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STYX's The Mission, is the first studio album of new music in 14 Years. This true Hi-Fidelity analog recording is a return to the band's progressive rock roots, complete with a courageous & visionary concept! A captivating adventure unfolds across 14 tracks with a story set in the future but recorded in the sound of the near past. The Mission is available on CD, 180g vinyl & digital formats & is set to launch on June 16, 2017. The mission is a go!
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language: : English
- Product Dimensions : 5.55 x 4.92 x 0.47 inches; 3.81 Ounces
- Manufacturer : UMe
- Original Release Date : 2017
- Date First Available : April 20, 2017
- Label : UMe
- ASIN : B06ZZ53ZRL
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,738 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Overall opinion (keep in mind this is the first spin):
This is a great album and SUPER ambitious for Styx. They get high marks for that. While I don't think it's the second coming of "the big two", there are definitely points that do hit that lofty goal.
One bitch: the Production to me is super dry throughout and that's not a quality that I dig with my STYX stuff. It NEEDS that reverb/delay to help give it that "STYX SOUND". My opinion, but I grew up (and old) with the band. If this came out in the 90s, I'd get why they dried things out so much, but STYX isn't a grungy band. For me, Cyclorama's production was more 'lush'. One other comparison to Cyclorama - I'm finding that Gowan's tracks are the standouts.
I caught the interview with Tommy the other day about how he explains the characters that each bend member is playing- Tommy as the pilot, Lawrence as the first officer, JY as the naysayer, the others as scientists or something like that (I forget), so I do get that these are 'character pieces' which is an ok idea, just as ok as it was on 'Kilroy Was Here'. BUT - I knew the concept of KWH, so it made sense. To those that didn't know, it was "What the heck is THIS??" Not sure that'll happen with 'The Mission', but it could.
Keep in mind, I'm listening online as I don't have the CD (with the book, etc.) in my hand... will have it later tonight.
This is a cool way to open the album and super proggy for Styx, which is great. As a piece of music, I like it. The one thing that immediately strikes me is how DRY the production is. I would think for an 'Overture' that it'd have a 'Bigness' to it that could've been brought to the track via a bit of delay and reverb.
Gone Gone Gone:
Great track. Gowan sings the crap out of it. Nice to hear Styx kicking into high gear and nice to hear JY and Tommy's guitars just going for it. Radio seems so void of guitars that I find myself going through withdrawal symptoms...
Again, I'm struck by how dry the track sounds. It's STYX so I expect a bit more production.
Hundred Million Miles:
Pretty stripped down and straight ahead rock track. The highest harmony here is a bit overkill (and I'm a sucker for good harmonies). They've got some chorus on Tommy's voice, but again, super dry. Some of the harmonies seem like they don't cut off at the same time. As a song, it's got a good vocal hook in the chorus.
Trouble at the Big Show:
I think this one is from the Dr. Righteous Outtake Reel (and I actually like Heavy Metal Poisoning and that character too). JY... sometimes I love him to death and sometimes I find him annoying as hell. When I don't like him, it's usually vocal related. JY is a great harmony singer. If you want to see how much he brings to the party, listen to his solo album "City Slicker" and listen to the harmonies on it. His harmony singing is a HUGE part of the Styx sound and is a necessary component. But man, when he does his lower "Double Life" voice, I find it completely and utterly ... not my thing. I'd rather have a "Captain America" or "These Are the Times". This one's a wah-covered, bluesy track with some cool harmonies and a good guitar solo. But I can't get past JY's lead vocal and am thankful that there's only one JY-led track here.
Again, the production on the vocals drives me nuts. It's dry but it's also wrapped in chorus, which I don't dig and was one of the reasons that I HATED the Regeneration albums.
So far, this is a track that I will be skipping with repeated plays. It might grow on me. Sorry JY!
Beginning is a bit like "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". Okay... NOW it sounds like STYX to me, at least the beginning. The production is so much better here. The vocals aren't layered in chorus and there's a nice reverb on Tommy's vocal that brings it out. Tommy's voice... man, he's got such great pipes. Some cool bass parts from Ricky Phillips here too. Great harmonies in it that are reminiscent of the "Papa Papa's" in "This Old Man". I like this track. I don't know how 'catchy' or 'STYX' it is. It seems that STYX is not going for 'mass appeal' on this track but just for music to fit their concept. When the band kicks in, again, all of the production seems to be rolled off and everything is super dry again. Just gives it a home-demo quality.
Yup... 'Man in the Wilderness II'. The bass line, acoustic, and keyboards at the beginning are SO similar... even the guitar break in the middle is similar. The verses are totally evocative of the image of being a solo guy in a space ship so far away from the planet. Great chorus here and very 'STYX' to me. When listening to it in the context of the album, it's definitely a standout.
The Greater Good:
Oh man, I love Gowan on this track. He puts in a brilliant vocal here. The chorus is a bit flat for me and not 'Styx Big' but it's not really that kind of track.The verses are superb. It's such a 'Gowan track'. The track is actually a duet between Larry and Tommy and it comes off brilliantly - a back and forth conversation between their characters. A bit of 'Queen' creeps in, which, again, is so 'Gowan'. So far, this is my favorite track. Those that give Gowan a hard time for not being DeYoung- it's a ridiculous statement. He's so worthy of his position in the band. He brings a LOT to the party.
Time May Bend:
Another Gowan lead vocal and a good one. A proggy beginning that jumps into main track. The harmonies are a bit loud in the mix and, of course, dry. The guitar solo is great. Is that an Ebo?
Ten Thousand Ways:
This is a little segue with great harmonies.
