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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
CD-Review-Asia-XXX-June-2012

 

Asia
XXX

 

By Todd Jolicouer

 

I still rock out when I hear "Heat Of The Moment" on my Sirius XM Radio. There is something infectious about Asia that seems timeless. They have gone through various lineups through the years, but with the release of XXX, the original lineup seems to be firing on all cylinders and ready to crush the competition. For the most part they do exactly that. The downside to this disc is nine tracks that clock in at over 50 minutes. This translates to no readily available radio tracks.

 

"Tomorrow The World" springs on you and when the chorus rolls through, you are instantly transported to 1983. The vocals and catchy melody are reminiscent of the past, while staying grounded in 2012. "Bury Me In Willow" is a killer track - probably my personal favorite on the disc. The layered vocals, the strong musicianship, and the delivery are all top notch. "No Religion" is a little more rock out of the gate. Don't fret, all of the components of Asia are firmly in place, but they dialed up the attitude and edge for this track. The guitar and keyboard work, provided by Steve Howe and Geoff Downes respectively, are phenomenal in the way they play off and with each other.

 

"Faithful" is a good song, but doesn't seem to hold the attention like the previous tracks did. This seems to be the bands foray into ballads. The lyrics are great, but the flow of the track is different from the previous songs and lacks in punch. "I Know How You Feel" seems to follow seamlessly and almost feels as if it is part of the previous song. There is nothing that really sets it apart. "Face On The Bridge" brings it back around and returns us to comfortable ground created on the first three tracks. The rhythm section of drummer Carl Palmer and bassist John Wetton stand out on this track, as does the grit in Wetton's voice.

 

"Al Gatto Negro" is another rocker that relies heavily on the sound that made the group famous, but is individual in its total sound. This track has a bit of a fusion feel to it, but is unmistakably rock. The guitar work, while seemingly simple, really adds texture to the track. "Judas" is classic Asia. There is no guesswork on this track. Wetton comes right at you vocally while Palmer keeps perfect time. Howe plays guitar without flaw while Downes layers everything flawlessly with his keyboard. "Ghost Of A Chance" slows things down a bit, but again, the vocals that we have known for thirty year at the helm keep you engaged. The instrumentation here builds on the vocals and creates a large sound and a mellow song that seems to build into a fusion piece.

 

If you enjoyed Asia when they released their self-titled debut in 1982, do yourself a favor and pick up the release that celebrates thirty years, XXX. There are new tracks to enjoy, all the while harkening back to your younger days. The vibe on this disc creates hope for more releases. I would hate to think this is the curtain call for this super group.

 

 

Review posted 29 June 2012