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Styx The Grand Illusion album cover
3.76 | 356 ratings | 41 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Grand Illusion (4:36)
2. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (5:29)
3. Superstars (3:59)
4. Come Sail Away (6:07)
5. Miss America (5:01)
6. Man in the Wilderness (5:49)
7. Castle Walls (6:00)
8. The Grand Finale (1:58)

Total Time: 38:59

Line-up / Musicians

- James Young / lead guitar (1,5,7,8), ARP Odyssey synth (4), lead vocals (5)
- Tommy Shaw / acoustic, electric (1,3,4,6,8) & 12-string guitars, lead vocals (2,3,6)
- Dennis Deyoung / keyboards, synthesizers, lead vocals (1,4,7,8), spoken voice (3)
- Chuck Panozzo / bass, backing vocals
- John Panozzo / drums, percussion, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Alton Kelley & Stanley Mouse with Roland Young (art Direction) and Chuck Beeson (design)

LP A&M Records ‎- SP-4637 (1977, US)

CD A&M Records ‎- CD-3223 (1984, US)
CD Audio Fidelity - AFZ 067 (2010, US) Remastered by Kevin Gray to HDCD Gold plated

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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STYX The Grand Illusion ratings distribution

(356 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

STYX The Grand Illusion reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Styx at the top of their game with this one and the following one. Well done FM rock with prog influence and also very radio-friendly. Sail Away and Castle Walls are the highlights here IMO, but almost every number got a lot of airplay, they are classic in the mind of the public . If you must own one album of theirs , make it this one. But remember this is very borderline for this site.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record sounds a bit like STARCASTLE and KANSAS without violin. This is prog hard rock. It has many keyboards parts, and they are well suited for this sophisticated American hard rock style. STYX is a group that I always found good but I'm not a fan of them. All the songs are OK. Their hits "Sweet Madam Blue", "Babe" and "Mr. Roboto" are not on this album.
Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I was too young and ignorant when the classic prog' bands like Yes, Genesis and ELP released their masterpieces, but I was just in the right age and ready to accept something more challenging than top 10 hits when this album reached the stores, so it's part of my childhood and for that reason hard to review with absolute objectivity.

Now, I believe that "The Grand Illusion" is without a doubt an excellent album that mixed Art Rock, Arena and POP with great talent, that has a big (and deserved) success in all the world, specially the simple and nostalgic "Come Sail Away" that reached the top of the charts in most countries, with the excellent Moog section..

It's hard to choose a favorite track because almost each song has a different musical approach, some of them are closer to rock and others to pop or prog, but the two I have in mind are "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) " a Tommy Shaw Track with excellent keyboards and the powerful "Miss America" very close to hard rock, different but both great songs.

If I had to rate this album on this site, in the prog' context I would give no more than two stars, because is too eclectic and sometimes poppy to consider it a serious progressive rock album,. But being that in Prog Related we add non-Prog bands but somehow related to our beloved genre. we are free to compare it with albums of other genres so in this case I can't go with less than 5 stars, because I'm sure that "The Grand Illusion" is essential for any musical collection (even Prog, due to the strong relation of several tracks)..

If you're a stubborn proghead, keep away, but if you're open minded and ready to accept lighter music, go for it.

Review by daveconn
4 stars Another rite of passage in the '70s: closing the door in your room, turning up "The Grand Illusion", and feeling the walls disappear. The record's concept (stardom) dovetailed nicely with the aspirations of teenagers everywhere, flush as they were with the dreams of invincible youth. Hearing it today as an adult, some of the original power is surely lost, but it still ranks as a remarkable record. In fact, the first side of music is a classic piece of vinyl: "The Grand Illusion", "Fooling Yourself", "Superstars" and "Come Sail Away" were played on the radio until they permeated the collective consciousness. The appeal of STYX is a range of musical styles and influences. DENNIS DE YOUNG invites comparison to GENESIS' TONY BANKS, TOMMY SHAW to QUEEN's BRIAN MAY, JAMES YOUNG to KISS' PAUL STANLEY. Talented singers and songwriters each, the trio give STYX a range similar to QUEEN. The three tend to pull the band in different directions on the second side, but finding time for different voices in the context of a concept album is tricky work. I've only begrudgingly accepted the idea that acts like STYX, SUPERTRAMP and BOSTON belonged in the progressive camp; I've always felt more comfortable calling them "pomp rock" and placing a barrier that included QUEEN and ALAN PARSONS PROJECT between these and my beloved prog artists.

After staring into the heart of "The Grand Illusion", however, I'll agree that this is progressive rock (the strength of DENNIS DE YOUNG's arrangements won me over). I'll even go one step further and call it a classic in the annals of progressive rock, albeit with an asterisk that says (*If you agree that progressive rock can overtly play to the tastes of the time). Anyway, you'll make up your own mind about STYX, but you'll need to start here on your journey.

Review by Guillermo
2 stars Last week I visited several websites dedicated to STYX, and I found that this album was released the same day (7-July-1977) as the YES` "Going for the One" album. I still prefer "Going for the One". I`m not a fan of STYX, really. They sound like KANSAS sometimes, but I still prefer KANSAS, because KANSAS wrote in the seventies more "deep" lyrics than STYX. So, I give to this "Grand Illusion" album 2 stars: for their fans only. I can`t stand the lyrics from the song "Superstars", for example. It could really have been an "Hymn" for American Football matchs (like QUEEN`s "We are the Champions").But I still think that there are some good things to comment about this album. Some of the musical arrangements are very good. The musicians are very good, particularly keyboard player Dennis DeYoung. His keyboard arrangements are very good, and he is also a very good lead singer.I don`t know how STYX sounds today without him.Guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young are the musicians who are the "heavy" part of this band, with guitars sounding like KANSAS and QUEEN sometimes. The late drummer John Panozzo was also very good. Bassist Chuck Panozzo also does a good job in this album.As previous reviewers wrote, I agree that the vocals arrangements are similar to QUEEN`s. I bought this album in early 1981, after reading some reviews about STYX and how this album was considered their best. One of my brothers really liked this album, so he played it almost endlessly. He is a guitarist and at that time he had a band, and after their drummer left them the same day they had to play in a party, and as I have been in their rehearsals seeing them play and sometimes playing with them in rehearsals when their drummer didn`t arrive, I really knew how to play the songs and my brother asked me to play in that night`s party (using the drum kit of the departing drummer with his permission). I became their drummer, we bought a drum kit (which I later paid to them) and my brother and me also had several amateur/semi professional bands in the following years (also playing original songs in Universities). My brother liked so much the "Miss America" song that he insisted to include it in our repertoire (played without the keyboards introduction, as we were a guitar/bass/drums trio!).I don`t know if some people can imagine a band playing "Miss America", The Who`s "Baba O`Riley", Humble Pie`s "Sweet Peace and Time", Led Zeppelin`s "Rock and Roll" and other "heavy" songs in wedding parties! My brother years later bought the CD of "Grand Illusion". The best songs from this album, in my opinion, are "Come Sail Away" (I prefer the live version included in their "Caught in the Act" album), "Man in the Wilderness" and "Castle Walls".In these 3 songs I can hear a lot of similarities with KANSAS.
Review by slipperman
5 stars It's unfair to compare Styx to the kings of the prog movement, as they never tried to wield the highly ambitious approach of acts like Yes, King Crimson or Genesis. Styx had a typically American-style prog sound, much like Kansas in that they could shape both commercially viable songs as well as more involved pieces. Clearly, Kansas were a little more adventurous in their early days, but Styx certainly has a heaping handful of prog songs and prog-ish albums to their credit. 'The Grand Illusion' is certainly their crowning achievement, a most successful balance of their hard rock origins and their leanings toward material of a more sublime nature. By now, Tommy Shaw was not only the new kid but an equal contributor, singing and writing his share of 'The Grand Illusion'. Along with Dennis DeYoung's angelic vocal clarity and penchant for the pompous, as well as James Young's more earthy, heavier influence, 'The Grand Illusion' is an expertly crafted and superbly performed piece of work.