I dig the radio messages that they've sprinkled into this album. Helps to set the mood of the concept. Tommy on acoustic guitar here (noticing lots of acoustic on this album- cool!). Another very proggy track and reminiscent of the middle of "A Day" from 'Styx II' just in its feel once it gets going. This is typical EARLY Styx. Starts slow, gets fast, good chorus. Good track. The guitar solo section is very much like Rush from the 'Hemispheres' days (which is a favorite Rush album of mine). This is a super ambitious track for Styx. Kind of like this album's "One With Everything".
All Systems Stable:
A segue. Not really a song.
Again, Gowan shining with this piano piece that also has acoustic guitar and strings and some harmonies that intrude a bit (my opinion). Nice Brian Mayish solo. COMPLETE Queen. This guy is such a good player.
Another Gowan-led track. This one's a great one too! The beginning reminds me of 'Camera Eye' (another Rush track). HUGE chorus. I actually got chills when that kicked in. Very 'YES-ish' chorus. This is a great track. Very big sounding and so 70s. It's a total high point. This should be a single. It's very cool and very very catchy. This is one of those songs that actually meets the hype "This is definitely as good as any Pieces of Eight or Grand Illusion track".
Mission to Mars:
Piano based track and again with a heavy prog influence. This doesn't sound like Styx to me, it's (again) like early Yes or even Crosby Stills and Nash in some points. It's like all of this stuff has been tossed into the pot and stirred up. It's way cool and SOOOO different for Styx.
I give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
The Mission has many sonic echoes of Styx's best work from the 70's (Equinox/Crystal Ball/Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight), and even some acoustic instrumental work that reminds me of their Wooden Nickel days (but so much better) and yet, its also fresh and new. The Mission demonstrates the best balance of Styx's various styles and musical capabilities that I think they have put onto a single album since Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight, and it might be better than even those. So far, I've only listened to The Mission straight through three times in two days since it arrived, but it's sinking in deep and cutting new paths in my musical memory. A few dozen more excursions on The Mission will help me decide if this album really has that long-lasting sonic gleam that Styx delivered so long ago, but I'm anticipating it will, as I am totally thrilled about what I've heard so far. I recommend all Styx fans book their window seat on The Mission.
Whatever you ultimately think, it bears multiple listens. It was surely much denser and involved and layered and ambitious than I EVER expected from the band at this point; a band creatively dormant the past 14 years.
The spacey theme might seem silly and surely a bit pretentious (and maybe dated, even despite our current mission to Mars), but beyond the theme there is a ton to enjoy here musically. And honestly, the theme itself really grounds it in the 70s as well, truth be told. It actually serves the project's retro feel.
Had these been DeYoung's vocals in the place of Gowan's, you would swear this is a 1979 or 1980 follow up to Pieces Of Eight. That alone is worth about three listens.
Top reviews from other countries
Having successfully lived (mostly) off their 70's hits for their live shows since then, there seems to have been little incentive to produce new work. Instead, they've spent much of their time touring & playing the songs the fans want to hear from a period when FM radio seemed to play nothing but the likes of Styx, Journey & Boston.
Others have superbly dissected The Mission track by track, so I will will just say that it needs to be listened to as it was obviously intended - as a complete piece of work. There are 14 'tracks' here, but each more or less morph into one another from the mission 'Overture' to the final 'Mission to Mars'. A concept that works better than you might expect. This has it's progressive elements as well as the classic Styx harmonies you'd expect. There's a couple of upbeat rockers with the expected guitar dueling between JY & Tommy Shaw, and with Lawrence Gowan's superbly understated keyboards on board, this is a mission sure to please diehard Styx fans.
If I have a complaint, at 42 minutes it leaves you wanting more. That said, I hope they bring this mission to the UK.
Styx global space exploration program needs to be heard live worldwide and not just in the USA.
your brain instantly transports you into the concept of the album, the first manned mission to Mars.Genius! The Band playing the 6 individual crew members, and the songs reflecting their thoughts and feelings on their quest.I will say every track is killer.My first half personal favs are Gone,Gone,Gone (perfect opening rocker, Lawrence on vocals) Locomotive,(Heartfelt and beautifully sung by Tommy),The Greater Good,(faultless harmonies by all the band). After the track "Ten Thousand Ways" everything moves up a gear vocally and sonically.Incidentally a nod goes out to "Ten Thousand Ways" at only1.22 secs acts only as a prologue to the track" The Red Storm", but has such resonance and beauty you wish it to never end.From there on the second half is mostly filled with great rockers.Mentions go to " Red Storm" ( A mini musical masterpiece), Khedive,
(Lawrences piano magnificent) and probably my favourite track on the album " The Outpost", a real driving rocker with the obvious Styx trademarks, that give me goosebumps every time it comes round. It may sound biased as I have been a fan since 1979. But Styx are not my favourite band, That accolade goes to Journey. But saying that, this album truly is a triumph and I certainly rate it among their best work. I have every Styx LP. Just missing the first 2 on the Wooden Nickel labels.Have also ordered the vinyl version. The band purposely recorded this album in analogue for the vinyl enthusiast.The only thing now to do is go listen for yourself and wonder in the marvel that is Styx.
It's incredible. Styx at their very best. Every song has great melody along with fantastic musicianship and awesome vocals. The first 4 tracks are brilliant and then Styx go into overdrive with a bunch of sublime songs that make you want to listen to them over and over again. Locomotive, Radio Silence, The Greater Good and Time May Bend... and the quality of great songs just keeps going including Red Storm, Khedive and The Outpost.
Although the album sounds like classic Styx it also reminds me of the best bits of great progressive bands like Genesis, Floyd, Marillion, Deep Purple, Jellyfish, Rush, Kansas and Yes. It really is that good.
I have got a few Styx albums and I've seen them twice as a support band and I have been impressed. The Mission has reignited my interest in this great band and I have a ticket to see them headlining in London in June next year.