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Khymera A New Promise Frontiers Records
FRCD248
· Produced By: Daniele Liverani

· Running Time: 49.54

· Release Date: December 5

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Rock / AOR

· Links: Frontiers
92%
Songs: 943%
Sound: 90%
Italian musician Daniele Liverani is back with his second Khymera opus. As with the first release, a selection of obscure AOR songs has been gathered to be recorded under a new moniker.
But there are a few changes here since the first Steve Walsh lead project. Gone is the grumpy lead singer, to be replaced with the much acclaimed Pink Cream 69 bass player Dennis Ward.
The previously unheard of Tommy Ermolli comes in on guitars and provides some very tasteful AOR friendly licks and Liverani covers keyboards and bass. Liverani's musician partner Dario Ciccioni continues his role as drummer.
Ward is a much better fit for this kind of material than Walsh and really does his reputation no harm with his vocal debut. His raspy and determined tones remind me a little of Jeff Scott Soto, but with that European edge. He further enhances the record by contributing some fine harmony vocals, which are mixed perfectly into the album (by the man himself).
The songs are gathered from various sources, the most unusual being a cover of the Unruly Child track Damage Is Done, with several others supplied by the ex-Sugartown duo of Tom and James Martin.
Track By Track:
A short, bombastic instrumental opens proceedings, but being that it doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the album as such, could perhaps have been left off.
Alone is the first vocal track and our first taste of Dennis Ward the vocalist! Where has he been all this time? He sounds great and his voice has a warm familiarity that suits this genre of uptempo AOR. The feel good vibe of this anthemic melodic rocker is the perfect start to the album, mixing plenty of keyboards with Tommy Ermolli's guitar riffs.
The material that comprises A New Promise is largely collected from the archives and the 80s vibe of the opening track and the uptempo Let It Burn shines through. A fresh production and strong lead vocal updates things, but 80s AOR fans will be the ones getting the most from this album.
Looking For You is a brilliant song. Some may be familiar with it, as part of the unreleased, but leaked Don Barnes solo album from the early 90s. It's nice to hear it done again here and the roots of the song shine through, the keyboard parts and Dennis' vocal have 38 Special written all over them.
The rock ballad All That I Have is enjoyable, giving Dennis Ward a chance to change his delivery a little, showcasing a grittier side of his voice.
Unruly Child's The Damage Is Done is an interesting choice of song. I love the song itself and this is a pretty strong version, but I can't say that it totally fits the album as easily as some of the other tracks. The song has a tougher vibe than the other material featured here and stylistically doesn't quite fit.
After The Way is another track from the Don Barnes solo album and again sounds just like it was intended (by Barnes). It's an ok track, but certainly isn't a highlight.
You Can't Take Me (Away From You) is an unreleased Jeff Scott Soto track and his signature is all over this track. Dennis' own vocal style, with its raspy edge, isn't too far removed from Jeff and as stated, you will hear comparisons to him throughout the album. This is a classic Soto AOR tune and sounds great here.
The classy rock ballad Tomorrow Never Comes is another Soto sounding tune and follows on from the last track perfectly. A well timed chance of pace.
Fields of Fire sees the album back to the rocking style of the first couple of tracks and features a good strong chorus. One of the better tracks on the album in my mind and another strong track giving the second half of the album a lead over the first half.
If You Dare To Dream is a Judith Randall song and one can imagine Mark Free's vocals at home here. Dennis struggles a little with the range required by the song I think, but otherwise enjoyable.
Give In To The World is a moody, keyboard heavy mid-tempo track, but not one of the stronger tracks featured. It does feature some nice guitar work in the background.
All Is Gone follows on from the mood set from the previous track, but works a little better due to some increased intensity.
It is not a track that will be loved by all and one that requires a little more listening to than some of the other more instant tracks on the album.
I do think that after a run of strong tracks, the album closes on a slightly less positive note, but it is all still very good.
The Bottom Line
As can be expected with a project that gathers songs from various sources and songwriters, not everything works perfectly and not all the songs gel together as they would if they were written specifically for the project. But, as a whole, this is a very enjoyable record that is best described as uptempo classic melodic rock/AOR. I think the production is better than the debut and the vocals are certainly a whole lot more enjoyable.
There are plenty of modern rock and metal releases to keep fans of those genre's happy – this one is for fans of old school, feel good melodic rock and AOR.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Khymera
· A New Promise

