STYX-The Mission

Alpha Dog2T/Ume

When I think about Styx albums titles like ‘Equinox’, ‘Crystal Ball’, ‘Pieces Of Eight’ and ‘The Grand Illusion’ flash through my mind. Songs like ,,Blue Collar Man’’, ,,Boat On The River’’ and even the pop ballad ,,Babe’’ are unforgettable. But those albums were made in the seventies and although ‘The Mission’ is the 16th studio release of the veterans, it is safe to say that the band around the guitarist/singer Tommy Shaw, guitarist James Young and current keyboardist/singer Lawrence Gowan (under the name Larry Gowan better known perhaps) has not come up with something new in about 14 years (the 2005 release ‘Big Bang Theory’ was filled with covers). Sure, the band toured a lot during the years with Def Leppard, Don Felder, REO Speedwagon and other veteran acts but that was mainly it. Until now. Styx has worked the last years on the manufacturing of ‘The Mission’ a concept album about the first manned mission to the planet Mars. ‘The Mission’ is divided in 14 parts clocking about 43 minutes and it has the ingredients that were once so characteristic for Styx, although the real hard rock songs that normally came from Shaw and James Young are not ruling this album. It is more a symphonic/progressive rock record, with inventive keyboards, classic sounding piano parts, colourful guitars and a great vocal switch between Shaw, Gowan and Young inclusive some stunning close harmony parts. And is it not that the whole record where the songs flow smoothly into each other has got no heavy parts. There are some there, without a shadow of a doubt but they are not as prominent as they were in the past, But all in all ‘The Mission’ is a welcome sign of life of this once very popular band and the veterans have managed to put together a captivating storyline about something that is going to happen in the future. Whether we will be around to witness that, who knows in this crazy world we live in nowadays, but Styx at least have paved the way with this very welcome comeback CD.


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