Styx blends the progressive, keyboard-oriented intellectualism of primitive Yes with the gritty CroMagnon sense of guitar mania that used to be equated with such third-generation bands as Grand Funk and Bloodrock. Styx also possesses a strong sense of musical dramatics: on one album, the group actually equaled the foreboding drama of the Doors’ “Horse Latitudes” with an ode to lava and fire entitled “Krakatoa.”
Grand Illusion sallies forth with cuts that encompass the rage of heavy metal and the lugubrious smoothness of the “progressive” haze. The most dynamic song on the album, “Miss America,” simply reeks of misogynistic misdirection. What Styx thinks is a compliance with current feminist fashion turns out to be nothing more than a spiteful acquiescence to sexual bigotry and impotence. Styx better watch out because if Bert Parks ever heard this song he’d send his legions of runners-up to stomp the group back into its Stygian depths. The rest of Grand Illusion maintains the same kind of musical imagery Styx has had all along: simple, effective noise for the teenager in search of a progressive thrill.