Before we get into the pummeling meat of our first review, I would recommend people check out the five-song EP of reworked songs by Greg Rolie of Journey/Santana fame, called Five Days. The new version of “Black Magic Woman” is worth the price of admission alone.
American Heritage: Sedentary
Readers of a certain vintage will remember the Encyclopaedia Britannica alternate that shares a name with this band. I am sure if this lot came to your door flogging books you would either be scared or sic the dogs on 'em. This is pummeling modern metal as its most intense. This has got the punky vibe of the original era of thrash, especially the New York-based stuff. The group hails from Chicago, so that big city vibe is not put on at all. There is even a taste of Biohazard-like punk-metal in there somewhere. Fortunately, the band never drifts into the realm of rap vocally—spoken vocals certainly, but never rapping.
Tracks like “City of God” and “Chaotic Obliteration” demonstrate why people are raving about this lot. While there is certainly a Mastodon vibe to their music, this is far more raw than many similar bands. The tracks retain a melodic quality to their pummeling rather than just sticking to the “chuga-chuga” vibe. There is quite a bit of subtle nuance in here if you care to listen for it. There is certainly a great deal going on here and fans of modern metal would be fools not to check this lot out.
Asia: Spirit of the Night
This is the original line-up playing tracks from its past and present. While there may have been previous live albums from the band, this one seems to be a worthy addition to their pantheon. Even the inclusion of tracks from its most recent album Phoenix, which in fact was ok (and that is being generous), does not distract from its run of tracks from the band’s past. Of course, they toss in “Fanfare for a Common Man” from Palmer’s ELP days. This album was recorded in 2009 in Cambridge, UK.
A bonus track is included in the form of “Midnight Sun,” which was recorded in 2007. But we all know people will be along for the classic from its first two mega-selling albums. All the tracks you would hope to hear from those releases are on here. Despite all the versions of the band ASIA, this is the only one people really care about. This is the live CD to remind just how good they were and still are. There is a DVD of the gig for sale as well, should you need a visual reminder. This CD & DVD are released to plug a North American tour that is happening right now.