CD Reviews

Styx - 'Regeneration Volume I And II' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 14, 2012    
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Thirteen extremely faithfully re-recorded Styx favourites.

Kiss did it, Journey offered one up as a bonus disc to a new album and Scorpions have recently followed the trend, although they did add some well arranged and reworked cover versions. Now Styx are also getting in on the act. So what is the “deed” to which I refer? Well, it is the rather questionable act of a band rerecording their own classic songs with their current line up and releasing it not as a ‘Greatest Hits’ set, but as a bona-fide new album.

Previously available over the past couple of years at Styx’s concerts, ‘Regeneration I & II’ finds two EP’s worth of tracks packaged together in a simple, booklet-less digi-pack, which houses a total of thirteen extremely faithfully re-recorded Styx favourites and one new song in the shape of the by-numbers power ballad ‘Difference In The World’. Rather oddly the last two tracks which round out this collection are reworked songs from Tommy Shaw’s “Super-Group” Damn Yankees, where he shared the stage with Jack Blades and Ted Nugent.

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Now I’m a self confessed fan of Styx and have been for many a year and while hearing songs which are genuinely close to my heart is always a joy, the versions here are so identical to the originals, I’m really not sure what purpose this album serves. Obviously the most apparent difference is that apart from guitarists and vocalists Tommy Shaw and James ‘JY’ Young, Styx 2011 is a very different beast than that which recorded the definitive versions of these tracks, although in the supremely talented Lawrence Gowan, the band have found a true Dennis DeYoung a-like. Gowan really does make every effort (and does so very well) to sound like his predecessor and while that certainly leaves these songs intact, it does also remove the possibility of hearing something that is at least a little removed from the versions we already know and love. That said, Shaw and Young both sound amazingly youthful considering that most of these songs saw the light of day in the mid 70’s and in bassist Ricky Phillips and drummer Todd Sucherman they have discovered an expertly drilled rhythm section. The picture of the band on the inside of this pack also shows original bassist Chuck Panozzo, who does still travel and perform live with the band, however it would appear that he doesn’t actually play on this release. As for the two Damn Yankees songs, well neither ‘Coming Of Age’ or ‘High Enough’ really improves on the original DY version (let’s be honest, they don’t really belong on this album), which really sums up the problem with this whole release.

If you need a Styx compilation with wonderful renditions of songs like ‘Come Sail Away’, ‘Sing For The Day’, ‘Miss America’ or ‘Too Much Time On My Hands’, then ‘Regeneration I & II’, will be an album you’ll love, but for those who already have them then it is entirely up to yourself whether one decent, but not spectacular new song is enough of an incentive to invest in this album.

Steven Reid

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