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STYX

Prog Related • United States


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Styx picture
Styx biography
Founded in Chicago, USA in 1972 - Hiatus between 1985-1989 and 1992-1994 - Still active as of 2017

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 ...
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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)

2.80 | 131 ratings
Styx
1972
3.14 | 137 ratings
Styx II
1973
2.99 | 131 ratings
The Serpent Is Rising
1973
2.76 | 126 ratings
Man Of Miracles
1974
3.47 | 215 ratings
Equinox
1975
3.16 | 197 ratings
Crystal Ball
1976
3.75 | 317 ratings
The Grand Illusion
1977
3.61 | 259 ratings
Pieces Of Eight
1978
2.69 | 203 ratings
Cornerstone
1979
3.01 | 210 ratings
Paradise Theatre
1981
2.16 | 169 ratings
Kilroy Was Here
1983
2.68 | 81 ratings
Edge Of The Century
1990
2.80 | 75 ratings
Brave New World
1999
3.20 | 70 ratings
Cyclorama
2003
3.25 | 67 ratings
Big Bang Theory
2005
3.98 | 70 ratings
The Mission
2017
4.00 | 31 ratings
Crash of the Crown
2021

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

3.66 | 46 ratings
Caught In The Act Live
1984
3.76 | 29 ratings
Return to Paradise
1997
2.26 | 8 ratings
Arch Allies - Live At Riverport
2000
3.88 | 13 ratings
Styxworld Live 2001
2001
3.29 | 7 ratings
At The River's Edge - Live In St. Louis
2002
3.00 | 6 ratings
21st Century Live
2003

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

4.08 | 21 ratings
Return To Paradise (DVD)
1999
3.74 | 16 ratings
Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra Of Cleveland: One With Everything
2006
2.63 | 15 ratings
Caught In The Act: Live 1984
2007
3.80 | 18 ratings
The Grand Illusion / Pieces of Eight Live
2012

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

2.62 | 11 ratings
Best of Styx
1977
3.22 | 8 ratings
Classics, Vol 15
1987
2.85 | 32 ratings
Greatest Hits
1995
3.27 | 7 ratings
Greatest Hits Part 2
1996
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Best of Times: The Best of Styx
1997
4.08 | 4 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
3.60 | 11 ratings
Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology
2004
3.38 | 26 ratings
The Complete Wooden Nickel Recordings
2005

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

3.50 | 2 ratings
Lady
1973
3.00 | 3 ratings
Light Up
1975
3.50 | 2 ratings
Best Thing
1975
3.50 | 2 ratings
Lorelei
1975
4.25 | 4 ratings
Come Sail Away
1977
3.07 | 5 ratings
Sing for the Day
1978
3.33 | 3 ratings
Blue Collar Man
1978
2.00 | 1 ratings
Enganandote (El Joven Enojado)
1978
2.00 | 2 ratings
Boat On The River
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Lights
1979
2.50 | 2 ratings
Renegado (Renegade)
1979
2.50 | 2 ratings
The Best Of Times
1980
1.17 | 4 ratings
Too Much Time on My Hands
1981
2.50 | 2 ratings
Rockin' The Paradise
1981
3.50 | 6 ratings
Regeneration
2011

STYX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Serpent Is Rising by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.99 | 131 ratings

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The Serpent Is Rising
Styx Prog Related

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars Kind of a silly album, in a good way though. The lyrics on tracks like Witch Wolf and The Grove Of Englantine grace the listener with some really over the top stereotypical progressive lyrics (it's like a spoof of how people see "prog"). Then you get hard rockers like 22 Years and Young man with typical raucous rock lyrics that really are at odds with the fantasy ones. Then you get silly songs like As Bad As This and Krakatoa with memorable quirks, odd album.

Witch wolf kicks off with energetic guitar riffing that is joined by pseudo cowbell cymbal work, organ and lead guitar. Vocals come in with lyrics like "raping the minds of infants? Witch Wolf! Night Rider!" Towards the end the track transitions into a quiet bridge then back to the chorus and done.

