Paradise Theater

SKU: CD3240
Label:
A&M Records
Category:
Classic Rock
Add to wishlist 

"After successfully establishing themselves as one of America's best commercial progressive rock bands of the late '70s with albums like The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight, Chicago's Styx had taken a dubious step towards pop overkill with singer Dennis DeYoung's ballad "Babe." The centerpiece of 1979's uneven Cornerstone album, the number one single sowed the seeds of disaster for the group by pitching DeYoung's increasingly mainstream ambitions against the group's more conservative songwriters, Tommy Shaw and James "JY" Young. Hence, what had once been a healthy competitive spirit within the band quickly deteriorated into bitter co-existence during the sessions for 1980's Paradise Theater -- and all-out warfare by the time of 1983's infamous Kilroy Was Here. For the time being, however, Paradise Theater seemed to represent the best of both worlds, since its loose concept about the roaring '20s heyday and eventual decline of an imaginary theater (used as a metaphor for the American experience in general, etc., etc.) seemed to satisfy both of the band's camps with its return to complex hard rock (purists Shaw and JY) while sparing no amount of pomp and grandeur (DeYoung). The stage is set by the first track, "A.D. 1928," which features a lonely DeYoung on piano and vocals introducing the album's recurring musical theme before launching into "Rockin' the Paradise" -- a total team effort of wonderfully stripped down hard rock. From this point forward, DeYoung's compositions ("Nothing Ever Goes as Planned," "The Best of Times") continue to stick close to the overall storyline, while Shaw's ("Too Much Time on My Hands," "She Cares") try to resist thematic restrictions as best they can. Among these, "The Best of Times" -- with its deliberate, marching rhythm -- remains one of the more improbable Top Ten hits of the decade (somehow it just works), while "Too Much Time on My Hands" figures among Shaw's finest singles ever. As for JY, the band's third songwriter (and resident peacekeeper) is only slightly more cooperative with the Paradise Theater concept. His edgier compositions include the desolate tale of drug addiction, "Snowblind," and the rollicking opus "Half-Penny, Two-Penny," which infuses a graphic depiction of inner city decadence with a final, small glimmer of hope and redemption. The song also leads straight into the album's beautiful saxophone-led epilogue, "A.D. 1958," which once again reveals MC DeYoung alone at his piano. A resounding success, Paradise Theater would become Styx's greatest commercial triumph; and in retrospect, it remains one of the best examples of the convergence between progressive rock and AOR which typified the sound of the era's top groups (Journey, Kansas, etc.). For Styx, its success would spell both their temporary saving grace and ultimate doom, as the creative forces which had already been tearing at the band's core finally reached unbearable levels three years later. It is no wonder that when the band reunited after over a decade of bad blood, all the music released post-1980 was left on the cutting room floor -- further proof that Paradise Theater was truly the best of times." - Allmusic Guide

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • Guitarist/vocalist Clay Withrow is the heart and soul behind Vangough.  He's made some fine albums in the past but this is clearly his best as you can tell that he's exerting more of his own vision.  The previous albums were fine slices of progressive metal, bu they were clearly influenced heavily by Pain Of Salvation.  While there is some of that early PoS feel, Between The Madness has more of Clay than Daniel.  Its very angst driven music - from the vocals to the grinding guitar solos.  This is one pissed off band.  Its a non-stop prog metal roller coaster ride.  BUY OR DIE!"Over the last two full-length albums leading up to this, the band’s most important release, one thing is strikingly clear: Vangough has been eating their Wheaties. Whereas the last album couldn't find its center of gravity despite merits and high replay value, "Between The Madness" bridges the gap between Vangough's left brain and right brain. Moreover, the band feels much more balanced with the addition of drummer Kyle Haws. Further, it sounds like mastermind Clay Withrow had pushed himself beyond his limits to expand the Vangough tone palate.On the “Acoustic Scars” EP, Withrow developed a vocal technique that finds full maturation on "Between The Madness:” the rage-sing. Almost a yell, but neither a scream nor a simple vocal fry and free of any pitch interference, Withrow's rage-sing makes the lyrical intent as clear as it can be. The album offers bile to many parties, lyrically, and puts the listener behind a sometimes uncomfortable but necessary first-person perspective: any other perspective simply would not do justice to the intent. Vangough has always been more effective at conveying feelings than telling stories, but never before had the songs had such a natural novel-like flow to them. All the while, Withrow peppers his versatile clean singing with elaborate layers of harmony and polyphony, making for subtly different listening experiences each time.The overall sound hasn't drastically changed, and even shows some musical nods to prior songs. In "Vaudeville Nation," a scathing condemnation of a track, a clever link is established with "Mannikin Parade" around 4:28. The main melody of the latter is re-introduced on guitars in a straight-played manner. Later in the song, a similar "Mannikin Parade" vocal melody emerges in the line "...and burn the circus to the ground," and up through the yell following it. Further, continuing the storyline started with "Road To Blighttown" on the “Acoustic Scars” EP, "Depths of Blighttown" adds a fitting dark and ominous chapter to the story.The added input from Haws and bassist Jeren Martin