I've had this for a couple of months now - I don't like to review music too quickly as opinions change in the first couple of weeks. I wrote a very enthusiastic review of ASOT 2011 on amazon and I'm very reluctant to become one of those "this is the best one yet" reviewers every year a new album comes out. But I have to say, upon reflection, that this is the best ASOT I've heard and I own pretty much all of them. In the last 2 years (2011 and 2012) AVB seems to have rediscovered what trance is all about - long build ups, some vocals but not too cheesy, catchy base lines etc. I really put the 2011 and 2012 head and shoulders above the previous albums.
CD1, the beach, is as usual my favourite of the 2. Again though, as with 2011, there is less of a gap between the 2 styles. It used to be super chilled followed by hard beats, but now the 2 are much closer. There are more lyrics on CD1 which those who don't like lyrics will clearly enjoy less. But for me, CD1 on 2012 is the best CD of the whole lot and is worth the money alone. Tracks #10 and #12 are really stand-out for me. CD2 for me, though one of the better ones with no awful tracks, slips a little bit into the "samey" category of modern trance which a lot of his CD 2s seem to do.
But then this is where music is great - I read one of the previous reviews saying the only good songs on the album were the last 4 of CD2! Doesn't mean he is or I am wrong, it's just different tastes. As I say though, in my opinion, CD1 is the best CD1 he has released to date and CD2 isn't bad at all, so for me it's 5 stars.