The Grove Of Englantine opens with harpsichord. Then boom, guitar and drums come in. The singing really recalls the classic British sound of bands like Yes. This is followed by a nice instrumental with some pleasant changes. This is followed by the singing again that goes till a fade out. With a bit more instrumentals this could have been on an early yes album.

Young Mans a hard rock tune with a neat organ bridge reminiscent of Keith Emerson. The song ends with some different vocals that head into a closing instrumental section of organ and guitar.

As Bad As This Starts off with bluesy country vocals and acoustic guitar then an arpeggio led section acts as an interlude for the second half, Plexiglass Toilet.

Winner Takes All hard rock like the next track.

22 Years

Jonas Psalter is one of the hard rock numbers.

The Serpent Is Rising has a near hissing drone in the background of riff as an opening, then heads into a section reminiscent of the vocal sections of Tarkus.

Krakatoa is some poetry being shouted for a minute with synths whirling around in the background.

Hallelujah Chorus is a tune by Handel. Church music.

Overall this is an acceptable album and a solid end for Styx's progressive rock early years.

 The Mission by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 70 ratings

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The Mission
Styx Prog Related

Review by The Jester

4 stars Review # 113

Starting this, I have to say that I was never a fan of Styx. I have a couple of their old albums in my collection, I listened to a few more, but they were never my cup of tea. Yes, they have some very good songs here and there, but that was it for me. So, because of the thigs I mentioned, I discovered The Mission rather late. To be honest, I was very surprised by its quality and the overall songwritting. (At the time I am writting this, their new album Crash of the Crown has been released, which is also very good). The Mission is a concept album with an interesting main theme, and lots of good songs included in it. I could not believe my ears when I was listening to it for the first 1-2 times. Wait, what? This is STYX?? How's that possible? Then I checked PA, and I found out that The Mission has the highest average rating of all their albums! So, I'm not the only one I guess...

At this point I should make clear that it is not a masterpiece; don't get me wrong. Because lately I see the word "masterpiece" been used a lot, and that's not right in my opinion. but it is a wonderful, highly enjoyable album, which is going to be appreciated not only by the fans of Styx, but from many more people; like me for example.

Give it a try, it's a really good one! My Rating: 4.0 stars

 Crash of the Crown by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 31 ratings

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Crash of the Crown
Styx Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars In June of this year (2021), Styx released their 17th studio album, titled "Crash of the Crown". It was their first album in four years after 2017's "The Mission" and for many it was a very welcome release as the previous original studio album was "Cyclorama" from 2003. The new album was also welcomed because "The Mission" turned out to be a very successful piece of work, earning praise from critics and fans alike.

The personnel includes long-time key member, Tommy Shaw, covering songwriting, vocals, guitar and probably that's him on the banjo as well. There's James JY Young on guitars and vocals, who has been with the band since they changed the name to Styx and recorded their first album in 1972. And original founding member, Chuck Panozzo, holds down the bass on a couple of tracks. For health reasons, Chuck has not remained a full-time member over the last couple of decades but always plays on an album and goes on tour to play a couple of tracks when he can. In his stead, Ricky Phillips has kept up bass duties for the last 15 years or so. Completing the line-up are Todd Sucherman, the band's drummer since he took over for ailing founding drummer, John Panozzo back in the mid-nineties before John succumbed to his alcoholism, and Lawrence Gowan on vocals and keyboards, who has carved out a solo career since the 80's in his home country of Canada. Not present, of course, is Denis DeYoung, whose absence for many mean that this band is not really Styx. However, it seems Styx without Denis still maintains a huge following.

For my ears, this album is just brilliant! It features the big sounds, the pomp, and earworm choruses of late seventies arena and pomp rock but has plenty of clever music and lyrics to keep it within the progressive spectrum. The songs are quite short but deliver a lot of music in that short time. A song like the title track goes through three main changes and a couple of good transitions in under 4 minutes. It's almost as if Styx wanted to write a progressive rock album but kept in mind that many people today have short attention spans. So, the music comes in, grabs a hold of your attention, gets your approval, and then is soon replaced by the next melody, riff, or motif. There are wonderful chorus vocals as in "To Those" and "Our Wonderful Lives" and at other times more serious tones. I like the moody atmosphere set in "Hold Back the Darkness" and how Gowan starts singing like a concerned parent speaking to a child that has left home for the first time and is living away on their own, and then Shaw comes in taking the role of the child, saying he needs to learn how to make his own mistakes.

