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4 stars The debut album that Styx recorded for A&M records is notable for many reasons. First, it's the album where they started to define a sound that would later help them reach great heights. Secondly, it marks the final appearance of John Curulewski as a member of the band, and while most folks will rally behind his replacement, Tommy Shaw, there is something to be said for the style that Curulewski helped bring the band in the early years...with song styles that would never be attempted again ("Mother Dear," for example). The CD is chock-full of great tracks, including the radio friendly "Lorelei" and "Suite Madame Blue." Other tracks of note include DeYoung's romping "Born for Adventure," James Young's fun "Midnight Ride" and album opening "Light Up."
Report this review (#17353)
Posted Friday, December 26, 2003 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Some good numbers as all mid-period Styx album have. Notably Madame Blue. this is the last album of Curulewski (and the first line-up change for a very stable outfit) as he will be replaced by Shaw. With this album Styx came into big-league radio-friendly FM rock with slight prog overtone. This is one of the core album of the classic period and not bad to start with. Better things to come, though.
Report this review (#17355)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you weren't in possession of this album back in the 1970's then you didn't go to high school. Every kid I knew had this album. It's the one that really cut it for them on FM radio. Heavy on synths and loud guitars throughout this is one heck of a heavy record. Suite Madame Blue is definitely the highlight track and will hold you in anticipation with an amazing synth passage with a spectacular crescendo is resolved with some heavy rythm guitar riffing. Midnight Ride and Light Up are two other tracks which got worn out on my turntable back in the 70's. While there are only two Styx records I like ( the other is Pieces Of Eight) this is definitely one of them and is highly rcommended to the new listener. I have witnessed this band in concert on both the Equinox and Pieces Of Eight tours and they did not disappoint. Definitely the high point for the band.
Report this review (#17357)
Posted Tuesday, November 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although I haven't heard Pieces of Eight, I'd say this is the best Styx album of the albums through The Grand Illusion. The band continuously improved as it worked its way up to Equinox, then start getting bland with Crystal Ball and The Grand Illusion.

This album isn't very progressive, but it does have stronger rock songs than normal. This is also the last album with guitarist John Curulewski. He seemed to be a more interesting element in the band than his replacement after this album (Tommy Shaw).

Report this review (#38872)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was Styx's 5th album and their most mature to date, released in 1975 on the heels of their previous disc "Man Of Miracles." On "Miracles" Styx began experimenting with a slightly more progressive style and they began to fully explore it on this disc!! Sadly it was the final album with the founding line-up, as John Curulewski decided to call it quits right before the band was to hit the road to promote this disc. Curulewski had several short lived bands, and he was owner of his own recording studio until his untimely death in the late 1980's.

What is there to say about this album that hasn't been said? The live favorite, ode to weed, "Light Up" is still played now and again today as is the next song "Lorelei." The following tracks "Mother Dear" and "Lonely Child" are some of the most underrated songs by Styx and have been relegated to the dark recesses of unpopular album tracks. The final four songs are all excellent!! "Born For Adventure" and "Midnight Ride" are some of the band's heavier rockers and they lead perfectly into Curulewski's beautiful guitar piece, "Prelude 12."

We then find ourselves immersed in the 6 and a half minute long masterpiece, written by Dennis DeYoung for the bicentennial celebrations, one of the greatest Styx songs of all time, a song still played today and still rotated on classic rock radio..."Suite Madame Blue." This song opitomizes what Styx were and what they would soon become; a classic piece that starts out with some slow acoustic guitars and takes you up through soaring vocals and into a wonderful hard rock certerpiece that ends the album in fine form!!!

People seem to love or hate Styx based on some stupid belief of what prog rock should be or is!!!! In my opinion, Styx is NOT a prog rock band!!! They are a rock band with a few prog elements! People need to appreciate music for what it is and not what genre or subcategory it should belong to!!! If this is you, I'm sorry to tell you that you might be missing out on some of the greatest NON PROG songs and albums of all time!!!

Go buy this CD!! It may never make you love Styx, but it will certainly give you an appreciation for a great rock band from the good old US of A!!!!!!!

