Asia will release its long-awaited new studio album "Silent Nation" on August 31, 2004, on InsideOut Music America. "Silent Nation" is Asia's first release for InsideOut under the band's exclusive deal with the label covering all worldwide territories except Japan.
Vocalist/bass guitarist John Payne, keyboardist Geoff Downes, guitarist Guthrie Govan and drummer Chris Slade will begin an extensive world tour after the release of "Silent Nation."
A few select U.S. dates were scheduled for this summer. The special-edition version of "Silent Nation" will include a 24-minute bonus documentary DVD, "The Making of 'Silent Nation'," shot in the studio during the recording of the album; all four band members are interviewed.
"Silent Nation" marks a conscious return to the melody-rich, hard-rock style of Asia's early albums, particularly 1982's self-titled blockbuster and the 1983 follow-up 'Alpha.'
The 10 songs on "Silent Nation" include: "What About Love," "Long Way From Home," "Midnight," "Blue Moon Monday," "Silent Nation," "Ghost In The Mirror," "Gone Too Far," "I Will Be There For You," "Darkness Day" and "The Prophet."
"We wanted to bring "Silent Nation" back down to a much more contained group feel. "Aura" is a good album but it was hard to concentrate on a direction with so many players involved," says Downes. ""Silent Nation" is a much more 'up' and heavier album."
""Aura" was a little bit coffee-table Asia, too steamy and too jazzy. Albums we did with guitarist Al Pitrelli like 'Aria' sounded like '90s rock. "Silent Nation" is more of a band-sounding rock album -- a classic-rock album," Payne says. "What makes it easier than working with a plethora of musicians is the continuity of the sound through the album. It's cohesive."
The lineup of Payne, Downes, Govan and Slade has been together for more than 4 years, the longest of any version of Asia. Founding member Downes is noted for his tenure in The Buggles and Yes. Slade has been a member of AC/DC, The Firm and Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Govan is, by all accounts, a guitarist of almost supernatural abilities. Payne, a member of the band since 1992 and the 'Aqua' album, is also a proficient guitarist and works with Govan on arrangements.
"John and myself had a common goal with this album to return to our rock sound and focus on the four members as a band," Downes says. "The new songs are very melodic. They do have technical flourishes and they occasionally venture into progressive areas but they are rock songs. We started writing from scratch last September and then spent a couple of months going through pieces. By Christmas, the building blocks of the songs were in place."
"We wrote nearly 50 songs over seven months. I'll write on acoustic guitar and Geoff will write on piano. If a song doesn't work when it's played on an acoustic guitar or a piano, then it's not a song," Payne says. "I never really write on bass. Well, riffs maybe. I never sang and played bass in the bands I was in before Asia. I was either just the singer or a singing guitarist. Both singing and playing bass in Asia has been challenging and rewarding for me."
"The two of us co-produced 'Silent Nation' and John engineered it as well," Downes says. "We roll ideas off each other and we're fairly flexible. With a third-party producer it becomes a totally different game."