As I mentioned, this is not an album that lets the music sit and build up slowly. There are moments that remind me of The Flower Kings or Spock's Beard, but where those bands might take their time with a musical theme, this album ushers it away shortly as the next thing needs to come it. If bands like The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard serve up full course meals, this Styx album is more like a buffet where you take small portions of many different delicious foods.

I have no strong criticism about this album. Anything critical I might point out is that we didn't get a fast-fingered Gowan piano solo this time; the track "Another Farewell" is a bit of a headscratcher as to why they would put a 26- second orchestral composition on the album; and the final track, "Stream", is short and fades out as the band is building up a guitar solo / organ solo bit. I guess the message is, "The band plays on", but it begins fading out as the solos are getting interesting.

So, one more time, let me say that Styx has released a really fine piece of work here. Everyone is playing their parts so well and crafting some really great music. I really hope that the band will feel they have enough for at least one more album. Denis DeYoung recently released the second disc in his farewell studio album, double album, and I am curious to hear it. But if he's throwing in the towel, I really hope the others are not ready to do so yet.

 The Mission by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.98 | 70 ratings

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The Mission
Styx Prog Related

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

4 stars Styx go full-on prog with their sixteenth studio album 'The Mission' - an epic and spacey concept album about a trip to Mars that takes place in the year 2033. This album sees the band with the following lineup: Tommy Shaw, James Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman, Ricky Phillips, and Chuck Panozzo appearing on just one track. Comprised of fourteen tracks, 'The Mission' is quite possibly the best episode in the band's long and fruitful career; Keeping things 'short and sweet', this 42-minnute epic sci-fi ride sees the band produce tremendously good songs that flow seamlessly into one another, making up for a pretty impressive, memorable, and beautifully produced concept album - and certainly one of the stronger concept albums of this decade.

The story is captivating, the music is simultaneously accessible and astonishingly good, as 'The Mission' sees the band's principal musical aspects collide for the birth of what could safely be proclaimed their best work - their prog rock roots and their masterful ability to write very good songs that are memorable to the core. Just one listen would be enough for the listener to notice how well-composed and detailed tracks like 'Locomotive', 'The Greater Good', 'Red Storm' and 'The Outpost' are, and how each single element of this record makes sense and contributes to the overall blissful coherence of this journey to the red planet.

A really pleasant surprise - this is precisely what 'The Mission' is; and also, an exclamation mark that a band is never too old to create its masterwork. And I am entirely sincere in these words, as I have not heard such an enjoyable Styx album from start to finish, such a tremendously good collection of songs, with such attention to detail and sound. This is well-backed up by the fact that the band recorded this album between 2015 and 2017, obviously taking their time and justifying each second spent in the studio, giving the world a really impressive modern progressive rock album.

 Cyclorama by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.20 | 70 ratings

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Cyclorama
Styx Prog Related

Review by 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!

 Man Of Miracles by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.76 | 126 ratings

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Man Of Miracles
Styx Prog Related

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars When I was growing up in the 70's, I considered Styx as one of my favorite bands, and that all started when I was introduced to the band through "The Grand Illusion" album. My impression of the band back then was a huge progressive rock band, but as time went on and my enthusiasm for the band waned, I realized they were not really that much of a progressive band. I still have a soft spot for some of their songs and still consider "The Grand Illusion" to be their best, but overall, I don't really listen to them as much anymore. The release of their 2021 album has reminded me of how much I loved them many years ago and influenced me to revisit some of their music, especially the years before they hit the big time.