Report this review (#40247)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album was one of rock heroes in the seventies altogether with Deep Purple "Come Taste The Band", Led Zeppelin "Physical Graffiti", Gary Wright "Dream Weaver", Traffic "John Barleycorn Must Die", as well as Kayak "2nd". Yes, they are all different in their characters but they shared similar style and nuance: hard rock music. My best favorite track since that time until now is "Birn for Adventure" - what a rocking track! I was amazed with the energy, passion as well as powerfull bass guitar work combined with unique voice quality of Dennis De Young. WOW! This track is really suitable for you to play when you drive in relatively high speed at the highway and turn the music reaally LOUD! Yeah, you will get all details of the music. What a wonderful experience!

The other legendary track is of course the one which has melodic acoustic guitar at the opening ("Prelude 12"): "Suite Madame Blue". Time after time .. oh what a great entrance! I do enjoy this track as it combines nice n sweet music with hard rock with high driving rhythm and heavy riffs. This IS STYX, my friend. It rocks the world! The other interesting track is "Lorelei", "Light Up".

It's an excellent classic rock album. Keep on rockin' ..!

Report this review (#44307)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It was back in 1976 when i first heard Styx. I was visiting Budgie (remember them?) for a concert and while waiting for Budgie starting to play, the DJ played a song which i did not know, but blasted me away! It turned out to be Styx' Midnight Ride. I became an instant fan of Styx from that moment on, as i am still today. For me this album is the best Styx ever made! What i don't understand is that Midnight Ride, being one of the best (rocking) songs ever from Styx, shows on no live-album. I do agree that Styx is NOT a Prog-band. They simlpy are a damn good rock band, as they showed again this year on Arrows Rock! Keep up the good work boys!
Report this review (#45695)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars "Equinox" is an album of hard rock that with the prog hit the center oflittle. But is not easy to listen to, because not immediate. The styx succeed to write a very valid album, that finds the moment prog ("mother dear"), but also moment almost heavy metal ("midnight ride" & "born for adventure"). Big guitars and bass, for an album from arena rock.
Report this review (#60967)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Grand Illusion usually gets all the attention, but I for one prefer Equinox. It's kind of the bridge album between their earlier proggier albums and their later commercial successes. Their sound is still very prog-like here, echoes of Rush and Yes crop up all over the place, but songs like "Loreli" have a pop-rock sound as well that would only become more pronounced later on. "Light Up" is the band's ode to marijuana, and "Mother Dear" and "Suite Madame Blue" boast more complex arrangements and some pretty crazy synth effects. The whole album is great, although I wouldn't recommend it for all prog fans.
Report this review (#77797)
Posted Thursday, May 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the bands, that i always listen with pleasure. Not on my top bands, but close enough. To me this album is prog from the first note till the last one, and tracks like Mother Dear, Suite Madame Blue, are timeless in my opinion. Maybe Styx is a softer version of Kansas, but this is no problem, they compose with grace and some of theyr albums are in prog history. Like this one, one of the best Styx, and why not in the '70. So my rate is 4 stars, for sure.
Report this review (#79737)
Posted Monday, May 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Styx is the river of Greek legend where the ferryman Charon will take souls to the other bank for eternal salvation if he is given a coin. Very progressive theme really and in the case of the famous Chicago-based band, best expressed with their album Equinox. I am not a fan but there are 3 outstanding pieces on this solid recording, all highly popular in the glory days of FM radio and college run stations: "Light Up" (hint?) and "Lorelei" were just extraordinarily catchy and well-rounded rock songs but "Suite Madame Blue" remains a masterpiece of the times (with Boston's "More Than a Feeling" or Zep's "Stairway to Heaven") that keeps eliciting smiling pleasures, an fabulous acoustic intro evolving into a sizzling hurrah that lingers long after the powering off. Now, one, two or even three songs a magnum opus do not make but "Equinox" has a lot going for it, even the only Styx album that deserves inclusion in a Prog collection. Whether arguable or not, Dennis DeYoung certainly can sing (some do not like his voice though) with conviction, his keyboard playing really quite first-rate both on piano and