Styx - Paradise Theater  CD (album) cover




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2.90 | 137 ratings

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2 stars Having hit their stride on their previous three studio albums, the first Styx record of the 1980's would find the Chicago outfit eschewing the pomp-prog stylings of 'The Grand Illusion' and 'Cornerstone' in favour of a sleek, radio-friendly sound. Ultimately this stylistic shift found on the group's tenth studio effort would generate much commercial success, yet it would also prove a highly-divisive release, fracturing the group's already fragile state of equilibrium and starting Styx's gradual decline from major label stars to minor cult outfit, a transformation that would be more-or-less complete by the end of the decade. A concept album that uses the history of Chicago's very own Paradise Theatre as a metaphor for America's changing fortunes at the beginning of the 1980's, 'Paradise Theatre' was the brainchild of vocalist-and- keyboardist Dennis DeYoung. As a result, the album incorporates elements of musical theatre, poppier melodies and much less of the group's trademark hard-rock power than usual. This decision to record a more streamlined album certainly caused friction, especially between DeYoung and the more rock-orientated guitarist Tommy Shaw, yet the success of 'Paradise Theatre' seemed, for a while at least, to placate the ongoing inter-band problems. Although credited to Styx, it was DeYoung who wrote the bulk of the album. This explains just why it features such a soft and gooey quality compared to previous release 'Cornerstone', the decision to incorporate new elements into Styx's trademark sound proving unfortunately rather ill-advised. Ultimately, although 'Paradise Theatre' might not in the same awful mould as follow-up 'Kilroy Was Here', in the grand scheme of all things Styx this is certainly one of their lesser albums. So, this is strictly one for the die-hards and completionists. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 2/5 |


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