STYX – Paradise Theater [Audio Fidelity SACD AFZ 174] (2014)
The 10th album from STYX “Paradise Theater” was their greatest commercial triumph and their only #1 in the charts, achieving triple-platinum sales.
It remains one of the best examples of the convergence between progressive rock and AOR which typified the arena rock sound of the top groups of the late-seventies and early-eighties such as Journey, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick and Kansas.
Indeed, “Paradise Theater” is for Styx their commercial breakthrough as it was ‘Escape’ for Journey, ‘Hi Infidelity’ for REO Speedwagon and Foreigner with ‘4’.
Its talented core including Dennis DeYoung, Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Chuck Panozzo & John Panozzo, with this album, finally enjoyed a resounding success.
“Paradise Theater” produced as well three Billboard Hot 100 single hits; “The Best of Times”, “Nothing Ever Goes As Planned” and “Too Much Time on My Hands” considered amont Tommy Shaw’s finest compositions ever.
Another track, “Rockin’ The Paradise” reached #8 on the Top Rock Track Chart, and of course we have one of my favorite Styx songs ever; the wonderful “Snowblind”.
Now “Paradise Theater” is being remastered by audiophile specialists Audio Fidelity by the efficient Kevin Gray based on the original US analog tape and pressed on a 24K gold SACD.
This remaster sounds incredible.
DeYoung’s and Shaw’s vocals project awesomely, and the instruments all come through clearly, pristine, with a huge low end and a rich, full sound.
The bass is much better defined, because since Chuck Panozzo plays a lot of octave notes up on the neck, his ‘touch’ can sometimes get lost in the mix. The remaster has enhanced these ‘lost harmonies’ and now adds a lot of punch to the songs. This is the best version of “Snowblind” I’ve heard. I love it.
Audio Fidelity has done an amazing job on this SACD, the louder you play it, the better that album sounds.
I have many of their terrific remastered releases, but “Paradise Theater” excels. One bets that when they reach out to other bands to give them their specialized audio treatment, Audio Fidelity will use this disc as a sales tool.
A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED purchase.
01 – A.D. 1928
02 – Rockin’ The Paradise
03 – Too Much Time On My Hands
04 – Nothing Ever Goes As Planned
05 – The Best Of Times
06 – Lonely People
07 – She Cares
08 – Snowblind
09 – Half-Penny, Two-Penny
10 – A.D. 1958
11 – State Street Sadie
Dennis DeYoung – Keyboards, Vocals
Tommy Shaw – Guitars, Vocals, Vocoder
James Young – Guitar, Vocals
Chuck Panozzo – Bass
John Panozzo – Drums, Percussion
BUY IT !