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Asia - Aria CD (album) cover




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2.89 | 138 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Are you big enough for another one?

While the previous Aqua could be seen as something of a transitional album from the classic 80's Asia to the 90's Geoff Downes-led Asia, Aria was really the first album on which Downes and Payne would feel comfortable in leading the band. On Aqua three of the four original members of the band were still involved with Carl Palmer drumming and Steve Howe appearing as a guest on several tracks. Here only Downes remains from the original line up. The late 80's/early 90's were very turbulent times for Asia with members coming and going all the time. From this point on the line up would be relatively stable.

Aria is possibly the best representative of the Payne-era and one of the most consistent albums Asia produced after the original line up split. The strong point of Aria is that it sounds like it was made by a full band instead of merely as a project run by Downes and Payne (which was the case for many other Asia albums of the 90's and 00's). The sound is fuller and the album is very well produced. Vocally, I think that Payne does a great job here, with his passionate vocal performance being another strong point of the album. Aria is therefore a suite album title continuing the long tradition of album titles beginning and ending with the letter A (Asia, Alpha, Astra, Aqua, Aria, etc.) Roger Dean is once again on board here with a nice cover art picture (though, very far from his better works).

The music of Aria rocks harder than most other Asia albums and the guitar work is better than on any other post- Steve Howe Asia album. This is yet another strong point here. There is really no need to comment on individual songs, since they fit nicely into a formula. But one nice thing is that the melody from Desire is repeated at the end of the last track, giving the album the feel of being a complete whole.

However, it takes some effort to get over the ultra-cheesy Anytime where the clichéd chorus line 'Anytime that you want me, anytime that you need me' followed by a cheesy trumpet-like fanfare played on keyboards! It is not something that I would play loud while having friends in the house! Overall, the lyrics is the weakest point of this album as with most Asia albums.

By no means an essential release, but good enough and very good by Asia's standards!

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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