Asia - XXX

Asia - XXX

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

(CD, Frontiers Records, 2012)

So, this is the album marking ASIA’s 30th anniversary as a band. Ok, this supergroup was founded in 1982 in Great Britain by former members of bands like YES, KING CRIMSON, UK, URIAH HEEP, ROXY MUSIC, GTR, ELP and ATOMIC ROOSTER and they have surely enjoyed mass success, especially during the 80s. After various lineup changes – that’s the way to keep a supergroup alive, in other words – ASIA is back again with a triplet of albums starting from 2008’s “Phoenix”, continuing with 2010’s “Omega” and reaching climax through this year’s “XXX” (don’t even ask what the title means).

I love ASIA’s first three album (as – I imagine – every melodic/pomp Rock fan) but I also admire the John Payne years. On the contrary, it did not easy to listen to both “Phoenix” and (especially) “Omega”, both of which I kinda find somehow…boring. Later on, I re-considered putting the blame on John Wetton’s vocals, which sounds tired, and the pale (for the ASIA standards) sound, hence I was extra curious to see/listen to what “XXX” would have to offer. By thinking this, I further wondered what kind of impact this band could/can have in fans that are in their 20s right now…

Hmmm…when it comes to faster songs like “No Religion” or “I Know How You Feel” you will find your head shaking up and down in approval but slower tracks have this…dull feel that I never enjoyed in ASIA. They have been mistakenly categorized as a ‘prog’ act because they came from bands of that ilk but they have always been more straight-forward and ‘poppy’ for the complex likes of Prog Rock fans. This poppy style previously mentioned seems to be an obstacle in mid-pace tunes since it does not boast any energy while it’s a nice breeze of Rock energy when things speed a little bit up. In terms of instrumentation there’s nothing to be mentioned of course. All of them are musical giants; all of them.

Are there major melodies in “XXX”? You bet they are. Are the multi-vocal refrains present? Sure, they are. Is the level of the compositions adequate? If you listen to the album for 2-3 times in a row, you’ll witness it yourself. So what’s the problem? Hmmm, it might be that you can tell the age of the band and its players by just listening to the vocals and the (lack of) inner spirit. I’ll give it more spins, I’ll surely do. Until then…

7/10 


Links:

www.OriginalAsia.Com
www.FaceBook.Com/pages/Original-Asia


Tracklist:

01. Tomorrow The World
02. Bury Me In Willow
03. No Religion
04. Faithful
05. I Know How You Feel
06. Face On The Bridge
07. Al Gatto Nero
08. Judas
09. Ghost Of A Chance


Lineup:

John Wetton - Lead Vocals, Bass, Guitars
Steve Howe -Guitar, Backing Vocals
Geoff Downes - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Carl Palmer - Drums, Percussion