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STYX

Prog Related • United States


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Styx biography
STYX is one of those bands that are always mentioned with some fear and shame by the Progressive Rock fan, because they always played in the border that divides Prog from plain POP, I believe the best way to describe them is as Prog Related (understanding this description as the simplest and more commercial form of Progressive Rock) blended with AOR, somehow in the same vein as JOURNEY or BOSTON but much more complex.

Officially born in 1972 from the ashes of "The TRADEWINS" and "TW4" was formed by the Panozzo twins (Chuck on bass and John on drums), Dennis de Young (vocals and keyboards), James Young (guitar, vocals) and John Curulewski (guitar, vocals).

In the first years they were closer to progressive rock than ever, from 1972 to 1974 the band released four albums, "Styx", "Styx II", "The Serpent is Rising" and "Man of Miracles", even though they were popular in Chicago, still the band couldn't reach commercial success. As a curiosity, in their first album they recorded "Movement for a Common Man" based in Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, almost five years before ELP. In 1975 they release their more commercially consistent album (at that point of course) "Equinox" which blended Rock & Roll, Pop and Progressive Rock in an efficient way, "Light Up", "Lorelei" and "Suite Madam Blue" are the first songs in which the band achieve some financial success and show the sound they pretended to create.

1976 was a crucial year for "STYX", John Curulewski leaves the band and is replaced by Tommy Shaw who became the front man with his California boy image (Even when he was born in Montgomery Alabama) and melodic but elaborate style, the band finally had the face capable of reaching the female public and massive acceptance, but writing some of the best STYX themes. "Crystal Ball" was released in the same year with a moderate success, "Crystal Ball", "Mademoiselle" and "Put me On" became favorites in their massive concerts, the band was reaching their commercial peak but started to abandon prog rock and turning into an ARENA band.

At this point the story is well known, "The Grand Illusion" became a platinum album with major hits like "Fooling Yourself" and of course "Come Sail Away", also their three next albums "Pieces of Eight", "Cornerstone" and "Paradise Theater" reached commercial success with tracks that go from light prog' to soft pop ballads.

