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ASIA

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Asia picture
Asia biography
Founded in London, UK in 1981 - Hiatus between 1986-1989 - Still active as of 2018

ASIA were formed by Steve HOWE (YES), John WETTON (KING CRIMSON, URIAH HEEP, UK ETC.), Geoff DOWNES (YES, BUGGLES) and Carl PALMER (ELP). They were of course immediately dubbed a "supergroup" (in the way as CREAM, EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER etc. were). Over the years the line up has gone through constant changes, with DOWNES being the only founding member still present (although even he has not been ever present). Greg LAKE passed though the ranks briefly in 1983 replacing WETTON, but his voice did not suit the material, and he left before recording any studio albums with the band.

WETTON's return in 1984 resurrected previous conflicts with HOWE, who left to be replaced by Mandy METER (KROKUS). ASIA effectively ceased to exist between 1985 and 1987, when DOWNES and WETTON attempted to rekindle the flame. They recorded a few tracks together, but WETTON soon moved on again, and DOWNES started working with John PAYNE on alternative projects. In 1989, WETTON and PALMER got back together forming yet another line up with John YOUNG and Alan DARBY. The line up changes continued into the 1990's, with DOWNES soon rejoining and bringing in the since long serving John PAYNE. By 1991, the band still only released three studio albums. With the release of "Aqua" in 1992, there started a relatively settled period for ASIA in as much as the band became very much a DOWNES/PAYNE project, with other musicians being brought in for recording or touring as required. A reunion of the original line up appears to have almost happened in the late 1990's, but the momentum was lost, and it never materialised.

With such well known names in the original ASIA , expectations were high that the new band would produce high quality prog rock in it's truest form. ASIA however had different ideas, and went for a far more direct and commercial sound. The quality of the musicianship was undoubted, but many fans of the source bands were left disappointed by the self titled debut album. Commercially, the venture was enormously successful, with the band enjoying both singles and album chart suc...
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ASIA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ASIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 605 ratings
Asia
1982
2.87 | 372 ratings
Alpha
1983
2.59 | 280 ratings
Astra
1985
2.88 | 214 ratings
Aqua
1992
2.92 | 174 ratings
Aria
1994
3.34 | 179 ratings
Arena
1996
3.28 | 184 ratings
Aura
2000
3.12 | 168 ratings
Silent Nation
2004
3.22 | 211 ratings
Phoenix
2008
3.12 | 177 ratings
Omega
2010
2.99 | 167 ratings
XXX
2012
2.84 | 139 ratings
Gravitas
2014
2.85 | 48 ratings
Asia feat. John Payne: Recollections - A Tribute To British Prog
2014

ASIA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.79 | 63 ratings
Asia Live: 09-XI-90 Mocквa
1990
2.44 | 13 ratings
Now: Live In Nottingham
1997
2.09 | 11 ratings
Asia Live In Osaka
1997
1.20 | 13 ratings
Live In Koln
1997
2.13 | 12 ratings
Asia Live In Philadelphia
1997
3.15 | 7 ratings
Live At The Town & Country Club
1999
2.75 | 8 ratings
Live Acoustic
1999
3.13 | 12 ratings
Ensŏ' Kai (Live in Tokyo 1983)
2001
1.47 | 6 ratings
Alive In Hallowed Halls
2001
3.85 | 13 ratings
America - Live In The Usa
2002
4.50 | 2 ratings
Live at Budokan
2002
2.21 | 5 ratings
Dragon Attack
2003
2.28 | 8 ratings
Live in Buffalo
2003
2.13 | 4 ratings
Live in Hyogo
2003
1.69 | 7 ratings
Live in Massachusetts '83
2004
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live in the UK - Vol. 1
2006
2.63 | 7 ratings
Live in Nottingham
2007
3.65 | 60 ratings
Fantasia - Live in Tokyo
2007
3.50 | 10 ratings
Extended Versions
2007
3.28 | 13 ratings
Spirit Of The Night - The Phoenix Tour Live In Cambridge 2009
2010
1.33 | 3 ratings
Live Around the World
2010
2.62 | 15 ratings
Resonance (The Omega Tour 2010)
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Under the Bridge
2012
2.33 | 11 ratings
High Voltage: Live
2014
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live in America
2015
2.69 | 13 ratings
Axis XXX Live in San Francisco
2015
3.22 | 8 ratings
Symfonia - Live in Bulgaria 2013
2017
3.25 | 4 ratings
Aurora
2021
3.36 | 5 ratings
Asia in Asia - Live at the Budokan, Tokyo 1983
2022