synthesizers. "Light Up" starts off highly upbeat with a smashing "entrée en matičre", a tortuous synth flight leading the melodic charge, held by a harsh guitar rhythm and an all a round good tune. "Lorelei" is quite similar to the opener, a hard ballad ("Oh when she moves.") with perhaps a tad corny love lyrics ("Let's Live Together", a new social fad in the early 70s) and a jaunty instrumental mid-section that breathes excitement. Not being gaga over the boys from O'Hare, the balance until the whopping finale is just average ,neither fab or drab in my opinion. Fast forward. The real masterstroke is the Suite Madame Blue, an intensely innuendo-laced song about a hopeless affair with brothel owner but really about the rotting American Dream needing a wake up call. (Rock music started out as protest music anyway, railing against the injustices caused by world politics, whether local or international). The echo-laced acoustic guitar overture still provides goose bumps three decades later, DeYoung passionate lyrics expertly expressed (" Time after time I sit and I wait for your call I know I'm a fool but why can I say Whatever the price I'll pay for you, Madame Blue Once long ago, a word from your lips and the world turned around. But somehow you've changed; you're so far away I long for the past and dream of the days with you, Madame Blue"). Sinfield, Ian Anderson or Fish , this is obviously not .When the full steamroller might of the main theme kicks in, it really hits you in the gut, loaded with powerful bass and drums, James Young's heavy guitar and relatively complex rock arrangements. Yeah, It ain't Yes or Tull or Floyd but it's really so appealing. So it's on the other side of the musical river, pay the ferryman and cross the Styx and feel the..3 Melting Ice Cubes
Report this review (#171266)
Posted Saturday, May 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Equinox" marks Curulewski's swansong as a Styx member alter the irregular "Man of Miracles". Fortunately enough, "Equinox" finds the band bouncing back headlong for the progressive tendencies that had been cleverly displayed in the repertoires of albums 2 and 3 (particularly the latter, "The Serpent Is Rising"). While not matching the sonic power nor the compositional splendor of the "Serpent" album, "Equinox" still brings deeply interesting things for the average symphonic rock fan sensitive to the flavors of US-style melodic rock. After all, that's what Styx essentially was all about before "Cornerstone", a melodic rock band with easily noticeable prog traces and crafty musicianship beyond the average publicly successful rock band. Curulewski and Young return in full form to the use of elegance in their dual interactions when not soloing in ostentatious fashion; DeYoung is genuinely interested in exploring the colors and textures of synthesizers in many portions of the album's tracklist (occasionally, so is Curulewski). The album kicks off with 'Light Up', an intended anthem for the high spirit of rock, a celebration of what rock 'n' roll is all about when performed on stage. Catchy but not particularly special in art-rock terms, and the same can be said about 'Lorelei'. The symphonic elements becomes really patent for the first time in Curulewski-penned 'Mother Dear', a powerful track that can easily be described as "Masque"-era Kansas-meets-"Dark Side"-era PF. The contrast between the dual guitar driven passages and the dual synth sections is well managed, since the contrast in itself is not too pronounced. 'Lonely Child' is your typical DeYoung power ballad: well written, impressively arranged, something like 'Lady' with a heavier dose of Yessian ornaments in the intro and the last guitar solos, less piano and more featured acoustic guitars during the first sung sections. 'Midnight Ride' is a catchy rocker, entertaining and with excellent heavy leads by a Young gone wild. Equally urgent but a bit more sophisticated is 'Born for Adventure', a rocker that maybe demanded a bit more sophistication than the level actually delivered (I'm thinking of 'Earl of Roseland' and 'Jonas Psalter' as winners in comparison). The last two pieces seem to form a joint venture: Curulewski's 12-string guitar prelude (a-la Greg Lake's 'The Sage') properly generates the introductory mood for 'Suite Mother Blue', one of DeYoung's most sensitive politically charged songs ever. This antimilitaristic anthem states a call to conscience about the final farewell to overseas-oriented politics and a return to a serious approach to internal social issues from politicians and leaders. A beautiful end for a fine album; it is also an end to an era of musical exploration that was about to meet its central focus, but that was reserved for the first years of the Shaw-era. and other reviews than this one.
Report this review (#182099)
Posted Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Styx lightens up

