"The Mission", STYX's sixteenth studio album and its most ambitious, most challenging, and most rewarding release to date, will arrive on June 16 via the band's label, Alpha Dog 2T/UMe.
The first single, "Gone Gone Gone", was released today at radio and online retail outlets. A video can be seen below.
"The planets truly aligned for 'The Mission', 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'."
As founding guitarist James "JY" Young continues: "In the fourtieth-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" is an aurally adventurous 43-minute thrill ride that chronicles the trials, tribulations, and ultimate triumphs of the first manned mission to Mars in the year 2033. From the hopeful drive of "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 album succeeds in delivering the greater good from a band that continues to fire on all cylinders, forty-five years after signing its first recording contract.
In fact, "The Mission" — which was 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: the aforementioned guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, co-founding guitarist/vocalist James "JY" 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." Concludes Panozzo, "'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." And that's the gist of "The Mission", STYX's bold sonic voyage into an exciting new frontier with the goal of discovering how the universe's mysteries unfold — and then creating the perfect soundtrack to accompany it.
"The Mission" track listing:
02. Gone Gone Gone
03. Hundred Million Miles From Home
04. Trouble At The Big Show
06. Radio Silence
07. The Greater Good
08. Time May Bend
09. Ten Thousand Ways To Be Wrong
10. Red Storm
11. All Systems Stable
13. The Outpost
14. Mission to Mars
Photo credit: Jason Powell