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Asia - Phoenix CD (album) cover




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3.20 | 176 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars As a big fan of Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer and UK, as well as an ardent follower of the individual careers of both Steve Howe and John Wetton, I just had to check this album out. The recent Asia live DVD Fantasia - Live In Tokyo had also impressed me with fresh live versions of the early Asia material (sounding better than ever before!).

Phoenix sounds very similar to the Asia and Alpha albums, which is surprising keeping in mind the time span between those albums and this one. It is very hard to imagine how Phoenix could disappoint anyone, but it is equally hard to imagine how it could blow anyone away - it lives up to expectations very well, but it is almost exactly as we expected it to be. Indeed, Phoenix almost sounds like it could have been released in the 80's, giving us an idea of what Astra could have sounded like if the original line up had stayed together for a third album.

For fans of the old Asia, John Wetton and/or Steve Howe this album will not disappoint. Wetton's distinctive voice and song writing abilities are just as we are used to them, and Howe's very distinctive guitar sound is unmistakeable and as wonderful as always. Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer too are just as great as we know them to be. But, as I said, this album is somehow too close to our expectations; a bit too close to those early 80's albums.

My favourite tracks here are Alibis and Parallel Worlds/Vortex/Deya (the last part featuring great guitar work). These tracks are also the ones that come closest to being genuinely progressive, I think. Overall, I would say that the second half of the album is better than the first half.

If you love the Asia and Alpha albums, Phoenix is certainly for you. If you hate those albums, then you should really stay away from this!

Good, but non-essential.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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