Written by Alex Stojanovic
The Fight Of Our Lives
Hold Back The Darkness
Save Us From Ourselves
Crash Of The Crown
Our Wonderful Lives
Sound The Alarm
Long Live The King
Lost At Sea
Coming Out The Other Side
Tommy Shaw - Guitars, lead & backing vocals
James "J.Y." Young - Guitars, lead & backing vocals
Chuck Panozzo - Bass
Lawrence Gowan - Keyboards, lead & backing vocals
Todd Sucherman - Drums & percussion
Ricky Phillips - Bass & backing vocals
Will Evankovich - Guitars & backing vocals
Right off the bat, starting with the 2-minute opener "The Fight Of Our Lives", we're met with a quirky keyboard intro before it blasts into a bombastic layered Queen-esque vocal passage. The first thing that came to my mind as I start digging into this album is that there's a big Deep Purple meets Queen vibe. That vibe is also felt on tracks such as "Save Us From Ourselves", "A Monster", and "Common Ground". Certain tracks also have a bit of a folk vibe due to the acoustic guitars, such as "Our Wonderful Lives", which also features piccolo trumpet, courtesy of Steve Patrick.
Larry Gowan is not only a fantastic vocalist, but one of the most underrated keyboardists of all time. He stands in the same leagues as Jon Lord, Geddy Lee, Jens Johansson, Jonathan Cain and Rick Wakeman. I would vote "Reveries" as his best vocal performance on the album. Speaking of vocals, when you combine the vocal talents of Gowan, Tommy Shaw and James "J.Y." Young, and you hear the intensity of all their voices together, it makes you think that you're listening to a band that is in their 30s.
Even though none of the songs are longer than 4 minutes, and there's a couple of songs that are under a minute (with the shortest one being under 30 seconds), I still felt that 15 songs was a bit much. If some songs such as "Coming Out The Other Side", "Sound The Alarm", and the two songs under a minute long: "Lost At Sea" and "Another Farewell" were left off, the listening experience would've hit the bulls-eye. I felt that these songs didn't have the same impact as the other songs did.
I still have a lot more Styx to dive into and discover, but it's something I really look forward to, because listening to Crash Of The Crown has got me hooked on wanting more. I know there are many people who think that Styx isn't the same without Dennis DeYoung, but all you need to do is listen to any of the last four records from Cyclorama up to Crash Of The Crown, and you'll see that Styx is still as much of a powerhouse as they ever were. When the opportunity comes, I look forward to seeing them live.
Highs: "The Fight Of Our Lives", "Reveries", "Save Us From Ourselves" and "Our Wonderful Lives"
Lows: A small handful of tracks could've been left off.
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