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Styx - Cyclorama CD (album) cover




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3.20 | 70 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars Giant hovering carrot ahead! 'Cyclorama', a really good album, is legendary rockers Styx's fourteenth studio release, coming to life in early 2003, after being recorded the previous year. This is the band's first 21st century album, their first without founding member Dennis DeYoung, and their first pretty solid release for a long time. This album is essentially a collection of songs, band efforts, that take on different moods, various topics, and great techniques to make up for a pretty good studio album. This one could generally be classified as hard rock, although it goes to so many different directions (given the presence of 14 tracks!), that I would prefer to safely term it Styx-rock.

The line-up is fantastic - Tommy Shaw on vocals and guitars, James "JY" Young on vocals and guitars, Lawrence Gowan on keys and vocals, Todd Sucherman behind the drums, and Glenn Burtnik on vocals and bass; Chuck Panozzo makes a brief 'cameo' on two of the songs on here. Being a band effort, one can imagine that 'Cyclorama' is a very rich album in terms of sounds, every song is an entity of its own, but albums with more than ten tracks can sometimes make the listener anxious. Not this time. The giant carrot album seems to flow effortlessly between the different moods and styles, making up for an enjoyable rock album by a now-mature band. The songs on 'Cyclorama' are generally very accessible, as one would expect with a band like Styx, but there are also some heavier numbers and a couple of proggy moments here and there, and this quasi-eclecticism is an aspect to be applauded.

Among the highlights of the record are the opener 'Do Things My Way', the cool and punchy 'Bourgeois Pig' (why isn't this song longer is beyond me), the sing-along track 'Kiss Your Ass Goodbye' and the powerful 'These Are the Times', a song that could easily be applied to any age. The Beatles-esque 'More Love for the Money' is another fun track, 'Captain America' is a great hard-rocker, 'One with Everything' is the grandiose prog episode on the album, and 'Genki Desu Ka' is a soothing and interesting album closer.

The unfavorable initial reviews of this 2003 release are a bit of a mystery to me; Certainly, 'Cyclorama' is not a ground-breaking album at all, but it is a severely solid release by a seasoned group of rockers who know what they are doing. So, beware that giant hovering carrot!

A Crimson Mellotron | 3/5 |


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