Ok back in the 70's there were these huge progressive rock dinosaurs like ELP (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Yes, and UK that made these sweeping orchestral epics that rarely came in under 8 minutes. I loved every one of them, but unfortunately making good music with long track lengths was not enough for FM radio success where 3 minute pop/rock songs ruled and made or broke careers.
Eventually these bands shed their members in various directions, some of them landing in other bands, some of them starting their own groups. Asia was one of those bands started up by former members. With vocalist John Wetton of UK, Yes guitarist Steve Howe, percussionist Carl Palmer of ELP, and pop keyboardist and former Buggle Geoff Downes, Asia was a progressive rock "supergroup" unloved by critics, yet still managing to sell 15 million albums or so to pop fans based on songs like "Heat Of The Moment". I actually owned all 3 of their original releases on vinyl at one point. The first one was alright but it just went downhill from there.
After much shuffling in the lineup the actual original 4 members of Asia have reformed 25+ years later to release a new album and a tour. Unfortunately the new album sounds like it was recorded 25+ years ago.
While that may please hard core Asia fans, it is unlikely that the new disc will attract many younger listeners. The band is still trying to stuff 12 minutes worth or talent into 3 minutes, and the band's sound just sounds so dated at this point. I hear Howe straining to confine himself, as well as Palmer, trying to sqyeeze themselves into the format. Progressive rock is not pop and throttling these musicians with a 3 minute pop song is like making thoroughbreds pull a beer wagon. It was a mistake 25 years ago, and time has only made it worse. I did not like any of the songs on this disc. Sorry. I would go see them if their tour was coming anywhere near me though. Incredible musicians. If you really want a glimpse of the future of progressive rock, see the Mars Volta review below. I would rather have seen a UK or an ELP reunion album and tour.
Track list under the jump.
1. Never Again 4:53
2. Nothing's Forever 5:44
3. Heroine 4:51
4. Sleeping Giant / No Way Back / Reprise 8:09
5. Alibis 5:38
6. I Will Remember You 5:09
7. Shadow Of A Doubt 4:16
8. Parallel Worlds/ Vortex / Deya 8:09
9. Wish I'd Known All Along 4:05
10. Orchard Of Mines 5:09
11. Over And Over 3:31
12. An Extraordinary Life 4:56