Although Styx is now shorthand among music snobs for cheesy ’70s arena rock (heavy on the syrupy ballads, please), there was a time that this wasn’t so. Released before they broke big in America, 1975’s Equinox marked the creative apex of the band’s early period. On this album they did a much better job at melding their prog rock aspirations with the crisp, straightforward hard rock they were much better at handling.
Other than the excellent music contained therein, Equinox is notable for being the last studio album to feature Styx co-founder and guitarist John Curulewski. He left prior to the supporting tour and was replaced by Tommy Shaw. Within a few years, Styx was one of the biggest bands in the land.
The whole fire/ice thing has been played out countless times on album covers and art in general, but this is a particularly appealing example to me. Given that the art budget here can’t have been terribly large (even though this was the band’s first album for A&M, a much bigger label than their previous one, Wooden Nickel), the design is very well-done.
I’m also a fan of the blue color scheme and the thin, metallic rendering of the group’s first logo. The logo, incidentally, was used for one more album (Crystal Ball) before falling into disuse. Styx revived it for their 2005 album Big Bang Theory and it is now used for a lot of their marketing materials.
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