have made the songs seem more logical, acting as balancing forces. The drumming style of Haws is noticeably organized, nuanced, and thought-out and could be accurately categorized as a blend of the styles of Lamb of God's Chris Adler, Opeth-era Martin Lopez, and Pain of Salvation-era Johan Langell. The mixing job by Sterling Winfield is a stunning step forward for the band as well, and the drum sound is particularly remarkable for its bright, punchy, but balanced character. Lead guitarist Jay Gleason makes several shred-tastic appearances to accentuate the technicality of Vangough's instrumentation, while Justus Johnston and Jose Palacios make appearances on strings to further amplify the feeling of the songs and add a superb creep factor touching on Resident Evil levels at times.No song feels out of place or unessential, with "Infestation," "Schizophrenia," "Vaudeville Nation," "Useless," and "Corporatocracy" as highlights. The dynamic growth between “Kingdom of Ruin” and “Between The Madness” makes this album out to be Vangough's “Blackwater Park,” what many will no doubt cite as the band’s seminal record. Put simply, there has never been a better time to jump off of whatever progressive metal train you've been on and ride with Vangough. "Into the dark I take you," Withrow jabs at us. Make sure your seatbelts are securely fastened." - Metal Underground
    $11.00
  • Glass Hammer get all existential on us...Perilous is the new band's new concept album about a man dealing with grand scale issues like mortality.  A bit of a downer but like all Glass Hammer projects there is a ray of sunshine at the end.  Glass Hammer is fronted by Jon Davison who was plucked away by the remaining members of Yes for current tours and cruises.  He remains a member of GH as well.  Naturally with the voice of a Jon Anderson sound alike, the music bears remarkable similarity to Yes.  Some of Fred Schendel's piano work reminds a bit of Going For The One.  When Fred is hammering away on the organ the music takes on a Kansas quality.  So essentially not much has changed.  Glass Hammer's sound has pretty much evolved into a Yes/Kansas hybrid over the past decade and there it remains.
    $13.00
  • Second album from this French gothic metal band masterminded by Vynce Leff.  Odd situation...for a couple of years the band was fronted by Clementine Delauney, elevating the band's status as they went on tour with Delain.  Clementine left before this album was recorded, touring with Serenity so there is no studio documentation of her as a member of the band.  She has now been replaced Elvyne Lorient. Whyzdom's music is definitely molded in a similar fashion to Delain and Within Temptation.  Its very heavily symphonic and Leff has incorporated a choir into the mix lending an even bigger, more bombastic sound.  Fans of Delain's April Rain should check this one.
    $15.00
  • "Power metal has always been as fun as it is ridiculous. I may be overstepping my bounds, but if any bands care to disagree, let their dragons smite me where I stand. Dark Moor has been around since, what feels like, the beginning of time. Actually, it was closer to the late '90s when _Shadowland_ was released. Since their glorious debut into the golden halls of classical influenced power metal, the band has gone through serious line-up changes, including the 2003 departure of vocalist Elisa Martin. I would say that Dark Moor has changed drastically since 1999, but then again I would be overstepping my bounds. Fans have been divided over Martin led Dark Moor versus the new line-up with rich tenor Alfred Romero taking vocal duties. _Ancestral Romance_ is the band's eighth album, continuing the tradition of making music which sounds like battle themes for "Final Fantasy" games. _Ancestral Romance_ travels down well worn paths dug and paved by Blind Guardian, Helloween and Stratovarius. In fact, Dark Moor does nothing which breaks tradition with European power metal as well as previous releases. Despite its conceptual shortcomings, _Ancestral Romance_ does everything it should, at the right time and with the level of energy which soars straight through a vaulted roof.Stark realism hasn't always been a popular subject for power metal, as most albums are dedicated to high fantasy and various forms of speculative fiction. _Ancestral Romance_ deviates slightly with its pastoral paintings dedicated to Spanish folklore. If I could describe a song as framed and gilded in ornate gold, I would. While there is some historic truth to many songs, the level of fiction present is enough to make Rhapsody of Fire blush. Everything is inspired by actual events, and those events have been dramatized, exaggerated and heavy diffused. There are some obvious Spanish songs, such as the Don Quixote ballad " Tilt at Windmills", while others are more specific, like the Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar centered "Mio Cid". The Spanish Golden Age is usually not a popular period of inspiration, however, "Ah, Wretched Me" and its tribute to Pedro Calderón de la Barca says otherwise. _Ancestral Romance_ reads like the syllabus to a grad level Spanish literature class. It's exclusivity and somewhat obscure subject matter makes this portion of the record a highlight and selling point.There are, however, downfalls such as the middle selection entitled "Just Rock". I would try to brush this song off as a poor translation, but anything named "Just Rock" has one unfortunate conclusion. The congratulatory nature of "Just Rock" and masculine celebration of music in general feels silly as a midpoint pep rally which no one asked for. I am not pointing any fingers, but "Just Rock" may or may not have the lyrics "You feel the beat, you get a shock / when your soul harmonized with rock". This song completely disrupts a perfect afternoon with a coerced battle hymn. Dark Moor interrupts your picnic by dragging their muddy feet on the blanket. Luckily, after this shipwreck, the album moves