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Asia - Astra CD (album) cover




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2.56 | 244 ratings

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1 stars The final merciful nail in the coffin of Asia's first phase, this third album from the ill-advised pop-prog supergroup is yet another example of the rule of diminishing returns. Released during 1985, peddling the same brand of anthemic, fantasy-themed AOR as it's predecessors and featuring three of the four original members - former Yes alumni Geoff Downes(keyboards, vocals) ex-King Crimson, UK and Family member John Wetton(bass, vocals) and ELP's Carl Palmer(drums) - and with new member Mandy Meyer(guitarist) replacing the departed Steve Howe(ex-Yes), 'Alpha' manages the frankly rather herculean feat of being even more insipid than the group's previous records. Any progressive instincts from the once revered line-up seem to have been carefully airbrushed out, leaving behind a hollow, commercial confection drenched in glutinous keyboards, simplistic melodies and a startling lack of invention. The album's failure came as no real surprise - they'd already got away with it once - and the Asia name was soon dissolved as the various members sensibly pursued other projects. Very much a product of it's time, 'Astra' is arguably the career nadir for all involved, showing just how far once-great musicians could fall if they really put their minds to it.


stefro | 1/5 |


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