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Xxx


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps up the revival standard
If judging a 5-star review as the original album, then this is certainly a 4-star album. 11 tracks of which only 3 I don't care for, similar to Omega. I'd rank this album alongside that one, keeping up the decent standard of the post-Payne era revival. Say what you like about the argument as to whether Asia is better with Payne or Wetton, my preference is clearly for...
Published on 10 July 2012 by Tony Roberts

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Asia XXX out of 5
Asia can do so much better than this. I can't engage with the album - there is not much substance and only a couple of half decent tracks. "Omega" was a great album - perhaps the band need a break, to come up with some better ideas!
Published 15 months ago by Peter Andrews


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps up the revival standard, 10 July 2012
By 
Tony Roberts (Bristol, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
If judging a 5-star review as the original album, then this is certainly a 4-star album. 11 tracks of which only 3 I don't care for, similar to Omega. I'd rank this album alongside that one, keeping up the decent standard of the post-Payne era revival. Say what you like about the argument as to whether Asia is better with Payne or Wetton, my preference is clearly for Wetton. The songs are stronger, catchier and Wetton's voice blows Payne's out of the water.

Tomorrow The World begins quietly, a departure from the usual Wetton-era albums, but its not unpleasant. Then suddenly bursts into rocky life and is a great start to the album. Reminiscent of Finger on the Trigger as far as the general beat goes. I also like one of the lines that uses a Shakespeare-style twist to a phrase.
Bury Me In Willow is one of those songs that can only be described as beautiful. Wonderfully crafted and composed. Not a really outstanding track to me as one or two of the others but beautiful nonetheless. And a perfect foil for what comes next.
What can you say about No Religion? OMG. Steve Howe's power chords. A head-nodding foot-tapping number so reminiscent of the 80s. I love it. Alright, alright, so part of it sounds like Blue Oyster Cult. So what? This knocks Don't Fear the Reaper out of the way.
Faithful. Um. Too similar to the bland pap of the middle part of Phoenix. Don't like it.
I Know How You Feel. Not this version, no. I think the keyboards are a little too irritating. It doesn't do it for me anyway.
Face On The Bridge. One of those slow burners. Wasn't sure about it when I first heard it but now, yes its a good one. Runs smoothly. I did wonder why he mentioned the King of Bohemia but then when I watched the DvD that comes with this version I got it. I've been on the Charles Bridge too, and it is beautiful.
Al Gatto Nero. Spooky, this. We have a cat called Nero. Al Gatto = The Cat. No! Surely not! Of course it means The Black Cat (Nero isn't black, by the way). Love the song. Oh what a gutsy start. The only weak bit is the chorus but I can live with that.
Judas. Not bad. Fairly good. Good guitars. It doesn't quite reach out and grab me hard like No Religion or Al Gatto Nero but a nice album track nontheless.
Reno. Rubbish. Bonus track? Bin it. Payne standard.
Ghost of A Chance. Haunting. Wasn't too sure at first but its grown on me. Yes, one to keep on the old iPod.
I Know How You Feel (Midnight Mix). Now i do like this version. Its atmospheric and comes without that Supertramp irritating falsetto keyboard sound. Good song.

The only thing I'd moan about is that it didn't end with a really great track like Alpha or Asia did. I'd like to see the guys insist with Frontier Records in future they do. And also like all Asia albums its a little too polished and over produced. Asia are far better live. I'm going to see them this coming December and cannot wait.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asia revive the spirit of their debut, 2 July 2012
By 
Mr. H "Mr H" (Embra) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
It's been six years now since the original Asia line-up reformed for one reunion tour. Of course, they haven't stopped since, and have put out two new studio albums in the shape of "Phoenix" in 2008 and "Omega". They've also managed a couple of live albums and a few more trips around the world. Which is pretty good going, as Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer & John Wetton have a combined age of about a thousand, and are also keeping busy with other bands and solo projects. So, fair play.

Which would all mean sweet Fanny Adams if the music they were putting out wasn't up to much. But not only is it good, it's getting better. And this is probably the best album they've released since their debut came out thirty years ago. Of course, that's a big anniversary, so as well as this new album, there's a thirtieth anniversary edition of their debut album, a couple of DVDs, and another world tour that takes in the UK, Europe, Japan and America. This, dodgily titled album (which will hopefully see some traffic increase here), sees the band collaborating with well known producer Mike Paxman, and is out as a , deep breath, CD, collector's edition CD/DVD (featuring new music videos and behind the scenes footage), and on a limited edition vinyl.

