ARTIST:

STYX

(UNITED STATES)
TITLE:

THE MISSION

(2017)
LABEL:

AUTRE LABEL

GENRE:

ROCK

/ HARD ROCK
TAGS:
Concept-album, Melancholic
"Styx gives us a real rejuvenation, finding in this "The Mission" the creative vein and the hard rock / glam rock sound that made its success already forty years ago."
CORTO1809 (03.07.2017)  
4/5
(0) opinions from our readers (0) comment(s)

Here is a record we didn't expect anymore ! Styx seemed to have definitively retired (at least for the studio recordings) in 2005 with "Big Bang Theory", an album of not really successful covers. "Cyclorama", which preceded it by three years and had consecrated the eviction of Dennis de Young, an essential (indispensable?) part of the Styx sound, had not left an unforgettable memory either, and we were starting to regret that a band that had been able to find an original combination of hard rock / glam rock that had produced some memorable records ("Crystal Ball", "Pieces of Eight", "Paradise Theater") was ending its career in such a poor way.

So the release this year of a new studio album is excellent news, even if the band's sleeve effects ("our most emblematic album since "Pieces of Eight", blah blah blah...) and the futuristic concept (a mission on Mars in 2033) make us mistrust the band. Unjustified mistrust and quickly swept away from the first minutes of listening to it.

Because Styx gives us a real rejuvenation, finding the creative vein and the sound that made its success already forty years ago. From the opening track, the short (and aptly named) 'Overture', which has no other ambition than to introduce what's to come, the fast arpeggios of the keyboards and the vocoderized voices (yes, they must have found their old vocoder lying around) plunge us back into an atmosphere worthy of 'Mr. Roboto' ("Kilroy Was Here").

But it would be a bad trial for "The Mission" to try to compare each track to one of its prestigious predecessors. If the music that emerges from this album undoubtedly reminds the best moments of Styx, the compositions are enough to please without trying to play the game of similarities. The listener just has to let himself be charmed by this newfound mix of nervous hard rock, mid-tempo rocks and melancholic ballads where keyboards and guitars alternate the bravery moments.

Styx's trademark is that the songs are performed by its three lead singers, Young, Gowan and Shaw, even if the latter takes the lion's share of the time. A habit which, besides the fact that it underlines the richness of the group, has the merit to vary the pleasures. Another trademark, the glam choirs are more present and more addictive than ever. We can certainly reproach them for being sometimes too similar to Queen's, an impression reinforced by some melodies ('The Greater Good', 'Khedive') that Freddie Mercury and his band would not have disowned, but Styx's vocal harmonies remain one of their stronger points.

If the titles are short (eight of them do not reach three minutes), it does not hinder the listening comfort even if a little extra would not have been refused for some ('Gone, Gone, Gone', the surprising 'Khedive'). The longest ones take the occasion to develop several melodic themes and some small breaks ('Locomotive', 'Red Storm'), introducing a relative complexity which contrasts harmoniously with the more immediate tracks, some of them even bordering on laziness ('Trouble at the Big Show' and its uninspired end in fade out, 'Mission to Mars' which concludes a good album badly).

Of course, we miss the voice of Dennis de Young and his romantic and melancholic songs. But, while we thought that a Styx album without his presence would never be more than an ersatz, Tommy Shaw and his colleagues succeed in proving us the contrary and make us appreciate without any second thought this excellent "The Mission". Just like in the good old days!


More informations on http://www.styxworld.com/





TRACK LISTING:
01. Overture (01:23)
02. Gone Gone Gone (02:08)
03. Hundred Million Miles from Home (03:39)
04. Trouble at the Big Show (02:30)
05. Locomotive (05:03)
06. Radio Silence (04:17)
07. The Greater Good (04:10)
08. Time May Bend (02:30)
09. Ten Thousand Ways to Be Wrong (01:22)
10. Red Storm (06:04)
11. All Systems Stable (00:17)
12. Khedive (02:04)
13. The Outpost (03 :51)
14. Mission to Mars (02:43)

LINEUP:
Chuck Panozzo: Basse / Choeurs
James Young: Chant / Guitares
Lawrence Gowan: Chant / Claviers
Ricky Phillips: Guitares / Basse / Choeurs
Todd Sucherman: Batterie
Tommy Shaw: Chant / Guitares
   
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