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ASIA ‘Silent Nation' Inside Out(2004)

Great year for my personal favourite bands as Magnum, Power Quest, TNT, Ayreon who all have cracking albums out, with Demon and Judas Priest to come! Add to this the mightily talented Asia, who have broken with tradition and named an album that doesn't begin and end with ‘A'. Not only that, but for the first time since the debut ‘Asia' and its follow-up ‘Alpha', you've got the same set of musicians in place. Joining founder Geoff Downes and John Payne (whose been in Asia now since the early 90's) are the powerful drumming of Chris Slade (ex-AC/DC/Uriah Heep/Manfred Mann's Earthband) and the talented guitarist Guthrie Govan.

The first thing that hits you is that the songs take longer to sink in but they are well worth it! Opener ‘What About Love' is possibly the weakest track on the album, in fact the album gets stronger as you progress which is unusual as many bands pack their best songs upfront. Another interesting development is Geoff Downes's use of more Hammond organ and the ‘parping' keyboards take more of a backseat this time around.

Lyrical wise there is an underlying theme as John Payne's lyrics look at man's destruction of the world over the past hundred years. ‘Blue Moon Monday' hints at prog rock from its time changes and it features a glorious chorus line, again underpinned by Hammond organ. The band rock out on ‘I Will Be There For You', where again melody is king and if Radio 2 play Dare now, then this could easily be next. Interesting use of Gregorian style chants on ‘Darkness Day' and on ‘The Prophet' Guthrie Govan lays down some blissful solos that never outstay their welcome or take over the song.

Like Magnum, Asia stick to what they are good at - damn fine melodic rock tunes with a hint of progressive rock. The band has moved away from their jazz-rock leanings on ‘Arena' (not a very good album) to what they do best. Good to see another established band back on form and an album sure to please their fans.


Review by Jason Ritchie

Buy this CD

What About Love
© 2004 John Payne/Geoff Downes. Inside Out Music GmbH All rights reserved.


Label website

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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