The band are very confident about the new release. John Wetton says, "we're very pleased with, and confident about, XXX. It encapsulates, lyrically and instrumentally, the essence of the band today. However, it is the very same four people that gave you the original, iconic album 30 years ago. If you loved it then, you will love it now." And guitarist Steve Howe chips in with "we wanted to recapture the energy of the first album, ASIA has always been about great songs, fantastic musicianship and I am sure fans of the first album, will fall in love with XXX."

There's a world weariness about the opening track 'Tomorrow The World', before it kicks into full action, and goes on to incorporate everything that was pomptastic and melodic about their classic sound. John Wetton has had a few vocal problems over the last few years, but in the studio, they've worked some magic, and he sounds as good as he ever did. The rest of the band are masters at what they do, with Steve Howe knowing how to pull back from overpowering you with guitar, and Carl Palmer. Well, Carl Palmer gets on with being Carl Palmer. You know it's him. The songs sound as though you've been listening to them all your life, which is a neat trick to pull off this far down the line. It's a grand mixture of prog, AOR and classic rock, and even when they turn to balladry, as on 'Ghost Of A Chance', they more than pull it off.

You'll be hard pushed to hear a better slab of classic rock this year.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Asia XXX out of 5, 24 May 2013
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This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
Asia can do so much better than this. I can't engage with the album - there is not much substance and only a couple of half decent tracks. "Omega" was a great album - perhaps the band need a break, to come up with some better ideas!
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5.0 out of 5 stars are asia still great without steve howe, 28 July 2014
By 
Mr. James S. Edmondson (u.k.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
are asia still great without steve howe? they most certainly are. what a great sounding record what a great guitarist.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blast from the past, 15 Aug 2012
By 
Vixx H "vixx811" (Cannock, Staffs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Xxx (Audio CD)
If you enjoyed 'Heat of the moment' and are expecting to hear more of the same then you'll probably be disappointed. This is quite a good album with a couple of familiar tracks but to be honest I found most of the tracks a bit insipid considering the calibre of musicians who make up the band.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RETURN TO FORM, 3 July 2012
This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
I'VE A BEEN A FAN OF ASIA SINCE 1982. STILL ONE OF THE BEST ROCK BANDS AROUND. SINCE THE BAND RE-UNITED IN 2008 WITH PHOENIX, I WAS EAGER TO GET THIS CD TO MY COLLECTION, AND IT DOESN'T DISAPPOINT. THE OVERALL SOUND IS MUCH ROCKER THAN THE LAST ALBUM (OMEGA). CARL PALMER HAS MORE OF A FOOTHOLD ON THIS ALBUM AND JOHN WETTON VOICE JUST KEEPS GOING. THE ONLY WEAK TRACK IN MY OPION IS GHOST OF A CHANCE, BUT OVERALL MUCH BETTER THAN OMEGA WHICH LEFT ME WANTING MORE. IT WAS HARD FOR THE GROUP TO FOLLOW UP ON PHOENIX WHICH WAS SUPERB I COULDN'T FAULT ANY TRACK. IF YOU LIKED PHOENIX YOUR LOVE THIS ALBUM. IF YOUR NEW TO ASIA THEN GET THEIR FIRST TWO ALBUMS ( ASIA, ALPHA ) WHICH ARE THE BEST ROCK ALBUMS EVER!!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Age does not weary them, 17 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Xxx (Audio CD)
I bought Asia's debut album as a nerdy teenage progger almost 30 years ago. This is the first of their works I have purchased since then and it's refreshing to see/hear that absiolutely nothing has changed! Despite the massive technological advances in music production since their 1982 debut, XXX could plausibly pass as a follow-up to Asia or Astra. And here lieth the issue for me. The individual band members had arguably peaked creatively at some point in the late 1970s and have been on the decline (albeit at glacial pace) since then. XXX therefore manages to simultaneously embody all that is laudable and lamentable about the genre. It is an enjoyable and listenable-to album but not exactly ground breaking stuff.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars xxxx ASIA, 16 Sep 2012
By 
R. L. Baldry "Robbie Bee" (cambridge uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
Three Albums released by the reformed original line up. Didnt ever expect to see the real Asia ever reform or to release 3 really strong Abums together.
XXX is a classy mix of classic Asia melodic stadium rock. The deluxe edition is the one to get as it includes 2 versions of I Know How You Feel, the funkier version on the 9 track release, featuring a wonderful catchy keyboard sound and lovely vocals by John Wetton. the midnight mix is just wonderful, so haunting and beautiful. other highlights are Bury Me In Willow which is a lovely power ballad. the rocking Tomorow The World is very catchy and a really good way to kick of the Album. Ghost of A Chance is also a big highlight starts very softly and ends in rousing style.
All in all a really strong follow up to Omega but doesent quite top Omega for excellence as that album has at least 10 really good songs.
Lets hope Asia can stay together to release one more Album as good as these last 3. Buy all 3 and enjoy top musicians at the top of their game.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Silver or Gold?, 16 Sep 2012
By 
S. C. Trump "stevect" (Upminster, Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
The prolific John Wetton and Steve Howe release yet another new album. This time its the third release by the original Asia linup since reforming in 2007. The DVD makes much of the fact that the band line up is the same as it was 30 years ago drawing parallel with U2 (who I cannot abide!), without so much as a mention of xx years with John Payne and Geoff Downes minding the shop (with occasional brief visits from Steve Howe).

