CD Review: “ASIA and STYX SACD Retro Releases”

Pat FrancisAlbum Review, Miscellaneous, MusicLeave a Comment

Two classic multiplatinum albums have finally been given the Audio Fidelity SACD treatment and it was worth the wait!

First up… 1983’s sophomore effort by the ProgRock supergroup ASIA. “Alpha” followed the band’s 4 x platinum debut and immediately hit the charts with the Top 10 single “Don’t Cry.”  ASIA became an MTV staple with the the follow-up single “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” which also went into the Top 40.

In the US this album has only ever been released on CD once and that was over 30 years ago! This release marks the first time that “Alpha” has been given the remastered treatment it deserves. The mastering for this release was handled by Kevin Gray and this release sounds better than it ever has before. John Wetton’s vocals soar throughout and Carl Palmer’s drums are so powerful you will swear his drum kit is in the backseat of your car.


Next up… 1978’s “Pieces Of Eight” by arena rock giants STYX. This was the band’s eighth studio album and their second to go triple platinum. For me this is the band at the height of their powers. Tommy Shaw hits two grand slams with the songs “Blue Collar Man” and “Renegade.” Both of these songs are still high points of the band’s LIVE shows and have rarely if ever been off of their set lists.

Dennis DeYoung also swings for the fences on deep album cuts like “Queen Of Spades,” “I’m O.K.” and the title track “Pieces Of Eight.” This album, like “Alpha,” has also never been remastered. That’s almost 40 years of music fans listening to the original on LP, cassette and first pressing CDs. “Pieces Of Eight” finally has the sonic power it was meant to have. DeYoung’s keyboards are a revelation and album opener “Great White Hope” is like a stampede through your stereo speakers.

Kevin Gray also handles the mastering duties for this album as well and both releases were done at Coherent Audio Authoring with the help of Stephen Marsh at Marsh Mastering.

Both CDs sound better than they ever have before. If you already own the original CDs then it is time to upgrade to the Audio Fidelity SACD versions. If you’ve never owned either album then you have no excuse… buy “Alpha” and “Pieces Of Eight” today!

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Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.

Pat FrancisCD Review: “ASIA and STYX SACD Retro Releases”