stadium rock' groups such as FOREIGNER, JOURNEY and BOSTON, all of whom were riding the dollar-paved highway to sell-out super-stardom. With one canny eye on the fat American market Wetton and Howe teamed up with vocalist-and-keyboardist Geoff Downes, formerly of THE BUGGLES and YES, and also brought in the Palmer from EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER(first name Carl) on drums. ALPHA was released in 1983, but failed to emulate the huge success of the group's eponymously-titled debut of a year earlier. The hackneyed formula was pretty much the same - big-ballads, fantasy-trimmings, Roger Dean cover, synth rock - just this time around the buying public didn't seem so keen. The line-up would soon chop-and-change, and the group eventually became merely a footnote of rock history when obviously something much more grand was planned by those involved. They were a super-group after all. It's hard to draw comparisons with other groups as ASIA'S brand of faux-prog classic-rock sounds very weak when compared to the nearest touchstones. And it sounds positively awful when paired with FOREIGNER's excellent '4' album, 'Escape' by JOURNEY or FLASH'S eponymous debut, albums that no doubt shared ASIA'a intended musical ambitions. Over-produced and glossy and now extremely-dated, ASIA were a commercially-successful but critically-disdained group who, for some, summed-up all that was pompous and over-indulgent about 1980's rock music. Considering the group's heritage, it's a damn shame. This is as far from 'Fallen Angel' , 'Lucky Man' or 'Roundabout' as one can get. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

stefro | 1/5 |


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