|Asia Silent Nation||Inside Out Music|
Asia's new album comes as a break in tradition – the band dropping their regular choice of an album title with an 'A' in favor of a more poignant title – Silent Nation.|
The music within however, is still very familiar, if not just that little bit different.
The band, which have carried on successfully in recent years with the nucleus of keyboardist Geoff Downes and singer John Payne, have recorded one of their best efforts since their heyday.
I wasn't sold on their last studio album Aura – finding it just a little bit too predictable and laid back. Naturally I was set upon by a number of Asia fans, but there were others that agreed with me.
The line up for Silent Nation is a tighter 4-piece arrangement, with no rotating player list present. It's simply Geoffrey Downes (Keyboards), John Payne (Vocals, Bass), Chris Slade (Drums) and Guthrie Govan (Guitar).
Silent Nation is a great release and one that is destined to satisfy most Asia fans and I expect comments and reviews to be more unified than that last album.
Asia are never going to be a hard rock outfit, but this album is definitely more uptempo and has a stronger rock feel. The guitar plays a more prominent role this time around with Geoff Downes' flawless keyboard and organ parts providing a essential foundation for the memorable songs.
Track By Track:
There are some really memorable pop/rock moments on Silent Nation. The lyrically deep and dark What About Love?, which opens the album is the perfect blend of keyboard and organ with guitar and a tougher vocal delivery from Payne.
Then Asia deliver what could easily be one of their best ever songs in the form of the anthem Long Way From Home. This easy flowing, uptempo song promises faith, hope and promise, with a monster chorus and one of the best Payne vocals I've heard.
Another catchy little uptempo pop track Midnight harks back to the band's 80's sound, with a catchy little keyboard riff heightening those feelings.
Blue Moon Monday is a long, dark and dramatic piece, with a haunting organ accompanying Payne's raspy delivery.
Silent Nation is another fairly long track, with more organ and a U2-ish lead guitar riff and a tough talking chorus.
Ghost In The Mirror is a Peter Gabriel styled pop track which for me marks another memorable moment. This track features a wonderful chorus, with a certain feel good sing-a-long factor and more rich organ accompaniment.
Gone Too Far is a sparse, orchestral style rock ballad, with a ton of passion and a very emotional delivery from John Payne.
I Will Be There For You picks the tempo up again, in a song with a pop heart, but rock delivery thanks to a solid guitar presence. Another strong chorus outlines the band's successful attempts to create an album of memorable songs.
Darkness Day is a musically interesting track, again highlighting a sparse and atmospheric feel. Slow to build, it is a rather dramatic track that requires several listens to be able to familiarize oneself with.
The Prophet is another bare bones track that sees Payne leading the track with soft keyboard backing into a slow guitar solo passage and back to keyboards. A trademark "experimental" Asia track.
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