Yeah I have dabbled with Styx and their music in the past. First album I ever bought of there’s was Cornerstone(1979) after hearing how good 1978’s Piece’s of Eight was.
Paradise Theatre when it came out in 1981 I skipped as I was absorbed that year musically with Van Halen discovering Iron Maiden/Def Leppard.
I found Styx to be on the safe side of rock. I wanted Loud Guitar Rock and Styx kinda wasn’t doing it for me. Nothing personal Styx just not my deal…
1983 rolls around and Mr Roboto from the Kilroy Was Here concept album was released and left a lot of people scratching their noggin’s. I just laughed at Mr Roboto?? Whut? I was more interested in Judas Priest singing tunes about Hot Rockin than some Roboto dude!
Once again I passed on Styx….
Forward 16 years later to 1999 and CanCon Legend Lawrence Gowan joins Styx and now I’m intrigued to say the least. Gowan we all know replaced original Keys/Singer Dennis DeYoung over some dude drama with Tommy Shaw and James Young. In other words Dennis got DeBoot!
With Gowan onboard I picked up a few of their live releases StyxWorld being one( check out the scorching live Half Penny Two Penny from StyxWorld!) and Styx was a different beast with Larry on the keys. They kinda rocked it back up again….
So here we are in 2017 and back in May Styx dropped a new single titled Gone Gone Gone and Styx is ramped up on this track and I watched the video as Gowan does the honour of the lead vocal and Styx have released a solid debut single. Gone Gone Gone features some wicked ass prog drumming courtesy of Todd Sucherman who plays and slays at a double bass drum clip! Nice loud jam out between JY and Tommy guitars as well.
Hey great to see Tbone’s Homeboy from Bad English bassist Ricky Phillips laying down some serious bass riffing on this track as well!
So did I buy The Mission?
Nope …not yet until…..
Mikey Ladano reviewed it a week ago and for those of you that don’t follow Mikey’s blog what are you waiting for?
Anyhoo Mike rates all his albums out of 5. Styx The Mission got 5 stars…Mike does not toss around 5/5’s without merit!
I commented on Mike’s review with a “Damn you Mikey now I gotta go to iTunes and buy it!”
I did and man oh man…What a Brilliant album these cats have put out. Lemme tells ya all why!
The Mission is a concept album! All 42 minutes of it(smart move by keeping it a neat and tidy like Concept album it’s short to hold my attention span !) telling the story of a mission to mars in the year 2033. The concept was Tommy Shaw’s idea along with producer Will Evankovich.
This album reeks of a late 70’s early 80’s vibe as the album was recorded on analog and man when you listen to the sonics this album is produced brilliantly. Total old school sound but with an updated Styx sound if that makes any sense!
If you’re keeping score there are no Babe like tracks!
Time to Slingshot To Outerspace!
Overture begins and it’s a musical little snippet a quick little opener of just over a minute before the Styxians launch a sonic attack on the track Gone Gone Gone! Posted a live clip shot by someone to show you that Styx in 2017 is meaning some serious musical muscle!
From there Styx delves right into one of the best tracks on this album Hundred Million Miles From Home. Great 70’s like guitar vibe to open the song. Tommy sings the lead vocal on this track and its so good! Awesome good use of percussion on this track with a great cool bass riff from original Styx Bass Man Chuck Pananzo making an appearance. This song is just so good! Great all catchy syrup like chorus that is oh so good! Basically one that will get stuck in your head all day! That my dear readers is not a bad thing! Crank the tune below!
JY Young sings lead on the third track and Yup thats three songs in a row with a different lead singer! Trouble At The Big Show which has a nice slick jam riff to open the track as well. You have to love the chorus’ on these tunes as they are so damn catchy! Seriously only three songs in and this album is a sure-fire winner!
Locomotive has a different like rock vibe to it as Tommy sings this tune and features a ton of real cool snap tight acoustic mixed with electric guitars mashed up with Todd’s splendid drumming.
Radio Silence is Styx heading into the unknown with no Radio Silence around for miles. No communication whatsoever and this mid tempo rocker has a real slick power riff at the halfway point and Gowan nails that Hammond organ sound to a Friggin T!!!
Gowan takes the lead vocal along with Tommy on The Greater Good which is balladish like driven with Larry’s piano and thanks to Todd drums yet again that steer this tune clear of mushville!
Time May Bend is another Gowan rocker especially when the chorus hits. ‘Shine Shine Shine On Me” nails Gowan into the mic and features some real slick 70’s synth like psychosness. Now we all know I’m not a huge piano guy but I’m always up for a good dose of Keyboard hooliganism now and then!
Red Storm more slick pic work along with some mandolin mashed up with the usual characters of drums/keys and bass. Great track that us all wondering when the Red Storm is coming in.
All Systems Stable …..quick little intro static like to launch into
Khedive which has Gowan plucking those keys with a Group like vocal and Wowzer’s did someone in the Styx camp inner channel there Brian May guitar riff a roo synched with the piano. This tune reminds me of Queen,
The Outpost. Big time Styx driven song which picks up the pace with Gowan driving the tune with this vocal and this is another one that when you listen to on the headphones has 70’s written and played all over it! Great chorus! But that should not surprise you by now!
Here’s the conclusion with the song called simply enough Mission To Mars. A late night prog night delight featuring some slick like drumming and big time lead vocals. Great sendoff …
Well what can I say?! STYX have totally blown me away with this album. Here we are in August 2017 and both Styx and Cheap Trick have released super-duper albums that have exceeded my own expectations! The crazy thing is that both these bands released their current albums (Styx with The Mission and Cheap Trick with We’re All Allright) on the same day this past June 16th!
Styx dig out and pull all the stops on this album. It’s unbelievable how good this concept piece is. Styx as I had mentioned keep it short and simple and wrap up this concept album without the fear of running it into the ground! The song structure with the interludes at times add to the whole trip Styx deal to Mars! (almost sounds like these used actual NASA radio communications a couple of times)
The Songs are all solid and Styx with their lavish harmonies totally step up on all the choruses on all the songs on this album!
I know a lot of people want Dennis back. Fair enough if you’re the hardcore fan but really for myself I’m fine with Gowan doing the Styx thing and I think Tommy and JY would agree with me…
It’s ok to revisit the past sonically with an updated sound but don’t go down DeYoung drive as you fella’s have a good thing going here…
Straight Forward No Looking Back….
Your mission that you should choose to accept is….. Buy this!