Styx presented a stylistic variety of material on all their albums previous, which sometimes worked, but also resulted in an apparent lack of direction. 'The Grand Illusion' carefully walks the line between near-metal ("Miss America"), pomp/art-rock ("Superstars"), economical epics ("Come Sail Away") and keyboard-dominated prog ("The Grand Illusion", the utterly fantastic "Castle Walls"). Add to all that the added depth that Tommy Shaw's writing brought on board with "Fooling Yourself" and "Man In The Wilderness", and you've got an album that takes many a journey throughout its well-sequenced 8-song ride (final song being "The Grand Finale", bringing together elements heard throughout the body of the album.Genesis-style, that!). DeYoung's synths had never been as ambitious and well-recorded as on this album. Just listen to his work throughout "Fooling Yourself": a feast for any lover of synth sounds with a great player wringing them out. Everyone else is in top form on this album, mirroring the amazing chemistry the band wielded on their final album with Shaw's predecessor, John Curulewski (the great 'Equinox'). Powerful recording and production work adds clarity and punch to the material, thanks to the band themselves and production assistant Barry Mraz (who had been working with them since 'The Serpent Is Rising'). This is the album Styx had been working up to with the 6 albums previous, a real pinnacle achievement they would never top (certainly not with overrated follow- up 'Pieces Of Eight'). Too bad about the abominable albums that were to come ('Cornerstone' and 'Kilroy Was Here'), but every band falls eventually. (Except King Crimson.)

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "The Grand Illusion" has special meaning for me personally. It's not that this is something that musically remarkable but it's more on memory I grew with this album. Simply speaking, this album was released at the time when my colleague and I were having radio station (illegal - oops!) at small city Madiun, East Java, Indonesia. Our vision was only one: to socialize rock music for the city where I was born. So there was no commercial values with the radio - as all monies were collected from our pockets and we bought the material - including the 807 lamp (what is this? Dunno - but according to the engineer we hired it's a major component to build the radio transmission unit). Well, we built the city with rock'n'roll !!!!

This album was one of the albums that we regularly aired for the city. Our favorite whenever I played the disc jockey as well as broadcaster part was "Castle Walls" (track 7). Simple: the track has a very good intro where bass guitar plays its role combined with the melodic keyboard. The vocals are also excellent. What a memorable track! We made it "radio hit" at the time so finally listener requested the song to be aired. Of course by definition this album also bears radio hit commonly known by many music buffs" "Come Sailaway" - which for me personally is not something I like - it's too poppy. The album title track "The Grand Illusion" and "Fooling Yourself" are also something that most people enjoy very much. It's a good album to have. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Life is never what it seems, and every man must meet his destiny"

"The grand Illusion" is widely acknowledged to be both Styx' finest hour, and arguably their most progressive album. It was no coincidence that this, the band's seventh album, was released on 7/7/(19)77. At the time, the band had a policy of crediting songs to the individual who came up with the basic concept but this album, and indeed the individual songs, is very much a team effort.

This was the album which set Styx on their way to the top tier of US AOR bands. Their previous albums had sold reasonably well, although the previous "Crystal ball" had not performed any better than its predecessors, rendering "The grand illusion" something of a make or break album. Fortunately, Styx reached their collaborative and creative peak here. The concept is loosely based around the trappings of fame, several of the songs being autobiographical, at least in part.

You could be forgiven when listening to the opening 30 seconds or so of the title track for thinking Styx had decided to move into Yes territory. Dennis De Young's vocal soon dispels any such thoughts, but the track is certainly far more progressive in sound and structure than the vast majority of the band's output. "Fooling yourself" is dominated by some superb synthesiser, Dennis De Young quickly coming to terms with his new investment. "Superstars" has a different sound and feel to the rest of the album, as it describes the other side of superstardom. "Superstars step right this way, everyone's welcome. We want your dreams, the offer is simple, momentary immortality."

"Come sail away" is the song which propelled Styx into the big time. It was released in edited format as a single, but it was the album track which everyone played anyway. As the lyrics say, "We climbed aboard their spaceship, and headed to the skies". The song has become the band's anthem and the feature spot of their live shows, the upbeat sing-a-long chorus contrasting well with the ballad like verses.

"Miss America" is a cynical but accurate take on the beauty is skin deep theory. "Man in the wilderness" is another highlight, Tommy Shaw's song being developed superbly by the band into a full blown epic. The song describes the contrast between Shaw's on stage highs and personal lows. It was also inspired in part by the transformation in his brother's character as a result of serving in Vietnam. "Castle walls" shows that De Young can come up with a ballad which is not slushy, when he wants to. The superb arrangement includes great guitar work by James Young. The album closes with the brief summary "The grand finale", which ties things together nicely.

