Written by: GR on 29/06/2010 00:00:28

Yes, readers, I am still alive. My almost non-existent work rate over the last few months may not have indicated as such, but it is so and time for me to pull my reviewing weight here at Rockfreaks. Today's musing is about an album released a couple of months back by a band whose name you should recognise but whose music you're probably not too familiar with, past their mega-hits of the 80s. That's certainly the situation I'm in despite my love for classic rock. The band in question is supergroup Asia, returning with their second album since the original lineup reformed in 2006.

So what does Asia 2010 sound like? Well, it's the soft rock/AOR style you'd expect from such a name. The members - Messrs Wetton, Downes, Howe and Palmer - may not be far away from picking up their free bus passes, but there's certainly life in the old dogs yet. Be warned though, this is not a record for those looking to be rocked hard - opening track and highlight "Finger on the Trigger", a very catchy song that could easily have been a big hit for them back in the day, is as rocking as it gets. Most of "Omega" ranges between mid-tempo and balladic, with a leaning towards the latter - which can get a bit tiresome at times (to these ears at least) but will likely please fans of the style.

The vocals of John Wetton are still clear and strong and unsurprisingly the musicianship can't be faulted. Combined with song-writing skills built up over decades, the result is an album of deceptively memorable songs that somehow have a feel of timelessness about them, sounding neither modern nor old. That said, there isn't quite that special something to push the album above 'decent' - songs like the epic "Holy War" definitely raise the bar but there's a tendency for proceedings to become background music. Add occasional clunky lyrics and a happy-clappy religious undercurrent to some of the tracks and this isn't an album that will get much in the way of repeated listens my end, unless I'm feeling particularly harmonious, but will please fans of the band. As far as reunions go, this one seems to be a worthwhile endeavour.

Download: Finger on the Trigger, Holy War, There Was a Time
For The Fans Of: Journey, Toto, The Moody Blues
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 23.04.2010
Frontiers Records

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