Once the proposed title for the first album from this new iteration of Asia, “Valkyrie” finds John Wetton fashioning an epic tale of struggle and of redemption — something that couldn’t be further away from the compact pop of signature hits like “Heat of the Moment.”
That’s not all that’s new, of course. Guitarist Sam Coulson has replaced founder Steve Howe since 2012′s XXX, though for much of “Valkyrie” he is largely a bit player. This advance song feels more like a showcase for the continued development of Asia’s principal songwriter partnership between Wetton and keyboardist Geoff Downes, rather than a debut platform for Coulson.
As such, it remains to be seen whether the rest of the forthcoming Gravitas, due March 25, 2014 from Frontiers Records, will give us more meaningful insight into what Coulson’s arrival means for this long-running group.
That’s not to say, however, that his presence isn’t felt here. When Wetton, who simply soars over surging strings, gives pauses in this evocative narrative, it’s Coulson who steps boldly forward. The youngster isn’t given much space to work, but nevertheless, unleashes a compact and angular solo, playing with far more fizzy aggression than we’ve heard from Asia in the Howe years. It’s an intriguing start.
Latest posts by Nick DeRiso (see all)
- Carl Palmer – Decade: Celebration the Music of Emerson Lake and Palmer (2014) - March 11, 2014
- Chico Hamilton and Euphoria – The Inquiring Mind (2014) - March 11, 2014
- John Gorka – Bright Side of Down (2014) - March 11, 2014