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Styx - Equinox CD (album) cover




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3.50 | 193 ratings

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4 stars If "The Grand Illusion" is the peak in STYX's career "Equinox" is a fundamental album in the career of the guys from Chicago, being that marks the point in which the band starts to find the definitive sound that would make them transcend the frontiers of "The Windy City" and give that extra step that divides good local bands from icons of a decade.

Their first three releases are very strong Progressive Rock oriented albums, but they never defined a clear an unique style, the fourth album "Man of Miracles" is a first attempt of blending the various musical preferences of their members, but the result is pretty uneven.

And at last with "Equinox" they begin to leave the past behind and to create a new sound that would balance the theatric style of DeYoung, the harder edge of James "JY" Young and the Prog approach of John Curulewsky in a Pop/Rock album with Prog leanings that would be one of the first examples of what will be known as AOR, in other words a commercial and conservative evolution of Progressive Rock, but incredibly successful in the late 70's, reaching levels of popularity that very few 100% Progressive Rock bands ever dreamed of.

Despite the big jump that "Equinox" represents, they are unable to leave behind the problem of depending almost exclusively in the nasal vocals of Dennis DeYoung, something that will only be solved when Tommy Shaw joined the band on Crystal Ball and allowed STYX to have two (sometimes three) lead vocalists, giving a more versatile sound.

The album opens with "Light Up" and "Lorelei", two songs that present us for the first time the definitive style of STYX, some sort of Melodic Pop/Rock with Prog leanings, but a peculiar sound that can easily hook Pop and Prog listeners with the balance between catchy music with elaborate structure and fantastic chorus.

"Mother Dear" is one of the last and finest examples of John Curulewsky's Prog sensibility, a track that combines the complexity of early KANSAS with the vocal work of QUEEN, lush keyboards provided by him and Dennis, in other words a magnificent song that deserves much more recognition than what it gets.

After "Lonely Child", more or less in the vein of the first two tracks comes "Midnight Ride" in which "JY" is allowed to rock as hard as he cans with the confidence that can only be provided by a band capable of playing in different styles with almost no problem, something that is even more evident after listening "Born for Adventure" another hard rock song but more sophisticate.

"Prelude 12" is a very short but extremely beautiful 12 string guitar Curulewsky song that reminds of Greg Lake acoustic side and works as an introduction for "Suite Madam Blue", in my opinion the best song of all the album, in which the band combines the skills of all the members with an elaborate and pompous composition by Dennis DeYoung that closes the album in great form.

After recognizing the importance of the Panozzo twins, who may not write songs, but provide a solid rhythm section, comes the difficult part of rating the album, because even when "Equinox" doesn't have the Prog sensibility of the first two releases or the brilliance of "The Grand Illusion", it's a solid album marks the end of one era and the beginning of another one in STYX's career, so being that we don't have half stars to give the proper 3.5 rating, I have to go with 4 stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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