17.3.14

Asia - Gravitas (2014)

Two years after the last album by supergroup Asia (it's called XXX), there comes brand new one called Gravitas. On remarks, this is the fourteen studio album by Asia, but the first featuring brand new guitarist Sam Coulson of only 27 years old. Sam is almost 20 years apart his band mates. On Sam Coulson, he was previously making fame by hitting Youtube celebrity status, successfully attracted Paul Gilbert's attention and his career sealed in when Asia shortlisted him.

Gravitas is mostly consisted of mid-tempo songs, very much stayed in the same water as in XXX. Valkyrie as the opener is a sign that the band maximized their creativity on the softer melodic rock feel. The song is having less obvious usage of guitar riffs, but thick organ/keyboards layers plus an upfront lead drumming. Of course the stealing attention is the vocals chorus harmony that having significant portion throughout the song. The next song Gravitas is heavy in keyboard showcase by Geoff Downes in the intro. This song has another solid leading beat and the guitars distortion sounds is perfectly match the song requirement. The Closer I Get To You is lyrical piano ballad, very radio friendly. Nyctophobia also did not raise more heaviness compared to the tracks we reviews just now. On Heaven Help Me Now, we got another sequences of orchestration that completely contrasting the followed up theme. Joe Di Maggio's Voice is as interest as the title suggested, it's a baseball catchphrase, the song begin in sweet e-piano sounds and indeed another enjoyable ballad. You can get the full acoustic version later. The last song is Till We Meet Again, is a light wild west theme song.

Overall, Gravitas runs in modest melodic rock trail. Not much wild and crazy riffs, but the catchy-ness is still present. Geoff Downess seems like the leading instrumentalist with Sam Coulson is happy with his melodic blues solos. John Wetton of course still got his magic voices to maintained Asia sounds. Compared to XXX, Gravitas is even more subtle in tempo, emphasizes more into the song structure and composition. Good news is, Gravitas still pretty much on Asia original identity, even after more than thirty years of career. A great prolonged legacy.

Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

Asia - Gravitas  (2014)
Buy it Here - Amazon

1. Valkyrie
2. Gravitas
3. The Closer I Get To You
4. Nyctophobia
5. Russian Dolls
6. Heaven Help Me Now
7. I Would Die For You
8. Joe Di Maggio's Glove
9. Till We Meet Again
10. The Closer I Get To You (Acoustic)
11. Joe Di Maggio's Glove (Acoustic)

John Wetton – lead vocals, bass
Carl Palmer – drums
Geoff Downes – keyboards
Sam Coulson – guitars

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