After two harder rocking (but sadly very uneven) albums, Styx 'lightens up' considerably with this fifth album. They also abandoned their former record company and acquired a much more glossy production as well as strengthened their Pop sensibilities. This is a streamlined Styx. The result is a much more coherent, but also much more lightweight and light-hearted album, clearly geared for more mainstream audiences and the FM radio. Styx is sometimes said to be the American counterpart to Queen, but I prefer to see them as the American counterpart to The Sweet!

However, they did not completely abandon Hard Rock and Prog. These aspects of the band where still there and would remain so on subsequent albums. Traces of their old style can be found on several tracks. But the progressive moments, like on Mother Dear, often feel watered down and sounds a bit thin to my ears, lacking in substance. Songs like Midnight Ride, on the other hand, are just straightforward Hard Rock 'N' Roll with little or no distinguishing features.

It is from Born For Adventure onwards that the album starts to become interesting, but it is to late to save the album from a low rating. Prelude 12/Suite Madame Blue pretends to be progressive and this is among the best moments of Equinox.

In some ways this can be seen as a transitional album from the Wooden Nickel days to the more commercially successful Styx of the later 70's and early 80's. There are some good moments here, but overall this is not really my cup of tea. Styx made better albums both before and after this one.

Report this review (#227592)
Posted Monday, July 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Styx seem to be at the crossroads of pop rock and prog rock; the whole feeling of their style is a bit pompous with plenty of keyboard work and fantasy themes to go around, yet the structures of the songs don't go overboard in complexity and neither do the instrumentalists. EQUINOX to me is nothing more than a decent rock album with tinges of prog and pop (possibly defining AOR, but I'm not an expert in that genre). While there isn't a bad song amongst the bunch, only ''Suite Madame Blue'' has the guts to stick out. The various dynamic changes in that song are extremely effective with the climactic guitar riff punctuating everything that Styx are capable of.

There's not much else to speak of in terms of the remaining songs other than ''Prelude 12'' is a great lead-in to ''Suite Madame Blue''. For those two songs, this album is worth at least an investigation.

Report this review (#228364)
Posted Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars the sound is pop rock progressive hard rock, not very original and therefore the overall average. Equinos marks a turning point in the career of the group thus focuses the sound 'pop' 'commercial' injury, although the sound of the bass and keyboards in particular are still sharp. The hand pump or rock fm rock is here. I think that is abum point in the career of the band with this marriage of genres that will for the next album the sound of the future styx. Born for adventure emerge as the batch and 12 prelude is a very acoustic intro has Suite madame blue a very slow trading.
Report this review (#228371)
Posted Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
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.

Report this review (#228388)
Posted Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This time is for the american band called Styx, with the songs of this album i grow up, and is very nice to remember this pop-rock-progressive songs, and in fact, hard rock sometimes, with this album we find good momments and especially these are the songs:

Light Up: very nice chorus, with a lot of passion and feeling, dennis de young show us his vocal talent, and in fact, this is a very catchy song.

Bornd for adventure : amazing, dinamic, " i never surrender", this song have a lot of energy , and good solos by the brother James young , the bass kick ass on this, this remember a little idea from the Who songs, "Bornd for adventure" nice parts of the guitar, very nice track. check the minute 4:00 to the final, very amazing. ( clasic melodic guitar, a la neo classical)

Suite madame Blue : The masterpiece of the album, one of the best songs in The Styx scene, starts with a sweet acoustic guitar, with a gentle tune, then the voice of Dennis de young gives you a little passage from what it comes, what an amazing voice have this tremmendous artist, then comes the energy of the drumms, the chorus, amazing stuff, the part of 3:00 the keyboards sounds very spiritual, with a lot of feeling while the the guitar keep going on the gentle tune, then the electric guitar comes very agressive, waiting something, the the whole band starts to kick ass, the solo , a la BLUE type, yeah!, rocking and rocking, America, America America America, amazing stuff, keep dancing baby, while the tune keeps going to the final,extremely amazing!, you hae to check this one, this is music man!

