SEE BELOW TO ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW!

Asia Phoenix Frontiers Records
FRCD370
Produced By: Asia

Running Time:

Release Date: April 11

Released:

Musical Style: Melodic Rock / AOR

Links: Frontiers
90%
Songs: 88%
Sound: 92%
Asia return in full pomp and ceremony for their first release under the original line-up in many a year. I was quite a fan of the Payne lead band, so that was disappointing to see that go south, but when any band's classic line-up returns, it is hard to argue with that.
This as expected is a perfectly produced and well thought out release, returning to the band's classic sound, lead by vocalist John Wetton, who sounds in fine form after recent health issues.
Asia's return was always going to happen once Wetton joined forces with Geoff Downes in Wetton Downes and I see this release as an extension of those releases, mixed with the band's early records.
There are attempts to recreate that glorious pomp sound as best demonstrated by the opening AOR anthem Never Again and the inspired closing pop sounds of An Extraordinary Life.
In between we get soulful ballads, extended instrumental passages, a couple of progressive left turns and more classic Asia pomp.
Nothing's Forever is another fine pop song as is the eternally happy sounding Alibis.
Shadow Of A Doubt is another highlight and a throw back to the 80s pomp/pop of early Asia. Nice keyboard work here from Downes and a solid chorus.
Elsewhere there is a more laid back tone to the album, especially on the two epics, both of which clock on over 8 minutes in length.
Heroine is a classy big Wetton ballad, and I love the guitar work on Over And Over.
The Bottom Line
For me as classy as it is - it is still a fairly laid back affair and an album better listened to in the morning or late at night. The flow of the alum I think could have been better, I'm not sure I agree with the track sequencing.
But I am betting that most fans of the band and their most acclaimed line-up will be mostly satisfied with this release. The length of the album and its varied musical content should keep those fans busy for quite a while.
Discography (This Line Up)
Asia
Alpha
Astra
Then & Now
Phoenix

Line Up:
John Wetton: Vocals, Bass
Steve Howe: Guitars
Carl Palmer: Drums
Geoff Downes: Keyboards

Essential For Fans Of:
Classic Asia
Track Listing
Never Again *
Nothing's Forever *
Heroine
Sleeping Giant / No Way Back / Reprise *
Alibis
I Will Remember You
Shadow of a Doubt *
Parallel Worlds / Vortex / Deya
Wish I'd Known All Along
Orchard of Mines
Over and Over
An Extraordinary Life *

--*Best Tracks


21/07/08: Ralph - bru87tr@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
what are these people listening to ??????? stop comparing it to the S/T and let it stand on its own!!!

this cd is great and stand right there with Alpha. this is a great release!!! I feel Alpha never got respect either as that cd had alot of great songs. even Astra was overlooked.

this new cd from top to bottom has it all. all the songs are memorable. you need to listen to this cd again guys. its great!!!!

24/06/08: ANDY - ALYON@CWCT.NET
Rating: 90
Very mixed reviews here, Asia's self tited debt album is still one of my all time favioute CD's even after all these years. I believe the new album isn't as good as their 1st but better than their 2nd best 'Alpha'. I think the biggest problem with the new songs is there isn't enough up tempo tracks, however I still like this disc and ALL the tracks here! It just isn't as good as there 1st , and that is a hard act to follow.

18/06/08: Josh - utahhickzz@yahoo.com
Rating: 80
This is a very good album. The musicianship is exemplary--especially Steve Howe's guitar playing. John Wetton's voice sounds great. The songs "Never Again," "Wish I'd Known All Along," and "An Extraordinary Life" almost make the album worth buying on their merits alone.

I would probably give this a higher score but, as some other reviewers have mentioned, it could have used a few more rockers. Still, the songs are well written, well played, and enjoyable.

13/06/08: gregg - gmcpa1@verizon.net
Rating: 83
More of a Wetton/Downs type of affair here. "Never Again" is a solid opener. "Wish I'd Known All Along" is an excellant ASIA track and pick of the litter.

27/05/08: Art - Wetton82@Yahoo.Com
Rating: 100
I have been waiting for 25 years for a new Asia album....and it was well worth the wait. This album is a masterpiece of Melodic Progressive/Pop. These 4 men together are the ultimate band to me. They created a new musical style back in 1982 with the release of their debut album. The Phoenix album has a balance and musical muturity that you simply don't find anymore. The theme and tone of the album are very fitting for the rebirth of this amazing band. Phoenix is a classic! Performed by the best musicians in the business: John Wetton, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, and Geoff Downes! ASIA are back and better than ever!

