Asia - Armed To The Teeth/Asia

This is not the UK supergroup, this is a release of the US bands only two releases, their debut self-titled album from 1978 and the follow up ‘Armed to the Teeth’ from 1980. Yes there is some history here with the UK supergroup and the use of the name etc, but it took so long to sort out that unfortunately big business won and this group faded some three years after these recordings.

‘Armed to the Teeth’ [3] is the second album, but presented first on this Cd, with the first 6 tracks making up this album. This is very prog orientated and more in line with the world of early Genesis and Captain Beyond. ‘Thunder Rider’ is a cool rocking opener, slowly getting into Rush territory and stands out for the heaviest track of this album for one anyway. There are plenty of areas of ‘Armed to the Teeth’ when you think upon reflection, damn, this band really had it all going for them, its criminal in places as the arrangements are pretty special. ‘Kamikaze’ hits well, whilst the sweet often country inspired ‘The Bard’ closes with an almost poignant reflective character being left upon the listener. This album may find the out and out rockers being more critical as it’s rather soft by comparison by its predecessor, but those who appreciate musical arrangements will find some joy amongst this album.

The first album ‘Asia’ [4] is a much more rocking outfit in full flow. The guitar work is more up front and you get the real heavier sound, like the aforementioned Rush. The solo to ‘The Taming of the Bull’ is immense, as is the rest of the work on this track. In fact, I had the replay it a few times, at around 5 mins 28 secs, the fretwork reminds me of the great Randy Rhoads’ work on Ozzy’s first album and just a pure coincidence, as it’s a different key, but the same buzz welcomes the listener. Then the rest of the song power through some great arrangements and tangents to blow your mind. ‘The Law of the Land’ starts out with fans of Pagan Altar surely wanting to hear this with again some country influence and a touch of Alice Cooper solo 70’s stuff (‘Black Widow’) for feel rather than anything else going into the main structure of the track.

The release find another band shafted royally before gaining critical acclaim, the extensive liner and 32 page booklet notes are worth the purchase alone as the story of the band is very much in detail and told by members of the band themselves. Asia alone, as a band, started very hard, tailed out with more prog inspiration but left us with two albums that are a nice durable listen. Of you area a fan of more progressive orientated music, then check this one out direct from the label as it’s a very well done re-issue, the original version of these albums go for a fortune too!

  1. Thunder Rider
  2. Xanadu
  3. Kamikazie
  4. Paladin
  5. Genghis Khan
  6. The Bard
  7. Love May Be Gone
  8. A Better Man For Leavin’
  9. The Taming Of The Bull
  10. The Road Of Kings
  11. Law Of The Land
  12. Requiem

Reviewer: twansibon
Nov 20, 2015

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