ASIA, the legendary British band, moves into the next phase of its extraordinarycareer with Gravitas, a brave new album that explores different musical landscapes whileembracing its familiar...
ASIA, the legendary British band, moves into the next phase of its extraordinary
career with Gravitas, a brave new album that explores different musical landscapes while
embracing its familiar musical past. Produced and written by band members John Wetton
and Geoff Downes, Gravitas is deeply introspective within a clearly accessible sound.
The album also introduces the world to ASIA's new guitarist, Sam Coulson, who came at
the recommendation of Mr. Big’s Paul Gilbert.
Scheduled for release on Frontiers Records on March 5th (Japan); March 21st
(Europe); and March 25th (North America), the album will be available in two
configurations: a standard CD and a Deluxe Edition, that will include two bonus tracks
and a DVD containing the “Valkyrie” music video, a promotional film, and footage of
classic live ASIA tracks such as “Heat of the Moment,” recorded with the Plovdiv
Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria.
From the title track, Gravitas, which chronicles a man's struggle in the battlefield
of life, to the powerfully compelling tale of unrequited love, "The Closer I Get To You,"
the album is a tour de force for the band whose music has become a staple to rock fans
around the world.
“Pure, unadulterated and stereotypical ASIA, with raw energy, enthusiasm and
free from impurities,” says John Wetton. “ It conveys the spectrum of emotion and colour
from real life agonies to ecstatic fantasy of escapism. Great songs, fabulous performance.
'Gravitas' is ASIA by ASIA. At last.”
"With the addition of Sam it allowed us to take the band in a slightly different,
and perhaps tougher, direction.” says Carl Palmer. “He brings a different feel to ASIA
with his guitar work. As a band we have been able to grow, while at the same time,
remain true to the classic ASIA sound that our fans know and love."
Gravitas, like its definition, brings dignity and a powerful artistic statement with
some of the best songs Wetton & Downes have ever written and ASIA has ever recorded.
On "Joe Di Maggio’s Glove," Wetton sings of a man trying to understand how the power
of love had changed him using the metaphor of the soft leather that that makes up
baseball's most famous glove: "I’ve never been completely lost/ I’ve never been so in
love/ How did my heart become so soft?/ Like Joe Di Maggio’s glove..."
"Nyctophobia," a haunting rocker built upon driving rhythm and vocal harmonies,
looks at a person's debilitating fear of darkness: "There is no air in here/ I’m drowning in
my fear/ And if I close my eyes, the ground will disappear..." Gravitas' epic track,
however, is "The Closer I Get To You," likely to go down as one of Asia' s most
powerful ballads ever. Exemplifying a man's frustration over his inability to rest in the
sanctuary of the woman he loves, Wetton sings: "Our existence is just floating at sea/ Cut
adrift from the people we are." Musically, it features a blistering guitar solo from
Coulson over the rich, layered vocals that have become part of the band's trademark
sound. Gravitas, the band's fourth studio album since reuniting eight years ago, is already
being heralded as the band's freshest album since the classic records of the early 1980s.
“The idea was to give the band a new sound that would still complement the
classic ASIA sound of our best known material,” says Geoff Downes. “We tried very
hard to blend the cocktail just right where we could offer something different and still
maintain the musical legacy we have built.”
Asia’s debut album exploded onto the music scene in April,1982, with several
Top 10 singles. In the end, it was the best selling album in the world in 1982.. Featuring
Geoff Downes on keyboards; Steve Howe on guitar; Carl Palmer on drums; and John
Wetton on lead vocal and bass; Asia was the logical successor to their collective bands
of the 70s - Yes, ELP, King Crimson, UK, and The Buggles.
Labeled a "supergroup" by critics and the media from the onset, it was a tag they
had never asked for. Asia's music- and its rock’n’roll stage charisma- developed
organically and effortlessly. Though all four men had seen chart-topping success in their
previous bands, Asia had a special chemistry that fans and music industry insiders were
quick to recognize.
Asia became one of the most played acts during the first year of MTV.
Throughout most of '82, Asia ruled the radio airwaves and MTV. They sold out every
date on tour, and the debut album crushed all the competition at record stores around the
The original line-up of ASIA reformed in 2006. It was the first time the four
original members had worked together in 23 years. They regrouped with no more
expectations than to play a single, reunion tour. Prior to Gravitas, ASIA had completed
several world tours, released three brilliant studio albums (2008's Phoenix, 2010's
Omega, and 2012's XXX), as well as three live albums and Blu-rays / DVDs.
ASIA will embark on a world tour starting in June, and set to include Japan, UK,
Europe, Canada and the United States.
Says Wetton: “Last summer, ASIA played live dates which opened in the UK,
took in the massive Sweden Rock Festival, a short Germany/ Austria/ Switzerland/
Denmark tour, and a TV show in the glorious Roman Theater, Plovdiv, with orchestra.
These were the first dates of the new chapter of ASIA---and in my opinion, the band has
never sounded better. “
“It always was a great live band, but this time the dragon has awakened with fresh
energy, direction and purpose. Extensive touring from June 12th to support 'Gravitas' will
consolidate any speculation regarding ASIA's live credentials. Great songs, fabulous
performance. Do not miss.”
"As with any new Asia album, putting it all together presents something of a
challenge,” says Downes. “ In the case of 'Gravitas', it's fair to say everyone involved
rose way above and beyond this challenge. We sincerely hope you like the result."
“There is a renewed energy when we step on stage now,” says Downes. “We can
feel it and I know the fans can feel it.”
For ASIA's long-devoted fans, the band’s return to the concert stage can not come
soon enough. As Palmer says: "Performing on stage is where this band truly comes into
its element. Seeing the fans reacting to our music is what makes it all worthwhile. It is the
fuel that drives this train we call ASIA."
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