along swimmingly until the end._Ancestral Romance_ could also be praised for its position on tempo. Speed, for Dark Moor, isn't necessarily the end goal as with most power metal. While the ferocity of DragonForce and Sonata Artica is fun, it is sometimes treated as a technical checkmate. Dark Moor coasts at midspeed while still showing off technical prowess and unnecessary bass solos. The cruising speed of Manowar's _In Glory Ride_ and Iced Earth's _Night of the Stormrider_ worked fine in the past and works again for _Ancestral Romance_.It is hard to fault a band for doing everything with textbook style and predictable grace. Dark Moor has made it apparent they intend on skipping forward with little to no change. There is some admiration granted to an artist working through a style over the course of eight albums. Each album is another step in becoming folk heroes or possibility having their faces engraved on coins. _Ancestral Romance_ , for better or worse, is everything you expect it to be and nothing more." - chroniclesofchaos.com
    $6.00
  • "Jeff Beck returns two years after the ten-years-in-the-making Who Else?, and You Had It Coming isn't surprising just for its rapidity, but for its music. From the moment the electronicized, post-rave beats of "Earthquake" kick off the record, it's clear that Beck isn't content to stay in place -- he's trying to adapt to the modern world. To a certain extent, this isn't an entirely new phenomenon, since each of his records is clearly, inextricably of its time, from the crunching metal of Truth through the breezy jazz fusion of Blow By Blow to the modernized album rock of Guitar Shop. This is just another side of that, as Beck works with electronic music, both noisy and new age introspective. It's a bit clever, actually, since Beck's playing has always been otherworldly, dipping, bending, and sounding like anything other than a normal guitar. The problem is, when he's surrounded by lockstep, processed beats and gurgling synths, his guitar doesn't leap to the forefront and capture attention the way it does on his best recordings. Still, there's something to be said for the effort, because even if it doesn't sound like a Beck record, it isn't a bad record, and it's certainly a helluva lot more successful than Clapton's similar forays into these waters. Besides, knowing that he knocked this out so quickly makes it a little endearing." - All Music Guide
    $7.00
  • Superb new collaborative effort between noted Israeli musician Aviv Geffen and Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson. Chris Maitland and Gavin Harrison play drums and there is also some orchestration. The music bears a strong resemblence to "In Absentia". It has an emotional inner space driven feel....mostly emphasizing serenity and melody but the occassional hard edge comes along to bite you in the butt. Easily recommended to fans of Porcupine Tree.
    $15.00
  • Wonderful new Christian Vander/Magma tribute set coordinated and released by Soleil Zeuhl. There are 25 different bands participating - some of the "higher profile" names include Minimum Vital, Klaus Blasquiz, Pochakaite Malko, Patrick Gautheri, Setna, Simon Steensland, Forgas Band Phenomena, Guapo, Jannick Top, Gerard Prevost Trio, Neom, and as they say...many more!
    $11.00
  • "The Aristocrats by any measure the hottest new band in instrumental rock/fusion today rewrote their own rules for their third studio album, Tres Caballeros. After two fairly raw trio albums, guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia/GPS), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Dethklok) and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani) set up camp at legendary Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood, CA, where Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen all recorded landmark albums. The result: Nine new compositions of greater sonic depth and breadth than ever before, with unique textures and lush layering augmenting the band s preternatural ability to improvise at the highest levels possible. But it s all still tempered with a steadfast refusal to take themselves too seriously, and The Aristocrats are still having more fun than a fusion band has any right to have. We ve learned a lot since we started this band four years, three studio albums, two live DVDs and about a billion notes ago! and I think our latest offering reflects this in all kinds of ways, says guitarist Guthrie Govan. The decision to road-test our new material in front of a live audience before commencing the recording process; the choice to record in a studio which had some thoroughly inspiring rock'n'roll "mojo"; our sudden urge to become more bold and experimental with overdubs rather than feeling any pressure to record exclusively in a strict trio format... all of this has had some kind of positive effect on the way the new record came out. Plus, I think the material on this album is some of the most interesting stuff we ve ever written for each other, so... here s hoping our noble listeners will like the finished product as much as we do! Deluxe Edition Bonus DVD Features 30min documentary w/exclusive individual interviews, studio & live footage Bonus audio (outtakes/demos) & group interview"
    $19.00
  • First it was Circus Maximus and now Spheric Universe Experience.  The fourth album from this French metal band finds them moving away from their progressive roots.  The New Eve is more immediate and in your face.  Their trademark complexity is pretty much gone.  Instead you get a lot of down tuned guitar crunch.  Keyboards are present but for the most part soloing seems to be a thing of the past.  Fred's sound likes on an industrial edge as the keys are used to punctuate the guitars.  At times the old SUE of Anima and Unreal pops up but its not as often as I'd like.  I'm not sure what the rationale was for the band to go in this direction.  Only their fans will be able to decide if it was a success.