This era ends in 1983 with the infamous "Kilroy Was Here" a weak ...
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Styx: Greatest HitsStyx: Greatest Hits
Remastered
A&M 1995
Audio CD$5.35
$1.18 (used)
The Grand IllusionThe Grand Illusion
A&M 1984
Audio CD$2.75
$0.21 (used)
Paradise TheatreParadise Theatre
A&M 1985
Audio CD$2.49
$0.24 (used)
Pieces Of EightPieces Of Eight
A&M 1987
Audio CD$2.76
$0.94 (used)
Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings [2 CD]Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings [2 CD]
Remastered
Hip-O 2005
Audio CD$6.60
$3.49 (used)
EquinoxEquinox
A&M 1987
Audio CD$2.80
$1.43 (used)
Crystal BallCrystal Ball
A&M 1988
Audio CD$2.67
$1.98 (used)
Kilroy Was HereKilroy Was Here
A&M 1983
Audio CD$2.48
$2.75 (used)
CornerstoneCornerstone
A&M 1987
Audio CD$2.76
$0.89 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
STYX LP-KILROY WAS HERE/A&M RECORDS, 1983 SP-3734 (MR. ROBOTO) VG+ USD $6.98 Buy It Now 1h 50m
Journey - Journey (CD 1993) Boston; Chicago; Toto; Styx; Foreigner; FM USD $2.88 [0 bids]
2h 5m
Dennis DeYoung Desert Moon 1984 VG++ Styx Pop Rock A&M SP 5006 Original Pressing USD $11.52 Buy It Now 3h 3m
Free Shipping/STYX PARADISE THEATER Laser etching Disc+Japan insert USD $17.88 Buy It Now 4h 15m
DEPARTURE - Corporate Wheel (CD) 2003 (JOURNEY/SURVIVOR/FOREIGNER/STYX style) USD $5.31 Buy It Now 4h 41m
4 CD LOT FOREIGNER STYX BIG BANG THEORY BRYAN ADAMS SO FAR SO GOOD GUESS WHO EX! USD $10.00 [0 bids]
4h 48m
GREATEST HITS [STYX] [1 DISC] [731454038720] NEW CD USD $11.23 Buy It Now 5h 30m
And The Road Goes On Forever Vol 1 - Free Thin Lizzy Dio Rush Deep Purple Styx USD $7.17 [0 bids]
5h 52m
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame NM CD A Musical by Dennis DeYoung (of Styx Fame) USD $49.99 Buy It Now 6h 19m
Styx Equinox 8 Track Tape USD $5.84 Buy It Now 6h 25m
Styx - Paradise Theater_Vinyl Record LP_Laser Etched_(SP 3719) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 6h 52m
Styx - The Grand Illusion NEW CD USD $10.24 Buy It Now 6h 57m
Classics, Vol. 15 by Styx (CD, Oct-1990, A&M (USA)) USD $2.25 Buy It Now 7h 4m
Styx : Classics CD (1990) USD $3.95 Buy It Now 7h 15m
David Coverdale Of Whitesnake on Kerrang No. 3 Cover 1981 Iron Maiden Styx USD $21.73 Buy It Now 7h 26m
Styx EQUINOX vinyl LP / Cat# SP 4559 / 1975 Release / A&M Records USD $3.99 Buy It Now 7h 45m
Styx - Equinox - A&M SP-4559 LP Vinyl Record VG USD $8.06 Buy It Now 8h 5m
Styx - Pieces of Eight - Original 1978 A&M SP4724 Release LP Record VG USD $5.63 Buy It Now 8h 5m
STYX_Babe_used 45 VINYL_7"_ships from AUS!_M2b USD $5.95 Buy It Now 8h 22m
(TIME LIFE) THE POWER OF LOVE 90 TO 92 inc STYX, DEACON BLUE - 2CD USD $2.88 [0 bids]
8h 58m
STYX Babe / I'm O.K. 7" 45 A&M 1978 USD $3.95 Buy It Now 8h 58m
STYX Crystal Ball Vinyl LP + Insert - EX USD $13.53 Buy It Now 9h 4m
1978 STYX LP Pieces Of Eight Ex / VG Gatefold USD $4.99 Buy It Now 9h 22m
The James Young Group Advance Promo CD Raised by Wolves 1995 Styx USD $38.49 Buy It Now 9h 24m
STYX - CYCLORAMA - NEW CD USD $13.61 Buy It Now 9h 26m
1967-72 - River Styx Blues Emporium (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.20 Buy It Now 9h 31m
Styx Paradise Theater Laser Etched LP EX 1980 SP3719 USD $78.87 Buy It Now 9h 51m
Sinister Cross The Styx USA Cassette Tape USD $14.99 Buy It Now 10h 8m
STYX - Babe - 1979 UK A&M label 7" Juke Box Vinyl Single USD $26.06 Buy It Now 10h 10m
STYX, THE GRAND ILLUSION LP, A&M1977 (SP 4637)w/poster USD $4.99 Buy It Now 10h 18m
1978 vinyl LP -- Styx: Pieces of Eight EX/EX AMLH64724 USD $2.88 [0 bids]
10h 47m
Styx - I'm O.K. / Babe USD $5.00 Buy It Now 10h 57m
Styx - Limited Edition Picture Disc SEALED Pieces Of Eight A&M Records PR4724 USD $26.95 Buy It Now 10h 57m
Damn Yankees - S/T Melodic Rock Night Ranger / Styx / Ted Nugent USD $2.88 [0 bids]
11h 7m
STYX "CORNERSTONE" VINYL USD $4.00 Buy It Now 11h 10m
STYX - CORNERSTONE israeli press lp gatefold rare USD $19.99 Buy It Now 11h 11m
STYX LADY LP VINYL RECORD ALBUM AFL1-3594 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 11h 24m
A&m Albums 1975-1984 - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $231.82 Buy It Now 11h 57m
STYX - Live In Chicago. New CD + sealed USD $12.96 Buy It Now 12h 4m
STYX GREATEST HITS USD $4.99 Buy It Now 12h 14m
Pieces of Eight - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $31.88 Buy It Now 12h 15m
Paradise Theater - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $31.88 Buy It Now 12h 15m
Kilroy Was Here - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $31.88 Buy It Now 12h 15m
Grand Illusion - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $31.88 Buy It Now 12h 16m
Equinox - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $31.88 Buy It Now 12h 16m
Crystal Ball - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $31.88 Buy It Now 12h 16m