Anyway, with no more suitable one line titles starting and ending with 'A' (I guess they couldn't use 'Abba' !) we're now just left with three 'X's.

A sublime intro takes us into the stoking beat of 'Tomorrow the world' and you know instantly that you're listening to another Asia album. A very strong track to kick off with. 'Bury me in willow' comes next and is lyrically not an area much explored on any songs I have heard. 'No Religion' is another power track co-written this time with Howe. 'Faithful' is track 4 and it's one of those instantly catchy melodies that Asia do so well (Check out the wonderful 'I'm still the same' from 'Omega' for another example where they successfully recreate the classic ELO sound). The DVD talks about an acoustic version of this song being included on the CD but strangely it isn't. 'I know how you feel' is a pleasant song and this really does have a (bonus track) as an acoustic version. 'Face on the bridge' is the single from the album and comes with an exotic video on the DVD. Great song. 'Al gatto Nero' has John singing 'question and answer' phrases in a different pitch so sounds almost like two singers. Not sure what 'Al gatto Nero' is - an Italian restaurant perhaps? 'Judas' follows next and is another one co-written with Howe. It's OK. The last two tracks are my favourites - 'Reno (Silver and Gold)' is billed as a bonus track, but what a bonus ! An unusual sound for Asia but very effective. Finally the beautiful ballad 'Ghost of a chance' closes the album (with the exception of the acoustic version of 'I know how you feel'). Howe's guitar sweetens this track and creates a mellow ending to 'XXX'. Perhaps a final anthemic track might have provided the better closer in the same way that 'An extraordinary day' did on the classic 'Phoenix' album.

Four stars from me. Asia are great and will always be a 'must have' purchase, but this album doesn't quite make the magic five.

(...and the 'Making of' DVD feature lasts for 20 minutes).
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so sure!, 4 July 2012
This review is from: Xxx [Limited Cd+dvd] (Audio CD)
Ok lets start with the fact that I have every Asia album from the start, have been to many of the concerts and have stuck with this band through thick and thin.
However I was a little disappointed as the tracks just seem to roll along without any real impact. I did not want this to be another Wetton/Downes "Icon" album.
In Carl Palmer we have one of the best drummers in the world so why doesnt the producer bring the drum sound up it sounds muted to me on a lot of the tracks.
Steve Howe needs to ramp up the power chords again it's like these guys are playing in a different room to the the rest of the band.
Geoff Downes is a great keyboard player but I just wish he would play those catchy little sequences that you just love and want more off but they just dont seem to be here.
Tomorrow The World......not the best opening track I have heard.
Bury Me In Willow.......have to admit it is a grower.
No Religion....A little rockier.
Faithful..... is a very weak track.
I Know How You Feel....come on guy's I might as well put a Supertramp album on, and bring the drum sound up!
Face On The Bridge.....terrible title for a song but lot's better good Asia song and catchy chorus.
Al Gatto Nero......terrible sounds like Wetton is straining with this one and singing a foreign language in parts, and a terrible ending expected to hear beer glasses and chatting at the bar bit like a club song.
Judas....well done Steve a better guitar sound and a good Asia song.
Reno (silver & gold) bit of a plodder but some good harmonies.
Ghost Of A Chance.....at last a great track good guitar from Steve and a better sound much better production on this track.
I Know How You Feel.....nice sound and playing from Geoff Downes good guitar from Steve again like this track a lot.
Faithful......another slower not a great one to end on, really wanted you guys to rock the joint with the closing track.
So there we have it the second half of the album is better than the start. I hope this album grows on me and doesn't just end up as one you put to one side after a while.
I wanted a blow me away crisp production and don't understand that you could achieve this in the 70's & 80's and now with all the modern technology it just sounds a little weak.
I still love the band and they are brilliant musicians and perhaps I so won't those glory days back when the albums were always on for weeks at a time.
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