ASIA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.16 | 24 ratings
Asia In Asia (VHS)
1984
2.38 | 15 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
2.20 | 17 ratings
Live In Moscow 1990 (DVD)
2003
3.27 | 18 ratings
America: Live in the USA (DVD)
2003
3.72 | 42 ratings
Fantasia - Live In Tokyo (DVD)
2007
3.64 | 11 ratings
Spirit Of The Night - The Phoenix Tour - Live in Cambridge 2009
2010
2.00 | 1 ratings
Access All Areas
2015

ASIA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.51 | 68 ratings
Then & Now
1990
2.18 | 41 ratings
Archiva 1
1996
1.88 | 41 ratings
Archiva 2
1996
3.04 | 8 ratings
Anthology: The Best Of Asia
1997
2.63 | 20 ratings
Rare
1999
3.44 | 21 ratings
Anthology
1999
3.07 | 9 ratings
Axioms
1999
2.33 | 3 ratings
Archives - The Best Of Asia 1988-1997
2000
2.88 | 22 ratings
Heat of the Moment: The Very Best of Asia 1982-1990
2000
3.15 | 4 ratings
The Collection
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Quadra
2002
3.34 | 25 ratings
Asia - Anthologia - 20th Anniversary Geffen Years Collection 1982-1990
2002
3.79 | 21 ratings
Gold
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Heat of the Moment - Golden Hits Live in Concert
2005
2.40 | 10 ratings
Archiva 1 & 2
2005
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Collection
2016
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Reunion Albums 2007-2012
2021

ASIA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 9 ratings
Only Time Will Tell
1982
3.92 | 6 ratings
Heat of the Moment
1982
3.50 | 2 ratings
Sole Survivor
1982
3.17 | 6 ratings
Don't Cry
1983
2.18 | 12 ratings
Aurora (EP)
1986
3.00 | 6 ratings
Long Way From Home
2005
2.31 | 10 ratings
Asia featuring John Payne - Military Man (EP)
2009

ASIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 High Voltage: Live by ASIA album cover Live, 2014
2.33 | 11 ratings

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High Voltage: Live
Asia Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Since there are no reviews yet, here's a quick one. I have given two stars for the "Access All Areas" CD+DVD set that featured Pat Thrall replacing Steve Howe on guitar (in 1990), and despite this one featuring the original quartet, I really can't say I'd like this more.

The venue is London's Victoria Park, and the date is 24th July, 2010. Visually there's not much to be excited, in fact both the stage setting and the camera work are rather dull. The roughly hour-long set features the Asia debut completely -- though not in the original running order -- plus two newer songs: 'An Extraordinary Life' and 'I Believe'. I wasn't impressed in the least by either of them, so I don't even care to check from which album(s) they are from. My interest towards the latter-day Asia is frankly quite minimal, while it's precisely the 1982 debut which I was charmed by in my early teens and which I still enjoy listening every now and then (well, not often, though). Nevertheless, this time, with this gig, I didn't get the excitement. I even used NEXT button for a few times before finishing the song. Glad to say I only borrowed this from library. Needless to say, the CD with identical contents was completely useless to me.

The main fault is poor sonic quality. The band itself plays OK, but the recording is not very good. Sometimes the sound seems oddly muted momentarily while some details sound too loud in comparison. There may have been some technical problems right from the start; I was wondering what Steve Howe was trying to say to the stage stuff with his hand gestures.

My highlight moment was Geaff Downes' mock-orchestral solo spot at the end of 'Cutting It Fine'.