Line Up:
· Dennis Ward: Vocals
· Tommy Ermolli: Guitar
· Dario Ciccioni: Drums
· Daniele Liverani: Keyboards, Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
· Khymera - Khymera
· European melodic rock
· Jeff Scott Soto
Track Listing
· A New Promise
· Alone *
· Let It Burn *
· Looking For You *
· All That I Have *
· The Damage Is Done
· After The Way
· You Can't Take Me (Away From You) *
· Tomorrow Never Comes
· Fields of Fire *
· If You Dare To Dream
· Give In To The World
· All Is Gone
-- *Best Tracks


26/05/06: Marcel Bourgonje/2 Rock - info@2rock.net
Rating: 91
First of all, rockin'compliments to Dennis Ward on vox!!!
I was allready impressed bij his backgrounds voor PC'69, but didn't expect him to be such a good lead singer. Hope to hear some more from him! I agree with Axe Machine that the production should be donde by Dennis also, that would be the creamon the cake for this cd. Does anybody no who the song writers Tom & James Martin are? "älone", "Let it burn", "Fields of fire", "Tomorrow never comes" & "All that I have" are melodic rock masterpieces (even with the non original lyrics) Look forward to hear some more of this stuff and of course from Dennis Ward!

03/02/06: Mike the Conqorour - mhiner14@charter.net
Rating: 90
Great album!! "Alone" should be in the 10 best songs of the 2005. Though I didn't care for the intrumental music "intro" of the 1st track either.

01/02/06: Axe Machine - info@hugomusic.net
Rating: 68
I tried to like this album...i really did, and while there are some good songs the album really lacks any conviction. 'The Damage Is Done' is the best track, but a superior version already exists on the Mark Free Tormented album. 'Alone' is a track that really could have been something to shout about, but is spoilt by poor lyrics, and 'Let It Burn' builds nicely, only to leave the listener with an uninspiring chorus. Dennis Ward can be commended for having a pretty good voice all the way through, but I cant help thinking that he should have produced it. His Place Vendome produced album was amazing, while this sounds like it was recorded in someones attic. As DP suggests here in the other interactive reviews, you cant help but feel you've heard it all before. Place Vendome and 91 Suite were great albums this year that were worth cranking up. This unfortunately fails to deliver and is for the most point uninspiring. AOR fans should rather check out the aforementioned albums.

12/01/06: Zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 91
This is great, it´s oldschool melodicrock. I get big vibes of the 80´s. I maybe think tha 91% is to much, but its a must buy and that is 90% on this site so...
But why all this intro songs on every records, take that away, becaouse the intro on this cd have nothing to do with the rest of the songs. So I wonder why it has to be this intros all the time. And why nr 2? the lyric "yeay" in many of the songs,its just ignoring, take that away. But without this 2 why´s! its a great record if you are in this kind of music.

21/12/05: DP - dannyparker2000@hotmail.com
Rating: 76
One of the better albums of late, but still lacking originality. As with the majority of other AOR/Melodic Rock releases out at the moment, you can't help but feel you've heard it all before...but better. If this scene is going to survive, bands really need to start pushing the envelope a wee bit. Instead of re-hashing the same old same old...why not try something new? As Harem Scarem frequently demonstrate, you don't have to sacrifice your sound or melodic sensibilities to be fresh and original sounding.

01/12/05: Almir Fuschini - almirfus@terra.com.br
Rating: 95
I think that 2005 will be remembered among the MR community as "The Year of the Big Projects".
What a pleaseant surprise to see Dennis Ward singing in this album. Great voice. And what a great album. Except for the fact that has one ballad too many. And that would be the boring "Tomorrow Never Comes". Other than that, is a flawless album with pearls like "Looking for You" and "After the Way" and incredible rockers like "Let it Burn", the fantastic "Damage is Done", the wonderfull "Fields of Fire" and "Give in to the World.

Another great album of this second half of 2005.
I wonder if the guys of Pink Cream 69 will let Dennis do the vocals for at least a couple of songs of their next albuns.
I surely hope so.


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