DataReleased June 2012
Genre Progressive Rock
N of discs 1
Edition date June 2012
Label Frontiers Records
Edition Details Collector's Edition
Because of their thirteenth anniversary, ASIA’s new album is called ‘XXX’ (tripple x). A title that could easily be misunderstood. ‘XXX’ is also a rating code for adult television entertainment! Fortunately, there’s no ‘parental advisory explicit lyrics’ warning on the cover. One can never now.
According to the band members ‘XXX’ is the best Asia-album since their spectacular self titled debut album in 1982. “We’re very pleased with, and confident about, XXX,” says John Wetton. “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.”
Says Asia’s guitarist, Steve Howe; “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.” Wow, that sounds promissing!
‘Tomorrow The World’ is the smashing opening track followed by the blistering ‘Bury Me In Willow' and ‘No Religion’. Two tracks with sing along chorus and magnificent keyboard-arrangements from Geoff Downes. The man deserves a Pulitzer prize for such an insight!
It’s ballad time with ‘Faithfull’. A confessional song that demands a lot of John Wetton’s voice capabilities. In the studio it works out well, but let’s hope he refuses to perform it live! Geoff strikes again with a great staccato arrangement in ‘I Know How You Feel’.
‘Al Gatto Nero’ is the only stinker on the album. Asia shouldn’t do songs with a silly question-and answering-game about an aged man who want’s to party in Mediterranean locations. Get home, paps!
Sing along time again with ‘Judas’ (with a though Steve Howe opening riff) that finally leads us to the grandiose closing track ‘Ghost Of A Chance’. It kicks off as a ballad but culminates in a grandiose finale with a breathtaking string arrangement strengthened by a wall of keyboards and a thrilling Howe-solo.
It must be said that ‘XXX’ surely approaches the allegations. The album is very well crafted with catchy rockers, beautiful ballads in a sophisticated production from Mike Paxman. A certain kind of hegemony is reflected in the music. ‘XXX’ is an overwhelming album and the best so far since the rëunion of the classic line up in 2007.
The special edition contains two bonus tracks and a DVD featuring music videos and behind the scenes footage.
Producer: Mike Paxman
Reviewer: Michel Scheijen