 Asia in Asia - Live at the Budokan, Tokyo 1983 by ASIA album cover Live, 2022
3.36 | 5 ratings

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Asia in Asia - Live at the Budokan, Tokyo 1983
Asia Prog Related

Review by tvtennis

3 stars Well ..... first the positives; (my comments refer to the box set) It is an impressive lavish box w/perhaps a few unnecessary items such as some printed memorabilia like posters, pictures, replica tour ticket, back stage pass ....

The audio is surprisingly good on the "new Remixed" version on the Blu-ray. You can choose between the original MTV satellite telecast and the remixed versions. The CD in the box set includes two extra tracks "Cutting It Fine " & "Daylight" which do not appear on the single CD issue.

The not so great: The box set is somewhat misleading, offering the 2 CD's, Blu-ray, & 2xLP's. The Cd's according to the packaging, are supposedly two different performances. One being the MTV telecast, the other, the previous night's performance for the Japanese audience only. I find it somewhat redundant, it is the same show effectively one is a dress rehearsal for the main event. I was under the impression since they are offering two CD's it might be a little longer overall performance. I apparently misunderstood the description on the box, my bad. If the whole performance fits on one CD, so be it. What I did not misunderstand however is the "The road to Budokan" band documentary. It should have been included on the Blu-ray, it is nowhere to be found! I looked at other reviews on a few different sites, I'm not the only one with this issue. In fact it looks like it is a misprint on the box. The Blu-ray offers two mixes of the main event, the original laserdisc version, and the new remixed one. Both the audio & video are considerably superior on the remixed option. There is one major flaw however. The audio while it is very good, it is slightly off sync w/the video on the better, remixed version (I hate when this happens). The original (inferior) laserdisc version audio is in sync.

The other missed opportunity; there's only a 2 ch. stereo mix, no 5.1 option! It is quite a shame since the performance is very good, Lake does a very good job on a fairly short notice.

All in all it is a somewhat disappointing experience, had I known about the misleading misprint re: the documentary and the off sync audio, I would have just purchased the single CD version, the two additional tracks are not going to change anyone's life in my opinion.

 Asia feat. John Payne: Recollections - A Tribute To British Prog by ASIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.85 | 48 ratings

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Asia feat. John Payne: Recollections - A Tribute To British Prog
Asia Prog Related

Review by alainPP

3 stars Hello, just a pleasure to make my chronicle of the first album here because I can't make it on it , already noted so blocked!

There are times when you have to go back a little, just 40 years here to talk about this emblematic album of the 80s which effectively promulgated prog rock within 5 minutes. In short, I'm playing it again for fun and hope you'll dive back into it.

'Heat of the Moment' a riff, a smooth rise, the drums, the synth, not to mention the clip that will be broadcast on radio and TV, the unstoppable hit, the one that will be wrongly cursed by the progs (those of the 70 we agree!); a fast title with the air and the little progressive declination, and that's how the prog world changed in 1982. 'Only Time Will Tell' for the cymbals, the intoxicating keyboards, the typed voice of John and that guitar in the distance, again a dancing radio edit, which inaugurates concerts in the stadium; better than an 'eye of the tiger' or 'the final countdown'; only the clip has aged, the rest...a concise title that moves and ensures that the prog can be shortened with quality. 'Sole Survivor' for the prog metal intro before its time and the chorus quickly assimilated, another internal war of the old ones who wanted to take refuge behind time to dissect an album; here it's a sure punch from the first listen; the break with flute even if it comes from a keyboard and the guitar arpeggio leading to a solo guitar-synth duet is always the most beautiful effect, only the end annoys me. 'One Step Closer' which most resembles Yessian sounds in my opinion, the most symphonic with the typed instrumentation; in short who has not sung on their concerts instead of staying locked in his beard? 'Time Again' ends the 1st side, yes it was like that before; an intro with choirs, a rise with drums and bass in front, it looks like a piece of more than 10 minutes; giant! am I not neutral? good what more to say, stereo ok, air prog ok, crescendo ok, rhythm ok, zero boredom, and what a riff, almost heavy... at a time when prog metal wasn't even imagined by the prog sphere. 'Wildest Dreams' begins the second side for the title where John is most in value, suave voice, strong choirs, prog drift with whirling synths; the 1st of 4 over 5 minutes also for a progressive concentrate; I love Carl pounding on the video and the bell tolling the death knell on a world without war, even creepier today. 'Without You' my less good yes it takes one, too much, syrupy, it's the break hit snare drums that hangs up on me, then the bells again, in short I like it anyway. John sings like on King Crimson and I love the ending. 'Cutting It Fine' still a worked intro, Steve in spite of the criticisms over time on his fingering ensures serious, that it is binoclard, old toothless now; but how do you live, gentlemen, you who are surely at the same physical level? In short, the title which flows, interspersed by a drummer who sets fire and this solo before the divine piano break; military drums, synths a la Yes there, Geoffrey is not bad and shows one of the two most prog tracks there is. 'Here Comes the Feeling' begins Yes of course and energetic rhythm; dark verse limit spleen with rise which gives pride of place to the keyboards, good Pendragon did the same with Nolan then; less than 3/4 hours and we are already thinking about the replay because the time has passed too quickly.

