Remastered and repackaged, this is a treasure trove for die-hard Styx fanatics waiting for a proper reissue of their early works. But casual buyers best beware: this isn't the Styx that sang "Come Sail Away" or "Mr. Roboto," but a different though no less enjoyable group altogether. This two-disc set comprises their first four records under the Wooden Nickel imprint: Styx, Styx II, The Serpent Is Rising and Man of Miracles. While the arena rock anthems and compositional sensibilities are underdeveloped, the pomposity of their prog rock roots clearly shines through with the inclusion of "Fanfare for the Common Man," "Little Fugue in G" and the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah. It's also a document showcasing the evolution of their flare for theatrics and storytelling, which didn't entirely put them on par with their British and Italian prog rock counterparts, but close enough for people to take notice. Aside from "Lady," there isn't much here that casual listeners will identify with, but Styx loyalists will be pleased with proper documentation of the group's formative years, something all too neglected until now.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2