KHYMERA – The Grand Design [Japanese Edition] (2015)
To be released by Frontiers Music in few days, the long awaited fourth album of the KHYMERA project entitled “The Grand Design” has just been released in Japan with a bonus track.
While the KHYMERA project started out as an alliance between Italian producer / musician Daniele Liverani and then Kansas singer Steve Walsh, it actually developed into a regular musical project when Pink Cream 69 / Unisonic bassist and producer Dennis Ward came into the picture.
While known as a bass player, Dennis always sung background vocals with his bands, so it was quite interesting for many fans to hear his voice taking the lead on the Khymera albums ‘A New Promise’ and ‘The Greatest Wonder’.
While the project went on hiatus for some time, it was a natural choice now for Dennis to grab the reins and take complete control (both on the songwriting – together with Paul Logue and Michael Klein – and on the production side) of the new album, “The Grand Design”, which comes 7 years after the release of “The Greatest Wonder”.
“Everything changed this time!” says Dennis Ward. “First of all there were no songs written by outside writers, just the people involved in the recordings and Paul.
I wrote all the melodies and lyrics this time, something I had not done on the previous KHYMERA albums, but regardless it was a very comfortable working situation.”
The band is also totally “new”. Other than Ward, no other old members performed on the album. “I was on tour playing with Unisonic in Europe and Japan” tells Dennis, “we had a double headlining bill with Edguy and I was really impressed by Felix Bohnke’s drumming. He’s a fan of AOR and was more than happy to participate to the new KHYMERA album, which was great because his style fits so well.
Whilst collaborating on one song with Paul Logue (EDEN’S CURSE), he came up with an idea to have a certain type of choir in the song which he worked out with Pete Newdeck. I was so impressed by the choirs Pete made and how they fit to my voice that I asked him to be Khymera’s “backing vocalist”. His choir ideas greatly impacted the entire outcome of the album.
“A couple songs ideas that Paul Logue presented had beautiful pianos in them,” continues Dennis. “I too had a piano song and asked Paul who played his piano parts in. He told me of Jim Rykbost, whom I’ve never worked with.
Jim is a down to earth Piano player, not just a keyboarder. With all due respect to many pop/rock keyboarders the true art of playing the Piano seems to get lost these days. Jim had the feel and the mood I was looking for and took the songs to another level. Since I also needed keys I quickly got into contact with Eric Ragno, someone I’ve worked with in the past and has so much experience and class in AOR. I love his modern approach to building AOR keyboard parts.”
Musically, the new album very much follows along the logical progression of the musical path that was started a few years ago. “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.
“The Grand Design” truly offers one of the most shining examples of what great European Melodic Rock is all about: crystal clear production, soaring vocals, killer musicianship and songwriting that reminds fans of the heydays of the genre when bands like Giuffria, New England, Icon and Signal ruled the airwaves.
AVALON / MARQUEE Japan ~ MICP-11254
01 – Never Give Up On You
02 – Tell Me Something
03 – Say What You Want
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 Fooling Who
11 – Finally
12 – Where Is The Love
13 – Streetlights (Remix) (Japan Bonus Track)
Dennis Ward: bass guitar and lead vocals
Felix Bohnke: drums
Michael Klein: guitars
Eric Ragno: keyboards
Jim Rybkost: piano, additional keyboards
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