(Album Review) STYX - Crash of the Crown
Release date: June 18, 2021 (Alpha Dog 2T/UMe)
Written by Jeff Tighe
Crash of the Crown, the 17th album by veteran prog rockers Styx is an interesting entry in their catalogue to be sure. Clocking in under 44 minutes, it boasts 15 songs, some of which are much shorter than the usual Styx fare.
The first impression that hits the listener is that this is a concept album as it has that sort of feel of continuity running through it. The second impression is that this album was penned with a live stage musical in mind. As someone who hates musicals, the second impression is not a good thing in this reviewer's opinion, but that impression does fade with repeated exposure. Besides, the quality herein is high enough that it would be one of the few good musicals out there.
Guitarist Tommy Shaw handles a significant amount of the lead vocals, which is a good thing since he has the best voice in the band. But keyboardist Lawrence Gowan and guitarist James Young also get time as lead vocalists, and that variety and talent has always been a strength with Styx.
There is some hard rock in here, but lots of it isn't really hard rock so much as it is mainstream rock with a prog edge, so many Mighty Decibel readers may want to stay clear. But for you established Styx fans this album will not disappoint. There is no question that this work has then bands' trademark sound (e.g. "Common Ground"), but there are also hints of Queen (e.g. "Our Wonderful Lives") and Quadrophenia-era Who (e.g. "Sound the Alarm") in there.
Among the best songs are "To Those", "The Fight of Our Lives", "Save Us From Ourselves" and "Reveries", all of which are solid rockers. This album is a grower becoming more interesting with repeated listens for those readers with eclectic tastes who don't always require pummeling metal. (7.5)