Cornerstone - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $31.88 Buy It Now 12h 16m
Caught in the Act (live) - Styx New & Sealed LP Free Shipping USD $47.58 Buy It Now 12h 16m
Styx - Cornerstone - A&M 1979 (fold out cover) - vinyl LP record USD $3.61 [0 bids]
12h 20m
DENNIS DEYOUNG "Back To The World" vinyl LP 1986 (A&M SP 5109) STYX MINT! USD $14.88 Buy It Now 12h 37m
STYX Blue Collar Man A1 B1 Limited Edition Gatefold 12" Single 1978 Rock A USD $2.16 [0 bids]
12h 38m
STYX - CORNERSTONE VINYL LP USD $4.33 [0 bids]
12h 38m
STYX - paradise theater - AUDIOPHILE - AUDIOPHILE - NEAR MINT USD $7.99 [0 bids]
12h 49m
Styx" Don't Let It End" " Rocking The Paradise" 45 Rpm With Picture Sleeve USD $1.99 [0 bids]
12h 54m
DAMN YANKEES/NUGENT/STYX-DON'T TREAD USD $4.33 [0 bids]
12h 57m
DAMN YANKEES/NUGENT/STYX-S/T USD $4.33 [0 bids]
12h 57m
Styx Classics - Volume 15 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 13h 9m
Styx Greatest Hits - Part 2 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 13h 9m
STYX Come Sail Away / Put Me On [45 Record & Picture Sleeve] A&M 1977-S USD $5.00 Buy It Now 13h 10m
STYX / KILROY WAS HERE LP w/OBI Gatefold Orig JAPAN ISSUE USD $11.99 Buy It Now 13h 15m
5 Classic Albums - Styx New & Sealed CD-JEWEL CASE Free Shipping USD $28.25 Buy It Now 13h 18m
Pieces Of Eight STYX Vinyl LP 1978 A&M Records SP-4724 Progressice Rock VG+ VG+ USD $5.99 Buy It Now 13h 56m
New NOS Styx Crystal Ball 8-Track Tape Cartridge Rock 1976 Classic Rock Music USD $29.99 Buy It Now 14h 9m
Styx, Cornerstone,1979 A&M Records,Album,LP,Vinyl, Borrowed Time, First Time USD $13.99 Buy It Now 14h 13m
Styx - The Grand Illusion (CD, A&M) CD-3223 USD $8.95 Buy It Now 14h 24m
STYX Show Me The Way 3 Track UK CD! USD $3.62 [0 bids]
14h 27m
Styx The Grand Illusion Lp Vinyl 1977 AM Records Come Sail Away Shaw USD $3.00 [0 bids]
14h 28m
Styx - Greatest Hits, New, Free Shipping USD $9.56 Buy It Now 14h 50m
MARIA JERITZA Soprano Divinites Du Styx / Suicidio! 12" 78 HMV DB355 USD $18.81 Buy It Now 14h 55m
STYX-Kilroy Was Here-83/2009 SHM CD MINI LP USD $45.00 Buy It Now 15h 5m
RARE TIME LIFE DOUBLE CD CLASSIC SOFT ROCK RIDE LIKE WIND SEALED 10CC STYX TOTO USD $7.23 [0 bids]
15h 8m
TOMMY SHAW @LIVE '84 CD Styx,Dennis DeYoung,Girls With Guns,Ambition,What If AOR USD $16.95 [0 bids]
USD $22.05 Buy It Now
15h 27m
SAGA @LIVE '92 CD !!! (Marillion/Fish/Pendragon/IQ/Pallas/Styx/Progressive/Rock) USD $16.95 [1 bids]
15h 27m
STYX "LADY / CHILDREN OF THE LAND" 45 OLDIE USD $2.75 Buy It Now 15h 29m
Styx The Grand Illusion SP-4637 VG+ ULTRASONIC CLEAN USD $5.98 Buy It Now 15h 32m
ERIC MARTIN BAND @DEMOS CD Mr Big,Journey,Gregg Rolie,TMG,Styx,EMB,Pomp Rock AOR USD $16.95 [0 bids]
USD $22.05 Buy It Now
15h 33m
NIGHT RANGER/STYX @RARITIES CD (Tommy Shaw,Jack Blades,Jim Peterik,Damn Yankees) USD $16.95 [0 bids]
USD $22.05 Buy It Now
15h 33m
STYX-ICON STYX-ICON USD $8.14 Buy It Now 15h 50m
LP-STYX-CORNERSTONE -LP- LP-STYX-CORNERSTONE -LP- USD $28.37 Buy It Now 15h 51m
Equinox (12 Inch Vinyl Record LP) by Styx SP 4559 USD $5.85 Buy It Now 15h 51m
Styx limited edition collectors copy picture disc record USD $7.99 [0 bids]
15h 52m
STYX PARADISE RECORD VINYL USD $3.74 Buy It Now 15h 58m
STYX - I'M O.K. - SING FOR THE DAY - JAPAN 7" 45 JAPANESE USD $19.43 Buy It Now 16h 11m
STYX- THE BEST OF TIMES / LIGHTS 45 RPM SINGLE USD $4.99 Buy It Now 16h 11m
STYX - PARADISE THEATRE- LASER ETCHED LP - A&M = 1980 USD $4.33 [1 bids]
16h 12m
TOMMY SHAW "The Great Divide" LP 2011 Pazzo (180 Gram Audiophile Vinyl) [Styx] USD $0.11 [2 bids]
16h 18m
Styx Boat On The River / Borrowed Time Japan Import 45 W/ Picture Sleeve 600 Yen USD $22.49 Buy It Now 16h 19m
STYX CLASSICS VOLUME 15 1987 A&M RECORDS BMG D-114822 ROCK 25th anniversary USD $4.99 Buy It Now 16h 21m
2 Styx Cassettes "Cornerstone" & "Kilroy Was Here" USD $7.00 Buy It Now 16h 25m
Rock 45 Styx - Lady / Children Of The Land On Wooden Nickel USD $3.00 Buy It Now 16h 26m
Rock 45 Styx - Why Me / Lights On A&M Records USD $3.00 Buy It Now 16h 26m
STYX - CYCLORAMA - USED - LIKE NEW CD USD $10.59 Buy It Now 16h 28m
Rock LP Styx "Crystal Ball " inc. Shooz, Clair De Lune, Jennifer A USD $5.00 Buy It Now 16h 31m
5 Styx Record LP Vinyl album lot Equinox grand illusion cornerstone crystal ball USD $16.99 [0 bids]
16h 33m
Styx - Cornerstone LP (A&M Records 1979 AMLK 63711) G/Fold Sleeve USD $5.78 [0 bids]
16h 36m
STYX - BABE - 7" 45 VINYL RECORD - 1979 USD $3.54 Buy It Now 16h 37m
Styx '30th Anniversary Tour' UK 2005 A5 tour flyer - MINT...ideal for framing! USD $7.23 Buy It Now 16h 38m
STYX BLUE COLLAR MAN (LONG NIGHTS) 1978 UK PRESS 7" BLUE VINYL RECORD SINGLE USD $1.43 [0 bids]
16h 47m
STYX, PIECES OF EIGHT, 12" PICTURE DISC LTD EDITION COLLECTOR'S COPY 1978 US EX USD $22.15 Buy It Now 16h 53m
BEST OF STYX: GREEN SERIES - USED - LIKE NEW CD USD $9.76 Buy It Now 16h 57m


