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Asia

Omega

Review by Greg Olma

Now this is more like it!  I enjoyed the Payne fronted version of Asia also but if you are a purist, then Omega will certainly satisfy those cravings for original Asia material.  In 2008, the original line-up released Phoenix and I was not the only one who felt let down.  The expectations were high and they didn’t even come close.  This is the record they should have released to announce their reunion. It is upbeat, alive, and most of all, it has those catchy melodies that made those first couple of Asia records so memorable.  I don’t think they will be gaining any new fans with this record but I certainly think that they will be bringing back some of the older ones that were disappointed with the last release.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Finger On The Trigger
The CD starts off with a catchy riff that captures the spirit of the first record.  It contains one of the catchiest choruses on the record.  Steve Howe even puts in a nice guitar solo on this rocker of an Asia tune.
Through My Veins

Things slow down a little but still manage to rock.  There are parts that remind me of latter day Asia. It is almost a blend of the two versions.  John Wetton sounds really good and his voice has held up well over the years.

Holy War

Geoff Downes starts off the longest cut on the album that has sounds like it could have come off of their first record.  The vocal harmonies are the key to that sound and this number uses them to great effect.  The middle section has Carl Palmer kicking into high gear and bashing his kit but for the most part this is a straight ahead Asia tune.

Even Yours
Every Asia record has its share of slow ballads (luckily on Omega they are kept to a minimum) and here we get one that is better than most of the tunes on Phoenix.
Listen, Children

I was afraid that this one was going to be a cheesy tune based on the title but actually it is a great track (although the lyrics are a bit cheesy).  It is an upbeat Asia song that has a great guitar solo courtesy of Howe.  I guess you can’t judge a song by its title.

End Of The World

That pomp sound that Asia used to great effect on the first couple of records starts off this cut.  It quickly fades away and is replaced with kind of a boring tune.  It’s not a bad song but compared to the other tracks so far, this one misses the mark.

Light The Way

Downes starts off this song with an 80s sounding keyboard intro that reveals an Asia rocker that slows down a little on the chorus.  It has a very 80s Asia sound but somehow does not copy it exactly.

Emily

This is the bonus track on the first pressing digi-pack version.  I hear a little bit of The Beatles in an “Eleanor Rigby” kind of vibe. It’s a good song but it doesn’t really fit the rest of the material so I can see why they chose this as a bonus cut.

I’m Still The Same

Like the previous tune, this one does not have an Asia sound.  It really reminds me of something the Beach Boys would do, and I would not have guessed that it was Asia.  It is a weird cut and one that I don’t think fits the CD at all.

There Was A Time

Here is another ballad but it has a lot more to offer than “Even Yours” did.  There is some great interplay between Downes and Howe in the middle of this cut and it has a latter day Asia feel to it.  Even though it is a ballad, I quite like this tune because there is a lot going on in the background.

I Believe

That familiar Asia sound starts off this cut and really never leaves throughout.  It is another upbeat song that is what you would expect from these guys.  I’m surprised they sequenced this song so late on the disc because this one could be a single for them. (ed. If the term “single” still had any meaning in the modern world as applied to music)

Don’t Wanna Lose You Now
The record ends on a mellower note with the band going in a laid-back direction.  At first, I didn’t like the way Omega closed but additional plays have changed my mind.  It is a great way to finish the record and has a “this is the end of the record” feel.  I know that sounds strange but you will know what I mean when you hear it.
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