No track neglected, all potential hits, an intense musical quality from start to finish, a gifted drummer, a singer ditto, a guitarist who squirts his solos, a synth that gives fat to the tracks, a great group I still think so today, releasing at the time a real OMNI (Musical UFO in English). the note is for this tribute On the other hand.

 Asia by ASIA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.21 | 605 ratings

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Asia
Asia Prog Related

Review by alainPP

5 stars There are times when you have to go back a little, just 40 years here to talk about this emblematic album of the 80s which effectively promulgated prog rock within 5 minutes. In short, I'm playing it again for fun and hope you'll dive back into it.

'Heat of the Moment' a riff, a smooth rise, the drums, the synth, not to mention the clip that will be broadcast on radio and TV, the unstoppable hit, the one that will be wrongly cursed by the progs (those of the 70 we agree!); a fast title with the air and the little progressive declination, and that's how the prog world changed in 1982. 'Only Time Will Tell' for the cymbals, the intoxicating keyboards, the typed voice of John and that guitar in the distance, again a dancing radio edit, which inaugurates concerts in the stadium; better than an 'eye of the tiger' or 'the final countdown'; only the clip has aged, the rest...a concise title that moves and ensures that the prog can be shortened with quality. 'Sole Survivor' for the prog metal intro before its time and the chorus quickly assimilated, another internal war of the old ones who wanted to take refuge behind time to dissect an album; here it's a sure punch from the first listen; the break with flute even if it comes from a keyboard and the guitar arpeggio leading to a solo guitar-synth duet is always the most beautiful effect, only the end annoys me. 'One Step Closer' which most resembles Yessian sounds in my opinion, the most symphonic with the typed instrumentation; in short who has not sung on their concerts instead of staying locked in his beard? 'Time Again' ends the 1st side, yes it was like that before; an intro with choirs, a rise with drums and bass in front, it looks like a piece of more than 10 minutes; giant! am I not neutral? good what more to say, stereo ok, air prog ok, crescendo ok, rhythm ok, zero boredom, and what a riff, almost heavy... at a time when prog metal wasn't even imagined by the prog sphere.

'Wildest Dreams' begins the second side for the title where John is most in value, suave voice, strong choirs, prog drift with whirling synths; the 1st of 4 over 5 minutes also for a progressive concentrate; I love Carl pounding on the video and the bell tolling the death knell on a world without war, even creepier today. 'Without You' my less good yes it takes one, too much, syrupy, it's the break hit snare drums that hangs up on me, then the bells again, in short I like it anyway. John sings like on King Crimson and I love the ending. 'Cutting It Fine' still a worked intro, Steve in spite of the criticisms over time on his fingering ensures serious, that it is binoclard, old toothless now; but how do you live, gentlemen, you who are surely at the same physical level? In short, the title which flows, interspersed by a drummer who sets fire and this solo before the divine piano break; military drums, synths a la Yes there, Geoffrey is not bad and shows one of the two most prog tracks there is. 'Here Comes the Feeling' begins Yes of course and energetic rhythm; dark verse limit spleen with rise which gives pride of place to the keyboards, good Pendragon did the same with Nolan then; less than 3/4 hours and we are already thinking about the replay because the time has passed too quickly.

