Put original band-mates together after a long hiatus, and sometimes you get something that is a mere shadow of the original. Not so with Asia and their new album, Phoenix. In short, the band has created an album that is a shining example of how a refusal to update a sound can be a great thing. Phoenix is a near perfect album that not only highlights what Asia is musically, but also the individual talents of the four original members that make up this legendary group. Had Phoenix been released during the heyday of the band, it would be considered classic Asia today.
This album is easily superior to their second album, Alpha (1983) and on a par with their high-selling 1982 debut, possibly – and arguably – better. With the wonderfully distinctive guitar work of Steve Howe (Yes, GTR, solo), the progressive keyboards of Geoff Downes (Buggles, Yes), the all-around superb efforts of John Wetton (King Crimson, Uriah Heep, UK, Wishbone Ash, Roxy Music, Family - vocals, song-writing, bass), and the classic drumming of Carl Palmer (Atomic Rooster, ELP), Phoenix is a masterwork by the founding components of Asia.
Phoenix serves to showcase the fact that, in our diverse world of music, great Rock and Roll is still being produced by uncompromising purveyors of the ‘old school’ bands. Phoenix is a triumph of music that makes you feel as if time has stopped for you.