22/05/08: michael coleman - michaelcolman@hotmail.co.uk
Rating: 50
This is one hit and miss affair , some good tracks , some woefull , I still listen to the 1st 3 albums still more than 20 odd years on , had them all on vinyl , cassette and CD . still love them . even Astra blows holes in this one , Wettons voice is fine and I like Ballads , but not these ones , this is on a par with Solo Wetton or Icon , but a Poor Asia .
for all the fans of the world that only bothered with the first 2 as Howe was not involved in Astra , buy Astra and listen to it , it's better than this one .

19/05/08: Ryan - AudiophileRM22@yahoo.com
Rating: 98
So many of these interactive reviews are complete jokes. People bitching and moaning about Wetton's voice, the album too slow, etc. I don't know what many of you are smoking, but apparently whatever it is has impaired your judgement. Andrew pretty much got it right with this CD. The sequencing could have been a little better. But how the hell can someone deny that the melodies on around 10 of the 12 tracks are awesome? There are so many hooks on this CD. Apparently everyone is against ballads. I didn't know ballads were bad songs. I love the ballads....superb melodies displayed in "Heroine", "I Will Remember You", "Orchard Of Mines" etc. Everyone looking for up-tempo Asia power-pop must have missed "Alibis" "Shadow Of A Doubt", etc. They sound pretty classic to me. And the prog stuff....anyone listen to "Parallel Worlds"??? Hello! That track is smokin'. "Never Again" is in my opinion, one of the top 5 tracks Asia has written and recorded. "Extraordinary Life" is a classy way to end the album, perfect chorus, great lyrics etc. And I must address the idiot fuck who says Wetton should retire. Apparently the 30 second samples you listened to make you such an authority on this album and vocal performance. Listen to this album, then listen to the debut, Alpha and Astra. Tell me what has changed. Strong, strong signing, plenty of range. And remember, aside from the one Howe track, he does every single harmony. Every single one. The dude has multiple octaves and the tone of his voice is golden. Sounds the best he ever has in my opinion. Howe is all over the place....really makes his mark. Downes as usual is the man on the keys....great layering. I will agree with some that Palmer is sometimes too low in the mix. But he still gets some awesome fills in. To me, this is a near perfect album. It doesn't have to be one rocker after another for me to be happy. Just because there are slower-tempo tracks doesn't mean they are any worse or any less engaging. I'll be honest, this album has more hooks and melodies that the first 2 albums. It may not be as prog as some people want it to be, but the fact is, this is the most consistent and melodic album they have ever made. You can say it ain't fast enough. You can say it ain't prog enough. But you can't say that Wetton's voice isn't fantastic or that that the CD isn't melodic unless you are completely deaf. Wake the fuck up. Phoenix 98%. Period.

18/05/08: STEVE - roknroseville@yahoo.com
Rating: 50
There's about 4 or 5 decent songs , after that it's all downhill!!
I traded this cd in for credit also...
They just went into too many directions not very focus!!
Reminds me of the Astra cd but not as good....

17/05/08: Scott Bell - burningsun779@hotmail.com
Rating: 1
What a waste. I am the biggest Howe/Palmer/Downes fan around, and stuck with the band through the amazing Payne era. I didn't even buy Phoenix, I downloaded it to see if I would even like it and decided that it wasn't worth parting with my $16.99 for. I don't think there is a single magical moment on this record. Carl's drumming is boring for the first time since "3". Wetton needeth retirement, he never was that good of a singer, and here he proves it (he proves his vocal incapabilities even more via the live Asia vids on YouTube). John Payne must snicker to himself late at night knowing that the most of record buying public thinks "Phoenix" is junk. Either bring back Mr. Payne, boys, or get rid of Mr. Wetton. Now listen to the other Yes guys new band, Circa: if you want good classic progpomp.