No track neglected, all potential hits, an intense musical quality from start to finish, a gifted drummer, a singer ditto, a guitarist who squirts his solos, a synth that gives fat to the tracks, a great group I still think so today, releasing at the time a real OMNI (musical UFO in English).

 Asia by ASIA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.21 | 605 ratings

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Asia
Asia Prog Related

Review by Progmin23

5 stars It's quite disappointing how much hate this album receives. Is it progressive rock? Not really, but that doesn't mean it deserve all the negativity. This album is good AOR and deserves a nice spot alongside 80s arena rockers like Survivor and Triumph. You probably heard it many times already: quartet known for their respective progressive works are expected to write a great prog album, but they had other plans. Owned it on cassette first, and had bought it on a whim. I knew "Heat Of The Moment", but hadn't heard the other stuff before. It's a very nice 80s rock album that has very melodic passages, some small, yet clever nods to their progressive roots.

"Heat of The Moment" is on Top 40 radio. Sounds like a hard rock version of "Video Killed The Radio Star" in terms of chord structure and such (ironically, Geoff Downes is a Buggle). Still sounds good nonetheless.

"Only Time Will Tell" One my favorites, it is very melodic and is littered with great synth work and great Howe shreds. The group brings it home with the nice sound of this song.

"Sole Survivor" Starts out with heavy guitar, and devolves back to an upbeat rocker. Guitar and synth duet here and there.

"One Step Closer" another of my favorites. Very upbeat, and not too heavy, the synth work here is almost New-Wave. Vocal work is not too harsh, and the chorus is very mellow.

"Time Again" starts out very proggish with Howe's ominous guitar before the song really starts revealing a song that (to me) sounds like a battle of some sorts. There are some odd pauses where the guitar and keys do some call/response avant stabs to each other.

"Wildest Dreams" is another melodic number. Funnily enough, this song is actually about war. A mix between the upbeat rocking energy of "Heat Of The Moment" and also melodic chords of "Only Time Will Tell". During the chorus, you can hear Howe feeding his guitar through either chorus or a leslie speaker. There is a really nice guitar/synth duet in the middle of the song. Really The songs ending is very nice and ends in a Gmaj7.

"Without You" is the most progressive offering for those who got this far. The song starts as a ballad, but turns into an upbeat song that changes quite a bit. Howe comes in on Acoustic guitar when the song goes back into ballad mode, and I thought it was very cool.

"Cutting Fine" speaking of acoustic guitar, this upbeat number starts with acoustic guitar before going full electric and the synth strings swell into place. This is one is kind of cheesy because of the vocoder that comes in near halfway. The ending of the song turns into a piano/synth/organ ballad and to me that was also quite progressive.

"Here Comes The Feeling" Is an upbeat finisher that starts symphonic, and has piano (both acoustic and electric) littered throughout. Howe comes in on acoustics again which is cool.

In all, this album is not going to please progressive purists, but for those who enjoy 80s rock music, this is a definite addition to your collection. It's arena AOR with some symphonic and progressive flavorings.

 Alpha by ASIA album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.87 | 372 ratings

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Alpha
Asia Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Words like "commercial" and "corporate" are slung at Asia a lot, and sometimes it's unfair and sometimes it isn't. One respect in which you can get them bang to rights when it comes to compromising their music for corporate reasons, however, comes to the songwriting on Alpha: the record company had noticed that the big hit singles on their debut album were all Wetton/Downes numbers, and so asked that Wetton and Downes write all the material here.

Thus it is that all the songs on Alpha are credited to the duo, bar for The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, which John Wetton penned by himself. This, of course, leaves Steve Howe and Carl Palmer almost on the level of session musicians, which might go some way to explaining why Howe didn't come back for the next album. Carl did, but Carl only had one songwriting credit on the debut anyway, so perhaps he was just happy to be there.

