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Styx - The Grand Illusion CD (album) cover




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3.75 | 303 ratings

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4 stars Who invented AOR as a musical genre? Styx? Journey? REO Speedwagon? Toto? Difficult to give an answer that puts everyone in agreement... Really agree. And also by looking for a formula that allows us to arrive at formulating the answer in a unique way... I think it's impossible. We should mention bands like Genesis or Deep Purple (in some cases they were AOR, judging single songs and albums)... Which would lead us to understand that we can only do non-clarification and resolutive reasoning of the question. In addition, bands that became famous as AOR masters often played Progressive Rock. And then... Kansas (among between the inventors of Prog Metal), Magnum (from "On A Storyteller's Night", AOR masterpiece, onwards they were full AOR and no longer Art Rock). In short... The answer is not easy and, perhaps, it's not even the case to ask.

"The Grand Illusion" is rhe sixth album of Styx and was published in 1977. Beyond everything, "The Grand Illusion" is an album that, in a certain sense, asks us, in my too modest opinion, some questions: Is it a Progressive album? Is it a Hard Rock album? Is it an AOR album? Is it an Art Rock album? You should be broad-minded not to be influenced ... because for a proghead it is clearly a Prog album. For a Metalhead it's clearly a Heavy Metal album (or rather AOR... Proto AOR / Hard Rock). Yet, if we want to dig deep, we must (because at the time, if the definition had already been created) classify it as Proto Prog Metal / Progressive Hard Rock. After that, it's all a succession of attempts to classify what, in the end, is just ink that dirties a sheet. The sound of "The Grand Illusion" is a mix of synthesizers and guitars on a very technical and progressive basis which, however, remains Hard Rock, although it cannot be called Hard Rock. In fact, we are facing a crossover that satisfies Progheads and Metalheads in equal measure and that is already a sort of very defined AOR. The songs are all perfect. Naming one by chance or all of them, as an example of how you play this album, does not make sense, in my opinion. If in general the songs all play both Progressive and Hard Rock, "Miss America" is an excellent example of Hard Rock that is easily memorized while "Wild In The Dreams", sounding like a piece of Kansas (like, in general, all the 'album ... But it's not a clone or derivative ... it's just a combination of style, mine) needs different plays to be understood (even if you like it from the first notes). "Castle Walls", then, it's very epic song.

"The Grand Illusion" is truly a masterpiece in the band's economy. And, beyond the extraordinarily high sales, it's certainly not an easy album to understand. Let's go back to the beginning of the review... But with clearer ideas... We try to recommend (at least) certain bends and certain albums to some type of listener/ Mmusical genre fans... It's impossible, really. "The Grand Illusion" it's too Progressive for a Metalhead (who will call it Progressive Hard Rock / Proto Prog Metal, to the limit). For a Proghead it is too heavy and out of context in the Progressive field. For an AOR fan, it's just an album that inspired the genre. Except that, unfortunately, for everyone it is a masterpiece. And the war of unanswered questions... Continue... Always the same. Always an end in itself.

OLD PROG | 4/5 |


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