The Khymera project started out in 2003 as an alliance between Italian producer/musician, Daniele Liverani and then Kansas singer Steve Walsh. This really took off when Pink Cream 69 bassist Dennis Ward came into the picture. Dennis always sings background vocals with his bands, but on this project he takes the lead on the Khymera albums A New Promise and The Greatest Wonder. It was time for Dennis to take complete control with songwriting and production of the new album, The 4th release of Khymera is The Grand Design, released through Frontier Records which comes 7 years after the release of The Greatest Wonder.
As a fan of anything Dennis touches I was surprised that I just found out about this band. Excited to get my copy of this new release it was time to
turn it up. Thinking of Pink Cream 69, Place Vendome and Unisonic, this is not the same at all. True to the AOR and melodic rock sound but not as fast and heavy as his other bands.
Khymera consists of Dennis Ward – bass guitar and lead vocals, and 4 new members, Felix Bohnke – drums, Michael Klein – guitars, Eric Ragno – keyboards, Jim Rykbost: piano, additional keyboards.
The album starts off with “Never Give Up On You“. Heavy on the keyboards. Great vocals right from the start and very melodic and catchy. Well fitted guitar solo and a perfect start to this album.
“Tell Me Something” is a well written straightforward track with a strong chorus and some heavy riffs.
Slowing things down, “Say What You Want” has a classic 80’s sound which reminds me of Journey and other bands in that category.
“I Believe” is not a heavy song, but it is a powerful song. European Melodic Rock at its finest.
“A Night To Remember” has a sound right out of the 80’s with a more mature feel. A classic sound with Ward‘s voice giving it a rocking vibe which then smooths out nicely for the chorus. Like the other tracks, Klien‘s work on the guitar is stunning on the solo.
“She’s Got The Love” is a track that keeps this melodic album going strong leading into one of my favourites, “Land Of Golden Dreams“. A very strong lyrical track that embraces the raw talent of Ward and this band. This would be a track I would love to hear live if they ever bring this project on the road.
The title track “The Grand Design” is next, and a well-suited name for the album. It has a little heavier feel to it with the opening riff and you know this is going to get cranked. Even with Ragno on the keys he keeps the song in the right tempo and rocks it.
Time to slow things down again with “Streetlights“. Ward‘s superior voice and Rykbost on the piano start this masterpiece. As the song moves on the rest of the band fills in. Hoping one day they will fill an arena.
“Who’s Fooling Who” and “Finally” bring a strong melodic end to the rocking tracks to finish up with a slow track, “Where Is The Love“. As my first thought – why end an album with a slow track? However, after a few listens this just ties it all in place and a great finish leaving the listener wanting more.
Will it be a tour? Live album?
The Grand Design is a strong, extremely melodic release, which showcases the fantastic vocal abilities of Dennis and highlights his great skills as a songwriter and producer. This took me 2-3 listens to really get this feel of this. I was expecting some of the heavier work Ward has done. Overall a great CD and one of the best melodic rock releases of 2015. An advance digital copy will not cut it for my collection since I would love the hard copy CD in my hands. Time to pre-order this new release as it comes out December 4th, 2015.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin