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Articles Home » 2015 Articles » Khymera - 2015 The Grand Design
 
Khymera - 2015 The Grand Design



ARTIST: Khymera
ALBUM: The Grand Design
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 714
YEAR: 2015
SPONSOR: Frontiers Portal

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Dennis Ward - bass, lead vocals * Felix Bohnke - drums * Michael Klein - guitars * Eric Ragno - keyboards * Jim Rybkost - piano, additional keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Never Give Up On You * 02 Tell Me Something * 03 Say What * 04 I Believe * 05 A Night To Remember * 06 She's Got The Love * 07 Land Of Golden Dreams * 08 The Grand Design * 09 Streetlights * 10 Who's Foolin' Who * 11 Finally * 12 Where Is The Love

RATING:


Background
You could say this is a band in transition. It was actually the braichild of Italian keyboardist Daniele Liverani, but he is no longer involved with Khymera. Instead, the banner has been passed to bass playing producer Dennis Ward, who shows he can also add lead vocals to his skillset. Khymera have been off the map for several years, but if you're a purist AORster, then 'The Grand Design' should wet your appetite no end. The keyboardist role which is a major feature with this band has been picked up by Eric Ragno, whose credits are vast throughout the melodic rock industry, so you can be assured that the ivories are way up in the mix.


The Songs
It's a big green light for 'Go' as Khymera assault your AOR senses with 'Never Give Up On You. Keyboard riffs are at the ready, Ragno out of the blocks early. Dennis Ward's voice has a eerie similarity to Def Leppard's Joe Elliot, and the combination is a bit of a winner if you ask me. Factor in guitarist Michael Klein's sonic fretwork, and Khymera have all bases covered. 'Tell Me Something' comes at you in the same direction as the excellent Find Me, Khymera finding the right combination between verse and chorus. 'Say What You Want' to me is a play-by-numbers ballad, likeable nonetheless, so too the super melodic 'I Believe' which is a bit of a sugar bullet. Gotta love those spikey keyboard stabs on 'A Night To Remember' which will bring back memories of bands like Craaft at their best, and again, this one has a lush chorus. 'Land Of Golden Dreams' returns to ballad territory, but soon picks up the tempo to make it more exciting. This is stuff that recent reviewees Ten should be doing! The title track 'The Grand Design' has a Harem Scarem vibe, in fact when I think of it, the Canadian wonders pop up in several other places throughout. 'Streetlights' leads off with a mellow piano line, and is mostly an understated tune until the guitar solo kicks in at the three minute mark. Wow! Check out those gorgeous synth layers introducing 'Who's Foolin' Who', a pure AOR moment that is guaranteed to feature in my top song selection for 2015.


In Summary
Frontiers finally deliver a couple of quality albums in 2015 at years-end. Khymera and Find Me are really super efforts, not quite 10/10 releases, but enough to bring a smile to my face. 'The Grand Design' won't be out of place in your CD collection, and when factored alongside previous Khymera efforts, they are all worthy of being in and around your K to L CDs, that is (like me) you file everything alphabetically? Of course you do!


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on December 05 2015 02:48:15
This album would've scored a 0.5 notch higher hadn't it been for Wards' vocal veering too close to Lepp's Joe Elliot.
#2 | jeffrey343 on December 13 2015 21:06:00
I've been waiting all year for an album that grabs me by the throat and doesn't let go, and this is it. The 2005 and 2008 albums got a lot of play for a few years, but they have become overshadowed by newer stuff and have moved from heavy to medium rotation. I definitely had high hopes for this one; gladly, they were met.

This one has it all - great songs (Ward had a hand in writing each of the 12 songs), great playing, and great production. Ward has a fine voice too. I don't hear Joe Elliot in it as much as George does - probably because these are not Def Leppard songs. I hear more Kevin Chalfant, which makes this sound like one of those albums by The Storm in many places. That's high praise. There are some more modern touches (think early 2000s on) on a few songs too, particularly 'Say What You Want' and 'Streetlights'. The comparisons to The Storm are most evident to me on the breezier major-key tunes 'She's Got The Love' and 'Who's Foolin' Who?'. And I hear some Night Ranger in the title track. You have to recognize part of Billy Squier's 'In The Dark' early in 'Finally'. And 'Where Is The Love' has one of the more beautiful piano intros I've ever heard. The songs are a positive bunch - I think this is becoming typical for the genre - lots of anthems and positive messages.

All in all, a superb effort, one that I'll keep in heavy rotation indefinitely. It's a repeat-play album for sure.
#3 | Jez on February 02 2016 12:56:15
It's been a 7 year wait since the previous 'The Greatest Wonder' album, but Dennis Ward has produced another very strong album. The trademark catchy, superbly produced songs are very much to the fore, along with pretty much everything else you would want with a release like this. I still prefer the superb 'The Greatest Wonder' over this, but there's no doubting this is a very fine album indeed which will top many an end of year list.
#4 | jeffrey343 on September 26 2016 14:56:26
I'm keeping a running list of top albums for the decade starting in 2010, and this is currently at the top. I find this to be one of those perfect albums. I don't hand out many 10's, but this would be one of the few albums that earned it. What's really impressive is that there are 12 songs that are all really good, and they're distinct enough to not come close to being 'samey'. And there are different styles, and all done very well.
 
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