3 solid stars ...

Report this review (#266895)
Posted Thursday, February 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars While none of the many Styx efforts would get a 5 star review by me, this one comes the closest. (Grand Illusion is next). There are some amazing rock tracks on here: "Lorelei", "Light Up", "Born for Adventure" being my favorites. As usual, JY contributes a harder rock anthem, "Midnight Ride", and , also as usual, it leaves me cold. I have never been a big fan of James Young's contributions to Styx albums. However, that song is the only really weak point I can find on this release. This albums is kind of the beginning point of the "new" Styx and the ending of the "old" Styx. While I can appreciate the effort that went into their earlier albums, I never thought that Styx were meant to be a full-blown Prog group. This album, and the ones following it, show the "real" Styx in all their arena rock glory. Bombastic, yet oh so cool! 4 stars.
Report this review (#278866)
Posted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Styx had just had a big hit with 'Lady' I mean this was their big breakthrough, and they had been battling so hard with their albums and singles not getting any commercial success or airplay. And then boom! This song from two years ago was all of a sudden a huge hit and Dennis DeYoung had something to play for, he dominates this album. This album kind of sets the stage for the coming albums. But this one is a real beauty!

It begins with the catchy 'Light Up', which isn't my favourite song or anything, but it's an interesting mix of reggae funk prog rock, and Dennis' keyboards are really vivid on this one. But even more so I love the song that follows, 'Lorelei', a rocking song with some well chosen synthesiser tones, good riffs and some big vocal harmonies. This song is also really jolly and cheerful, definitely a mood-enhancer, better than prosac I believe! This is followed by 'Mother Dear'. This song actually sounds like a progressive rock song, and would you believe it? (yes you would) This was written by good ole John Curulewski, well actually it's a co-credit with Dennis, who probably was the dominant force on this album, but that doesn't stop some innovative instrumental music and some of John's characteristically quirky lyrics, though now he's in a more serious mood. The main riff is very catchy and quite interesting. But my favourite track has to be 'Lonely Child', with it's medieval feeling. It begins with a bit of a fanfare, then slows down and then the sound is acoustic, for the first half, and then the heavy rock guitars come in for the second half of the song. The vocals are excellent, and the synthesiser tones are appropriate.

We flip over our Tape/LP/CD/iPod and get a hard-rock number from James Young, which is good because he always throws in tonnes of enthusiasm. It's the only song he sings on this album and this was unfortunately a pattern that subsequent albums followed, depending on how you feel about him, but his vocals are always energetic and enthusiastic, and he was so integral to that hard-rock sound of Styx in the early years. The song that follows is 'Born for adventure', which also has a good 'medieval hard-rock' feeling to it. The guitars kind of set the feeling because of the tone on them. I could have done without the 'Whoa whoa whoa whoa' bit but anyway. The lyrics are good too, help enhance the general mood of the song.

Ok so as far as Styx go this has been near perfect, six songs well worth the time of a fan of semi-prog (probably not for a fan of all-and-all-out prog). Now here comes the let down, that's all folks! What six songs?! Well, yeah... Okay not entirely, we get Prelude 12/Suite Madame Blue, which seems great, it's seven minutes or something, with a one and a half minute 'prelude'. The prelude is great and the 'Suite' is great, well about four minutes of it is, but there is about three minutes of quite repetitious music to 'embellish' the song to seven minutes. I can't count how many times they say 'America' and repeat that riff in the middle of the song. Even with the embellishment, which isn't really adding to the listening experience, the album reaches just short of 35 minutes. If they made songs as long as Genesis and King Crimson do, then having seven songs on one album is fine, but when you have a seven track album, the first six songs would average less than five minutes each, and the last song is repetitiously dragged out to make it respectably above half an hour, it comes up a bit short.