Undoubtedly, this is Styx finest, and most progressive hour. Those, like myself, who wonder why Styx are even listed on this site, only have to play this album to be reminded of the reasons. "The Grand Illusion" may still sit at the lighter end of the prog spectrum, but it is packed with superb compositions and performances. In some ways it is frustrating, as it demonstrates that Styx had the potential to carry on from here and take their music to even greater heights.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars This is a tough album to review. The music is very good throughout, though not always very progressive. I also have grown so familiar with these songs over the years that it's hard to hear them with a fresh ear. At any rate, my take is that good music needs to come first, and the Grand Illusion certainly delivers. As far as progressiveness? Probably not given the lyrics and consistent instrumentation. On the other hand, nice use of synths and keys, soaring vocal harmonies, and a nice refrain to end the album strike me as progressive. This is progressive rock, just on the low end of the continuum.

The A side contains the familiar classic rock staples. The Grand Illusion and Superstars are fairly straightforward rockers, but the vocal harmonies and dual guitars give Styx a rather unique sound that I appreciate. Fooling Yourself and Come Sail Away are more proggy, taking plenty of time to build to catchy choruses and including plenty of nice synthesizer runs (though of course nothing to scare the Wakemans or Rudesses of the world).

The B side is just as good in my opinion, though given much less notoriety. I like the creative minor key recreation of the Miss America tune, Shaw's surprisingly heartfelt and pensive Man in the Wilderness (his first goal is usually to rock), and the proggy build of Castle Walls (reminds me of Arena here). Then Styx picks up the energy for very brief combination of previous melodies and majestic guitar to finish things off. This relatively simple trick really brings things it all together very nicely for me.

Solid, catchy music played by a surprisingly talented band at its peak, with no major blunders and a slightly progressive sound: that's my definition of an excellent addition. Let's not punish Styx for their later tragic missteps here!

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "reflections in the waves spark my memories"

Ask most proggers what they think of Styx and you know what to expect. Certainly the eye roll, possibly the big laugh, perhaps some angry ranting about how bands like this killed the prog rock movement. But don't let them fool you. Many of them, when alone in their car or house, will not change the channel should "Babe" or "Come Sail Away" come on the radio. This was their peak period and these were well crafted pop-rock songs that I know many a fervent progger secretly likes. The Grand Illusion is a very good album. Side one was especially successful. While always best as the group unit, Styx's success was mostly due to the exuberance and talent of Dennis Deyoung. His great voice and exceptional keyboards are what made the Styx sound what it was, which makes it all the more silly that they continued without him. A Styx without Deyoung is about as impotent as a Floyd without Waters.

As I said, side 1 is as great a side of rock as Styx would accomplish with four monster tracks that work perfectly together, feature exceptional playing and singing, and offer the listener pure musical escapism with heartfelt lyrical messages. These songs speak to an alienated youth or at least I felt so at the time. Grand Illusion told us not to buy into the bull[&*!#] of the culture, a point that could not be more valuable to today's youth as well swimming through some of the garbage out there. Fooling Yourself (perhaps Shaw's finest song bar none) and Superstars seemed to offer a hopeful upbeat appraisal and a slight nudge to "go for it" regardless of how silly your dream may seem. Come Sail Away is pure escapism to me and simply brings me instantly to my childhood, making me feel nostalgia for it, and making me unashamed of the security, naivety and bliss that moment held. Whatever the song was really about was beside the point. More than any other flashback song, CSA puts me flat on my back in the grass, in the summer, staring at the blue sky, laughing with two friends in particular who shaped my youth in very important ways. Here I go with more personal stuff which is not what you want to read. My point is mainly that this collection of songs works as something more than pure radio candy. There is an authenticity here that is understood by many and I think that's why Grand Illusion is cited by some here as Styx finest hour.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Contrary to much 1970s AOR, Styx music actually stands up pretty well after all these decades. While 30 years have helped put the "Grand Illusion" into perspective - this isn't and wasn't earth shattering - it nonetheless represents Styx at the pinnacle of their achievements. They have figured out how to juxtapose the ballads and rockers, as well as how to combine the two approaches effectively within tracks, such as the brilliant "Come Sail Away" featuring De Young's top vocal performance and a campy space-alien theme. It's done very tongue in cheek yet without insulting its audience. "Far Beyond these Castle Walls" is another winner that synthesizes the lite-prog direction they had been heading, fused with a sense of mystery. Others may not have aged as well, like the overly earnest Fooling Yourself, but even it does not sound bad, just a bit tired. They had not abandoned a penchant for really angry rock like "Miss America", while "Man in the Wilderness" again demonstrates the yin and might argue with the proportions of each but Styx clearly understood this dichotomy and executed it with panache and with nary a trace of Queen's arrogance. The reality is that "The Grand Illusion" was a pretty good representative of the Styx sound, and, for most on this site, all you need from them.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Now. this is the apex of Styx!! "TheGrand Illusion" is the kind of prog-related melodic hard rock that Styx had struggled for years and years to accomplish through their previous catalogue. and now it became a vinyl reality!! Styx never really intended to become part of the prog movement, but they clearly were interested from the outset in developing a connection with some formal elements and artsy spirits from the genre. This thing that was shown in specific portions of preceding albums is now the highly dominant strategy. "The Grand Illusion" is a slightly conceptual album revolving around the miseries resulting from the advent of consumerism and the contradictions of the American "way of life" as an alleged ideal for the contemporary man. The namesake track states that perfectly, with those monumental amalgamations of synths, organ and dual guitars solidly orchestrated all over the rhythm duo's military vibe. 'Foolin' Yourself' goes to a more bucolic mood although the enthusiasm remains equally explicit. This song sounds like a cleverly ordained mixture of country rock and Wakeman-era Yes: even though this is a Shaw-penned song in which he shows off his soft, precise singing and his acoustic guitars, it is DeYoung who steals the limelight with his elegant keyboard layers and fluid synth solos. 'Superstar' is, to my ears, a frustrated epic: maybe the way it is the way that the band wanted it to be, but I truly believe that this piece could have benefited from a bigger development, perhaps adding a couple of more melodic section instead of heading for the fade-out after DeYoung's soliloquy. Anyway, that is not the problem of 'Come Sail Away', a true Styx staple that shows how well the band could intertwine the diverse spirits of a piano-driven ballad, the stamina of heavy rock with a good melodic component and an extended spacey symphonic rock interlude: more than AOR, this is prog rock from an AOR-ish perspective. The album's second half is actually the most consistent. 'Miss America' grabs you by the neck like only Young's heavy rocking vision can, but here it is augmented by prog-related ornaments during the instrumental sections; Shaw's 'Man in the Wilderness' states a sense of amalgamation similar to that of 'Come Sail Away' (to a degree), only this time the ballad parts are guitar-based and the symphonic element is more pompous and less spacey. And next is. 'Castle Walls', which to my ears is both DeYoung's best composition ever and Styx's best song ever. This piece brings a sense of PF-meets-Yes-meets-ELP with a truly American flavor like Kansas provided for some of their most ambitious compositions in their first 5 studio efforts. Despite the loud nature developed in the harder sections, this piece is obviously introspective, something like a portrait and a celebration of the inner self that still breathes, beats and lives, hidden beneath our material possessions and physical surroundings. The album's closure is a brief joint reprise of music and lyrics from 'Superstar', 'Come Sail Away' and 'The Grand Illusion', completing the idea of our modern society's futility as the intellectual guideline for the album. This album incarnates what Styx has always aimed to be, and things were naturally not meant to be the same after its release and subsequent tour. I won't go further into this, but rate this album as an excellent item for any rock and prog rock collection.
Review by Isa
3 stars |C| Good, but not essential. If you like AOR, however...

