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ANTHOLOGY

Asia

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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Watch for those re-recordings

A good cross section of Asia tracks from the bands' albums up to and including "Arena".

Be warned though, the 5 tracks from the Wetton era were re-recorded in 1997 by the then current line up. I understand this was for the ubiquitous "contractual" reasons. The tracks in question are "Heat of the moment", "Only time will tell", "The heat goes on", "Go", and "Don't cry". The quality of these re-recorded tracks is good, but they do not stand up well to comparison with the originals. Arguably among the band's best songs, "The smile has left your eyes" is missing altogether as it is rightly considered by the band to be John (Wetton)'s track and thus they would not re-recorded it in his absence.

The "Payne era" tracks are the original studio versions, and span such albums as "Aria" and "Arena". They stand up well alongside the band's early work, making for a coherent album.

A good introduction to Geoff Downes' Asia, but I would recommend other collections containing all original versions before this one.

Report this review (#26852)
Posted Thursday, March 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is supposed to be a "Best Of" album, but in fact contains many tracks from the Payne era, two unrealeased tracks and five re-recorded tracks from the Wetton era.

I'd say for the Payne era they almost picked up the best tracks they recorded during that period - only "Reality" from the Archiva unreleased tapes can be considered as a weak choice. The re-recorded versions of the archhits "Only Time Will Tell", "Don't Cry", "The Heat Goes On" and "Heat Of The Moment" are not the best parts on this compilation (not mentioning the insipid "Go") as John Payne's voice doesn't seem to fit well for those songs - better get the originals. I would tend to say the best songs on this albums are the two previously unreleased songs "The Hunter" and "Different Worlds".

Rating: 84/100

Report this review (#71193)
Posted Sunday, March 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very pleasant and solid compilation, in my opinion! ...and a very listened and listened again by me in the last 8 years since I put my hands on it! We've got here a bunch of songs from Payne-era (which represents for me almost the perfect image of what band meant in the period after Wetton's departure) together with five representative songs from Wetton-era (Only Time will tell, Don't Cry, The Heat goes on, Go and Heat of the Moment). I think both type of songs were chosen to reflect band's excellent creativity. For example, I like very much The Hunter, Feels like Love and Different Worlds from Payne era, songs that I consider to be the best from the compilation, but, without any doubt the songs from Wetton-era are also nice re-recordings and these songs, IMO, are sounding much clearer than the originals, especially Don't Cry. Don't get me wrong: I own the original releases and it's just my personal opinion here! Overall, the music is very pleasant for any audience and does not require too many auditions to understand it! For the young fans of this prog band, I recommend this compilation and for the fans of Payne era it's a good musical picture!
Report this review (#199026)
Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars John Payne's vocals can't hold a candle to John Wetton's on the re-recordings of the original tracks found her. Unfortunately, Payne didn't consistently master the subtlety necessary to carry off lead vocals for the band until his last album, Silent Nation, which was a decent effort. That album, however, came out after this compilation, so nothing from that effort appears here. "The Hunter" is a strong entry, but it's done much better on the GTR album. "Two Sides of the Moon" is another strong track, though I like the acoustic version better. The best Payne effort here, in my opinion, is "Who Will Stop the Rain?"
Report this review (#272932)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
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Symphonic Team
3 stars Different Worlds

Asia has been anthologized like almost no other band. There are no less than 12 Asia compilation albums listed here on Prog Archives, and there are probably even more out there. This excessive amount of compilations is confusing, to say the least, and I blame this situation for me missing out on this one for so long. Normally, I don't bother with compilations at all. But the present one features some tracks not available anywhere else which makes this a worthwhile compilation for me.

Anthology features 16 tracks, all of which feature John Payne on lead vocals (yes, even the "classic" 80's songs; they were re-recorded here with the Payne-era line-up). Surprisingly, the collection opens with a strong version of a non-Asia track. The Hunter was written by Geoff Downes, but for GTR (the band Steve Howe formed together with Steve Hackett in the mid 80's, after he left Asia for the first time). Unlike many others, I actually like GTR! But I never knew until now that Asia had recorded a version of this song. I like both the original version of The Hunter featuring Max Bacon on vocals, and the present version featuring John Payne.

Only Time Will Tell, Heat Of The Moment, Don't Cry, The Heat Goes On, and Go, are the songs that were re-recorded for this compilation to represent the John Wetton-era of the band (the three first albums; Asia, Alpha, and Astra). Personally, I don't care too much for some of these songs, in any version! But I do prefer the Payne-era over the Wetton-era in general.

Aqua, the first Asia album with John Payne on vocals, is represented here with the lovely Steve Howe instrumental Aqua Pt.1, followed by Who Will Stop The Rain? From Aria we get three tracks in Anytime, Feels Like Love, and Military Man. The latter is a great song. From Arena we get the title track and Two Sides Of The Moon, not the best songs from that album. Different Worlds was a new song at the time and released here for the first time (at least I think so), and Reality was only released on Archiva. The re-issue of Anthology has an acoustic version of Time Again as a bonus track. It's a good one!

A worthy addition to any comprehensive Asia collection!

Report this review (#895947)
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 | Review Permalink

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