15/05/08: Spin - gigsrus@hotmail.com
Rating: 1
Total drivel this cd didnt hit the spot for me. Bring back John Payne

15/05/08: Greg - darkwave2000@hotmail.com
Rating: 50
Besides Pink Floyd reuniting with Roger Waters, this was the most unlikely and, hence, most exciting reunion for me. I like Asia's debut album so much, I've purchased it over and over again on LP, tape and CD just for the hell of it! So, needless to say, my expectations for this album were very high. Unfortunately, my dreams came about halfway true. When I read it was going to be called Phoenix I envisioned a majestic firebird spreading it's wings. Then I saw the artwork with that incredible Asia logo behind a "phoenix" with the head of a peacock and turkey wings! Can you say WTF? Anyway, there are some great moments here but then some points where the band almost runs out of ideas. The MVP's on this disc are Carl Palmer and John Wetton. Carl sounds INCREDIBLE which is so amazing after having been relegated to drum machine status on the group's 3rd album, Astra. John Wetton sounds like it's been only 25 months instead of 25 years that this line-up has been silent. I really wish Mike Stone had been around to produce this. It just falls short of that great epic Asia sound. The harmony vocals lack that "wall of sound" quality that they had on the first 2 releases. Never Again is an obvious attempt to mirror Heat Of The Moment with it's big guitar-only opening riff and Carl Palmer tapping on the high-hat. I like it, though. Nothing's Forever starts off great but leads to a lame chorus. Steve Howe's acoustic soloing is awesome, however. Heroine tries to be a sincere ballad, but I can't get over the title word. If someone walked by and heard you listening to this, they'd probably think it was a parody-song about someone's love for shooting up. Sleeping Giant is good. Again, the vocals could've used the Mike Stone touch. No Way Back is alright but steals the same majestic keyboard progression as on After The War from Astra. The arrangement on Alibis is way too light. The happy synths make it sound like a commercial jingle instead of an Asia song. If they redid it with a rock approach, it would've killed. I do like the keyboard solo in the middle, though and the Yes-like jam at the end. I Will Remember You leaves no lasting effect with it's drinking-song-turned-pop-ballad origins (see Hard On Me from Astra). The verses on Shadow Of A Doubt recalls the great My Own Time from Alpha but again the sickly, sweet keyboards ruin the chorus. Parallel Worlds is really good but the music sounds like the ending of Countdown To Zero from Astra where John Wetton says "Don't do it. Don't start the countdown to zero...." Vortex is nice. Deya's good but goes on a little too long with nothing new to make it interesting and bring it to a conclusion. The Steve Howe penned Wish I'd Known All Along is one of the best tracks. It starts off with this white soul keyboard sound and then jumps into this latin flavored, progressive exercise with Carl Palmer all over the place. Orchard Of Mines is a nice, strong track but unfortunately wasn't written by the band so it's hard to assign credit. Over And Over is OK but could've been pushed into something more memorable arrangement-wise. When I read about the track An Extraordinary Life not having heard it yet, I was expecting another syrupy ballad from John Wetton, but it's one of my favorite tracks! Great verse and chorus in a positive message! Given the age of the band members, it's surprising the CD rocks like it does at times. However, to be worthy of the Asia name, I hope they do, at least, one more album and turn up the energy and add more prog. rock with emphasis on the rock.

15/05/08: Jack Flow - J_flow@gmai.com
Rating: 80
14/05/08: Jeff - skipper@ca.ibm.com
Rating: 10
Could hardly get through the first listen. No hooks. Boring. Sold it immediately.

Is this guy realy a music over or is he smoking a big pile of rocks... damn what a guy!!!
He istens to this album one time and sold it? sure, he downloaded it and didn't like the first song and he has downloaded so many cd's he doesn't have the time to isten to all the cd's.
He sure gave Britneys album a 100 for the great hooks :P

And about this album.......
Its really asia, but i love the payne ERA more than this new.
Its great to have all the old dudes tighether again

And the songs really are good, BUT AURA WAS WAY BETTER!!!!

14/05/08: Jeff - skipper@ca.ibm.com
Rating: 10
Could hardly get through the first listen. No hooks. Boring. Sold it immediately.

14/05/08: alaskaman - rocker@yahoo.com
Rating: 78
The long-awaited return of Asia is mostly a snoozefest, unfortunately. This seems to be a mellow Wetton album more than anything... but even his solo stuff and Icon rocks harder than this! Love Never Again and Extraordinary Life, but the rest puts me to sleep. Hopefully they return with an album that actually rocks.

