Arguably America's first pomp rock album, the Styx debut is nothing short of a rock classic. Whatever the politics of the band at the time, the Styx debut is a solid effort and belongs in every serious collection and once again it's a reminder of just how great this band were and how far they have fallen from grace.
Styx's third record 'The Serpent Is Rising' is the strongest of the Wooden Nickel era albums with the trademark mixture of Midwest hard rock and British progressive rock that would take them from Chicago night clubs and high school gymnasiums to Madison Square Garden and the L.A Forum a few years later.
On 'Equinox', Styx first began their transition from progressive/pomp rock to an altogether more commercial (and thus palatable) brand of pomp. It was a precursor of things to come and one which paved the way for their enduring commercial success.
The album offered up some unusual flavours which might have worked well for fans of British pop and Beatles like mania, but the hard rockers among us might have wondered where the Styx sting had disappeared to, especially following on from the hard as nails 'Pieces Of Eight' album.
'Paradise Theatre' successfully managed to bridge the gap for those long term fans of 'Equinox' and earlier, together with those new recruits won over by 'Cornerstone'. Presumably the album's nostalgic tone also struck a chord with a disillusioned American public at large (grown weary of the Carter administration). They purchased 'Paradise Theatre' by the truckload sending it to the pinnacle of the US album charts whereupon Styx became the first group to be awarded four consecutive multi-platinum albums.
Despite all the tension in the band and widespread public derision, 'Kilroy Was Here' provided yet another multi platinum success for Styx, with two massive hits into the bargain. I would hesitate to call it an AOR classic, but it has plenty of strong points to discover beyond the obvious hits.