Styx is a band I (not surprisingly) have always had mixed feelings about. I grew up on this sort of late seventies early eighties melodic hard rock most often referred to as AOR, an acronym for Album Oriented Rock (a misnomer if ever there was one). My Mom always played bands like this in the car, so I developed a taste for music like this, which has withered away since my discovery of prog in high school. One album we often listened to was their (first) greatest hits compilation, which I loved for awhile until I developed an allergy to pure money making pop (so now I hate most of it). But that compilation did have some of the songs on this album, which are the ones that stuck with me today. It's interesting, actually, I ran into a place by my college selling old vinyl's for two dollars each, and saw this one... yoink, it was mine!

So I played it on an old turn table my parents got recently, and was pretty pleased with the album overall. All of those classic prog-ish songs I listened to as a child were there, Grand Illusion, Foolin' Yourself, and Come Sail Away were there, so the album was worth buying after all. Deyoung's keyboard work on those songs just blows literally anything else in AOR out of the water (except Kansas, if you consider them AOR). Not that it's anything worthy enough to be referred to as masterpiece material or anything like that, but it is AOR, after all. I was also relatively impressed with the other tracks Castle Walls, Grand Finale, and Superstars, but what really smudged the album up were the songs that were mainly the work of Younge (don't get me wrong, I like his guitar playing, but the songs totally sucked!), Man in the Wilderness and Miss America. The album just would have been wonderful from start to finish if it weren't for those songs... they're basically really awful hard rock that makes hair metal sound pretty good (seriously, they're that bad). Luckily, the majority of this album is indeed driven by the idea of pop having proggy flavor, the results of which work pretty well in the end.

This is probably Styx's best album, though I say that with relatively scarce knowledge of the band's other albums (other than the gut-renchingly pop songs and equally gut renchingly corny songs off other albums that were on that compilation.) But I really wouldn't be surprised, as even many of the proggers who snear at the though of Styx find this album tolerable, if not enjoyable, as I certainly do. And if you happen to sorta' like AOR (Boston, Kansas, Foreigner, etc.) as I do, than this is an album you should get, if not just for those three tracks I first mentioned. Your Foolin' Yourself, if you don't believe it!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Welcome to the grand illusion!

Almost all previous Styx albums had shown some potential. But with the exception of their second album, the band had never really managed to create something that was without some serious flaws. Styx really took a giant step forward with The Grand Illusion. This album finally fulfilled all that unfulfilled potential of the previous albums and everything worked out for the best this time. If any comparisons between Styx and bands like Queen and Kansas were ever valid or relevant it was only with respect to this particular album. The final guitar solo towards the end of the title track is very much in Brian May's style. However, Styx released their debut album one year before Queen released their debut and two years before Kansas' debut, and Styx had developed their own style during these years, not anywhere near the originality and individuality of Queen or Kansas, but with The Grand Illusion they finally achieved the perfect mixture of their different sides; Hard Rock, Rock 'N' Roll, Pop and Prog. The pure Rock 'N' Roll aspect is weakened here, allowing more space for their progressive and harder rocking tendencies. Which is good!

While there are no weak songs as such, the least good songs are in the middle with Superstars, Come Sail Away and Miss America. But even these songs are better than most songs from previous albums and the fact that they appear in the middle, between a strong opening and a strong ending, makes them more acceptable. The best and most progressive songs are the title track as well as the Castle Walls and Man In The Wilderness. The closer, The Grand Finale, repeats some themes from earlier songs The Grand Illusion, Come Sail Away and Superstars in an intelligent way.

As always with Styx, I have a problem with the vocals which I seem not to be able to connect with somehow. An exception is Man In The Wilderness which I do connect with emotionally.

As many Prog fans and Styx fans alike will tell you, this is the band's finest hour and well worthy of inclusion in any Rock oriented record collection. This is no doubt worth three (and a half) solid stars. Recommended!

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars Overall, THE GRAND ILLUSION is of the same calibre material as EQUINOX was with the one exception of not having that ultimate standout track like ''Suite Madame Blue''. There actually might be some proggier aspects here, like the odd metre in ''Fooling Yourself''. The title track is one of the finer cuts off the album and gave me the push to give THE GRAND ILLUSION three stars although the fine rocker ''Miss America'' helped do that as well. The kicker is that I don't care for the ballad that begins ''Come Sail Away''. It's in the same vein as EQUINOX, so if you liked that one, give THE GRAND ILLUSION a try.
Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Welcome to the Grand Illusion!

This is a band which music I enjoy since I knew them, but a band that my CD player does not play frequently, so not a true favorite of mine, but worth listening every now and then.

This album could be my favorite (know 3 Styx albums only) and bring some memories back to me. This album called The Grand Illusion features 8 songs and almost 40 minutes of running time, so the songs oscillate between 4 ? 6 minutes average. As you know, Styx are not really a true progressive rock band, however, they did release some prog songs and records, this may be their proggiest.

The first song, which happens to be the title song is an excellent introduction to the album (even to their music), they show their musical potential and orientation, here, we can appreciate their style, their use of different elements to compose a well done song, despite it is a catchy song, that does not mean it is bad, all the way around, it is a very nice one.

"Fooling yourself" opens with excellent use of keyboards, making a very symphonic sound which later changes a little bit with the introduction of acoustic guitar, the song became poppier and catchier, the first part reminds me a bit to Kansas, and the chorus to Simon & Garfunkel's Cecilia, the best part is at the middle of the song when the keyboards appear again in an instrumental passage, nice song. "Superstars" would have been in my opinion a better "song 2" that the previous one, I mean I think it continues better with the opener song, the style and the vocals are pretty similar, that rock (art rock) sound is obvious here, another good song, just good, nothing more.

