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Styx - The Mission CD (album) cover

THE MISSION

Styx

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4 stars Styx on a mission. What a nice surprise we got here.Styx making a concept album about the first manned mission to Mars. If you were not a fan of Styx before,I am sure this won't change your mind.But if like me, you were along for the ride in the 70ies,this is a fantastic album.For me the Equinox-Pieces of 8 were fantastic.(Also love the Wooden Nickel era.). There is only one pumping rocker like Miss America and Queen of Spades,the 2 minute scorcher Gone Gone Gone and no sappy ballads like Babe and such.Everything in between here and very well produced and sounding excellent. Harmonies galore,lots of guitars ,heavy drumming and great keys.The sound of Styx is alive and well.I am not going to do song for song here,there is always you-tube for sampling. I really hope they will play this whole album on tour.It's absolutely worth it. Welcome back boys.
Report this review (#1735395)
Posted Monday, June 19, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's been around 40 year since hey-days of Styx. After such period the band returned with a new conceptual album The Mission. I had no big expectations, so it came as the biggest surprise this year so far. It turned out for me that this might, without any exaggeration, be one of their best records. The best since their 1978's Pieces of Eight (which I rank highest in their catalogue).

Tommy Shaw in his mid-sixties sounds better than ever, so youthful, and so does basically the whole band. It's also a courtesy of a drummer Todd Sucherman, who is really exceptional here - dynamic, technical, creative, restrained when needed - fitting really perfectly. Compared to previous hit-and-miss "Cyclorama", Lawrence Gowan sounds much more confident and prominent. His contribution is equally important to Tommy Shaw's, creating a perfect leading tandem with him, like in old times with Denis DeYoung. Gowan's voice reminds strongly DeYoung, but still sounds somewhat distinctive, powerful in his own way. His synth parts are varied, innovative and produced with respect to original Styx sound. James Young holds up well with the leading duo still complementing them in his rough way as he did in 70s.

Sound and instrumentation are extremely well done and tight, production is excellent. Compositions are classic Styx at their best with soaring multi-layered harmonies and memorable melodic ideas; proving that pure AOR is not dead and that the band with such long career can come up with an excellent work of art. Album sometimes rocks, sometimes makes you feel relaxed, reflective. It has an atmosphere and tension. No dull moments and very little filler moments. Pop side may be a little "over-the-top" on few places, but without them it wouldn't be a Styx record, would be? Highlights for me include Locomotive with early 70s (America, Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young?) inspired melodies, semi-epic Red Storm, beautiful piano filigree Khedive and infectious anthem The Outpost captivating with heavenly harmonies and wonderful twists. By the last, title track, I feel a big dose of nostalgia when this little musical journey comes to its end. The Mission I never expected to undertake has been accomplished.

Report this review (#1802487)
Posted Wednesday, October 11, 2017 | Review Permalink

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