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Styx - Paradise Theatre CD (album) cover




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2.93 | 172 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Styx A.D. 1981

I think that Paradise Theater is the more worthy (or should I say less unworthy?) follow up to The Grand Illusion that Pieces Of Eight and Cornerstone failed to be. In a way, Paradise Theater can be seen as the best aspects of those two previous albums combined into one. While Pieces Of Eight went too far towards straightforward Arena rock and Cornerstone went too far towards syrupy ballads, Paradise Theater strikes a decent balance between the two directions, creating the most coherent and varied Styx album since The Grand Illusion from four years earlier. The fact that the album is a concept album further contributes to the album's appeal. Having that said, however, I must immediately add that Paradise Theater is by no means a great album and it is not particularly progressive at all over and above the fact that it is a concept album.

The two short A.D. pieces and the intro to The Best Of Times all share a common melody and these tracks are very nice and adds to the unity of the album. It is not easy to pick out favourite tracks from Paradise Theater, but the aforementioned are strong candidates. None of the songs here are as strong as some individual tracks from the previous albums like Boat On The River or Renegade, but the album as a whole is stronger. There is no pretending that this is a Prog album by any means, but it is a good concept album that reminds me a bit of ELO's Time that was released the same year (incidentally also the year I was born). The worst song is lonely people, the only song here that I don't like at all.

One thing that might put people off is the inclusion of brass instruments creating a sometimes more slick approach. But despite this, Paradise Theater is darker and less celebratory compared to earlier albums and Hard Rock is not left behind. I somehow find this album a more mature effort.

Overall, I think that Paradise Theater is one of Styx' most consistent albums and I find it quite enjoyable. However, I would not say that this is the best place to start if you want to explore Styx' discography.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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