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Styx - Man Of Miracles CD (album) cover




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2.76 | 135 ratings

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Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Since I've been discovering lots of newer, more obscure bands in recent times, I don't wish to ignore the 'old and familiar' albums in my collection. I have been re-visiting my early Styx albums, and they are endearingly addictive to me, even though they display a somewhat confused direction. 'Man of Miracles' is my 2nd favourite, and has its share of harder edged 'Pop-Rock' moments, and more involved 'Proggy' pieces. The first 2 tracks, 'Rock n' Roll Feeling' and 'Havin' a Ball' are simple, rockin' tunes that kick things off in a very uplifting way. Some people probably dig these songs for their direct simplicity, but they are a little 'standard' for the more progressively inclined minds. Keyboardist Dennis DeYoung seems to compose the more involved and 'colourful' tracks, his 'Golden Lark' being lightly classical and romantic in execution, complete with a lovely 'cello accompaniment. Beautiful song. 'A Song For Suzanne' is one of Styx finest moment's up until this point - we have a great structure, well crafted melodies, a more complex instrumental arrangement and superb vocals and harmonies. From the inspired 'cello arrangement, segueing this track with the previous one (effectively backed with Thunder and Rain sounds), we hear some nimble guitar, bass and synth lines that lead into a bombastic blast of string-synth and piano dominated prog. The tune has a pretty interlude, and then rocks out nicely. This song is definately worth cherishing for proggers who think Styx were just, well, not prog. 'A Man Like Me', is yet another rocker by guitarist James Young (the young 'cracker' in the band) and features a brass arrangement which expands their sound beyond their regular approach. Side 2 starts with 'Lies', a catchy pop tune, but rather decent to be honest, considering it's a cover-song. 'Evil Eyes' is more like it, a ballsy DeYoung original that has an epic feel to it. Another great tune. 'Southern Woman' is tune with a standard 'shuffle' feel, but contains a powerful Hammond solo from DeYoung, which is most captivating (think : Jon Lord). DeYoung can definately play. 'Christopher, Mr Christopher' is a piece which varies from softer, reflective verses, to harder moments - not too bad to be honest. Album closer, 'Man of Miracles', is prog, hard, heavy, dynamic, pompous, and driven by a superb riff - grinding Hammond and atmospheric synth work throughout. The vocals are quite enjoyable too (in a hard-rock way), the song is yet another high-point within the band's entire catalogue (well, up to and including 'Kilroy was Here'). The album is very good for U.S. prog-rock at the time, so I'll give it a 4th star, but the previous release is better.
Tom Ozric | 4/5 |


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