Friday, June 18, 2021

Styx released Crash of the Crown

Crash of the Crown


Released: June 18, 2021

Peak: 114 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: veteran classic rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. The Fight of Our Lives [1:54]
  2. A Monster (Shaw, Evankovich, Gowan) [3:27]
  3. Reveries [3:03] (6/4/21, --)
  4. Hold Back the Darkness [3:58]
  5. Save Us from Ourselves [3:02]
  6. Crash of the Crown (Shaw, Evankovich, Gowan) [3:46] (5/6/21, --)
  7. Our Wonderful Lives [3:06]
  8. Common Ground (Shaw, Evankovich, Gowan) [4:00]
  9. Sound the Alarm [3:25]
  10. Long Live the King (Evankovich) [2:33]
  11. Lost at Sea (Gowan) [0:38]
  12. Coming Out the Other Side (Shaw, Evankovich, Phillips) [3:48]
  13. To Those [3:01]
  14. Another Farewell (Evankovich) [0:26]
  15. Stream (Shaw) [2:56]

Songs are written by Tommy Shaw and Will Evankovich unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 43:03

The Players:

  • Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar)
  • James Young (guitar, vocals)
  • Chuck Panozzo (bass)
  • Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards)
  • Ricky Phillips (bass)
  • Todd Sucherman (drums, percussion)


3.529 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)

About the Album:

Styx returns with its 17th album, four years after 2017’s The Mission. The “15-song supersonic cyclone…encapsulates universal emotions, wrestles with top-of-mind issues, and celebrates personal triumphs over adversity in ways everyone can relate to personally.” SWCrash of the Crown is a modern-day sonic chronograph of the endless regenerative cycle of the rise and fall – and rise again – of our shared human experience.” SW

The album brings back the same players who appeared on The Mission and sees Will Evankovich, who produced The Mission returns in the same capacity here and co-writes most of the songs. He also plays “a multitude of instruments throughout the entire album.” SW

Reveries, with its “wistful observational musings,” SW is “an instantly catchy song featuring STYX’s patented, always-uplifting four- and sometimes five-part harmonious vocal blend on its choruses.” SW The song date back to The Mission. SW

“The unmistakable snarl of A MonsterSW is “bolstered by a whirlwind outro solo from co-founding guitarist/vocalist James “JY” Young.” SW It “was born and bred during a scenic tour break in British Columbia.” SW

There’s a “breathe-easier singalong mantra that permeates Sound the Alarm.” SW “The angelic vocal bridge that cements the relieved bliss” SW of that song “reached final fruition during the recording process itself.” SW

There’s also “the dark yet redemptively hopeful cautionary tale that frames Hold Back the Darkness.” SW and “the elegiac communal grace of To Those.” SW

Regarding the impact of the pandemic on the recording process, chief songwriter Tommy Shaw said, “Absolutely no obstacles were going to get in the way of how we approached creating this album…and everything came out exactly the way we wanted to hear it.” SW Recording happened primarily at Shaw’s home studio in Nashville, “albeit in strategic, quarantine-approved doses.” SW Bassist Ricky Phillips said, “Because we connected so well as a band when we recorded The Mission, I just had to go there to make my contributions.” SW

Similarly, original bassist Chuck Panozzo said, “I traveled over 900 miles by car to record with Will and Tommy in person. They’re both so good at getting the best bass performances out of me in the studio. Making that trip to Nashville was the highlight of my year!” SW He contributes “his signature low-end tone for the inspirational Our Wonderful Lives and the acute aquatic fever dream Lost at Sea.” SW

Shaw previewed an acoustic version of “Lives” at the Big Love Benefit Concert which streamed online in January 2021. It is “a track that serves as a stirring ode to taking stock of the finer points of life amidst trying times.” SW It also marks the first appearance of banjo on a Styx song. Shaw said, “I never imagined playing banjo on a STYX record…but as we were cutting ‘Our Wonderful Lives,’ I thought maybe a touch of Americana might work — so I auditioned it, and it felt like it belonged.” SW The song also features a “jubilant piccolo trumpet solo from guest performer Steve Patrick, which exhibits quite the deliberate Beatlesque flair.” SW

Some songs “were workshopped in hotel rooms all across the continent while the band was on tour.” SW There were others which pre-dated the lockdown. Keyboardist and singer Lawrence Gowan “had laid down many vocal and instrumental tracks in Nashville in the fall of 2019, including some of the synthesized flourishes that reign over the unifying come-together entreaty of Common Ground that recall The Who at their Quadrophenia peak.” SW He recorded other parts from his homebase in Toronto. SW

The title track “holds the unique distinction of featuring three lead vocalists, with JY lending his distinctive baritone to the opening verses, Tommy heading up the heroic stacked-vocal middle section, and Lawrence taking the lead for the final verse.” SW Young compared it to how he and Shaw traded lead vocals on 1981’s “Snowblind.” It received its world premiere during Eddie Trunk’s Sirius XM show “Trunk Nation.” SW

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First posted 6/18/2021; last updated 8/3/2021.

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