Like most students, Charlie Hyde loved university life. She lived with friends, enjoyed her English literature degree, spent her evenings at comedy gigs and made great memories. Unlike most students, she also spent the three years saving and investing a large chunk of her student loan so that she She lived with friends, enjoyed her English literature degree, spent Homeowners who rely on oil to heat their homes and fire up their Agas face the highest bill increases this winter.
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Behind the scenes details of decisions made by the Scottish Nicola Sturgeon kept Scotland in the dark over its first mass Covid outbreak against the advice of her health minister and the She joined campaigners from Refuge, a charity that campaigns against violence against women, to parade life-sized cardboard cut-outs, each representing one of the 16 women killed Sir Patrick Stewart, the actor, has endorsed the campaign to legalise assisted dying in Scotland.
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Well done to whoever It had to happen. Callum Robinson, under fire in some quarters for not getting the Covid vaccination, double jabbed Azerbaijan here in Baku to give Stephen Kenny his first competitive win in his 17th game in charge as Ireland manager. Callum Robinson, under fire in some quarters for not Various - The Immediate Collection - From The Era That Inspired Brit Pop (CD) the Covid Right from the start, I'll admit that I never got into Styx back in the day.
Certainly, I was familiar with them and even liked some of their tunes that got some play, but I never owned any of their albums.
Being subscribed to a streaming service today, I have no hesitation is sampling anything, so when I saw this coming, I thought, why not! The first track seemed like a repeat of the signature, Styx sound that I was familiar with, albeit with a good, modern production quality.
Hmmm, not sure how much of this I will bother with. Second track starts and I'm thinking, ok, there's something more here. I stuck around for the whole ride.
Sure, there were a few more 80's rock moments, but they were quite acceptable and there was so much goodness surrounding it that I had zero regrets giving 43 minutes to Styx.
In fact, I have listened to it several more times and recommended it to a few friends, and I am recommending it to you all. It's a nice album with the right balance of nostalgic elements and some newer sounds, all fitting together well, as you would hope a veteran band would produce but many don't!
Crash of the Crown is a thoroughly enjoyable, surprising ride. Hop on! Deterred from the commercial failure of the last album, the band was always hesitant to throw new songs in the pool. However, seemingly finding a new source of inspiration, Tommy Shaw teamed up with songwriting partner Will Evankovich to write new music. This eventually led to s "The Mission.
However, this album actually blew me away, and it seemingly had a similar effect on fans who were willing to embrace this current lineup of the band. You see, this album didn't feel like a return to form. Instead, it was something new, a progression, a reinvention. While classic elements of their sound still remained in the mix, I found this record to be not only among one of their most progressive, but also very bold and ballsy.
They sounded tight, inspired, and the production and songs were excellent. The drumming of Todd Sucherman also just took things to a new level, dudes insane.
Since its release, I've always held it as the second best Styx record. That brings us to the present, Styx has released the follow-up to that record with Crash of the Crown and once again, they've really surprised me with just how well they've moved their sound into the 21st century compared to many of their contemporaries. The production is once again extremely rich, potentially even better than ever with more of an emphasis on embracing ear candy electronic and percussive subtleties.
This album, like The Mission, is a concept record, perhaps a little looser than its predecessor in that respect. It falls into one cohesive unit with all the songs flowing into one another with different motifs and melodies recurring throughout the record.
I mentioned that The Mission to me, was likely their record that was the most rooted in progressive rock. This is a straight up progressive rock album with pop rock sensibilities, rather than the other way around like it tended to be on their 70s albums.
Once again, the drumming! Todd Sucherman just cruises through a multitude of odd meters and rapid structural change-ups across this record. Tommy Shaw just sounds exactly the same as he did in the mid 70's, his voice simply hasn't aged. I can't quite say the same for James Young, but he only has one lead vocal on this album and it's also a shared lead vocal at that.
Very few bands of this age ever sound this inspired and fierce to me. Also unlike many contemporaries, this isn't a nostalgia act. This is a band that's pushing themselves creatively and trying all sorts of new sounds and song structures, and that's likely going to be a turn off to a chunk of their fanbase which? That's alright though. At the very least, they've earned back my respect with these last two records for this reason.
