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Gravitas
 
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Gravitas

21 Mar. 2014 | Format: MP3

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Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
5:25
30
2
7:59
30
3
6:38
30
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5:11
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5:05
30
6
5:38
30
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3:11
30
8
4:30
30
9
4:03
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 21 Mar. 2014
  • Release Date: 21 Mar. 2014
  • Label: Frontiers Records
  • Copyright: (c) 2014 Frontiers Records
  • Total Length: 47:40
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00ID88KAI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,583 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stotty on 8 April 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
To be honest, I wasn't really too concerned when Steve Howe left Asia for the second time. As much as I love his playing, he doesn't even feature on two of my favourite Asia albums (1994's 'Aria' and 2004's 'Silent Nation') and Asia have had a countless number of guitar players over the years, including the likes of Elliot Randall, Aziz Ibrahim and Guthrie Govan, so there's never been a shortage of quality in that department. The real driving force behind Asia has always been Geoff Downes and whichever singer/bassist has been fronting the band, whether it's John Wetton or John Payne.
'Gravitas' sees Wetton and Downes coming to the fore once again and delivering another set of finely crafted, accessible melodic rock songs with the odd progressive rock flourish.
Opening track 'Valkyrie' is a real earworm of a song. It's classic Asia and once it takes a hold of you, it won't let go for days. I've been humming it constantly for nearly two weeks. The title track is a good eight-minuter, with soaring vocal harmonies and a driving rhythm section.
'The Closer I Get to You' is one of the strongest tracks on offer. A traditional, emotionally driven Asia-style ballad with plenty of majesty. It sits nicely alongside some of their strongest material and should become something of a fan favourite. 'Joe DiMaggio's Glove' is another slick ballad, beautifully sung by Wetton.
My favourite tracks on 'Gravitas', along with the aforementioned 'Valkyrie' and 'The Closer I Get to You' are the lively 'Heaven Help Me Now' and the bright and breezy finale, 'Till We Meet Again'. To be honest though, there isn't really a dull moment on this album. 'Gravitas' sounds great and has arguably the best production of any record in the Asia catalogue.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 8 April 2014
Format: Audio CD
To date, we've had three strong albums from Asia since their original line-up reformed to make 2008's Phoenix. The following outings, Omega (2010) and XXX (2012), took what John Wetton, Geoff Downes, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer had reignited and moved it forward.

So now, in 2014, we're due another Asia album and here it is. However, one founder member, guitarist Howe, has retired from the band, with 27-year-old YouTube sensation, Sam Coulson, taking his place.

Asia's third album saw the Yes-bound Howe replaced by Krokus's Mandy Meyer, so is this 'Astra Mark II'?

No. Despite the cataclysmically corny spoken section in Countdown to Zero, Astra may still be the better album.

Not that there's anything irredeemably wrong with Gravitas, it's just that thus far it has failed to grab me as much as the previous Wetton-associated Asia offerings.

The reformed Asia have always started their albums strongly and this is still the case here. Valkyrie kicks things off in style but is perhaps a little too reliant on its huge sumptuous harmony, while Gravitas is a sprawling eight-minute epic with a very proggy opening. The Closer I Get to You is the first ballad and Wetton's voice has never sounded better, although the bridge is uncomfortably close to the main hook in Drive by The Cars.

Nyctophobia feels like a bit of a novelty track, as Emily was on Omega. It sounds very New Wave, like it could have been the work of New Musik, XTC or perhaps even Downes's previous outfit, The Buggles. It's a decent enough entry though, while Russian Dolls is an atmospheric piece with a rare but excellent Wetton bass solo.

Heaven Help Me Now opens with a rather churchy harmony (reminiscent of the theme tune to Mr Bean!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 May 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wetton and Downes are old men. It's unreasonable to expect them to have the fire of their youth - indeed I think Wetton's once-distinctive overdriven bass sound was last heard on "Ride Easy" on the original Asia album! Both have spent a lot of time piddling about in lower-grade work. Any good music needs edge. Generally Steve Howe ensures that any work he is associated with is of a minimum standard, but of course he isn't here.

Now I got this through the post together with "North" by John Lee's Barclay James Harvest (The JLBJH effort was so lame it hurt). The comparison made me realise that Gravitas is not at all bad.

First, it's got two tracks that I can't get out of my head - "Valkyrie" and "Joe di Maggio's glove". The rest is variable and hasn't grabbed me yet - I've only had the CD for a few days. Wetton's voice on both is good, and the production is crisp.

It's not very up-to-date, but then Asia always set their own style which was often at variance with current fashion. I was afraid that it might be a keyboard-driven album, but Asia seem to have avoided this trap largely. The new guitarist is excellent, fits in, and is not as "tacked-on" as Mandy Meyer so obviously was.

What I recommend is using the online snippets and listening to a few of the tracks. If it grabs you even that much, then it is for you. If not ... not.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Muir on 10 April 2014
Format: Audio CD
"Gravitas is Asia by Asia. At last."
John Wetton.

Beg to differ.
Gravitas is Asia by John Wetton and Geoff Downes.
Again.

Wetton and Downes song writing partnership has dominated recent Asia releases; all the numbers on Gravitas were penned by the pair and they also produced the album.
And in terms of song structure, arrangements and sound Gravitas is more accurately an album by Icon (the franchise vehicle for the Wetton - Downes duo) in everything but name.

Which is all fine and dandy if the album is littered with a great set of songs but Gravitas is, for the most part, mid-tempo soft rock by numbers.

John Wetton’s voice is strong and prominent as you would expect, but many of the songs suffer from keyboard heavy arrangements or their over-use, giving new kid on the Asia block Sam Coulson little room for expression.
Coulson’s guitar licks are well placed and the solos are generally short, sharp and solid but that’s part of the problem – they sound like they are please-insert-your-solo-here moments.

And it could be any drummer keeping the predominately mid and slow-tempo beats; Carl Palmer is in no danger of having to remove his shirt during his percussive work on Gravitas.

‘Valkyrie’ is the first single to be lifted from Gravitas and it leads off the album.
Its soft rock, big vocal and choral chorus arrangement is pleasant enough but the album’s opening statement loses impetus because of the continual ‘Valkyrie’ repeat in the latter stages of the song.
A far more vibrant and fitting introduction to the album would have been the eight minute title track.

But ‘Valkyrie’ is simply setting the musical template for most of what follows.
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