Title - 'Phoenix' (Frontiers Records/EMI America)
Artist - Asia
Rising from the ashes in 2008, the Multi-Platinum Supergroup Asia recently returned with "Phoenix," the first new album featuring the original line-up in 25 years! At when I say the original line-up I mean just that: Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and John Wetton!
Indeed, what seemed to be an impossible dream finally came true in 2006 when all four original members of Asia reunited on stage. Two years later and the same band present their long overdue follow-up to 1983's "Alpha" ... and it seems that they haven't missed a beat.
This album has all the hallmarks of the classic band, with the more introspective lyricism of Wetton's recent solo and ICON outings. Three songs date to the eighties, letting the band wrap up some unfinished business: "Déyà," "Over and Over," and "Alibis" (previously known as "Jodie"). Furthermore, the verses on "No Way Back" sound strikingly like those from the Wetton/Downes tune, "Walking On Air," now attached to a catchier chorus.
After the success of the Wetton/Downes ICON albums which helped pave the way for the full reunion, I was pleased to find that two of the most captivating songs were those written by Steve Howe. Surprisingly, one of the more haunting tunes, "Orchard of Mines," is a cover of a song from "Epicon" by Globus, and it is perfectly suited to John Wetton's voice. This is a mature album from a classic band; it almost makes me believe I've found myself in '82 again!