"Man of Miracles" is the last of the 4 "Wooden Nickel" albums that Styx made which consisted of the first 4 albums the band released. Through the years that these albums were released the band struggled for notoriety, but couldn't quite get there. But when they finally took the advice of someone that told them that the only way they would get the popularity they were striving for was to get signed to a major label, things started to happen to both their somewhat raw and imperfect sound and their popularity. Not that they weren't totally unheard of. The band had a huge following in Chicago, but just couldn't seem to catch on anywhere else.

This period of time is also pre-Tommy Shaw. During the years of these first four albums, John Curulewski was the main guitarist. Once the band got popular enough that they would have to start worldwide touring, Curulewski quit the band because he wanted to be close to his family, and shortly after the release of "Equinox" (their fifth album), Tommy Shaw replaced him. However, that was still to come. In 1974, when "Man of Miracles" was released, the band was still sporting it's original line-up.

This album sees the band still trying to find its sound, the style that would push them over the top. During this time, James Young and Dennis DeYoung shared frontmen duties both taking turns at lead vocalist duties. The band did see some success around the time of the release of "Man of Miracles" when their song "Lady" became a belated hit around 1973, a few years after the release of "Styx II" which is the album "Lady" was on. The band, of course, wanted to follow on the heels of that hit with the release of "Man of Miracles", so they followed the basic pattern of James Young singing the hard rockers and Dennis DeYoung doing the more ballad-like songs, a pattern that they would follow for many year to come, for the most part. Though James Young would continue to do lead vocals after Tommy Shaw joined the band, he would do it a lot less often and the band would have three lead vocalists.

With the pattern of Young on the rockers and DeYoung on the slower tracks, "Man of Miracles" becomes an album with a good amount of variety. The bad thing about this album is it is a bit messy. But it's not a complete write off. When I listen to it, I tend to like the 2nd side much more than the 1st side. James Young starts it all off with the mediocre rockers "Rock & Roll Feeling" and "Havin' a Ball", then DeYoung does the softer and more thoughtful songs "Golden Lark" and "A Song for Suzanne", the latter being a bit more dynamic. The side is closed out with Young on another rocker called "A Man Like Me". It's not terrible music, it's just nothing memorable either.

On the original album, the song "Lies", a cover originally performed by The Knickerbockers in 1965. Styx version is quite upbeat, but for some reason, following issues of the album replaced this song with "Best Thing", which was a mildly popular track from Styx's first album. It does fit well with this album and opens up the 2nd side quite well, but had previously been released. This is sung by both DeYoung and Young while "Evil Eyes" is a much better DeYoung track and now we see the band really begin to grow and expand their talents at making music. The better songs just keep coming for the rest of the album with a more progressive sense thrown in to make it even more interesting and we hear that in "Southern Woman", "Christopher, Mr. Christopher" and "Man of Miracles".

Don't expect to hear anything essential here, but as far as an album where you can hear the development of what would become a supergroup in a few years, this one is a perfect example. If you are a Styx fan, this should be an important album to hear. However, there are only little bits of progressive style in the album, and quite truthfully, the closest the band would come to being progressive wouldn't come until "The Grand Illusion", which, by the way, was the bands true breakthrough album that would push them over the top to become one of the most popular arena rock bands of the 70s. As far as this album, it's good and the 2nd side is especially fun to listen to, but for most listeners, it's far from essential.

 Equinox by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.47 | 215 ratings

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Equinox
Styx Prog Related

Review by prog_traveller!!

3 stars Finally the band gets a deal with A&M which they consider the quintet worthy of a wide-ranging chance. And the opportunity is not missed by the group that with this album churns out yet another good proof of cohesion and coherence to the artistic styles now undertaken: the 8 tracks slip away very pleasant, with the usual management of choirs and keyboards that reinforce songs however equally valuable, such as Light Up ready to take off in an emphatic succession of vocal backgrounds that slip away accompanied by very cheerful keyboards, which make the song the first single of the disc. The same can be said of the following Lorelei: the fullness of the keyboards almost relegates the good vocal performance to the background, which at full lungs declaims the title of the track, which in the background does not fail to appreciate the good work of the guitar. Sung in two voices, Mother Dear lends its side to the well-established "simplicity" of the group that here delights in a mix of magical keyboards and the usual very relaxed singing, almost an ideal soundtrack for a timeless masterpiece such as The Wizard of Oz : the long central squiggle between keyboards allows you to walk towards the final phase with good speed, even becoming almost obsessive and repetitive the refrain, at a certain point out of control.

