I'm not surprised that it's been seven years since the last Khymera album. Bands and projects start and stop, depending on many things, including the participants. So I'm also surprised that, excepting vocalist and bass player Dennis Ward, it has totally new personnel: Michael Klein on guitar, Eric Ragno on keyboards, Jim Rybkost on piano and keyboards, and Felix Bohnke on drums. Did you catch that last name? That was the first thing that popped for me. Bohnke is the drummer for Edguy, you know, alien drum bunny.
Essentially, this latest addition of Khymera is a Dennis Ward construct. He not only handles bass and vocal duties, but wrote the songs (half with the assistance of Paul Louge of Eden's Curse) and produced the album. Holy crap! Can this guy ever write a bad song? Nope. Well, actually, the answer is probably, yes, he can write a bad song, but it would probably be better than 95% of the stuff that's out there.
Basically, The Grand Design is the perfect storm of AOR melodic hard rock. It's the right combination of harmony, melody, and groove within spry arrangements marked by catchy choruses and bristling guitar solos, and delivered by deft and energetic musicianship. It's deja vu all over again. If the Eighties were looking for their music, it's right here and ready to fill an arena. But classic melodic rock is bound by no decade, no time, and that's what makes this album pretty fandamntastic. You got some terrific rockers with Never Give Up On You, The Grand Design, or Finally; pure AOR radio friendly rock with the very catchy She's Got The Love; and some sweet anthems and ballads with Streetlights, Where Is The Love, and Say What Want You, another song with uber-catchy chorus. Also, turned another way, maybe adding some pedal steel guitar, that song could be a Nashville modern country rock hit. Bottom line. Khymera's The Grand Design is spot on AOR melodic hard rock, engaging and entertaining ear candy. Quite recommended.
Khymera's The Grand Design is spot on AOR melodic hard rock, engaging and entertaining ear candy. Quite recommended.
Formed some nine years ago in Vancouver by high school friends, Black Wizard has delivered three full-length albums. On the strength of those releases, the band has done some extensive touring both ... [ Read More ]