Not only did Howe have songwriting credits on about half the songs on the debut album, but they were fairly consistently the songs which had a bit more of a commercial spin and a bit less space for proggy moments, and that's exactly what the record company wanted here. Inevitably, the result is that the band's carefully-tuned prog-hard rock- pop blend ended up a little skewed away from the prog corner of that triangle.

If you're a listener who despised Heat of the Moment or Only Time Will Tell and regarded the proggier moments of the debut album as an oasis in a desert, then you'll likely find this boring. For my part, I find this at least an enjoyable blend of AOR and prog-tinged pop which benefits to an extent from a more unified musical direction behind it, even as it loses a little something as a result of losing the full range of flavours previously offered.

As a result, it's in a "one step forward, one step back" sort of situation: it's another enjoyable listen, but I'm not sure that I'm keen on listening on all that much Asia beyond this and the debut, and it's certainly a harder sell for fans of the four founder members' prog pasts than their debut was.

 Asia by ASIA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.21 | 605 ratings

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Asia
Asia Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars What an oddity this was. Asia's debut album is called "Asia" but has nothing to do with that continent, and finds four prog guys showing a near-total disinterest in sounding like the prog of the 1970s, offering up instead a slick pop-rock album with just enough touches of art rock and progressive pop to feel prog-adjacent.

Let's do an audit of who's here: Carl Palmer's onboard, but this neither has the ferocity of his old stomping ground in Atomic Rooster or the classical complexity of his ELP heyday. Carl, in fact, is only credited as a co-writer on one song, Time Again, which is credited to all four members, and in general there's not much that's ELP-ish here in terms of actual compositional approach and style, though at some moments (like the outro to Cutting It Fine) the band do a fine job of attaining the same mood of gravitas that ELP were able to hit in their most serious moments even if the method by which they get there is a little different. (Fundamentally, Geoff Downes is not Keith Emerson and doesn't pretend to be.)

In general however, the only sustained ELP-ish note I detect here is John Wetton's singing, since his style has a similar sort of stentorian tone to the one Greg Lake would use in ELP's more serious moments. Indeed, when John left the band for the first time in 1983 - returning for the Astra album later on - Greg filled in for him on a few live dates, and though I haven't heard any recordings of him with Asia I imagine he'd have been a fairly natural fit.

Indeed, if Greg was the least engaged of the band when it came to the songwriting here, John Wetton was the most - he's got a writing credit on every single track - and whilst there isn't really anything all that King Crimson-ish about the material here, I think you can sort of see Asia as the logical conclusion of the musical trajectory that Wetton followed from the end of Red-era King Crimson via UK. One could imagine the Danger Money-era UK having a stab at Wildest Dreams or Cutting It Fine, for instance, because whilst that project's debut album was an unabashed prog-fusion workout, Danger Money was a bit more interested in throwing in a few pop hooks here and there. If you set the proggiest moments here next to the poppiest moments of UK, the distance isn't all that great.

Rounding out the quartet are two refugees from some Yes drama - Steve Howe and Geoff Downes, to be specific. Howe's co-writing credits tend to be associated with the less poppy numbers here, but the material isn't really that Yes-like - or, rather, it isn't like anything Yes had preivously produced. (Howe's former bandmates would enter the studio to make 90125 about 8 months after this was released, and the influence of this release on their change of direction is noticeable.)

No, of the two Yes men here it's Geoff Downes who seems to have the stronger influence - Geoff's got songwriting credits on about two thirds of the album, and nearly half the songs are Downes/Wetton collaborations. This includes the biggest hits - Heat of the Moment and Only Time Will Tell - which probably explains why all but one of the songs on Alpha are Wetton/Downes pieces (and the exception was written solo by Wetton - The Smile Has Left Your Eyes). Rather than making Asia "Drama 2.0", Downes instead uses the same knack for pop hooks he used to such good effect in the Buggles, with the result that Video Killed the Radio Star is closer to the material on here than, say, Machine Messiah.