The next song may be one of their best or at least better known, "Come Sail Away" begins with piano and a delicate voice, the rock element disappears and turns into a ballad; but a couple of minutes later it changes, with more power and rock elements, the chorus begin, but then again, it changes to a softer and spacey passage where synth makes it go, the song finally ends with that heavier sound.

"Miss America" begins softly with some keyboard sound, the first minute ends when drums and guitars enter, making a heavy rock sound with some catchy vocals, it reminds me to Queen. In the middle of the song we will find a nice keyboard solo, not my favorite song at all.

"Man in the Wilderness" is one of my preferred songs here, I really like the way it starts, though it could be again a soft rock ballad, I love its composition, the structure and the sound. It is a strong song despite the softness in which it is built; the chorus is splendid in my opinion, and the final part with that guitar solo makes it even better, an excellent song here.

"Castle Walls" reminds me a bit to The Alan Parsons Project, the beginning with the synth makes a dark atmosphere, the vocals go together with the music and it creates a sense of doubt or suspense, before minute 3, a scary keyboard sound appears, reminding me a bit to Goblin's terror movies, the feeling here is awesome, the first song that truly provokes something with its sound. I believe this is the best song of the album.

And The Grand Illusion ends with "The Grand Finale", the title says everything, it is a kind of reprise of Superstars, a nice end.

Not the best album, not the best band, but with some excellent songs, a nice record to play at least once a year. My final grade is 3 stars. Good, but never essential.

Enjoy it!

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the first full Styx album I ever heard, and many of the songs were already in my head from hearing them on FM radio. Certainly there is a lot of commercial accessibility to this album, but there's also enough progressive flair present that makes for some pretty compelling music. A number of Styx's greatest achievements are present on this album, and each member contributes fairly equally in terms of robust musicianship.

"The Grand Illusion" Bombastic and a bit cheesy, this is one of Styx's grandest moments. With lyrics that walk the line between thoughtful and tacky, and music that does the same, I quite enjoy it very much. The instrumental section is similar to those of Kansas, using a great riff to allow for fantastic soloing and tying it together with the main theme from the beginning.

"Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" Opening with quirky synthesizers and Pete Townshend-like acoustic guitar thrashing, this is one of the band's most charming and well-known pieces. It displays enjoyable bits of vocal counterpoint and a great melody for the verse.

"Superstars" This song is one of the duller moments of the album. It has a decent rock riff, glistening organ, and those ear-piercing vocal harmonies Styx was known for, but overall it just kind of sounds embarrassing, like a band perhaps emulating Queen's flamboyancy.

"Come Sail Away" Probably the first Styx song I ever heard as a kid sampling my dad's vinyl copy of Caught in the Act Live, I believe it was, this is without a doubt one of the catchiest songs of all time. It has those nostalgic lyrics set to an uplifting melody over light piano that erupts into the arena rock chorus. It's a wonderful song, at least until Cartman ruined it...

"Miss America" Styx tones it down for a bit with this slow, synthesizer-laden introduction before they start churning out a foot-stomping riff. The vocals are again cringe-inducing, but the keyboard and guitar solos are right on the money.

"Man in the Wilderness" One of the overlooked gems in the Styx catalogue, "Man in the Wilderness" makes great use of guitars and keyboards, working out an excellent rock tune. The instrumental section involves a heavy riff with screeching lead guitar.

"Castle Walls" Beginning with a steady bass thudding along and dark washes of keyboards, this dismally haunting song has some of the best guitar work on the album, both in terms of heavy rock riffs and clean, subtle interludes. The music builds with wailing synthesizers until it all falls away, leaving the lonely bass to usher in some mighty fine guitar jamming.

"The Grand Finale" In a grandiose fashion, this final track reprises the first one, adding some more impressive lead guitar and boasting an even bigger sound.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars The grand illusion released with big articles in musical newspapper, they wanted to be the most know band in that time in USA at least, a thing that for sure they done it. So, released in 7.7.1977 , The grand illusion is maybe thir most well known , the most progressive and because of that they were at the peak of their career. Another hit Come sail aways make from Styx a well known and respected aswell band in USA scene in those times. Aswell a combination of AOR elenets here and there, some pop orchestration aswell but this time, the keybords sound realy strong, much in fron then before, mre complex and with lush arrangenets all over. I realy like this album a lot, the second best after Equinox or maybe at same level. Some Gallup polls from 1979 made on young generation of that period, between 13-19, gives the incontestable resoult, Styx was the most well known american band , being in front of bands like Kansas, Journey or Forigner. A good album towards great, pieces like Come sail away, Miss america or Man in the wilderness show a mature Styx , musicaly speaking, much more progressive then before where arrangements are melted in great Styx manner, from pop elements with progressive complexity,, secialy the keybords made all the fun here and the voice aswell. So a big album for that period, 4 stars from me.
Review by Chicapah
3 stars Despite what you may think of Styx, if you were a citizen of the United States of America (especially in the 70s) and a fan of progressive rock music, they and Kansas were the only home-grown groups able to produce anything within light years of what was being imported from overseas in that genre, the United Kingdom in particular. It's still a conundrum to me, considering the popularity of symphonic prog hereabouts in that timeframe, that there weren't a plethora of American combos in fierce competition with the likes of Pink Floyd and ELP. Local bands covered Yes songs as proof positive of their musical prowess but when it came time for those same outfits to write original prog material the results were either woefully amateurish or they came out sounding like, well, Styx and Kansas. My theory is that those schooled in classical fare stateside were able to find orchestras and/or teaching positions to employ them in their chosen field whereas in smaller countries like England those limited slots were taken so blending classical into the field of rock & roll was an inevitable alternative. That opinion may be horse feces but it's the only thing I've ever been able to come up with to explain the phenomenon.