14/05/08: Barry McIntosh - barrymc56@hotmail.com
Rating: 85
I read so many lukewarm reviews of this I was almost afraid to buy it. But I loved the 1st LP years ago and I relented. It is more laid back than I wanted and I only like 6 of the 12 songs, but there is enough here to savor. Luckily for me, 2 of the 6 songs I like are the 3-part tunes that are 8 minutes each. Those are the 2 favs for me. I also think SLEEPING GIANT should have been an intro track leading into NO WAY BACK, whick I think is a killer cut - would have been one of my favs on the 1st LP. I also think NEVER AGAIN is excellent, but it would have been a perfect closing track (IMHO). Anyway, enough to recommend this and hope for a follow up.

14/05/08: Dimitri - monaco47@otenet.gr
Rating: 65
Sad comeback... Not better than the solo efforts of John Wetton... Not worth using the ASIA name...

14/05/08: William - williamslestat@yahoo.com
Rating: 85
I feel to stick up for Asia as artists. How many rock artists besised Rush truly write in such an artistic way. It is obvious to me that Asia is not out to please the world, but simply they write songs from the heart, and hope that some in the world will appreciate their songs. The first and Last tracks are the best, but there is som maturity within this album that may be missed! I really liked Asia, "silent nation" album, and this one also brings some nice songs from a rare band! my favorite was "Extrordinary Life" Asia is a band with much musical integrity!

14/05/08: Ian - ij001h3345@blueyonder.co.uk
Rating: 10
Apart from Never Again, this is one HELL of a BORING album. Sorry and all that but where is the excitement ???.

14/05/08: Chris Kaiser - soundadvice2k@bresnan.net
Rating: 0
With all of the bands reuniting over the years ASIA is one I really looked forward to but never thought it could happen. The guys pretty much picked it up right where they left off all those years ago and this CD has the classic ASIA sound we all grew to love with HEAT OF THE MOMENT, THE SMILE HAS LEFT YOUR EYES etc. Just like the cliche saying, things do get better with age and ASIA is still going strong.

13/05/08: Ben Banks - Cdcollector81@aol.com
Rating: 95
I was glad they went with the classic sound. This album should have been the follow up to Alpha.

13/05/08: Steve Johnson - stevej66@yahoo.com
Rating: 75
I thought this album went back to the original scheme of the group. Unfortunately it lacked the intensity and quality of the first couple albums. Wetton's voice has shown it's age, but Howe's guitarmanship is still awesome. Never Again is a great way to start off the album, and it has the energy like Wildest Dreams. But it goes downhill from there. Heroine is a nice slow tune. If you are looking for the magic of the first album, it isn't going to happen, but I think this is a decent album from them.

13/05/08: Jared - jbm966@aol.com
Rating: 95
I Love this CD! "Never Again" is a great way to start and "An Extraordinary Life" is the perfect way to end. In between are some great songs and a couple of not so great songs but overall this is a great release and should be enjoyed by anyone who liked the original and only "TRUE" ASIA Band!

13/05/08: Maya - mayerneygmail.com
Rating: 95
excellent good classic asia continued after alpha.

13/05/08: chad ledoux - cabowabo51fifty@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
although it took a few listens for some of the songs to sink in, phoenix is a great return. there are some songs that were instant. never again, an extraordinary life, parallel worlds/vortex/deja, and i will remember you are classic sounding songs in tune with songs from asia and alpha. having seen the band in concert last month, they did a couple songs from phoenix. the songs went down just as well as the classics. john wetton sounds as good as he ever has. i just hope the band do a follow up in the coming years.

13/05/08: Alan - baltiboy@btinteret.com
Rating: 88
I can see why some fans would be disapointed with this release, but for me this is a record of it's time. The classic Asia everyone loves was 25 years ago and the people are older and have moved on.
Mellower, but still very much an Asia release, give it a little time and you'll be rewarded.

13/05/08: Jeffrey Thomas - jctaudiodesigns@cox.net
Rating: 75
Interesting record for Asia fans, it has some good tracks but it is not a classic record by any means. It seems that time have taken away a little of the energy from their playing. It took a couple of plays before I really got into it.

13/05/08: Stefan Grimbs - grimbsel@aol.com
Rating: 10
What a dissapointment. No sound, no songs , no vibes. Boring at all.


ADD YOUR OWN REVIEW! (Ratings out of 100)
Name:

E-mail:

Rating:

Comment: