“The Mission” by Styx, 14 Years in the Making!

On June 16th, Styx fans and classic rock fans the world over will not have to wait any longer.  Styx decided that 14 years in between albums is a long enough wait as they will be releasing “The Mission” worldwide via Alpha Dog 2T/UMe!  In the meantime, fans can pre-order the album at any digital retail outlet and at www.styxworld.com.

As I was thinking about the recent history of Styx, I was thinking about their “mission” voyage to NASA, where a diehard fan who happened to be an astronaut for NASA named a moon after Styx! A MOON!  After all, I think when a moon is named after your band in the solar system, you have pretty much made it as a band!  The cinematic thrill ride that fans longed for from “Pieces Of Eight” and “The Grand Illusion” is back! The concepts of the record include a story about the first manned trip to Mars that takes place in the year 2033.  The astronaut on this manned trip goes through various trials, tribulations, and triumphs throughout this record!  With “The Mission” Styx is firing on all cylinders once again!
“The Mission” starts off with a ridiculous keyboard/organ piece that is played by Lawrence Gowan, who is the current vocalist/keyboardist for Styx.  The piece is called “Overture”.  ”Overture” reminds me of that final countdown as it places the listener immediately on the edge of their seat, making sure that all safety harnesses are strapped in, and that countdown to the voyage to Mars is going to commence!  Then, “The Mission” breaks into the first single of the album entitled “Gone Gone Gone”.  ”Gone Gone Gone” is that boogie-woogie blues rock of Styx with incredible harmonies that fans old and new have grown to be incredibly fond of.  It is something that Styx is a trademark for, and that is providing that seamless transition between an instrumental piece to a rock-n-roll song that continues on in the story.
“Hundred Million Miles” is that soaring chorus type of song that really tells the story of how the mission to Mars is on its way and deemed to be a success so far.  There is lament in the song that the astronaut really misses his/her loved ones.  It really has a sleek groove in the rhythm section and Gowan’s voice is an instrument in this track as he is able to carry a melody throughout the song.  The harmonies that are laid out in the track is a stark reminder on why we fell in love with Styx in the first place!   The guitars in the instrumental break are profound while providing a simple rhythm and arrangement throughout the song.  ”Trouble At The Big Show” showcases the legendary tandem of Tommy Shaw and James Young on the guitars, and Ricky Phillips bass surely sticks out something fierce as the groove causes the listener to dance about in place while nodding their head.
“Locomotive” is the ballad of “The Mission”, it has the progression though that Styx is famous for, the keyboards are incredible, and the harmonies are very much Pink Floyd tinged mixed with sort of a doo-wop vibe to it.  I absolutely love how the song picks up and Shaw and Young just absolutely rip on the guitars.  ”Radio Silence” provides that sleek guitar part that causes the listener to sway about in place.
Overall, 14 years is a wait but it is worth the wait.  It really showcases that Styx is extremely prudent about their craft, how each part is interwoven like the finest silks to a tapestry in order to present that tapestry to the Emperor of an empire.  The harmonies, arrangements, progression, and the story telling is something that Styx longs for in an album.  In a world of instant gratification and that “here today, gone tomorrow” mentality of the music industry, Styx has shown why they have been a band for 45 years.  The palate of old fans is quenched as they have the memories and feelings of “Pieces Of Eight” and “The Grand Illusion” to fall back upon, whereas new fans will wonder what they have been missing out on their entire lives and their palates will be craving more Styx.  You’ve knocked it out of the park Styx!  Here is the track listing to this masterpiece known as “The Mission” below!
“The Mission” by Styx
1.  ”Overture”
2.  ”Gone Gone Gone”
3.  ”Hundred Million Miles From Home”
4.  ”Trouble At The Big Show”
5.  ”Locomotive”
6.  ”Radio Silence”
7.  ”The Greater Good”
8.  ”Time May Bend”
9.  ”Ten Thousand Ways To Be Wrong”
10.  ”Red Storm”
11.  ”All Systems Stable”
12.  ”Khedive”
13.  ”The Outpost”
14.  ”Mission To Mars”
“Gone Gone Gone” by Styx
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