ACCLAIMED British super group Asia, and I stress… the original Asia (Steve Howe, Geoff Downes, John Wetton and Carl Palmer) have at last released the follow-up to their stunning reunion album ‘Phoenix’.

Two years on from ‘Phoenix’, this new 12-track outing, entitled ‘Omega’, had all the hallmarks of the classic Asia sound, but contains some fresh and interesting new musical ideas.

“We approached the song writing with a mind to getting a degree of variety into these compositions.” Said keyboard player Downes.

“Hence, you will hear areas of textures where arguably we have never been before.”

From the outset, it’s recognisable as Asia, from the rocky ‘Finger On The Trigger’, and especially with ‘I’m Still The Same’.

But with tracks like ‘Emily’ and ‘There Was A Time’, they have pushed the envelope a bit.

The band state that the last track on the album ‘Don’t Wanna Lose You’ is talking to the listener, and they are all pleased with the result.

“The whole recording process has been inspiring and rewarding,” said guitarist Steve Howe, and drummer Carl Palmer enthused, “These are all strong individual songs and arguable one of our best records.”

Using an outside producer for the first time in Mike Paxman (Status Quo, Uriah Heep) “It made the band take a more aggressive attitude toward the final selection of material.” Said bassist and singer John Wetton.

“The album is crammed with accessible, melodic, anthemic songs luxuriating in a bed of lush orchestration, with lyrics that strike a sympathetic chord in even the most cynical heart.”

No argument from me – the whole album is testament to the band’s collective pedigree and consumate ability.

New rock bands are ten a penny, but just leave it to the old masters to show ‘em how it SHOULD be done.

Frontiers Records, distributed by Cargo.