Simply put, the Grand Design guys have taken everything good about their first two albums and made it better. The new lineup, which includes the energized licks of Janne Stark and the pounding drums of Magnus Ulfstedt has made the band ever more powerful and the production here is the band’s best yet.
Long time bassist Mats Vassfjord joins Ulfstedt in creating a monster rhythm section and Stark’s guitar really does propel these songs into a new league.
Frontman Pelle Saether sounds as strong as ever – as long as you have a penchant for his unique vocal style.
The guys still trade off that classic Def Leppard sound – a mix of Pyromania, High & Dry and Adrenalize, but what I like about Thrill Of The Night is that these songs stand out on their own merits, rather than directly copying Leppard songs as the last album tended to do.
The fast rolling and spirited opener U Got Me Good is as catchy as anything the band has recorded previously as is the fun groove of the anthemic Rawk N Roll Heart Attack.
The Rush Is Gone captures the mood of the darker Pyromania moments, while 10 Out Of 10 is a pounding rhythm tour-de-force.
When The Greatest Love Of All Kicks In is a quality sentimental ballad layered in harmonies and guitars, plus a tasty solo mid-track.
Rip Iddup is a silly title, but a fun, groove driven hard rocker not to be taken too seriously.
Get Up N Love Someone is a more free flowing anthemic rock and You're The Only One is Grand Design’s answer to Leppard’s ‘Animal’. A great mid-tempo melodic rocker.
Who's Gonna Rawk You Tonite is yet another quality chorus attached to another quality melodic rocker with a lot of layers to dig through.
Closing the album is the moody, hard rocking, fast moving Thrill Of The Nite.
I respect bands that get better with experience. There’s a few of them around and Grand Design have so far proved to be one. This is easily their best produced and performed record and the songs, while ever familiar, are starting to branch out into the band’s own personality.