This double ‘Styx’ offering from BGO Records follows a long line of fabulous music CD album reissues, all of which are carried out with the highest degree of excellence. All of BGO’s reissue packages are delivered with the highest degree of care and total dedication to ensure that the music fan has purchased an end product to treasure as a joyful addition to their music collection. This is not only in terms of the well-considered packaging and artwork but also in the attention to detail in producing the ultimate in historical research and which is published in an accompanying booklet.
This particular package, under review is a double helping from the American band who took their name from the Greek mythological underworld river ‘Styx’ that ran through "the land of the dead’.
Styx are an American AOR tending towards progressive rock band from Chicago that formed in 1972. Following their formation and during the seventies they made their mark producing music containing oodles of both delicate and energetic guitar propagations balanced with delicate acoustic guitar and raucous synthesizer. Such injections were mixed together with acoustic and almost classic piano chord sequences. Their penchant was for a nice mixture extremely melodic tracks balanced with dramatic power ballads. They were initially quite unique in the American rock scene dabbling with theatrical stylisations and certainly, together with bands like Kansas seized the middle ground of the progressive rock culture on that side of the Atlantic and also recieving much admiration from European progressive rock fans.
The two albums in this package comprise “The Grand Illusion” (1977 and “Edge of the Century” (1990). The interesting thing, about these two particular albums, is that in the short space of thirteen years there was a massive differential in musical styles. From the definitive Progressive Rock inclined AOR of ‘The Grand Illusion’ to the more basic throw-away soft rock orientated ’Edge of the Century’
Wishful thinking would suggest that a better pairing could have been made for ‘The Grand Illusion’ but of course we are not party to any licensing arrangements or indeed any future ‘Styx’ reissues that are planned by BGO. There are, of course, one or two decent tracks on ‘Edge of the Century’ but generally it sounds extremely laboured and very dated without any of the swagger and panache of the earlier ‘Grand Illusion’ album.
“The Grand Illusion” on the other hand is a masterpiece of grandiose beautifully composed progressive rock splendour. From start to finish it is full of melodic symphonic joy as keyboard, synthesizer and guitar leads are frequently interchanged between engaging passages of beautifully delivered vocals. It is indeed a real joy to revisit this album after some forty odd years and marvel at the intricate compositional arrangements both from the instrumental aspects and the layered multi-part vocal harmonies.
Summary -Despite the unbalanced pairing ‘The Grand Illusion’ by itself is well worth the purchase of this package, not only is it an essential addition to any music collection but surely is available here to replace many a scratched and trashed vinyl copy.
From The Internet -The Grand Illusion is the seventh studio album by Styx. Recorded at Paragon Recording Studios in Chicago, it was released on July 7, 1977 and sold over three million copies in the US (Triple Platinum). Some estimates have the album at over 5 million copies sold. The album launched the band to stardom and spawned the hit singles "Come Sail Away" and "Fooling Yourself."
Edge of the Century is the twelfth studio album by Styx, released in 1990. It was the first Styx album featuring A&M solo artist Glen Burtnik, the only album to feature the Dennis DeYoung/James Young/Glen Burtnik/Chuck Panozzo/John Panozzo lineup, and the last album to feature John Panozzo on drums before his death in 1996.