The sequencing of the album makes no bones about using the hooky pop numbers to lure you in before treating you to some of the more progressive material. If you're a prog purist, you'll likely be turned off the album before you get to the meatier stuff - but if you enjoy smarter-than-average AOR, it's rather good, and if you want to argue that it's nothing but empty pop rock you clearly didn't pay attention to the whole thing: I defy anyone to listen to Cutting It Fine and say it isn't a damn fine pocket epic, cramming into just over 5 minutes more ideas than some prog outfits manage in 20. The production on this has admittedly dated somewhat - it would have sounded absolutely futuristic on its first release, but some of those 1980s production techniques haven't lasted the test of time as well as others - but otherwise I'd say it's a fine release and certainly no embarrassment to any of the participants. Is it as good as the best of ELP, Yes, the Buggles, King Crimson, or UK? No - but you can miss that target and still be damn good.

 Access All Areas by ASIA album cover DVD/Video, 2015
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Access All Areas
Asia Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars I ordered this fairly cheap item of the Edsel Records' series Access All Areas CD+DVD without knowing the actual content in advance. Sometimes in the nineties, when Asia didn't much matter to me anymore (their 1982 debut had been among my earliest vinyl infatuations at the tender age of 12 or 13 when I started listening to the vinyls of my big brother and big sister), I temporarily had the CD of the live in Moscow '90, with which I thought this one to be rather similar. So, I knew not to expect very much in the sonic sense (largely because of the absence of Steve Howe on guitars), but I was slightly hoping the track list in the similar manner to contain some non-Asia songs such as King Crimson's 'Starless' or 'Book of Saturday', in vain.

This is the very same live set as the cd titled Now: Live in Nottingham (released in 1997), recorded in Central Television's Nottingham studios in June 1990. Guillermo writes in his two-star album review that "[Pat] Thrall is a good guitarist in his own style, which is predominantly a Heavy Metal style, and almost all the time he is playing a distorted guitar, and also playing the songs without adding some parts that Howe played in the albums. Howe used more varied sounds for his guitars in Asia, but Thrall was playing with the same sound most of the time." Exactly. Once you get over that, to the whatever-possible degree anyway, you can enjoy the fairly nice if also pretty predictable set of 13 songs in roughly 62 minutes. From the debut it contains 'Wildest Dreams', 'Sole Survivor', 'Time Again', Only Time Will Tell' and the obvious hit 'Heat of the Moment'.

'Don't Cry', 'The Smile Has Left Your Eyes', 'The Heat Goes On' and the gig-ending 'Open Your Eyes' originate from the second album Alpha (1983). 'Voice of America' and 'Go' are from Astra (1985) in which Mandy Meier replaced Howe on guitar. Two songs in this set were at the time new ones appearing on the compilation Then & Now (1990): 'Prayin' 4 A Miracle' and 'Days Like These'. I had no recollection of hearing them before, though it's possible that I've sometimes listened through the compilation, and unsurprisingly I wasn't much impressed by them.

As said, sonically the performances are inferior to what the original line-up would make them. Thrall is definitely not Howe, despite looking a bit like a blonde, more handsome and younger version of that old geezer. He smiles most of the quartet and therefor seems actually rather sympathetic on stage. He and Geoff Downes wear black leather clothes almost like something from the original Dune movie. Sadly it must be said that the band doesn't seem to have much of a contact to the audience, despite the small-looking standing venue. They just concentrate playing the songs faithfully to the studio versions. And there really isn't much to say about the visual side of the show. Spotlight rows with some variation in colours. Multi-angle camera work is OK, offering close-ups of each member.

This is worth the money if you don't expect too much of it. Liner notes also give a good picture of the band's early history. For a newcomer or a casual listener this set might easily replace a Greatest Hits sort of compilation, but for more advanced listeners it's notably less recommendable as a live DVD (or CD) than especially Fantasia - Live in Tokyo (2007) featuring the reunited original line-up of Wetton, Downes, Howe and Palmer.

