ASIA – XXX

Frontiers 2012 www.frontiers.it

The original Asia releases their third album since they reconvened back in 2006. Unlike the last two albums ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Omega’, both of which were enjoyable but had a couple of mid paced fillers, this album is one of their heaviest to date.

The press blurb states this album harks back to the sound of their debut album released back in 1982 (hence the XXX album title but don’t go Googling Asia and XXX together folks!). Listen to the storming ‘Bury Me In Willow’ and they have a point. A driving riff, clever use of vocal harmonies on the chorus and Geoff Downes given free reign for some synth-tastic soloing, all recall the classic debut album.

Steve Howe in Asia mode reins in his soloing that you get on his solo work or in Yes and instead he plays some nice heavy riffs, none more so than on ‘No Religion’, a cracking tune. ‘Al Gatto Nero’ has one of those wonderful call and response choruses, whilst the ultra-catchy single ‘Face On The Bridge’ has even has airplay on BBC Radio 2! ‘Faithful’ is the only real big production ballad of note and again it see Geoff Downes keyboards high in the mix.

Easily the best album since the classic line-up reformed and bound to be a hit with their fans.

****1/2

Jason Ritchie


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