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STYX shows & tickets


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STYX discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STYX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.75 | 85 ratings
Styx
1972
3.07 | 90 ratings
Styx II
1973
2.98 | 87 ratings
The Serpent Is Rising
1973
2.71 | 84 ratings
Man of Miracles
1974
3.46 | 146 ratings
Equinox
1975
3.11 | 133 ratings
Crystal Ball
1976
3.65 | 214 ratings
The Grand Illusion
1977
3.57 | 176 ratings
Pieces of Eight
1978
2.64 | 138 ratings
Cornerstone
1979
2.91 | 147 ratings
Paradise Theater
1981
2.09 | 115 ratings
Kilroy was Here
1983
2.71 | 54 ratings
Edge of the Century
1990
2.80 | 46 ratings
Brave New World
1999
3.27 | 42 ratings
Cyclorama
2003
3.31 | 45 ratings
Big Bang Theory
2005

STYX Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.69 | 31 ratings
Caught In The Act Live
1984
3.74 | 21 ratings
Return to Paradise
1997
2.17 | 5 ratings
Arch Allies - Live At Riverport
2000
3.91 | 8 ratings
Styxworld Live 2001
2001
3.00 | 3 ratings
At The River's Edge - Live In St. Louis
2002
3.00 | 4 ratings
21st Century Live
2003

STYX Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.07 | 14 ratings
Return To Paradise (DVD)
1999
3.71 | 12 ratings
Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra Of Cleveland: One With Everything
2006
2.75 | 10 ratings
Caught In The Act: Live 1984
2007
3.68 | 12 ratings
The Grand Illusion / Pieces of Eight Live
2012

STYX Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.59 | 9 ratings
Best of Styx
1977
3.23 | 7 ratings
Classics, Vol 15
1987
2.84 | 29 ratings
Greatest Hits
1995
3.30 | 6 ratings
Greatest Hits Part 2
1996
4.00 | 4 ratings
The Best of Times: The Best of Styx
1997
4.08 | 3 ratings
The Singles Colllection
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
Lady: The Encore Collection
2000
2.25 | 4 ratings
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Styx
2002
2.38 | 4 ratings
Rockers
2003
3.38 | 7 ratings
Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology
2004
3.32 | 20 ratings
The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings
2005

STYX Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Lady
1973
2.00 | 2 ratings
Light Up
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
Best Thing
1975
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lorelei
1975
3.50 | 2 ratings
Come Sail Away
1977
2.00 | 1 ratings
Sing For The Day
1978
3.50 | 2 ratings
Blue Collar Man
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Enganandote (El Joven Enojado)
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Boat On The River
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lights
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Renegado (Renegade)
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Best Of Times
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Too Much Time On My Hands
1981
2.00 | 1 ratings
Rockin' The Paradise
1981
3.25 | 4 ratings
Regeneration
2011

