On June 16, Styx will release a concept album The Mission, their 16th studio release and first since 2003's Cyclorama. The story chronicles the trials, tribulations, and ultimate triumphs of the first manned mission to Mars in the year 2033.
From the hopeful drive of the record's first single “Gone Gone Gone,” to the stargazing machinations of “Locomotive,” to the rough-riding blaze of glory that permeates the hard-charging “Red Storm,” to the elegiac optimism of the closing track “Mission to Mars,” The Mission succeeds in delivering the greater good from a band that continues to fire on all cylinders, 45 years after signing its first recording contract.
“Gone Gone Gone,” which was released on Friday, is supported by a video already chalking up views on the web. Check it out below.
“The planets truly aligned for The Misson, and I couldn’t be prouder,” says vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw, who co-wrote the album’s storyline with longtime collaborator Will Evankovich (Shaw/Blades, The Guess Who). “It’s our boldest, most emblematic album since Pieces Of Eight.”
Founding guitarist James “JY” Young adds, “In the 40th anniversary year of our release of our biggest selling album of all time, Grand Illusion, it just seemed truly appropriate to save our new studio album until this year. Needless to say, I’m very excited.”
The Mission, 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: Shaw, 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 album feels simultaneously comfortable and new,” observes Gowan. “It’s both entertaining and charming, and a natural progression of our sound.”
"The Mission is a sincere and honest representation of how Styx built upon where we were in the 20th century in order to go somewhere new in the 21st century,” says Panozzo.
The track listing for The Mission is as follows:
2. Gone Gone Gone
3. Hundred Million Miles from Home
4. Trouble at the Big Show
6. Radio Silence
7. The Greater Good
8. Time May Bend
9. Ten Thousand Ways to Be Wrong
10. Red Storm
11. All Systems Stable
13. The Outpost
14. Mission to Mars
1. Overture (Side A)
2. Gone Gone Gone (Side A)
3. Hundred Million Miles from Home (Side A)
4. Trouble at the Big Show (Side A)
5. Locomotive (Side A)
6. Radio Silence (Side A)
7. The Greater Good (Side B)
8. Time May Bend (Side B)
9. Ten Thousand Ways to Be Wrong (Side B)
10. Red Storm (Side B)
11. All Systems Stable (Side B)
12. Khedive (Side B)
13. The Outpost (Side B)
14. Mission to Mars (Side B)
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