While I'm not crazy about Styx and never was I admit I have a huge amount of respect for them because they doggedly carried the prog banner around our continent when few others appeared to be up to the challenge. (I give a nod to Rush but they were from Canada and we weren't sure where that was.) My exposure to Styx came via their mid-70s tunes 'Lady,' 'Lorelei' and 'Suite Madame Blue' that garnered a modicum of FM radio play but none of those songs prompted me to purchase any of their albums. Face it; in comparison to what British ensembles such as Genesis were creating those tracks were anemic and non-addictive. Yet Styx kept at it, pushing themselves to constantly improve and learn from their shortcomings. When long-time member John Curulewski threw in the towel and the band replaced him with 'Bama-born singer/songwriter/guitarist Tommy Shaw they didn't get any proggier per se but they did become more accessible to the masses because the kid had a lot going for him. Regardless of how good a group was, the bottom line in those days was making their record label money and the charismatic appeal that Shaw brought to the show turned out to be the magic ingredient they'd been missing. After integrating into the Styx clique and getting his feet wet on the 'Crystal Ball' LP Tommy asserted himself as an equal in the sessions for the next album. His influence and input made an incalculable difference for 'The Grand Illusion' was quite impressive compared to what had come before. Even casual aural observers like me had to stand up and take notice.

Keyboard man/vocalist Dennis DeYoung penned the title cut and it delivers a suitably regal opening for the disc that eventually turns into a malleable mix of prog and pop sensibilities. Hats off to Shaw and James Young for injecting edgy guitar solos and riffs. The track's arrangement is surprisingly sophisticated and the biting words do a fine job of setting a somewhat sarcastic tone that will dominate the lyric content throughout the record. 'We made the grade and still we wonder who the hell we are,' Dennis sings. It may not be prog royalty but I've always liked Tommy's 'Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),' mainly for its tightness and snarky attitude. It's not complacent pop, either, as it takes the listener through some nice changes and I commend DeYoung for not letting his ARP ride turn tinny and annoying. I've read that Shaw wrote it for Dennis, confirming what I suspected about the guy's personality. On TV he always had the mien of an overcompensating showoff sporting a large, inferiority complex-produced chip on his shoulder that was off-putting. 'How can you be such an angry young man/when your future looks quite bright to me/how can there be such a sinister plan/that could hide such a lamb/such a caring young man?' Tommy asks because I guess he'd noticed it, as well. A tired, plodding beat doesn't pour a promising foundation for 'Superstars' and it retards the momentum established by the first two tunes. The spoken soliloquy is a tad too melodramatic for me to buy into, a case of them trying too hard to be 'serious.'

Next is DeYoung's compositional apex, 'Come Sail Away.' As ridiculously overplayed as this song is, it's almost impossible not to find sections to be comfortable with. As a prog rock song it's exemplary and the well-designed dynamics allow the track to build perfectly as it climbs steadily to the mountain top. The dominant theme of slogging through dark disillusionment persists, though. 'Somehow we missed out on the pot of gold/but we'll try best that we can to carry on,' Dennis avows. A flowery intro leads to predictable pedestrian rock cliches that abound in Young's 'Miss America,' a tune that desperately wants to be epic in scale but lacks the substance needed to transcend its deficiencies. James' guitar has plenty of bite but not enough to lift this frigate off the reefs. Shaw's 'Man in the Wilderness' is a power ballad that's definitely dated but it holds up better than most from that era in that respect. His road-weary words of 'All of the years I've spent in search of myself/and I'm still in the dark/'cause I can't seem to find the light alone' are deep enough yet when the song morphs into hard rock territory it loses a lot of its personality, growing tiresome fast. The brothers Panozzo, drummer John and bassist Chuck, hammer down a strong pulse for DeYoung's 'Castle Walls,' manufacturing an ominous feel for the rest of the band to add onto and things take an intriguingly proggy direction for the following six minutes, making for an enjoyable listening experience. However, the song's faux philosophical lyrics aka 'Life is never what it seems/and every man must meet his destiny' are despicably condescending and should be ignored. The closer, 'The Grand Finale,' epitomizes what prevented USA groups from attaining the status achieved by the aforementioned British prog juggernauts. It misses the all-important point entirely and possesses all the class and restraint of an excited 5-year old on Christmas Eve. It's grossly overdone, horrendously silly and downright embarrassing. They should've stopped while they were ahead.

Cleverly, since 'The Grand Illusion' was their 7th LP they seized the moment and released it on 7/7/77. Snicker if you will but that superstitious move proved to be wise on their part as the album raised them out of cult territory and into the mainstream as it rose to #6 on the charts. Alas, stellar it is not. I hate to beat on a dead mule but it's frustrating to hear a band with as much potential as Styx not to find a way to create the great American prog masterpiece that so many of us dreamed of hearing. Don't get me wrong, 'The Grand Illusion' is a decent album in its own way and theoretically as close as we Yanks ever came to progressive rock greatness in the 70s but that's exactly what's so damned exasperating. I reckon we western symphonic prog junkies just didn't have the pedigree that folks like Keith Emerson, Ian Anderson and Tony Banks had in their DNA and prog-related pop is the best we could conjure up in defense of our pride. I guess we should thank our lucky stars for Styx and Kansas, however, for without them we'd be touting the art of Three Dog Night as being adventurous and bold. Three stars.

Review by stefro
4 stars Despite featuring some highly-influential psychedelic groups, the Americans, who for a brief while simply couldn't get enough of British acts such as Yes, Pink Floyd and ELP, failed to really produce any kind of noteworthy progressive scene of their own. Despite a handful of groups - chief among them Kansas, Journey and Starcastle - the only real major players were the much-maligned Chicago outfit Styx, a group who found themselves the proud owners of a genuine love 'em or hate 'em reputation of international infamy. Formed at the tail-end of the 1960's, Styx would start out as a progressively-inclined rock group with pop edges, producing four albums for the Wooden Nickel label between 1972 and 1975, before morphing into a money-spinning stadium rock leviathan with progressive edges; spectrum-spanning indeed. Just like fellow yanks Kansas and Journey(but not, sadly, Starcastle) this change dunked artistic expression in favour of all-out commercial appeal, and the group are still going strong deep into the 21st century, though their post-1980 output features little that will interest hardcore proggers. Happily however, much of Styx's early material is well worth exploring, and although none of their opening quartet of albums - 'Styx', 'Styx II', 'The Serpent Is Rising', 'Man Of Miracles' - can be called 'classic', their final forays into prog-proper are cornerstone's of the American end of the genre. The first of these, 1977's epic 'The Grand Illusion', is possibly the group's strongest and best-loved piece, with fans from both ends of the groups enormous following finding much to admire on a killer concept album which finds the group in top-notch form, confidently straddling the gaping divide between AOR and prog with impressive pomposity. Indeed, there isn't a duff track to be found, with tracks such as the scathing 'Miss America' - a song tackling the absurdity of the annual flesh pageant - and the emotive classic 'Come Sail Away' showcasing Styx's un-ashamedly fist-pumping style without resorting to rock convention or sugar-coated cynicism. Of course, Styx are not exactly Yes, and when compared to the real players of progressive rock's golden era their brand of anthemic rock may sound less enthralling. However, dig a little deeper, and listen a longer, and you may find yourself tapping your toes to the group's array of hit tracks and catchy ballads, such is their appeal. 'The Grand Illusion' is an excellent album, and despite what you may have heard, this American outfit are well worth the effort. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Styx haven't exactly been critical darlings, but that haven't made them less successful with the mainstream audience. Unfortunately this combination is often considered lethal for progressive and/or art rock bands, meaning that most prog fans consider Styx to be somewhat of a scape goat for the stigma that the label progressive rock has received over the years. Some of it might be justifiable but I honestly can't bring myself to hating this quintet! If anything, Styx have prolonged the U.S. market's love for art rock, thus completely ignoring all the 3 chord punk bands that became a staple of the late '70s Britannia pop culture!

