The English aristocratic giants in Asia releases their third full-length album since the reunion of the original lineup featuring Geoff Downes - keyboard, Steve How - guitars, Carl Palmer - drums and the magic John Wetton - bass and vocals.
started listen to Asia in the beginning of the
80's with their big MTV monster hit 'Heart of the
Moment'. I must admit that this is one of the
strongest albums in the genre since the time
before mobile phones, internet and mp3's. If you
like melodic quality rock and haven't listen to
Asia's first 3 albums Asia (-82), Alpha (-83) and
Astra (-85), it's a must in the education of the
When they formed Asia 30 years ago, it was a super
group with members from Yes, Uriah Heep and
Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Now are they a
institution in the genre.
Enough of history, now it's 2012 and how have the veterans preserved the special clean and ultra-melodic soundscape that I loved and appreciated so highly in the 80's? The clear tones from Geoff's (born 25 August 1952) piano and keyboard along with Steve's (born 8 April 1947) languorous guitar playing is ear candy to me. John's velvet voice hasn't aged a bit, god damn the guy is born 12 June 1949 and sounds healthier then ever!! Mr. Palmer (born 20 March 1950) is a percussion genius, who plays with a grace and has a wonderful touch with his sticks that many younger drummers could learn a lot of.
The tunes are between 4:22 and 6:48, so every track has room for a little extravagant swings and grandiose instrumental excesses. The nine songs might not get the big, wide breakthrough like in the good old days, but this is actually my favorite albums this year. A bit surprising even to myself. I didn't think that I would be taken by the perfect and elaborate melodies, which also grow and grow every time I listen to 'XXX'. It's not regular songs, it small symphonies of music that totally blow me away.
Filled with quality, even more quality and musicality in absolute world class. This is certainly nothing for the death metal redeemed readers or those looking for rock-hard riffs and endless guitar solos. 'XXX' is a comeback album that will be in my Ipod all summer long and will be played on hot summer evenings with grilled meat, good wine and potato gratin. I have new favourite tracks every day, so all the 9 tunes are my favourites. Asia is like good wine, it improves with age! I fall on my knees and I salute them for this masterpiece.
If you like AOR, Melodic Rock and only will buy one record this year, this is definitely a must!!