The Best PROGRESSIVE Band You’ve Probably Never Heard (of)

Asia Minor produced two absolute masterpieces of energetic and driving symphonic progressive rock. There is a third album, but I have not heard it, so let’s stick to the just the first two.

On first listen, you feel something oddly familiar as the Camel-like guitar and flute greet you like a long lost friend. Make no mistake, this is no Camel clone. When they kick it into gear, there is a busyness and fire that Camel only toyed with a few times. These two albums are drenched in that, although perhaps drenched isn’t quite the right word to go with fire. But you get my meaning.

This youtube sample is a perfect example of what Asia Minor is all about. It starts off deceptively simple. Just five notes. And a key change. Over the next two minutes these five notes are filled out with a more complete riff, the drums enter and go through a variations sequence. Then we meet the keyboards, first simple Hammond organ chords, showing off the versatility of the amazing Leslie rotating speaker. Then synths, including what sounds like a real mellotron. Over and over it builds for the fastest 2 1/2 minutes of your listening life. And then it hits a brick wall, leaving you with a rather goofy grin on your face. As you reach for the replay button.

If this is Asia Minor’s omega, the opening track from the same album, a track called Northwinds, would be their alpha. You can find it with a bit of searching on youtube – it is well worth the effort.

The two albums, Crossing the Line (1979) and Between Flesh and Divine (1980) are absolute essentials in any prog collection.

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