Heat of the Moment: The Essential Collection

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The 2013 Asia compilation Heat of the Moment: The Essential Collection brings together most of the '80s prog-pop band's biggest hits and best album tracks. Primarily, the album focuses on the recordings from the original lineup of singer/bassist John Wetton, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Geoffrey Downes, and drummer Carl Palmer. This means we get cuts off the band's hugely successful 1982 self-titled debut and their superb sophomore effort, 1983's Alpha. We also get such classics as "Heat of the Moment," "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes," "Sole Survivor," and others. Also included are cuts off the band's third studio album, 1985's Astra, which was recorded after Howe left the band, replaced by Krokus guitarist Mandy Meyer. Although somewhat dismissed during its initial release, Astra remains a highly underrated Asia record, and thankfully cuts like "Countdown to Zero," "After the War," and "Voice of America" are featured here. Interestingly, also included is the standout 1990 recording "Days Like These," which featured Toto guitarist Steve Lukather. Not included, however, are any of the songs Asia recorded after reuniting the original lineup in 2006. This means there are no tracks from 2008's Phoenix, 2010's Omega, or 2012's XXX. Ultimately though, for most casual listeners who simply want a single-disc overview of Asia's most notable recordings, Heat of the Moment: The Essential Collection should suffice. That alone certainly makes this compilation a worthy addition to the band's catalog.

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