After 14 years, the rock world finally gets to experience lift off as Styx releases their 16th studio album, “The Mission,” a brand new concept album themed around the first manned expedition to Mars. The record is a blast from the past with some real old school Styx while solidly pushing forward and expanding their sound.

“The Mission” has fantastic arrangements with proggy keyboard runs, rocking guitars, and beautiful vocal harmonies. It seems that time and space have stood still as vocally Tommy Shaw and Lawrence Gowan have never sounded better than they do here.

Kicking things off “Paradise Theatre” style with the intro track “Overture” which launches into the full blown force of “Gone, Gone,Gone” as the mission begins.  There is a vibe here that truly harkens back to the “Pieces of Eight” era Styx but yet never feels dated. Working with long time collaborator Will Evankovich , Shaw proves his songwriting talent as he pulls out a true “album” something that needs to be listened to start to finish, a rarity in today’s tweet based world of blips and blogs. Musically the band is simply superb seamlessly flowing together as they journey through each song. If there ever was any doubt of the immensity of the
talent in this band , just listen to one of the instrumental tracks “The Red Storm” or “Khedive” with stunning piano work by Gowan and intricate guitars from both Shaw and James “JY” Young. The album closes strongly with “The Outpost” and “Mission To
Mars” as the team finally reaches their ultimate destination.

“The Mission” is quite simply a musical masterpiece . Kudos to Styx for putting out a record this bold and this brilliant after 45 years.

About The Author Kris Engelhart

I am a small business owner, freelance writer, and part-time piano instructor in Charlotte, NC. My musical career started at the age of five when I was forced into taking piano lessons. I played flute in the school band and added the guitar as a young teen. There is nothing I would rather do than be at a live show. My first concert was Shaun Cassidy at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo in 1978. My top five live shows ever are: 1. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY 1984- They played for 3 ½ hours and it was awesome. 2. Carolina Rebellion- Metrolina Expo Grounds, Charlotte, NC, May, 2011 – The first ever Carolina Rebellion featured over 15 bands with Avenged Sevenfold headlining. Non-stop music for over 12 hours. 3. Chevelle- Food Lion Speed Street, Charlotte, NC, May, 2008 - The first time I ever saw Chevelle live and I was hooked! 4. Skillet with Red- Bojangle’s Coliseum, Charlotte, NC, April, 2010 – Skillet is one of my favorite bands and they totally kick it live. 5. 106.5 The End’s Weenie Roast #9- Verizon Wireless Amiptheater, Charlotte, NC , October, 2003- Featured Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace.