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Styx - Styx CD (album) cover




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2.80 | 125 ratings

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3 stars Styx is probably most remembered (and revered) for their albums from the second half of the 70's and first half of the 80's. I suppose that's when they were in their prime, so to speak. A nice surprise, then, is this album which happens to be their first. Not slightly different to the more well known but very different. Is that any good?

The polished and very well produced albums from later years, such as Paradise Theatre or Pieces of eight, are great stuff to enjoy. What you will find on their debut album is very much a raw, unpolished album. Yet it is both visionary and progressive, at least up to a point.

The first track is the most progressive, "Fanfare for the common man": Stretching out, the 13 minutes or so, the song or epic is made up of several parts and many ideas. There is even a spoken part in the middle, where people off the street are talking about work and economy. That is quite intriguing. The whole of the track is a sort of showcse for the album as a whole. Hard rock with great organ work and sometimes distorted bass. It is a showcase for their love of hard rock. Of further note, when discussing the songs, is "Quick is the beat of my heart". That is one song that really sticks out in my ears. Heavy, raucious hard rock of the finest quality. Wery good indeed! I find that while no track is bad, they are all good, none really stand out in form or sound. It is all very similar, except for "Fanfare for the common man".

As ever with Styx the album is well produced but not as polished as later ones. In fact, it is not polished at all. It is very raw and kicking like an animal. While I find it very enjoyable and being a fan of early hard rock/metal this obviously brings sensations to me. On the other hand it is not that exceptional. It is good, early 70's hard rock, spiced with progressive leanings. It is not that complex, rather it is quite accessible and is easy to dig. However, the run-of-the-mill hard rock, no matter how good it appears, is that it is similar to other bands and better albums. Nothing is wrong but nothing is exceptional either. You could find more inventive and exciting albums from the likes of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Budgie or any of the greats from the period. One good thing is that Styx is leaning away from pure blues and are not tempted to put in some awful boogie track, to (un)even things off.

As a conclusion I would like to add that Styx (the album) is cohesive, connected and good. By no means essential. It is simply a very enjoyable album and that can sometimes be good enough.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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