Keys and acoustics to lead the way to the good Lonely Child, with the good DeYoung still to be the master behind the microphone: the song thickens exactly in the middle of the song, when both guitars start to distort badly, always relative to the genre interpreted, which in any case does not differ at all from what we have heard so far; it is always the choirs that are the masters, both to fill the stanzas and to assume almost a solo role in the final phase. This time it is the good Young who tries his hand at the voice, with a good interpretation of Midnight Ride written especially for himself: the sound remains constant, soft and delicate until the final apex in which the refrain is uttered until exhaustion, with a background wide guitar spectrum that does its part right from the start. The usually "fearful" bassist is this time the protagonist of a passionate intro that gives the stura to the fast Born For Adventure and to the equally valid performance of the other component the rhythm section, the German Panozzo and his apparently elementary but not devoid of originality drumming ; to mention the more than discreet central phase with a good intertwining of the guitar duo Young / Curulewski. The delicate arpeggio of the instrumental Prelude 12 leads straight to the final Madame Blue Suite: it is the longest track on the album and thanks to the vocal interpretation of the good DeYoung it acquires all the depth that the track prepares in the very limited initial performance. However, there follows a simultaneous thickening of the sound that is well conducted by the six strings as well as by the inevitable virtuosity of the instrumentalists who lead to the long final ride, closed with a sudden swerve of guitar and keyboards.

Equinox obviously isn't the best place to begin one Styx's collection, a "very good", 3.5-star rating for what I'd comfortably place as the fourth-best LP in the Styx catalogue.

 The Grand Illusion by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.75 | 317 ratings

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The Grand Illusion
Styx Prog Related

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Styx were together with Kansas the main exponents of the so-called "Pomp rock", a genre characterized by progressive influences, melodic hard rock and sumptuous arrangements full of keyboards and "synth" sounds. The technical expertise and the excellent compositional skills that have accompanied this valid American group since its birth, are to be attributed in particular to the guitarist Tommy Shaw and to the keyboardist Dennis De Young (true architects of the success of the Styx), the line up is completed by the second guitarist James Joung and the Panozzo brothers in the rhythm section. "The Grand Illusion" as well as being the most successful work is also the best known, as it reached number six in the American charts and soon went platinum. De Young's beautiful, crystalline voice gives all long playing a sense of grandeur that is perhaps only found on the most important Kansas albums.

There could not have been a better start with the same "The grand illusion" with its majestic gait, in which De Young's keyboards dominate, even if in some ways it is perhaps too heavily used that despite the grandeur of the piece can in the long run tire . But "Fooling yourself" is a real gem, the perfect prototype of the "prog pomp" song, the chorus and the central keyboard alone are magnificent, in this case the excellent harmony of the rhythm section also stands out. "Superstars" partly refers to the early periods of his career and that is to a sound that is not well defined and therefore rather original, a good piece but nothing more; with "Come sail away" the Styx reach their creative peak, it can be considered as the definitive piece that will never fail in live performances, enthralling in the choirs, superb in the arrangements all the "ingredients" that have made them famous. Instead, it is the rude voice of guitarist Tommy Shaw that characterizes "Miss America" a hard rock song that honestly I have never loved, perhaps for the not too engaging refrain. It then continues with "Man in wilderness" which immediately brings the Styx back to more refined sounds (the text based on street life and the search for the inner "I" is beautiful). Definitely on more epic and fairytale tones is on the contrary "Castle walls" which discovers the most imaginative and imaginary side of the group. The platter "the grand finale" closes, which is nothing more than the reprise of the opening track, also masterfully orchestrated and majestic as never before.

