Wednesday, June 1, 2016

ASIA: "Phoenix" 2CD Re-issue

Rating: Re-issue
Label: Cherry Red/Asia 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Asia (and Cherry Red Records) are pleased to announce the re-release of its Phoenix album. This 2CD re-issue features the European version of the album, the two acoustic bonus tracks from foreign editions (I Will Remember You. An Extraordinary Life) and an extra disc with the American version of album. What's the difference you ask? Well. The American edition included a different mix of the opening track, "Never Again", and different mastering throughout. And as this is on the band's own label, they were able to control that the wholesale price was only increased by amount necessary to cover the cost of manufacturing the extra disc.

Originally released in 2008, it's the first album recorded during the reunion of John Wetton (vocals/bass), Steve Howe (guitars), Geoff Downes (keyboards) and Carl Palmer (drums). The million dollar question though? Do you really need this? Two extremely slightly different versions of the same album? Yeah. But, only if you're the complete and utter die-hard manic follower and fan of the band. You know. One of them that are basically stalking the band, travelling around to different stages across the planet, and built an impressive Asia altar in the basement. Not to be confused with the sort of Asia altar Quagmire's got in his basement (Giggity!).

To quote my original 2008 review, "Never Again" is a great opener for an album. It's such a great little number that I started thinking in big words and a raving review. It's definitely just as good as the best of Asia. However, they were always about hits and misses anyhow". Then again. You also have the following to consider and to quote myself again, "For instance, take the stripped down, "Nothing's Forever", as a warning example of how NOT to write a song in 2008. It's a mish-mash of Chris De Burgh melodies and dodgy, pomp, rock music of the past".  I'm not saying it's a bad idea or record. It's just one of those releases that screams 'must be serious collector and fan boy/girl to fully enjoy and appreciate'. I'm more than happy and pleased with my original European release of the album as most people would be. Final verdict: It's a nice digipack re-release...

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