STYX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pieces of Eight  by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.57 | 176 ratings

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Pieces of Eight
Styx Prog Related

Review by sukmytoe

3 stars You can hear the 70's written all over this album. Uplifting, soaring rock music. It's essentially arena / glam rock with a slight progressive slant. To intensely dislike this essentially means that you have no 70's blood running through your veins at all. Punchy, keyboard infused and for the main part inspiring / uplifting. For me this was the last good Styx album before the band plunged into commercial pop music territory as so many bands did in the 80's in order to move with the recording executives who demanded puerile non complex bubble gum chewing nonsense for the masses. "Lords of the Ring" has a distinct "1812 Overture" inflection where although it cannot hope to hold a candle to that symphonic masterpiece it is pleasant to pick up on. "Blue Collar Man" is the standout rocker on the album. "Queen of Spades" displays outstanding guitar work and vocals. "Pieces of Eight" is the standout classic track of the album which although it doesn't match up with or come close to "Come Sail Away" from the previous album for grandiosity it is very pleasant to listen to. "Aku Aku" is not the way I would end this album - it's kind of an anti-climax - sort of like had they ended Black Sabbath's Volume 4 album with Laguna Sunrise it would have had the same effect.

A solid 3 stars from me for a pleasant mind trip back into the 70's.

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 Pieces of Eight  by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.57 | 176 ratings

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Pieces of Eight
Styx Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Sometimes when I give a 2-star release it's often because the album is really a 3-star album, but with a few things holding it back from being something more than for folks who are already fans of the band. With Pieces of Eight, the opposite is true: this is a 1-star album that has enough crumbles of songwriting or instrumental interest to make it just barely good enough for fans. In general I dislike Styx: I don't care for the tone of DeYoung's voice or keyboards, think they're song writing talents are over rated, and find their instrumental skills just "good enough." This album exemplifies these feelings. Listening is like being kicked in the groin repeatedly while being water-boarded in a bucket of soda-pop syrup as cheesy Saturday morning cartoons play in the background incessantly.

If it weren't for the Tommy Shaw rockers "Blue Collar Man" and "Renegade", or the thoughtful gusto of "Queen of Spades" this album would never get a second listen from me. The bland keyboards and sing-songy choruses are too much. The good stuff is few and far between, but is good enough for me to keep this album around for the sake of completeness.

I won't trash Styx or Pieces of Eight anymore, because as much as I think Styx is mediocre I respect their legacy and the fact that there are plenty of fans of theirs on this site. If you like Styx then keep on liking them! But if you're wishy-washy about the band, you'll probably find Pieces of Eight too much to bear.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

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 Paradise Theater  by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.91 | 147 ratings

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Paradise Theater
Styx Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This album by my perpetual prog/pop punching bag Styx shifts the band's emphasis even more into the "pop" spectrum, featuring fewer over arranged keyboard sections, less Dennis DeYoung vocals, and even fewer attempts at ambitious composition... it's very ironic then that I feel like this is one of the best albums by the band I've heard. Moving away from the middling prog stylings was a great decision for the band. They didn't have the creative gusto or sound needed for sweeping, artistic prog, so why bother? Paradise Theater is a loosely themed collection of great rock songs which while not prog, are probably the better because of it.

The opener is fun and energetic, and evokes a nostalgic tone with its old-time rock n' roll feel and chorus line over dubs. "Too Much Time on My Hands" is made for FM schlock but is devoid of cartoonish keyboards or DeYoung's whining croon, so it gets a pass in my book. "Nothing Ever Goes as Planned" is a different matter, it's a stylish, quirky, and strutting tune with a smoking horn section. Maybe the highlight of the album?

"Best of Times" is the low point, for prog and pop fans alike. It's basically an imitation of a Queen song with unapalogietically syrupy sweet vocals and emotional hooks that miss the mark. "Lonely People" shows of some interesting song writing, with a dramatic style and instrumental flair. One of the better tracks and probably one of the few that prog fans may be interested in.

"She Cares" is the required Tommy Shaw-led rocker, an upbeat, romantic, and bright song that makes the band end up sounding like Fleetwood Mac. Ironically, this is one of the more genuine and enjoyable songs in the whole album. It's radio-friendly hooks are appealing if harmless and unchallenging. "Snowblind" and "Half-Penny, Two-Penny" close the album on a dark tone, given their vocal content and the intense tone.