 Asia by ASIA album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.21 | 605 ratings

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Asia
Asia Prog Related

Review by Putonix24

4 stars There is some kind of negative perception if progressive musicians make pop and commercial music, as you can see, there is some backlash regarding the 80s transformation that Genesis and Yes had, trading their awesome and weird long compositions for radio hits, which I don't consider bad at all, I love prog, experimental and avant-garde, but sometimes I want to listen to some shorter and poppy songs, but never sacrificing musicianship and quality.

Asia, despite being a supergroup with members of ELP, King Crimson and Yes, it sounds nothing like those groups (only a bit of Yes really), there is no Crimson- disonances, excesive and classical showmanship like ELP or mystic soundscapes like Yes, instead you have short radio hits that are easy to listen and to remember, with kinda cheesy lyrics that appeal to a mainstream audience.

Anyways, the members are what make the group, Geoff Downes still retains a more controlled style compared to Rick Wakeman, but Geoff shines more in this record than in Yes's "Drama", Steve Howe does not overplay like in Yes and he is more in the background, but still gives some good guitar leads. John Wetton's voice is maybe the more accesible and selling point of the band, as his voice is masculine and anthemic, just perfect for the hits of the record, unlike Greg Lake which had a great voice but sounded to solemn and sacred to appear in the radio. The weakest links in the Asia chain are John Wetton's bass which does not play anything interesting, and Carl Palmer whose drumming is far from what he did with ELP, those two aspects would have been easily filled by even not prog musicians.

"Heat Of The Moment" is a great hit, with catchy and memorable choruses by the voice of John Wetton, and "Only Time Will Tell" is prog only in the surface, but it is catchy and also really good. "Sole Survivor" has some lame lyrics but the music still it's pretty good.

The album falls short with "One Step Closer", I don't really like the vocals and the lyrics, it is not even good soft rock.

"Time Again" sounds at times like "Machine Messiah" from Steve Howe and Geoff Downes's latest Yes album Drama, but gets somewhat repetitive.

The following tracks are somewhat between pop, prog and soft rock, but mostly going in the soft side really, but the record recovers in "Here Comes The Feeling", still, some cheesy lyrics but great music, actually this song is the most Yes-like song, and if Jon Anderson had singed this, it would sound even better.

Overall, it's a good commercial and accesible record, but if you want a fusion of ELP, Yes and King Crimson and lots of complexity, you would be dissapointed. Still, good music considering the 80s and radio airplay it still has to this day.

 Alpha by ASIA album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.87 | 372 ratings

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Alpha
Asia Prog Related

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Supergroups are an interesting breed of bands. They come from different bands, sometimes one band, sometimes multiple. Bands like ELP and A Perfect Circle are great examples with the lead singers coming from different but extremely popular bands, Greg Lake in King Crimson, and Maynard Keenan from TOOL. However supergroups, despite having members from bands of differing genres, might not have the same genres as those bands with their members. One such example is Asia with Steve Howe from Yes, John Wetton from King Crimson, Geoff Downes also from Yes, and Carl Palmer from ELP. I always wanted to get into this band at some point, so when I found this album at a record store, I decided to get it too see what Asia was like.

The first song 'Don't Cry' kickstart this album. It is a cool and crisp song with beautiful synths, vocals, and some great guitar and drumming. Don't Cry sets a sort of standard for this album with the second track 'The Smile Has Left Your Eyes' continuing these trends, however establishing their own sort of flow and rhythms too them, however each song seems too do it better and better every time. Each song from My Own Time, The Goes On, and Eye To Eye continues these themes both lyrically and sound wise. Speaking of lyrics, most of the songs here are more focused on love and were written by Wetton and Downes on all of the tracks. I just thought that was neat. However my least favorite track here is True Colors. It still establishes the themes of Don't Cry too The Last To Know but it something about it kinda makes it forgettable, but after that song is over we got the awesome Midnight Sun that leads to the amazing last track Open Your Eyes.

So basically while having a more commercial and 80s sound, it is still an awesome record. Heck I don't really mind the 80s sorta sound too it, I think it actually makes the album sound cooler. Despite not being perfect I still enjoyed this record.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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