Let's get into the songs now. The Fight of Our Lives is a short opener that quickly introduces a motif that will pop up again later in the title track. The band quickly hits you with a pretty signature large-scale Styx harmony. This track acts as a bit of an overture to the album, but ultimately, Various - The Immediate Collection - From The Era That Inspired Brit Pop (CD) this does a good job of kicking off the album in an energetic fashion, there's much higher peaks to be reached later on.
For example, the following track "A Monster. It opens with a cool menacing main riff before flowing right into a nice acoustic guitar backed verse. The synth melodies across this song really stick with me and always act as a nice little immediate payoff within the music whenever they pop up. This track gives me some strong Dream Theater vibes, especially in the closing minute where Gowan seems to channel Jordan Rudess for a sweet solo to close things off.
One of the best tracks here, really tight vocal performance as well which is somewhat of a constant across this record. Reveries is a really pleasant and playful track similar to Fooling Yourself off the Grand Illusion, but now with Gowan delivering the lead vocal. It has a very summery vibe to it with another big chorus and uplifting synth lead. This song also packs a pretty fiery guitar solo in the middle that adds a little "umph" to it.
Hold Back The Darkness is a somewhat more intimate and darker song. I like a lot of the production effects in this track, and the somewhat slowburner cadence behind it is a nice change up as well. While I have no particular complaints, it just ends up falling a little middle of the pack on the album, as does the following track Save Us From Ourselves.
Again, nothing blatantly wrong here. It just doesn't stand out to me. Perhaps extending it by a little bit and throwing in a little more variety would have benefitted it. That's something you may notice on this album, the songs are all very short.
It's pretty clear this tracklisting was designed for a full album front to back listen, but on a couple tracks I do feel there's room for a little more development and extension and this is one of them. The titular track that follows this up however, similarly to a Various - The Immediate Collection - From The Era That Inspired Brit Pop (CD) accomplishes plenty in its runtime just shy of 4 minutes. All three lead vocalists get a little time to shine here and structurally this track is broken up into three different sections to complement the vocal shifts.
Gowan transitions us into the next passage of the song with a cool little symphonic sounding synth motif before it kicks into Tommy Shaws portion of the song.
The groove! Closing the song is a really rampaging and stomping finale with some cheeky little nods to Queen in the guitars and vocal deliveries. The album really hits a stride starting with this track, as Our Wonderful Lives totally soars. I feel bad because I think I've said this word a good four times already in this review, but man, this song is so incredibly uplifting. It just really hits the spot, especially now in this time where I'm fortunate enough to live in a place where my life is more or less, back to normal.
For those of you not quite there, please hang in there! This track has one of the strongest hooks on the record, and towards the end of the track there's some nice Beatles-esque horns.
Keeping this momentum, Common Ground comes up next and once more, stands tall as one of the best songs on this album. Once more, the hook is incredibly inspiring. I also really like the little change of tone in the instrumental halfway through this song, as well as the tradeoff of lead vocals towards the end. Continuing this streak is Sound the Alarm, a very pretty ballad covering ground that sounds both somber, yet hopeful at the same time.
Funnily enough, this one reminds me a little bit of Take Away My Pain by Dream Theater, which honestly when you really listen, sounds more like a Styx song than it does a Dream Theater song. The keys act as a strong backbone to this song, properly setting the stage for an emotional delivery from Shaw on lead vocals. The next track Long Live The King doesn't quite stand out as much as the sweet streak of tracks that preceded it, but the instrumentation on this song is really unique in its darker somewhat windier tone.
Lost at Sea is a short little dreamy interlude that brings us into another highlight in 'Coming Out The Other Side,' which is kind of a good summary for what I feel like my life has been like as of late.
The guitar solo on this track is probably my favorite across the whole album. Please select Female Male Unspecified. This is your profile URL. Pick one that's 25 characters or less and includes a letter. You can throw in numbers, dots and dashes, too. Pick one that's hard-to-crack, only known by you, and at least 6 characters long.
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