What can be added except that "The grand illusion" is the album that launched Styx among the great names of rock and that rightly delivered them to the attention of the general public, selling millions of records all over the world.? ! An album therefore essential for those who want to approach the discography of these talented American musicians, released in the heyday of the genre they exhibited and therefore highly recommended to everyone, especially to lovers of melody and superfine arrangements.

 Crash of the Crown by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 31 ratings

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Crash of the Crown
Styx Prog Related

Review by Michael919

4 stars A nice surprise!

Right from the start, I'll admit that I never got into Styx back in the day. Certainly, I was familiar with them and even liked some of their tunes that got some play, but I never owned any of their albums. Being subscribed to a streaming service today, I have no hesitation is sampling anything, so when I saw this coming, I thought, why not!

The first track seemed like a repeat of the signature, Styx sound that I was familiar with, albeit with a good, modern production quality. Hmmm, not sure how much of this I will bother with. Second track starts and I'm thinking, ok, there's something more here.

I stuck around for the whole ride. Sure, there were a few more 80's rock moments, but they were quite acceptable and there was so much goodness surrounding it that I had zero regrets giving 43 minutes to Styx. In fact, I have listened to it several more times and recommended it to a few friends, and I am recommending it to you all. It's a nice album with the right balance of nostalgic elements and some newer sounds, all fitting together well, as you would hope a veteran band would produce (but many don't!).

Crash of the Crown is a thoroughly enjoyable, surprising ride. Hop on!

 Crash of the Crown by STYX album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 31 ratings

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Crash of the Crown
Styx Prog Related

Review by dougmcauliffe

4 stars Ok, I admit it. At my core, I'm a Styx fan. Sure, they get the short end of the stick a lot of times in music circles, and they might not necessarily be the coolest band to like, but I really think that there's some real artistic merit to some of their 70s releases. They hit their sweet spot mixing some lighter and accessible elements of progressive rock with pop rock sensibilities and big melodic hooks and solos. Styx acted as an important stepping stone band to me. Helping me eventually get into more challenging progressive rock bands. Though they're no longer one of my all time favorite bands like they were several years ago, I still get a lot of enjoyment out of their music and have a lot of fun with it. I think the album that shows them at their creative peak is 1978's 'Pieces of Eight.' For me, that record is full of a good mix of uplifting and hard rocking tracks, strong songwriting and a real sense of chemistry within the band. However, following that release, key songwriter Dennis Deyoung started taking the band in a different direction with much more of an emphasis on power ballads such as the hit songs "Babe'' and "The Best of Times" along with somewhat of a theatrical edge and personally, they begin to lose me here. Being candid, I think the following records are the reason that they have the mixed reputation that they do today. Ultimately, this sound reached its eclipse on the notoriously disastrous half-concept record Kilroy Was Here in 1983 that also boasted a nearly equally infamous trainwreck of a tour that soon after, led to the split of the band. After some solo efforts from the members that ended with mixed results, the band came back in 1990 with Dennis Deyoung once again at the helm, notably with the absence of the other key songwriter, guitarist and singer: Tommy Shaw. This album was titled Edge of the Century. However, despite having a hit song in "Show Me The Way," it just wasn't meant to be, and the band split once more soon after in 1991. Personally, I think I like this record even less than Kilroy to be frank about it. However, this wasn't the end of this story. In 1995, the band was back with almost the classic lineup intact. Drummer John Panozzo was struggling with alcoholism, which he eventually succumbed to in 1996, unfortunately. Taking his place was a young Todd Sucherman, more on him later. The resulting tour of this reunion ended up being a massive success, so of course, it only made sense to make a new record. Unfortunately, old gripes and tensions would resurface during the making of 1999s Brave New World, resulting in an album that comes off to me as just directionless and among their weakest material. Soon after, Dennis Deyoung was more or less kicked out the band due to him and Tommy Shaw, along with other guitarist James Young finding it incapable to get along after all these years. I get the impression Dennis, found somewhat of a niche, and perhaps many many dollars in his more ballad based direction. When for all this time, Tommy and JY wanted to bring the band back to it's hard rockin' somewhat prog adjacent roots. They brought in Canadian singer/songwriter Lawrence Gowan to fill his shoes, and in 2003, they released Cyclorama. An album that.... exists. It didn't make much of a splash in the 2003 music landscape, so the band from there on out decided to become a touring band. That remained the case until 2017.

