Ladies and gentlemen, we have liftoff.
STYX’s highly anticipated and critically acclaimed 16th studio album, THE MISSION, has officially launched into the sonic atmosphere around the world on the band’s label, Alpha Dog 2T/UMe.
The first single, “Gone Gone Gone,” quickly rocketed up Mediabase’s “Classic Rock” charts. A video can be seen here.
Various interview video clips with singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw and producer Will Evankovich have premiered all week leading up to today’s official release on GuitarPlayer.com, BassPlayer.com, ModernDrummer.com and UltimateClassicRock.com.
THE MISSION--which was recorded over a two-year period at Blackbird Studios, The Shop, and 6 Studio Amontillado in Nashville--displays the best aspects of the ongoing in-harmony musical intersection of the six-man STYX team: the aforementioned guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, co-founding guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young, keyboardist/vocalist Lawrence Gowan, original bassist Chuck Panozzo, drummer/percussionist Todd Sucherman, and bassist Ricky Phillips.
The new music was created to reflect the viewpoint of the six-person crew enlisted for the maiden voyage of Khedive, the first entry in a new fleet of nuclear-powered interplanetary spacecraft underwritten by the Global Space Exploration Program (or GSEP, for short). The Khedive team consists of The Pilot, a fully hands-on, seat-of-the-pants born leader; a First Officer who serves as the team’s big-brother figure; an Engineer who is skeptical of every phase of the mission but remains confident in his own abilities to make the best of any technical situation; and a Top-Shelf Trio of science, astrophysics, and survivalist experts.
THE MISSION has been racking up many early rave reviews:
“THE MISSION is right up there with the very best of Styx, a remarkable achievement considering it’s 45 years since they signed their first recording contract. No wonder guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw describes it as the band’s ‘boldest, most emblematic album since [1978’s] PIECES OF EIGHT.’” -- Classic Rock
“The concept album is an adventurous, 43-minute thrill ride chronicling the trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs of the first manned mission to Mars in 2033. From the hopeful drive and classic STYX sound on tracks like ‘Gone Gone Gone’ and ‘Hundred Million Miles’ to the stargazing machinations of ‘Locomotive’ and the elegiac optimism of the closing track, ’Mission to Mars,’ THE MISSION succeeds in delivering the good from a band that continues to fire on all cylinders more than 45 years after signing their first recording contract.” Guitar World
“The entire band is firing on all cylinders...There is a theme and flow here that is edgy yet comfortable, astral yet grounded...The band gives us so many places to live, and we can call each of them home. It may be too early to call it a masterpiece, but I can safely say that Styx has released one of the best albums in their catalog, and that’s saying a whole lot.” -- DrMusic.org
“WithTHE MISSION, Styx have taken a trip back in time to when they flirted with progressive rock and created some of the most adventurous music on FM radio...what the band have done here is make a quintessential Styx record. From beginning to end, the album runs like a brilliant movie with great epic moments and captivating urgency...Good to see the band back and let’s hope this is just the beginning.”
“...shining brightest among the set – a pair of perfect gems. “Radio Silence” is cut from the same stylistic fabric as their 1976 FM staple, ‘Crystal Ball’ – an engaging, arena-worthy earworm, indeed. But wait,thattrack has anevensexier big sister – seemingly sprinkled with aural cocaine, ‘Locomotive’ proves simply irresistible. Driven by Shaw’s honest and pure vocals and accented by a splash of ‘Have a Cigar’-inspired guitar swagger, ‘Locomotive’ is not only the pick ofthisparticular 14-pup litter, it’s one of the band’s absolute ALL-TIME best....THE MISSIONstill stands tall as a powerful collection of rock solid songs. Hence, when band members tout the record in the press as being their best work sincePIECES OF EIGHT, you can believe the hype.” -- Ink19.com
In touring news, STYX is teaming up with REO SPEEDWAGON and very special guest star DON FELDER—formerly of the Eagles—for the “United We Rock” U.S. summer tour, which kicks off in Ridgefield, WA on June 20. Produced by Live Nation, tickets for various cities are on sale now. A video trailer can be seen here.