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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Asia

Aura

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual album for Asia. It has some moments that are progressive rock oriented, but overall, this is more like adult contemporary music. It has a lot in common with some of the mainstream jazzy stuff from the 1980s. Still, just being by Asia lands it under prog here at Music Street Journal. While this set might not be as challenging or proggy as some of the others from the band, it is still very entertaining.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Awake

The opening track is quite keyboard dominated. It leans a bit towards adult contemporary music, but there is some prog in the mix, too. It’s an infectious tune that works pretty well. It really has a lot of emotion and power. The closing section, in particular, is packed with power.

Wherever You Are
This is more of a soulful 80s rocker. It’s not really all that prog oriented. I do like some of the guitar fills a lot, and the instrumental section is definitely more of a proggy thing.
Ready To Go Home
There is a lot of that adult contemporary vibe here, too. I have to say that I really love the keyboard sounds on this cut. It’s not the most creative or innovative, or proggy thing you’ll here, but there are some really meaty keyboard tones.
The Last Time
Definitely equipped with a soulful adult contemporary arrangement, this song also lands near fusion. That fusion element, along with some prog, is brought by the guitar.
Forgive Me
This one really has an R&B vibe. I like it, though. It’s a good tune. It isn’t progressive rock, but it’s classy stuff.
Kings of the Day
Very much a jazz adult contemporary pop song, there is some serious funk here. It’s a good tune.
On the Coldest Day in Hell
Keyboard oriented, there’s not a big change here. It’s another solid piece, though. I really love some of the melodies on this.
Free
This is a proggy piece. It’s a harder rocking, more energized one. It’s a good change, but would be a good song even if it wasn’t. There are some cool shifts and changes, too. This is actually one of the highlights of the set. The instrumental segment at the end is particularly powerful and progressive rock oriented.
You’re The Stranger
This is an energetic pop song with a lot of fusion in the mix.
The Longest Night
Some scorching guitar opens this. It drops to a mellower motif for the verse, though. The whole cut remains reasonably mellow, but it’s very tasty. There is a bit of a bluesy edge, and I love the guitar soloing. 


Aura
This is very unexpected. It’s very much a fusion styled jam. It’s a cool, if a bit out of place, instrumental.

 

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