ASIA - Silent Nation

Asia - Silent Nation

10 songs
58:22 minutes
*****
InsideOut

Bandpage

When I was ten years old, I must have been thoroughly brainwashed by Heat Of The Moment, as song that had tremendous radio airplay, and even the video clip was running all the time on TV, and that was more or less before MTV. I was too young back then to understand that prog legends from the 70s felt it was high time for them to make also money. As much as I like the originating bands (King Crimson, ELP and Yes), I preferred the original members (John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Steve Howe) when they played 20 minutes long songs that kept them reasonably successful. Only remaining original member is Geoff Downes who if my memory serves me right sang on Yes' not-so-great album Drama and who had a giant hit with his band Buggles: Video Killed The Radio Star.

Mr Downes is still releasing Asia records on a regular basis, and why not? With sidekicks John Payne (who must have joined Asia around the 4th album which was something of a comeback), Guthrie Govan and Chris Slade, Silent Nation is their meanwhile 8th album, and their first with an album title not starting with the letter "A" (after Asia, Alpha, Astra, Aqua, Aria, Arena and Aura). From the opener What About Love on, you know that not much has changed since the early 80s. You still get well manufactured arena rock music with reasonably heavy guitars, big keyboard sounds, perfect instrumentation that only very occasionally hints at its progressive roots. The lyrics are very thoughtful, urging people to take good care of Planet Earth, and while many bands today think it's not cool anymore to be concerned about ecological issues, I prefer these lyrics to fantasy pipedreams any day of the week.

While the songwriting is not that bad, it is still way to conservative for my tastes. Heat Of The Moment and Don't Cry were songs I really enjoyed in my pre-teen years, and I still like them today due to a certain sense of nostalgia, but apart from that, Asia probably don't aim at the readers of this site, but rather at those listening to Dire Straits and Toto.

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