The feeling that the listener is left with having listened to this album is 'Is that all there is?' A slight feeling of emptiness. That said, this is one of Styx' strongest albums, and is worth about 3.5 - 4.0, so I'll round up. This is a highly enjoyable album, but consider this, the Genesis albums from 1976, 'Trick of the tail' and 'Wind and Wuthering' go for 51 and 50 minutes respectively, while this Styx album from 1975 is only 34 minutes and the last song is painfully dragged out to lengthen the album, now that's a thought!

Report this review (#281080)
Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I consider "Equinox" one of the best moments in Styx career, and a very balanced albun, where is very hard to indicate a weak track in comparison with another. I believe too, that is one of more close of a perfect mix to the three main musical styles which are the axis of Styx music: (hard-rock, prog rock and pop-rock), side to side with "Cristal Ball", "The Grand Illusion" and "Pieces of Eight". In this disk the highlights goes to "Lights Up", "Mother Dear" and "Suite Madamme Blue", without demerit of others tracks. I like to detach the front cover photo, which are very creative in relantionship with the albun title. My rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#281150)
Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Winds of change everywhere

The transitional fifth Styx album "Equinox" would mark the end of the John Curulewski era, as well as the beginning of Styx's lucrative association with A&M Records, and the band's first attempt at producing themselves. Curulewski joined the band in 1968 and left just after the release of "Equinox" which came out in late 1975. It was perhaps one of the world's most ill timed career moves as Styx was just about to break in a big way after years of struggle. But Curulewski was tired of the road and wanted more time with his family. He would teach guitar and work in the music business until his tragically young death of a brain aneurysm in 1988. Some of the Styx insiders are less kind in speaking of Curulewski, calling him a "negative person" and the only one who was never happy and couldn't get along with the others. After starting the "Equinox" tour there was a gig in Jacksonville where Curulewski and DeYoung got into it after what was felt to be a sub-par performance at an important show. DeYoung called him on it, and Curulewski quit on the spot. This led to the arrival of Tommy Shaw in the band, a crucial turning point for them.

While the album was modestly successful and eventually went Gold, and while DeYoung claimed to be newly inspired by the fresh A&M deal, I find "Equinox" to be one of the least enticing Styx titles. It delivers a modest hit single I never liked in "Lorelei" as well as the fairly annoying opener "Light Up." "Mother Dear" is a good track with some wispy slide guitar licks and an ethereal DeYoung keyboard part, and "Born for Adventure" is also cool. The album features the first Styx "epic" in "Suite Madame Blue" which was introduced by Curulewski's "Prelude 12," a little acoustic number which supposedly took him hours to record. It's a solid track they laid down in one take, with a mysterious presence and nice vocal arrangements, the acoustic beginning turning into a power chord laden chorus. Still, if you listen closely, it is not really very interesting and falls short of where they would be very soon. DeYoung's material is still progressing, decent but not overwhelming, while in my opinion Curulewski's heart had already left. His enthusiasm does not seem to be present and the album suffers for it.

"Equinox" is an improvement over "Man of Miracles" and one can hear the classic Styx sound taking shape, especially on James Young's muscular "Born for Adventure." But it was still just the warm-up. 3 stars, but just barely.

Report this review (#435840)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I really felt the first four Styx albums for Wooden Nickel had been often a confusing mess. Should they be a prog rock band or a boogie rock band? It seems that James Young was the most inclined to hard rock, John Curulewski seemed really schizophronic (should he do prog or should he do boogie?), and Dennis DeYoung most content with ballads (although they weren't all like "Lady"). Of course, the delayed success of "Lady" from their second album gave the band notice from A&M and Equinox was the debut on the label. Right away, a big improvement over Man of Miracles. The band is now more focused. One of the first songs I remembered from my early childhood was "Light Up". I remembered this song in 1976 being played on the radio. It's probably the first song I can ever remember. It's a Dennis DeYoung number, and this song proves he can rock. It's an upbeat, celebratory number, with a nice synth solo. "Lorelei" was another rocking number from DeYoung. If think of Dennis DeYoung as "Lady" and "Babe", these two songs might make you change your mind (to be fair, Tommy Shaw, though not on this album, made some great songs like "Fooling Yourself", "Crystal Ball" and "Sing for the Day", and clunkers like "Shooz", "Superstars" and "She Cares"). "Mother Dear" is a fantastic hard rocking number with proggy overtones, with John Curulewski credited to this. DeYoung goes into ballad mode with "Lonely Child", but not in the "Lady" or "Babe" style, and definitely one of his better ballads (along with "Golden Lark" from Man of Miracles"). "Midnight Ride" and "Born for Adventure" are rocking numbers, it's little surprise that James Young would be responsible for these songs. He seemed more resistant to doing anything proggy, "Snowblind", on the not particularly progressive Paradise Theater was about as proggy as James Young went. For these different personalities, it's a miracle the band lasted as long as it did. And John Curulewski's departure after finishing this album was because he wanted to settle into family life. "Prelude" is a short, acoustic piece from Curulewski, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the acoustic guitar intro to Yes' "And You and I", which leads up to the epic "Suite Madame Blue". It seems like it's the band's own version of Kansas' "Song For America", not that it sounds the same, but that similar theme on America as it was in the 1970s. While "Come Sail Away" might be Dennis DeYoung's best known epic, "Suite Madame Blue" is without a doubt his best.

