THE Khymera project is back after seven years hiatus with the new album 'The Grand Design'. And it's a beast.
Under the leadership of Pink Cream 69 bassist Dennis Ward the current line up includes Ward - bass and lead vocals, Michael Klein - guitar (Wicked Sensation) Felix Bohnke - drums (Edguy, Avantasia), Eric Tagno - keyboards, Jim Rybkost - piano and Pete Newdeck - background vocals (Eden's Curse)
With all the melodies and lyrics being crafted by Ward and co-writing credits on several songs going to Eden's Curses' Paul Logue this promised much.
Track one, 'Never Give up on You'. is right out of the Night Ranger play book. It's a fast tempo opener including a trademark Brad Gillis guitar choke in the solo (think Don't Tell Me You Love Me) and a great start to the album.
'I Believe' is a mid-tempo melodic rocker with a nice guitar/keyboard intro and a driving drum beat. Again there is a catchy chorus which is a theme running through the album. As with a lot of the songs a couple of listens and you start singing along.
'Night to Remember', 'She's Got The Love' and ' Land of Golden Dreams' are all superb songs. Strong guitar riffs are evident in them all with "Night" having a bit of an Icon feel to it and a great solo from Klein. The riff under the chorus works well too.
The album maintains its momentum well leading into 'The Grand Design' which has a slightly heavier riff to it while still maintaining its melodic sound.
Nine songs in and we get our first ballad, 'Streetlights'. A superb, if slightly melancholic song sung with great emotion by Ward. A killer solo from Kleun backed up by the bass and drums puts this in the power ballad category.
'Who's Fooling Who' and 'Finally' are the final two up-tempo songs, both driven along nicely by the bass line with great melodies and choruses again.
The Grand Design finishes with a ballad, 'Where is the Love?"
A brave way to finish an album but an inspired choice of song. A love song of sorts, seemingly told from an older perspective which a lot of listeners will empathise with. Lyrics like "Where is the love, and all the hopes and dreams? Where is the hunger, I ain't getting younger" will give you a rough idea! An excellent ballad to finish the album off.
The production by Ward on this is very polished and it was also recorded and mixed by him.
If you like whale sized hooks, massive melodies and choruses backed by excellent guitar work and a strong rhythm section and are a fan of bands like Night Ranger and Icon then this album is a must buy.
Review by Andy Gillen