ASIA – Phoenix

ASIA - Phoenix
  • 4/10
    ASIA - Phoenix - 4/10


Release date: April 9, 2008

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As far as comeback’s in the music industry in the year 2008 are concerned, Phoenix, the first full-blown studio album from the original Asia since 1983, is probably one of the most anticipated works amongst the vast array that are in the Rock world today.

In a sense, upon hearing opener “Never Again” it’s hard to imagine its actually been 25 years since an album of full original material from this lineup of the band – this is basically Melodic Rock with that unique Asia stamp all over it. This track could really sit comfortably alongside the band’s hits of its first two, ridiculously successful, albums. Asia manage to balance the Progressive side that was present on it’s debut with the well-crafted AOR heard on the sophomore release Alpha to varied effect on it’s 2008 comeback Phoenix.

Unfortunately, too much of the band’s quieter leanings are presented here. “Nothings Forever” offers grandiose keyboard-work, but settles for a low-key mode for the most part, which, as the album proceeds, turns out typical for the bulk of their effort. Following this up with ballad “Heroine,” as beautiful as it may be, suffers from a bad choice in dynamics in terms of running order, if nothing else. The keyboards come out on top of things where much of the sonics are concerned, and the emphasis is pretty much on the Pop side of things — you’ll be hard-pressed to notice much of the anonymous guitar work up front, save for the lead playing. “Alibi” picks up the pace slightly again, with a welcome turn in time changes four minutes into the song — a great Asia knack. Other positives of this nature is the instrumental “Deya” and ending track “An Extraordinary Life” which works as proof Asia is still able to stir up greatness.

The mentioned back seat that the Rock-driven portion of Asia’s style has taken is quite disappointing to say the least, as it was this combination that made the group’s recipe in the first place. Case in point: “I Will Remember You” (no, not a Skid Row cover) serves as pretty much the low point here.

On an individual basis, taken out of context, some of these tracks would possibly be slightly more enjoyable than is apparent when blended as a body of work, but as a whole the slow mode of the album works in a tedious way, true high-points are way too scattered throughout, and to boot, you find yourself yearning for the big production of old.


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