Deterred from the commercial failure of the last album, the band was always hesitant to throw new songs in the pool. However, seemingly finding a new source of inspiration, Tommy Shaw teamed up with songwriting partner Will Evankovich to write new music. This eventually led to 2017s "The Mission." Now, I can't imagine too many oldschool Styx fans were very enthusiastic about the prospect of a new Styx album, without Dennis Deyoung, in 2017. However, this album actually blew me away, and it seemingly had a similar effect on fans who were willing to embrace this current lineup of the band. You see, this album didn't feel like a return to form. Instead, it was something new, a progression, a reinvention. While classic elements of their sound still remained in the mix, I found this record to be not only among one of their most progressive, but also very bold and ballsy. They sounded tight, inspired, and the production and songs were excellent. The drumming of Todd Sucherman also just took things to a new level, dudes insane. Since its release, I've always held it as the second best Styx record. That brings us to the present, 2021. Styx has released the follow-up to that record with Crash of the Crown and once again, they've really surprised me with just how well they've moved their sound into the 21st century compared to many of their contemporaries. The production is once again extremely rich, potentially even better than ever with more of an emphasis on embracing ear candy electronic and percussive subtleties. This album, like The Mission, is a concept record, perhaps a little looser than its predecessor in that respect. It falls into one cohesive unit with all the songs flowing into one another with different motifs and melodies recurring throughout the record. I mentioned that The Mission to me, was likely their record that was the most rooted in progressive rock. Well at this point, Styx is just a modern prog band in the same vein as Ted-era Spock's Beard, Neal Morse Band, some Kansas and even early Dream Theater. This is a straight up progressive rock album with pop rock sensibilities, rather than the other way around like it tended to be on their 70s albums. Once again, the drumming! Todd Sucherman just cruises through a multitude of odd meters and rapid structural change-ups across this record. Tommy Shaw just sounds exactly the same as he did in the mid 70's, his voice simply hasn't aged. I can't quite say the same for James Young, but he only has one lead vocal on this album and it's also a shared lead vocal at that. So really, the performances and production on this record get an A+. Very few bands of this age ever sound this inspired and fierce to me. Also unlike many contemporaries, this isn't a nostalgia act. This is a band that's pushing themselves creatively and trying all sorts of new sounds and song structures, and that's likely going to be a turn off to a chunk of their fanbase which? is likely made up of a lot of old classic rock radio fans who aren't particularly interested in that. That's alright though. At the very least, they've earned back my respect with these last two records for this reason. Let's get into the songs now.