Formed as early as in 1961(!) by twin brothers Chuck and John Panozzo and their neighbor Dennis DeYoung, the band really took off in 1970 when guitarists John Curulewski and James "J.Y." Young finally completed the lineup. The Curulewski era (or at least that's the label I've decided to assign to the period of up until 1975) depicted a struggling hardworking band with an ambition to create and develop the American brand of progressive rock, not that far off from what Kansas were doing with their '70s material.

Unfortunately their ambitions where doomed from the get-go since Styx lacked the songwriting and virtuosity to be the adventurous prog band that they were so eagerly trying to achieve. Luckily they did manage to score a few minor hits back in their early days, where Lady was probably the biggest one of the bunch, which eventually got them to lighten up their sound and dip into art rock territory. The departure of John Curulewski, in 1975, and addition of Tommy Shaw, in 1976, sparked a creative spark within the band that would eventually lead them to becoming the well known band that they are today.

Even though my journey with Styx have so far only been merely 6 month short, I can definitely say that the post 1975 Styx have been all about the creative rivalry between Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw. With Grand Illusion (1977) and Pieces Of Eight (1978) being the height of this competitive rivalry where both DeYoung and Shaw were struggling to outdo each other both in the songwriting and their live performances. Both were putting their skills to good use and Grand Illusion is, in my opinion, the album where we definitely could see a draw between the two.

Dennis DeYoung penned title track, Castle Walls and especially the mega hit Come Sail Away are some of the band's most recognized compositions. Tommy Shaw penned Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) and Man In The Wilderness might not be as noteworthy in the commercial sense, but I happen to love them just as much as anything DeYoung had prepared for Grand Illusion! Shaw was clearly inspired by Kansas when he wrote Man In The Wilderness, which some might consider a ripoff but I can clearly hear that this is composition that could have never been written by Kerry Livgren due to it's complete lack of the traditional folk/country-inspired sound that Livgren featured in most of his suites.

There's really no reason for me to go further in my discussion of this album since most of the readers have probably already formed their opinion of these eight compositions in one way or another. All I can say is that I enjoy this album and consider it an important part of the U.S.-based prog scene of its time.

***** star songs: Come Sail Away (6:07) Man In The Wilderness (5:51)

**** star songs: The Grand Illusion (4:37) Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (5:32) Superstars (3:55) Castle Walls (5:59)

*** star songs: Miss America (5:02) The Grand Finale (1:58)

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars Today I chatted with a co-worker who is about 50 years-old or so (older than me, younger than my dad). I asked him if he liked Styx. His eyes lit up. He named off several of his favorite albums and songs and told me about he saw them live at my local state fair recently. He asked me, "so you must like Kansas and Yes and Journey, too." I said that I did, and that I would take even the mediocre offerings of any of those bands over anything by Styx. I just don't like this band very much.

He was shocked, but this is a great example of nostalgia playing a part in determining one's musical tastes. For me, the schmaltzy sound of Styx is a squeaky-clean voice screaming "me too!" among bands that are more artistic, or simply rock harder. If you grew up in the late '70's than maybe Styx was a bastion of artistic rock when you were surrounded by disco fanatics. Or maybe they were kind of weird, just like you! I'm trying to come to this album objectively, and not finding a lot to grab a hold of.

Grand Illusion is sometimes described as Styx's best album (currently tied for 1st here on Prog Archives), and even though I kind of hate this band, I don't think this album is all bad. From the opening number it is clear that Styx is ambitious in their songwriting, and it usually works; their instrumental performances here don't always deliver though. DeYoung is vastly over rated, and I'm not exaggerating when I saw that his keyboard solos make me roll my eyes and push the "Next" button on my music player. It's just awful, and his singing and lyrics aren't much better. "Angry Young Man" is a good example: a nice bit of classic rock turned into a cartoon by a noisy, over exposed, and bland keyboard solo... two of them, that just go on and on.

Grand Illusion works best when it's doing three things: rocking (mostly thanks to Tommy Shaw), and being restrained. "Come Sail Away" works because it's just a big, melodic rocker. "Miss America" works because it's good old fashioned hard rock riffing. "Man in the Wilderness" and "Castle Walls" work because they are more about the composition and big picture than phony hooks and choruses. Interestingly, all of this good stuff is on the second side of the album, so at least one can skip ahead to the good stuff and listen through to the end without any groan-worthy moments. "Castle Walls' reminded me a lot of Wishbone Ash, another band of this era that will probably appeal to prog-heads more than Styx.

In the end I did like the final three songs, but not enough to recommend Grand Illusion seriously to anyone that isn't nostalgic for this not-quite prog, not-quite pop weird spot of the late '70's. Enjoy "Come Sail Away" when it comes on the radio, and maybe check out "Man in the Wilderness" and "Castle Walls" though.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Review by Warthur
5 stars What is the Grand Illusion? In the hands of Styx, it might be the boundary between full-blown progressive rock and radio-friendly AOR pop. The album finds Styx straddling that divide in a similar manner to the way Kansas would attempt from time to time - though whilst to my ears Kansas always got the best results when they stopped trying to balance the equation and just embraced their prog side, here I think Styx actually manage to master both the substance of AOR-pop and the texture and aesthetic of prog simultaneously.

