Styx in June released The Mission, their 15th studio album since the progressive rock band started out in the early 1970s. The concept album depicts the first human mission to Mars.

[Tommy Shaw]’s cosmos-themed language reflects the story line that he and producer Will Evankovich created for The Mission. It takes place in 2033 and deals with the first manned mission to Mars via Khedive, a nuclear-powered spaceship, underwritten by the Global Space Exploration Program (GSEP). The three singing members of Styx — Shaw, James “JY” Young and Lawrence Gowan — play the roles of the Pilot, First Officer and the Engineer, and the other three — Chuck Panozzo, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips — serves as the ship’s crew.

“The Mission is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to be a part of something unique and special that’s happening in real time right in front of you,” Evankovich said of working on the project, which took two years to record. “It is one of those albums that musically and cosmically showed you the next right thing to do every step of the way. I will forever be grateful and proud of what we did in this body of art.”

As Panozzo said, “The Mission is a sincere and honest representation of how Styx built upon where we were in the 20th century in order to go somewhere new in the 21st century.”

Here is an interview with Styx’s Tommy Shaw about the album:

And Shaw recently sang a brief tribute to the late great Cassini spacecraft: Styx Sings Touching Farewell to Cassini Probe Before It Crashes into Saturn

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