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MUSIC REVIEW: STYX – Crash Of The Crown

| 17 June 2021 | Reply


Label: Alpha Dog 2T/UMe

Release Date: June 18, 2021

Rating: 94%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

After REALLY digging into Styx’s last effort, The Mission, and loving song after song, I was hesitant to dive into another album with the fear that it wouldn’t meet the bar that was raised their last go ’round.  Disc opener “The Fight Of Our Lives” is a shorter piece firmly planted in the bands prog roots and sound.  The opening takes a left turn from the typical rock tracks the band is known for, but soon the harmonies, guitars, rhythm section, and keyboards swirl to deliver Styx magic.  “A Monster” builds on the momentum of the opening track and keep the Styx sound alive while riding a different musical rail and letting the music and vocals speak for themselves.  The layered vocals on this one take flight throughout, especially on the choruses and various transitions.  “Save Us From Ourselves” has a more rooted feel thanks to the piano and spoken intro that soon morphs into a rocker thanks to the familiar vocals of Tommy Shaw and some great guitar parts that blend perfectly with harmonies and killer drumming from Todd Sucherman.  “Sound The Alarm” comes off with a ballad-like texture that adds a different dimension to the collection.  As the acoustic guitar and keyboards merge during the chorus, the rest of the band joins the fray and deliver a track that is built for the bands live show and should carry well in front of a crowd.  “To Those” is a fun track that joins Lawrence Gowan’s keyboards with the bands layered vocals and harmonies perfectly in the mix.  The lead vocal kicks in as the rhythm section seems to dial in and kick this song into overdrive and moves us closer to the discs end.

“Reveries” is a cool track that has a cool bass line from Ricky Phillips anchoring the bottom end and keeping the song from running away with itself.  Be sure to check out the guitar solo tossed overtop the bridge and take in the stacked vocal that runs through the choruses.  “Our Wonderful Lives” is one of two tracks to feature original bassist Chuck Panozzo.  The opening of this track is the most “Styx-like” and takes you back to several of the bands classics and gives us a few moments to enjoy the different musical components of the band, as we get glimpses of each instrument as well as a wall of sound vocal that supports Shaw’s lead vocal.  “Common Ground” keeps the disc tracked in the Styx vein with keyboards, vocals, and guitars.  While not a rocker, the song gets you moving and losing yourself in the arrangement.  On song after song, you cannot deny the guitar prowess of James “JY” Young as he adds to the various tracks while splitting the duties as well as lending his vocals in the mix.  “Lost At Sea” is the other track to feature Panozzo on bass, but the opening piano and vocal duet from Gowan steals the show.  “Coming Out The Other Side” fills out after an Eastern musical interlude morphs into a beautiful keyboard driven track that has Styx nuances woven into it, but stands alone as a solid song that deviates from the musical path normally taken.  While different from their classic hits, there is something about this track that catapults itself sonically.

“Hold Back The Darkness” delivers the goods with an intro that unfolds slowly and gently before vocals and keyboards roll in.  The songs sound and structure brings to mind Pink Floyd through the verse, but quickly shifts into Styx mode on the choruses.  The back and forth sonically is a cool swirl and benefits from the guitar work of Young and Shaw.  “Crash Of The Crown” is new territory for the band, with the three lead vocalists all taking their turn behind the microphone… I cannot wait to see and hear this live.  From JY’s opening vocal to Tommy’s anthemic chorus to Lawrence’s contributions between some of the transitions, this song brings different grooves and vibes, even tossing is a bit that has a Queen-ish feel and sound to it.  This song helps place another brick in the bands legacy.  “Long Live The King” is a different track that benefits from the heavy hands of drummer Sucherman and bassist Phillips.  The vocal runs across the mix, but the nuances from the rhythm section that dot the musical landscape stand out with each listen.  “Another Farewell” is an interesting instrumental interlude that builds to the final track.  Disc closer “Stream” takes a slight left turn musically during the intro, but the song helps tie together the diverse and familiar sounds and structures all over this collection.  Who knew the band could deliver such a solid effort without firmly parking themselves in the arena rock genre?  This band constantly unearths new facets and gives the fans something to digest without getting repetitive or overdone.

Tracklisting: The Fight Of Our Lives – A Monster – Reveries – Hold Back The Darkness – Save Us From Ourselves – Crash Of The Crown – Our Wonderful Lives – Common Ground – Sound The Alarm – Long Live The King – Lost At Sea – Coming Out The Other Side – To Those – Another Farewell – Stream






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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