Asia - XXX
Frontiers Records
AOR / Progressive Rock
9 songs (51'28)
Release year: 2012
Asia, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Chris
Major event

It's been 30 years since Asia took the world by surprise with their self-titled debut album. An album which back in 1982 with classic Rock anthems hits like Heat of the Moment, Only Time Will Tell, Sole Survivor, Wildest Dreams and other great songs propulsed Asia on the top of the charts all over the world. Ending being the no1 album sold in 1982 worldwide, with the band staying in first position in the USA charts for 9 weeks. Also crowned quadruple platinum album since then. The British rock band reformed the original lineup for their 25th birthday and XXX (triple X) is their third studio album since then.

It is questionable if Asia can be considered metal, but Rock is a parent of any of the styles that took birth and gave us oh so many different metal styles to listen and appreciate. I for one have always loved Asia both younger and later down the road, so as far as I'm concerned they have their place here no questions asked, and if you disagree you can stop reading my review, I sure won't lose any sleep over it :). It's clear from the beginning of this album that Asia wants to recapture the magic of 1982 with this 30 years celebration album. A difficult, very difficult task, but it won't take you more than one listen to arrive to the conclusion that they actually succeeded, even though the music is quite different, the mood is there, and so is the energy ! The album is fresh, very positive, and only contains great songs with melodies that will impregnate themselves into your memory and stay there for a very long time. While I still believe Asia's first two albums were great albums (with the debut as clear winner), I find Aqua to the be their strongest offering (moody & atmospheric, magical & melodic, in the end pure joy !), this album is up there with the best of them, if only for the pure unadulterated fun and positive vibe that permeates in almost every one of the songs. The hooks are straight up, the musicianship is top notch, guitars are inspired, and while this is not very heavy (but even though Asia never really was I find they are really punchy here), it displays mostly memorable moments, with pinches of genius sprinkled throughout it's nine songs and 51 minutes of great musicianship. Be it the guitars, the bass riffs, or the organ keyboard, and that little progressive touch Asia is known for, it all lines up very well to deliver a great listening experience. If you liked Asia back then, you will most certainly like Asia today, the essence of the band is clearly imprinted in each and every one of the songs, but with a great mixture of old and new, attaining a great balance between nostalgia and freshness. My favorite songs are Tomorrow The World (killer opener, great vibe and punchy, great solos !), Burry Me In Willow, No Religion (punchy and rockin'), the single Face on the Bridge, Judas & the amazing closer Ghost of a Chance, that features few vocals and mostly instrumental parts. A veritable demonstration of great musicianship, with guitars taking over the vocal melodies, and showing that sometimes less is more in an incredible fashion. An amazing tune that I love playing over and over again ! The guitars, the orchestration bringing the song crescendo, everything is just perfect and the mood of the song is just unbelievable and could very well be my all-time favorite Asia song (with Who Will Stop The Rain maybe :) ). I also can't get enough of John Wetton's vocals, they are simply mesmerizing. The artcover also deserves special mention as this is pure Asia artwork ! So there you have it, Asia doing what they do best, 30 years later !

Melodic, rock infused, positive and just plain soul lifting sometimes; Asia knows how to deliver the goods and that is what XXX is all about. I must admit I hadn't listened to them much after Aura, and while I always love dusting off Aqua as a guilty pleasure, I didn't really expect such a great album from the band (I'm actually kinda shocked of how good this is) ! When I saw that the original lineup was actually back together, I jumped at the occasion to listen and review this album and I will now look backwards to the previous two albums as well though I highly doubt they will be as good as this one. The album will be released June 29th in EU, and July 2st in America. So it probably won't top 1982's self titled album in the charts, and it won't be the most sold album of 2012 (even though it's way better than most of the dribble crap churned out on radio and MTV all day long)... but it is an incredible album nonetheless, one that you can play and leave in repeat and that will shine light and positivity upon your days. Bravo Asia for delivering such an amazing album after such a long career (albeit with many lineup changes). For me the final standing album-wise stays Aqua in first position (for me this one is untouchable but triple X isn't that far at all, just different), Asia (classic if there was any) & XXX (at almost the same level). If you like these albums, I'm sure you'll enjoy XXX tremendously (you might even found it to be their best, and that wouldn't surprise me !). You may not be metal, but you still manage to rock my days. So thank you Asia for this fantastic album !

Killing Songs :
All of them !!!! Killer album from beginning to end !
Chris quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Asia that we have reviewed:
Asia - Silent Nation reviewed by Mike and quoted 82 / 100
Asia - Fantasia - Live In Tokyo reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Asia - Aura reviewed by Chris and quoted 70 / 100
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