With The Grand Finale recapitulating the theme of album opener The Grand Illusion, for instance, there's a certain sense of an overarching concept here, but as with Supertramp's Crime of the Century (another classic of the borderland between prog and pop) that may be more apparent than actual; either way, you get some really solid, hook-laden tunes here which manage to be smart enough to pique the curiosity of a prog audience whilst being straight-ahead enough not to abandon their pop roots. I think it's badly underappreciated.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The album that made Styx one of THE hot tickets for stadium rock concerts in the years following 1977, it was definitely the highpoint of both their creativity and popularity. Still retaining some respect and for their classical and almost-progressive penchant for experimental blends, the form of their most well known (and, surprisingly, radio- popular) "epic"--the six-and-a-half-minute "Come Sail Away"--as well as anthemic hits in the title song and "Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)", the KANSAS-like infusions of classical riffs and themes remain a strong and alluring element throughout this album--which is why prog rockers like me remained somewhat interested and allegiant. But, this was, unfortunately, the end. The 80s ushered in a kind of music that kind of pushed the "classic rock" and classical music-trained bands into the background--almost relegating them to "dinosaur" status despite the rise of Metal hair bands.

When listening to the Styx discography in order, I can't help but feel that the songs on this album pale in comparison to some of their previous songs, but as a whole album there is a kind of homogeneity here that works, that keeps the listener interested. I wonder how the band sounded repeating and/or reworking their 1970s productivity during the Naughties and Teens.

The first of my favorite Styx albums that I just can't force myself to give four stars to; I think that overall this is, like Supertramps' Breakfast in America and Pink Floyd's The Wall, an album of extreme popularity due to the crest of their wave of world-wide familiarity, not necessarily due to their best display of compositional creativity.

Latest members reviews

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 mentio ... (read more)

Report this review (#2413423) | Posted by OLD PROG | Tuesday, June 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am a proud member of the "Styx Doesn't Get Enough Credit" camp. While I wouldn't put them in my top 10 list, I do enjoy their music greatly, and I believe they're progressive enough for this site. As many others have stated, The Grand Illusion is top-drawer Styx. By "progressiveness" standa ... (read more)

Report this review (#1001654) | Posted by thwok | Saturday, July 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In 1977, Styx was at the top of their form. They had released Equinox (maybe their best album), and Crystal Ball, and were now ready to pump out this album and Pieces of 8 before falling into the "pop-rock" curse. What happened Dennis? This is rare album that has no bad song on it. I would sa ... (read more)

Report this review (#275607) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Some maybe confused... Nobody ever said that Styx is a progressive Rock band in the same way we mean about Genesis or Yes. Styx is a prog related band and they are listed in that catalogue correctly. So, why we see one or two stars for this album , this is a mystery to me. Grand Illussion is one ... (read more)

Report this review (#212867) | Posted by Silent Knight | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Gone are the days of progressive glory (hehehe, I made a funny), now we have arena rock to make us feel warm at night. Is this someone else's fantasy? It would have to be. I'd never dream of Styx (who are what... the fourth generation of arena rock rip offs, now?) Well, at least they make a gra ... (read more)

Report this review (#212860) | Posted by Alitare | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am still fairly new to progressive rock especially compared to the people on this site who have been listening to prog since the 70's. Today I was thinking back to how much my tastes in music have changed over the past 2 to 3 years and I decided to go back and listen to an album I used to love ... (read more)

Report this review (#203076) | Posted by rpe9p | Monday, February 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Styx's seventh album "The Grand Illusion" (released on 7/7/77) was my first listening exposure to the band, and a decent exposure it was. From what I had heard from the band before purchasing this album, they were either progressive or pop.. and I was expecting a synthesis of both styles when I ... (read more)

Report this review (#154540) | Posted by Woodbridge | Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is more of the same from our favourite American (we try really hard to be a) prog rock band. Some of the songs have strong elements of prog, and there are even a few decent songs here, but mainly, this is another screechy, tedious piece of plain rock, with a dull album cover, methinks. ... (read more)

Report this review (#118335) | Posted by Shakespeare | Friday, April 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the only Styx album I really liked, while a couple of other albums sounded so-so to my ears. Musically it sounded like pop-rock, lyrically it sounded like Kansas. Its catchy and crispy-- and not quite prog rock. You can expect to like this album very easily with the opening track, fooling ... (read more)

Report this review (#82551) | Posted by Sharier | Monday, July 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Prog, AOR, Hard Rock with keyboards? Who knows, the debate continues. Styx have always been somewhat of a band without a home, too pompous and nerdy for the hard rock fans, but yet too mainstream for most prog fans. Well Styx has found a home in at least one prog fan's collection, and it can ... (read more)

Report this review (#82011) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Monday, June 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In addition to being a great rock album that sold over 3 million copies during a time when disco was at the top of its popularity, this album defines Styx as great songwriters, producers and performers. Not many groups can boast such fantastic songwriting, keyboard, guitar and vocal work from s ... (read more)

Report this review (#64858) | Posted by | Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was the 5th album ever I bought. I guess 'Fooling yourself' was brought as a single. Although Styx is not described as 'true prog', whatever it means, its certainly not pop or hard-rock. Especially not this album. It certainly deserves 4 stars as many prog fans will find it an album with fin ... (read more)

Report this review (#59882) | Posted by Hermanes | Friday, December 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After a bunch of strong album, six i fact, 'The Grand Illusion', comes across a bit like 'Styx-lite'. It doesn't rock as hard and any James Young influence is almost muted here. He doesn't have a lot of artistic flair, but he's a great vocalist, particularly he harmonised well with Dennis on so many ... (read more)

Report this review (#17381) | Posted by Brendan | Sunday, April 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first track from TGI I ever heard was Castle Walls as my younger brother recorded it from a radio, yeah, that were the gold old times, when even German radio stations were playin such stuff ... I was amazed on Castle Walls and so a few month later I got the whole album and I thought it wa ... (read more)

Report this review (#17380) | Posted by Abominog | Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I was 23 years old I listened to this album on a loud stereo in my parents house while they were on vacation. With the assistance of strong doses of alcohol the effect of the music was beyond description. I don't recall the details, but it was a major mind[%*!#] and seemed like somethi ... (read more)

Report this review (#17376) | Posted by | Friday, January 7, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is STYX, the album that endures for them. While being one of the most radio-played of the era, still, a great work of 'Prog'. I'm not the biggest fan of SHAW vocals, there are some moments I have to endure, like the first few minutes of 'Sailing Away' but, I really like DeYOUNG's contribu ... (read more)

Report this review (#17374) | Posted by | Friday, October 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The vision of Styx becomes fully realized on this album. With chart-topping tracks like "The Grand Illusion," "Foolin' Yourself (The Angry Young Man," and the catchy "Come Sail Away," Styx shows that they can be radio friendly and still create some fantastic music. Other tracks often go overlooked ... (read more)

Report this review (#17368) | Posted by | Friday, December 26, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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