In the end there's a lot of variety, and not a lot of progressive ideas in Paradise Theater, and honestly, I think that's a good thing. Styx music generally doesn't work for me and after listening to this album several times I think I know why. Much of their music strives to be something the band just isn't, and by focusing on the rock and fun a stronger record appears. Strange for me to say, on a prog website, but it's the truth, making Paradise Theater a fun diversion now and again.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 2 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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 Equinox by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.46 | 146 ratings

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Equinox
Styx Prog Related

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars Equinox is a very pertinent musical adventure. From cover to track-list, it is an album that sticks out (unlike a sore thumb) in Styx's discography. 1975 was still a decent year for progressive rock, but at the same time similarly being around the peak of the industries career. The true identity and greatness of Styx weaves all the way back to around '73, but a culmination of debut era sound and a more mature skill-set came a wonderful product for the ages. Remember, this was before the 80's Styx, who's synthetic commercialization was extremely forthright and seemed almost prideful to show to world. Equinox was a symbol of a more honest era, where instruments like synthesizers were modest and used in the right places instead of being sprawled out willy-nilly. Perhaps my favorite tracks on the album come from the fantastic juxtaposition of black-face progressive rock and the heavy metal/hard rock that Styx started to develop as the 70's went on. A very understandable comparison has been made between this album and Kansas' music (circa. Masque), which is very understandable. But while Kansas is very upfront about their symphonics, Styx utilizes both that and proto-metal 70's hard rock (which was stated before). For those neigh-sayers who enjoy saying that Styx if very light with the prog then I urge you to listen to Equinox.

If you have already, well, do it again.

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 The Grand Illusion by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.65 | 214 ratings

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The Grand Illusion
Styx Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Today I chatted with a co-worker who is about 50 years-old or so (older than me, younger than my dad). I asked him if he liked Styx. His eyes lit up. He named off several of his favorite albums and songs and told me about he saw them live at my local state fair recently. He asked me, "so you must like Kansas and Yes and Journey, too." I said that I did, and that I would take even the mediocre offerings of any of those bands over anything by Styx. I just don't like this band very much.

He was shocked, but this is a great example of nostalgia playing a part in determining one's musical tastes. For me, the schmaltzy sound of Styx is a squeaky-clean voice screaming "me too!" among bands that are more artistic, or simply rock harder. If you grew up in the late '70's than maybe Styx was a bastion of artistic rock when you were surrounded by disco fanatics. Or maybe they were kind of weird, just like you! I'm trying to come to this album objectively, and not finding a lot to grab a hold of.

Grand Illusion is sometimes described as Styx's best album (currently tied for 1st here on Prog Archives), and even though I kind of hate this band, I don't think this album is all bad. From the opening number it is clear that Styx is ambitious in their songwriting, and it usually works; their instrumental performances here don't always deliver though. DeYoung is vastly over rated, and I'm not exaggerating when I saw that his keyboard solos make me roll my eyes and push the "Next" button on my music player. It's just awful, and his singing and lyrics aren't much better. "Angry Young Man" is a good example: a nice bit of classic rock turned into a cartoon by a noisy, over exposed, and bland keyboard solo... two of them, that just go on and on.

Grand Illusion works best when it's doing three things: rocking (mostly thanks to Tommy Shaw), and being restrained. "Come Sail Away" works because it's just a big, melodic rocker. "Miss America" works because it's good old fashioned hard rock riffing. "Man in the Wilderness" and "Castle Walls" work because they are more about the composition and big picture than phony hooks and choruses. Interestingly, all of this good stuff is on the second side of the album, so at least one can skip ahead to the good stuff and listen through to the end without any groan-worthy moments. "Castle Walls' reminded me a lot of Wishbone Ash, another band of this era that will probably appeal to prog-heads more than Styx.

In the end I did like the final three songs, but not enough to recommend Grand Illusion seriously to anyone that isn't nostalgic for this not-quite prog, not-quite pop weird spot of the late '70's. Enjoy "Come Sail Away" when it comes on the radio, and maybe check out "Man in the Wilderness" and "Castle Walls" though.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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 Crystal Ball by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.11 | 133 ratings

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Crystal Ball
Styx Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Crystal Ball is a good representation of Styx's output: lush, heavily orchestrated pop-rock, sometimes interesting, sometimes nauseating. With Tommy Shaw's joining of the band, Crystal Ball skews more towards the pop-rock. This isn't something to immediately shy away from, because Shaw's guitar playing is excellent, and his vocals are solid, too. In fact, I'd a Shaw-led Styx over a DeYoung led Styx anytime; however, Crystall Ball as a whole fits into a wishy-washy middle ground of classic rock that is enjoyable to listen to at the time, but not memorable or appealing enough to remember for long afterwards.