    $14.00
  • According to the label's blurb this is "a must-have for all fans of Hammerfall, Sabaton, Helloween, & Iron Maiden". Believe it - record companies never lie.
    $15.00
  • New album from this Austrian symphonic metal band.  The band has been a bit of a revolving door with vocalists but Maxi Nil has settled in nicely.  The music is based in the traditional female fronted gothic style with clean male vocals trading leads back and forth.  This time around I hear more of a poppier, catchy sound - somewhat like the direction Delain is moving towards.  Highly recommended to fans of the genre (I wave my hand proudly).  Digipak edition with one bonus track.
    $12.00
  • The Yes Album is the second in a series of remixed and expanded Yes albums.Presented in a mini vinyl replica gatefold card sleeve (with protective inner sleeves) with booklet featuring new sleeve notes by Sid Smith, along with rare photos and archive material, the album has been mixed for 5.1 Surround Sound from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson and is fully approved by Yes.The CD features a new stereo album mix by Steven Wilson, the studio version of Clap and an extended version of A Venture.The blu-ray features:- 5.1 PCM Surround Sound and High Resolution Stereo mixes (24bit 96khz).- the original album mix in a hi-res flat transfer from the original stereo master tape source (24bit/192khz).- a complete alternate album running order drawn from live tracks, singles edits & an extended mix.- exclusive instrumental versions of all new mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz).- exclusive needle-drop of an original UK vinyl A1/B1 pressing transferred in 24bit/96khz audio.The ultimate way to enjoy the album that helped establish Yes's reputation as a creative force to be reckoned with.CD - New Stereo Mixes:1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeAdditional Tracks:7. Clap (Studio Version)8. A Venture (Extended)Blu-Ray (Region 0, NTSC):Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio- Album mixed in 5.1 Surround- New Album mix- Original Album mix (flat transfer)- New Album mix (instrumental version)- Alternate version of The Yes Album drawn from live tracks, singles edits & an extended mixPlus further audio extras some exclusive to the Blu-Ray edition.NTSC, all regions, LPCM playable in all Blu-Ray players & Blu-Ray drivesBlu-Ray - Full Track Listing:New Stereo Mixes 24/96 MLP Lossless:1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeSurround Mixes (24/96 MLP Lossless):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeOriginal Stereo Mixes (Flat Transfer from original master 24/96 MLP Lossless):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeAdditional Material:The Alternate Album :1. Yours Is No Disgrace (Live, London 1971)2. Clap (Studio Version)3. Starship Trooper (single edit)Life seeker4. I've Seen All Good People (Live, London 1971)5. A Venture (extended mix)6. Perpetual Change (Live, New Haven 1971)Blu-Ray Exclusive:Single versions, edits & live:1. Your Move - single version, stereo2. Clap - single version, mono3. America - Live, London 19714. It's Love - Live, London 19715. Your Move - single version, monoNew Stereo Instrumental Mixes (24/96 LPCM):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual ChangeNeedle-drop (A1/B1 UK vinyl transfer 24/96 LPCM):Original stereo, archived master transfer (Flat Transfer 24/96 LPCM):1. Yours Is No Disgrace2. Clap3. Starship Trooper: Life Seeker / Disillusion / Wurm4. I've Seen All Good People: Your Move / All Good People5. A Venture6. Perpetual Change 
    $25.00
  • The band's second album, originally released on Brain in 1973, is another stone cold killer. You have to love this - a disc filled with long jamming tracks of frenetic sax, guitar and organ soloing. The 14 minute "Trash Man" picks up speed as it moves through the track and totally blasts off with undercurrents of Santana-esque percussion driving it along. Monster stuff long over due. Now it comes to us with great sound, mastered from the original master tapes by long time engineer Jorg Scheuermann.  Highly recommended. Essential listening.
    $27.00
  • Budget priced 5CD set in a slimline case featuring the following:The Michael Schenker GroupMSGOne Night At BudokanAssault AttackBuilt To Destroy
    $28.00