Styx is often a maligned band. FM radio overplay has a lot to do with it. Or the fact they might come across as watered down compared to the British prog rock bands of the time. Plus they were responsible (along with Foreigner, Boston, and yes, even Kansas), in no small role, the rise of AOR on FM radio. Luckily with Equinox, while a couple of the songs receive occasional FM radio play, it's nothing like the stuff they did after 1976. If you don't have an aversion to Styx, I really feel Equinox is by far their best!

Report this review (#497812)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Styx, a band with two souls: a Heavy Metal / Hard Rock soul and Progressive Rock soul. I read Styx as Heavy Metal / Hard Rock band very happy. In Progressive Field read only the production of some songs. However, "Equinox" is one of those masterpieces that would be simplistic to put them into one musical category only. Without distinction on what I think about Styx "Equinox" is an album that crosses musical genres. We define "Equinox" a Proto Prog Metal album? Maybe. Clearly, "Equinox" is an album Heavy Metal. "Suite Madam Blue" is a composition Progressive Rock. But that sub genre belongs? It would seem strange. Yet to be seen in Symphonic Prog. Yes, you read that right, Symphonic Prog. Listen to "Midnight Ride" and I say: "This is Heavy Metal." Already. But so what? Explain what you wanted? That Styx is a naked and pure Heavy Metal band? I say to you that that's not how you classify a band. And you, you answer me that the reason is not even mine. We both are right. We both are wrong. Difficult to find a meeting point. Nevertheless, there are bands that are described as Prog and POP or POP bands that become... Heavy Metal!

Musically "Equinox" is a very powerful album, Rock, even jarring between power and melody. This is because the production is all about power and not the melody, nothing technical. The extremes are "Midnight Ride", a sort of Heavy Metal / Garage Rock, and "Suite Madame Blue", a beautiful composition of Symphonic Prog with heavy guitars. And other highlights? "Born For Adventure" is closer to the first while "Lorelei" to the second. And, with the exception of "Light Up", a piece Funky Soul Rock without Jazz, are all potential hits.

It must be said, therefore, that although we can not classify "Equinox" in a specific area of the Rock (or Heavy Prog) we can not classify it as a masterpiece. Why is full of magic, power and inventiveness.

Report this review (#769976)
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
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)

Report this review (#1340704)
Posted Monday, January 5, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
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

Report this review (#1455933)
Posted Monday, August 24, 2015 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1484359)
Posted Sunday, November 8, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best Styx, best Styx album to this date... and of course the most prog release by the band to this date as well. Another album that just has no bad song, the best of which being 'Mother Dear' with it's very neo-prog/prog-related style. Dennis DeYoung's fine keyboard playing mixed with the guitar playing and songwriting abilities of John Curulewski, made a very very catchy prog song. The entire album is very pop-prog and just original all the way through. It is pretty hard to find any comparisons on this, and I am still struggling. But either way, this is a very very good album and a masterpiece by Styx.
Report this review (#2261542)
Posted Sunday, September 15, 2019 | Review Permalink

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