The album opens with a bouncy, lush, and dynamic rock tune "Put Me On." Terrible lyrics aside, the song writing starts off nicely and shows off the band's flair for blending styles. Unfortunately the next two songs are throw aways; especially the somewhat insulting "Jennifer." If songs about underage girls or that feature gibberish choruses are your thing, than you'll like it more than me. Luckily the title track, "Crystal Ball" stands out as an excellent song thanks to its contrast of hard rock/ballad feel. Easily the best song on the album. The closing tracks are also fair tunes that are sort of semi-ballads with some interesting variety and occasionally standout instrumental work. The album closes to more lazy songwriting in the form of gibberish vocals.

After several listens of this brief album the only thing I can remember with clarify is the Shaw-led title track, and DeYoung's cartoonish vocals everywhere else. Not a great place to start for newcomers interested in learning more about this iconic prog/pop group, and not a very good album in general, though still fun for the occasional listen.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

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 Equinox by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.46 | 146 ratings

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Equinox
Styx Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Styx has never been one of my favorites; in fact, the first time I heard of the band was when Homer Simpson referenced hearing them on an episode of the "King Biscuit Flower Hour." This was when I was about 13-years old, so give me a break. Later, my first boss introduced the band to me, knowing I was a fan of Journey and eager for more music. I got a "best of" album of theirs that I pretty much hated. I gave it a 1-star review here at Prog Archives, saying that it "contains every stinky-sweet radio anthem the group ever recorded... and it's terrible." After listening to Equinox a half-dozen times, I happily hold to the opinion of that album, because Equinox contains a much more diverse, interesting, and enjoyable collection of songs than the schmaltzy, synth-dominated mess of the band's hits. In fact, Equinox is pretty darn good!

Equinox opens with two very catchy songs. "Light Up" is a laid back party song (surprise), and "Lorelei" is an upbeat sing your heart out kind of FM anthem. Once the band gets those out of the way, the album gets interesting. "Mother Dear" is a great demonstration of the band's blend of artist/progressive elements with legitimately enjoyable hard rock. A nice blend of sounds, singing, and energy. This blend continues to the conclusion of the album, with "Born for Adventure" and "Suite Madame Blue" standing out to me as the winning tracks. "Midnight Ride" dips back into a Deep Purple-ish party song, but I caught myself toe-tapping regardless. The songs are catchy without sounding obnoxiously poppy, and big without sounding overly-ambitious. I still think DeYoung's solo vocals are awful, but they don't spoil the show. Luckily there are enough instrumental moments and vocal harmonies that Equinox isn't dependent on a front man to be enjoyable.

All in all a good, proggish album. It didn't blow me away but I've let go of my Styx hatred after listening.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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 Crystal Ball by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.11 | 133 ratings

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Crystal Ball
Styx Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars This was the record that kicked off the classic Styx era that featured great songwriting, concept albums and a bunch of hit singles. Fortunately Crystal Ball lacks the latter and thus makes it one the band's most cohesive records to date. This was also the point when the young Tommy Shaw entered the scene and began contributing to the band both as a musician and songwriter.

The band has always had memorable opening album tracks and Put Me On is by no means an exception even though it does tend to be overshadowed by Light Up and The Grand Illusion. The opening track is upbeat and featuring quite a few quirky moments, which is in line with the rest of the material. Put Me On transitions into the album's first single Mademoiselle written by DeYoung and Shaw. Remember that I wrote that this record had no hit singles? Well, Mademoiselle was actually a Top 40 hit in the US and Canada but is completely overshadowed by the hit singles that came on the next couple of albums. I actually think that Mademoiselle works really well in the context of the album, making it a worthy album track independent of the fact that it was a single. I don't really know why but the structure of this composition somehow manages to remind my of Seaside Rendezvous by Queen.

Jennifer is another solid album track from Dennis DeYoung that works well with his quirky vocal delivery. The title track is probably the most famous track of the bunch and was the first solo songwriting credit for Shaw. It's a strong composition with great solo spots for DeYoung on synthesizer and Shaw on electric guitar. After such great momentum, the album delivers its only weak track in the shape of a straightforward rocker Shooz written by Tommy Shaw and James Young. In its defense, this is actually one of the better compositions that was written/co-written by Young and features Shaw on lead vocals.

After the first five compositions, which ranged from great to solid album tracks, comes two compositions that transform Crystal Ball to the status of excellence. It's worth to mention that these tracks are rarely performed live thus making them two of the band's most underrated moments. This Old Man is a moody piece by DeYoung that feels very pompous and almost symphonic in its style. Clair De Lune/Ballerina begins with a piano intro of Clair De Lune Claude Debussy which is then followed by Ballerina. This is another track where DeYoung shows his love for theatrical performance and I can easily see this composition being performed as a part of a musical with soaring vocal harmonies from the performers.

Crystal Ball is where the songwriting kicked into the next gear and turned Styx into a real contender on the late '70s pop music scene. The next two albums would really show just that. Highly recommended to fans of melodic art rock music.