The Fight of Our Lives is a short opener that quickly introduces a motif that will pop up again later in the title track. The band quickly hits you with a pretty signature large-scale Styx harmony. This track acts as a bit of an overture to the album, but ultimately, while this does a good job of kicking off the album in an energetic fashion, there's much higher peaks to be reached later on. For example, the following track "A Monster." Though once again clocking in just over 3 minutes, this track feels very complete and packs a lot into those three short minutes. It opens with a cool menacing main riff before flowing right into a nice acoustic guitar backed verse. The synth melodies across this song really stick with me and always act as a nice little immediate payoff within the music whenever they pop up. This track gives me some strong Dream Theater vibes, especially in the closing minute where Gowan seems to channel Jordan Rudess for a sweet solo to close things off. One of the best tracks here, really tight vocal performance as well which is somewhat of a constant across this record. Reveries is a really pleasant and playful track similar to Fooling Yourself off the Grand Illusion, but now with Gowan delivering the lead vocal. It has a very summery vibe to it with another big chorus and uplifting synth lead. This song also packs a pretty fiery guitar solo in the middle that adds a little "umph" to it. Hold Back The Darkness is a somewhat more intimate and darker song. I like a lot of the production effects in this track, and the somewhat slowburner cadence behind it is a nice change up as well. While I have no particular complaints, it just ends up falling a little middle of the pack on the album, as does the following track Save Us From Ourselves. Again, nothing blatantly wrong here. It just doesn't stand out to me. Perhaps extending it by a little bit and throwing in a little more variety would have benefitted it. That's something you may notice on this album, the songs are all very short. It's pretty clear this tracklisting was designed for a full album front to back listen, but on a couple tracks I do feel there's room for a little more development and extension and this is one of them. The titular track that follows this up however, similarly to a monster accomplishes plenty in its runtime just shy of 4 minutes. All three lead vocalists get a little time to shine here and structurally this track is broken up into three different sections to complement the vocal shifts. The opening is very exciting and melodic with a smooth 5/4 groove. Gowan transitions us into the next passage of the song with a cool little symphonic sounding synth motif before it kicks into Tommy Shaws portion of the song. The groove! Closing the song is a really rampaging and stomping finale with some cheeky little nods to Queen in the guitars and vocal deliveries. The album really hits a stride starting with this track, as Our Wonderful Lives totally soars. I feel bad because I think I've said this word a good four times already in this review, but man, this song is so incredibly uplifting. It just really hits the spot, especially now in this time where I'm fortunate enough to live in a place where my life is more or less, back to normal. For those of you not quite there, please hang in there! This track has one of the strongest hooks on the record, and towards the end of the track there's some nice Beatles-esque horns. Keeping this momentum, Common Ground comes up next and once more, stands tall as one of the best songs on this album. Once more, the hook is incredibly inspiring. This one reminds me a little bit of Sing For The Day off Pieces of Eight. I also really like the little change of tone in the instrumental halfway through this song, as well as the tradeoff of lead vocals towards the end. Continuing this streak is Sound the Alarm, a very pretty ballad covering ground that sounds both somber, yet hopeful at the same time. Funnily enough, this one reminds me a little bit of Take Away My Pain by Dream Theater, which honestly when you really listen, sounds more like a Styx song than it does a Dream Theater song. The keys act as a strong backbone to this song, properly setting the stage for an emotional delivery from Shaw on lead vocals. The next track Long Live The King doesn't quite stand out as much as the sweet streak of tracks that preceded it, but the instrumentation on this song is really unique in its darker somewhat windier tone. Lost at Sea is a short little dreamy interlude that brings us into another highlight in 'Coming Out The Other Side,' which is kind of a good summary for what I feel like my life has been like as of late. This track has an effortless 9/4 groove, while the music and melodies around it blossom with beauty. The guitar solo on this track is probably my favorite across the whole album. There's an incredible amount of feel in the playing and the guitar tone really compliments the performance we're given. The solo would make Andy Latimer of Camel proud. Unfortunately, the next track on the album "To Those" is my least favorite. It's not bad, but it's the only track where I feel like it's very safely a Styx song. I feel that on this track they're pulling just a little too much from some of their past works. The chorus has a pretty similar melody to the Pieces of Eight titular track as well as a few cuts off The Grand Illusion. Perhaps it can easily be summed up as the least adventurous track, and sadly, adventure is what I'm looking for in this album. Now on the final track Stream! This is a really good note to end out on and I think "Stream" is a fitting title for the music that accompanies it. The guitar solo that takes up half of this relatively short track is probably my second in command after the one on Coming Out the Other Side. The solo and cadence of the track has a real easygoing and comfortable quality to it that I really dig. This is another case though where I think the track could've been extended by about a minute, giving the band room to build up to an even more majestic finale. Instead the track somewhat anticlimactically fades out, but I'm happy enough with what we have here!

I'm super into this album right now and Styx should be proud of it! A certain subset of fans will probably immediately write it off because a certain name isn't attached to it, but at the very least, I hope some of those people at least give it a few spins with an open mind to see if it ends up changing their perception or growing on them with time. This album makes me happy, and it came at a time when I'm in a perfect headspace and situation to? feel happy! I hope we see another album from Styx where they continue this inspired and proggy direction. Hopefully I can catch the band at some point this summer and see some of these tracks live. Feel no shame about loving the bands you love folks!

4 Stars

Thanks to Iván_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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