Many bands who were big in the 70’s and 80’s choose not to release new albums anymore. Or if they do, they leave a lot to be desired.
In a 2015 interview with us, Styx frontman Lawrence Gowan said the band was working on new music but they weren’t in a huge hurry to finish or release it. A lot of that was because they wanted it to be as good as it could be and to not fall in line with other bands they came up with.
Fast forward to 2017 and the band has finally released their 16th studio album- The Mission– and it’s safe to say it’s a good thing they took their time.
The first thing that can be said about The Mission is that you can tell right away that this is a Styx record- and it’s a concept album as well, which the band has plenty of experience with.
The next thing that needs to be said is that the band completely delivers on the concept- which is that of a mission to Mars in the future. Lyrically and sonically, you feel exactly what they’re trying to convey on The Mission.
It’s been 14 years since their last full album of original material and there’s a lot to digest here. In the 70’s, Styx was known for their prog rock sound and iconic ballads mixed with addictive, hypnotizing vocal harmonies, and The Mission sees the band delving deeply back to those grounds, embracing what made them so popular back then and they do it to perfection.
Songs like “Gone, Gone, Gone” and “Hundred Million Miles” are prime example of this and show the band coming out swinging for the fences. Then we have tracks like “Radio Silence,” which is a classic-sounding Styx anthem through and through- as are “Trouble at the Big Show” and “Locomotive”- which is one of the strongest and memorable offerings on The Mission.
45 years into their career, Styx sound better in the studio than they ever have. While some fans may have trouble with concept albums in general, there are tracks on The Mission for the most dedicated, longtime Styx fan.
The key to a good concept album is writing one where the songs flow perfectly from beginning to end and tell the story perfectly but also stand on their own to where you can pick and choose what to listen to and still get the full experience. The Mission does just that.
Styx came out swinging for the fences here but they also hit it out of the park with a grand slam too. 14 years in the making and the wait was more than worth it.