***** star songs: This Old Man (5:11) Clair De Lune/Ballerina (7:09)

**** star songs: Mademoiselle (3:57) Put Me On (4:56) Jennifer (4:16) Crystal Ball (4:32)

*** star songs: Shooz (4:44)

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 Equinox by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.46 | 146 ratings

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Equinox
Styx Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars After enjoying what I've heard on The Grand Illusion and Pieces Of Eight, I continued forwards in Styx discography with Cornerstone and all the way to Edge Of The Century. I found their '80s material slightly weaker than the golden era tracks, from the late '70s, and so the logical step was to reverse my direction and go backwards in Styx discography!

Equinox was released in 1975 and is the final album featuring John Curulewski before Tommy Shaw took over the songwriting, guitar and vocal duties in the band. The overall feel of the album isn't far from that on The Grand Illusion and Pieces Of Eight but I lack a real standout track here even though a few come close!

Dennis DeYoung does a great job with the opening track Light Up which definitely sets the mood for the listener and the record continues to shine with the rock anthem Lorelei, eclectic sounding Mother Dear and the ballad Lonely Child. Unfortunately this is where it all comes to a halt once James Young gets a moment in the spotlight with his pretty bland songwriting and vocal skills on Midnight Ride. The song just doesn't do it for me and feels completely out of place with the rest of the material; a track that I tend to skip.

Born For Adventure continues the trend of blandness even though the composition itself is not too bad. It's a pity that the chorus really ruins this song and no matter how much I try I just can't enjoy this track. Fortunately the remaining two tracks manage to rebuild some of the momentum that was featured on the first four tracks.

Prelude 12 is a short but very necessary instrumental by John Curulewski that works as an interlude between the two bland rockers and the Styx classic known as Suite Madame Blue. This final track is one of those instances that I kind of wish that the band could have been even more creative in their writing. The track has a strong melody and the opening interlude makes it seem that we are going to be treated to an opus. This promise unfortunately never manifests itself and the 6+ minutes go faster than I would have liked them to. I strongly believe that Suite Madame Blue could have been one of the definite progressive rock tracks if only Styx had the nerve to transform it into a 10+ minute composition by adding a couple of instrumental passages.

The overall feel that I get from Equinox is that Styx is definitely getting on the right track with this record but they lack the creative chemistry between Tommy Shaw and Dennis DeYoung. Good, but non-essential album for fans of melodic art rock music.

**** star songs: Light Up (4:19) Lorelei (3:23) Mother Dear (5:30) Lonely Child (3:49) Prelude 12 (1:20) Suite Madame Blue (6:30)

*** star songs: Midnight Ride (4:19) Born For Adventure (5:16)

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 The Serpent Is Rising   by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.98 | 87 ratings

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The Serpent Is Rising
Styx Prog Related

Review by Fearabsentia

5 stars Styx-The Serpent is Rising

After the good but overall weaker effort of 'Styx II', Styx released one of their most groundbreaking albums yet. The mighty 'The Serpent is Rising' came and became a pretty odd release in Styx's discography.

The Serpent is Rising is a widely varied album, with songs ranging from heavy proto-metal rockers like 'Witch Wolf' and 'Young Man' and softer melodic tracks like 'The Grove of Eglantine' and 'As Bad As This'. Dennis DeYoung wrote most of the songs for the previous album, but guitarist John Curulewski took most of the songwriting duties for this album. This probably led to this album being much heavier then anything Styx had done before, hence James Young or Curulewski singing on most of the tracks. I find it hard to imagine DeYoung's vocals being very suited for the gritty heavy songs, his vocals give a great performance on 'The Grove of Eglantine' though.

My favorite song on the album is 'Young Man', which begins with some great acoustics and pretty dark lyrics. The song builds up quite a bit, especially after a soft melodic bridge when Young screams, quite a contrast. Another standout song is the title track combined with the final two tracks. The title track is sang by Curulewski and his voice fits in perfectly with the swirling keyboards and moogs and heavy menacing guitar. Then comes 'Krakatoa', which is a one and a half-minute track of screams before 'Hallelujah' starts playing.

I'm not sure if this is true, but I've always seen this album as a concept album. It may be subtle, but it appears that it's a concept album about life and death. Many of the lyrical themes connect to different parts of a mans life, 'The Grove of Eglantine' being about finding love, 'Young Man' being about war, 'As Bad as This' having to do with depression, and the title track relating to death.

Overall, this is my personal favorite Styx album and one of my favorite progressive rock albums of all time. It's an extremely underrated album and an album I find flawless.

Hope you found this review helpful.

(Originally written for www.MetalMusicArchives.com)

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Thanks to Iván_Melgar_M for the artist addition.

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