Personnel: Tommy Shaw (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin); James Young (vocals, electric guitar); Lawrence Gowan (vocals, piano, organ, synthesizer); Will Evankovich (guitar, synthesizer); Ricky Phillips, Chuck Panozzo (bass guitar); Todd Sucherman (drums, percussion, waterphone).
Audio Mixer: Jim Scott .
Recording information: Blackbird Studios; Studio Amontillado; The Shop; Waterphone Engineering, Bee Cave, TX.
Editor: Derek Sharp.
Styx kept themselves busy in the 21st century, launching a tour like clockwork every year, but they abandoned recording new material after 2003's Cyclorama. Arriving 14 years after that record, The Mission announces Styx's return in a grand fashion. Although The Mission has its mind on the future -- it's designed as a concept album about a mission to Mars in the year 2033 -- the sound is an unapologetic throwback to the band's late-'70s prime. In a sense, it's a sequel to Paradise Theater, containing the same kind of over-baked story and, more importantly, a bunch of songs that sound like sequels to "Too Much Time on My Hands" and "Rockin' the Paradise." Dennis DeYoung's Broadway streak is notably absent, but it's not necessarily missed because Styx craft these operatic rockers so well. Apart from the slight sheen in the production, these songs could be mistaken for prime Styx, and that's a quite thing to say for a band that is not only firmly within its status as a legacy act, but one that has gone so long without recording new material at all. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine