Track Listing
Khymera (instrumental)
Strike Like Lightning
Shadows
Who's Gonna Love You Tonight (3)
Living With A Memory (1)
Bless A Brand New Angel
Written In The Wind
Without Warning
How You Gonna Live Without Love
Say It With Love
Love Leads The Way (2)
Tears On The Pages

(*) Best Tracks

Buy it if you liked:
Kansas - Power
Jeff Watson - Around The Sun
Also for fans of:
Winger
Survivor
Mr. Big
KHYMERA
Khymera
Frontiers Records FRCD143
Produced By: Daniele Liverani & Gabriele Ravaglia
Mixed By: Mike Slamer Running Time: 44.44
Release Date: April 29 Released: EU
Genre: Melodic Rock LabelLink: Frontiers
92%

Khymera is an interesting project. Essentially it is the brain child of Italian musician Daniele Liverani, featuring his talents on all instruments except drums and the vocals of pomp-rock legend Steve Walsh of Kansas.
The songs have been compiled from various sources - mostly unreleased tracks demoed by the writers and never used for themselves. Those that have been around the scene for several tears or more will be familiar with many of the songs, having traded them as demos of the original artists. For those in that position, this could almost seem like a covers album.
But for the majority, it's an album of songs from outside writers. In such cases where most of the songs come from different sources, it can be a challenge to get them to sound as if they belong together - to flow as an album should flow. There are times where this doesn't quite happen, but for the most part, this is a very pleasing melodic rock album.
There is no doubt that as a singer, Steve Walsh has seen better days. I found myself wincing on a few occasions as certain notes were met with an awkward howl. His smooth tones are more frequently raspy these days, but he still carries a certain style that brings a smile to your face. At other times he sounds like the Walsh of old, proving those high notes can still be reached.
Thanks also to some fabulous harmony vocals from Billy Greer, Thom Griffin and Joe Vana, the record manages to sound as smooth as a baby's bum - which given the material, was something that needed to be ensured.
There are 2 real stars on this album - Daniele has no doubt put in the finest musical effort of his career so far, outshining his own Genius Part 1 project and making sure these songs were treated with respect.
And that brings us to the other star of the album - the songs themselves. When you round up such great writers as Jim Peterik Kip Winger and the Randall's, there can be no doubt the material will be strong.
Add in the not to be understated efforts of Mike Slamer to mix this album perfectly, leaving the listener with a very enjoyable, sonically excellent melodic rock/AOR record.
While the songs are all from American writers, the album features a strong European feel. Liverani has worked hard to make sure the songs were treated faithfully and with respect, but has added some of his natural sound to them, meaning the sound of the album isn't quite the commercial American melodic rock some might have predicted. It's a wider appealing trans-Atlantic sound.
After a brief and dramatic intro, the album kicks into a double dose of tracks recorded by Mr. Big (for the Navy Seals soundtrack). Strike Like Lightning and Shadows were both very popular songs and great examples of American melodic hard rock. For that reason they will be the tracks compared the most and again, for that reason these are the two tracks that don't hold up as well as the original versions. A 2003 era Steve Walsh doesn't cut it against a 1990 version of Eric Martin. Flat out hard rock might just not be Steve's forte. Of course, it does give Daniele the chance to rock out and he does so with vigour.
Who's Gonna Love You Tonight - a David Foster track - is much much better and suits Steve down to the ground. This is a moody, dramatic mid-tempo pomp ballad with a nice mix between guitar and keyboards and a dark brooding vocal from Steve.
The first Peterik track of the album is the uptempo melodic rocker/anthem Living With A Memory. This song is all class and while Steve's vocals solid, the harmonies are nothing short of fabulous. One of the albums most passionate and ultimately best tracks.
Bless A Brand New Angel, written by Robin and Judithe Randall is another all class track, which sees Steve hit his best notes of the album. A soft piano ballad with a souring chorus, the song shows another side of both Walsh and Liverani.
Time to rock out again a little here, with a previously unreleased Winger demo. Written In The Wind is heavy, dramatic and best suited to the traditional Kansas style of delivery of Walsh. Another fine chorus and a strong vocal makes the song stand out.
Without Warning is another heavy Winger written track and again matches the style of the previous track. Dark, heavy and dramatic and features one of Walsh's best heavy vocals of the album.
How You Gonna Live Without Love sees proceedings slow down a little again, with a Bob Held co-written power rock ballad. The songs starts slow and builds and thanks to the addition of some big harmony vocals and a strong lead is delivered very well. Another Kansas-friendly track.
Say It With Love is another Jim Peterik track - this time a mid to up-tempo Survivor-ish pomp rock anthem. Another well chosen track that suits Steve Walsh's voice. Add some more tasteful keyboard parts for a big 80's soundtrack style track.
I found the inclusion of the Hardline track Love Leads The Way curious. It was always going to be nearly impossible to match the brilliance of the very popular original track, which was a bonus track on the Japanese Double Eclipse release.
But thanks to the musical ability of Liverani, the track is nearly as good as the original. It's faithfully reproduced here, but with the addition of some big harmony vocals, the track is almost transformed into a Kansas style pomp-rocker.
Last up is a great Jim Peterik/Russ Ballad track, which from the style of the songs sounds so typically Survivor, it should be easily recognized. Walsh does a great Jimi Jamison style pop rock vocal that closes the album on a high note.

The Bottom Line
Steve's obviously seen better days, but al in all, his performance on Khymera is enjoyable and very listenable.
But what makes this album as good as it is, is the musical performance of Daniele Liverani and his interpretation of the songs supplied by so many great writers. You can't go far wrong when every track is a melodic gem.
The production is solid, and the mix is pristine. Overall, this is a good uptempo melodic rock/AOR album that on a couple of occasions sounds like it's trying to be heavier than it generally is.
The guys do treat the songs faithfully, making this an essentially late 80's style record (the origins of the songs), but Liverani's musical approach updates the sound to a more 2003 friendly album.

Line Up
Steve Walsh: Vocals
Daniele Liverani: Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Dario Ciccioni: Drums

Additional Ratings
Songwriting
96%
Attitude
87%
Production
90%


20/01/05: Steve - stbomar@aol.com
Rating: 80
I'll give it a B just because of Steve's vocals, otherwise I'd drop the score. And that's not saying that his vocals are good here - I personally think they're simply ok. I definitely do NOT think his voice is shot because he stills sounds great live and if you check out the last Kansas CD of new material (though getting to be 5 years old at this point), as well as Device Voice Drum and Glossolalia (sp?), there is no question he still has the voice. I just think he fell short here and it could be that he just did not live with the material long enough. A couple of good moments but overall not that great.

29/07/04: Ian - Watsoni10@aol.com
Rating: 95
Once in a while an album comes out and smacks you in the face,this is it.Living With A Memory is a superb piece of quality AOR and the rest of the cd is not far behind.People have criticised Walsh about his voice,but for me,thats what makes the album.Also,Liverani excels.Brilliant.

25/06/04: Guillermo - Guillerperez@usuariosretecal.es
Rating: 80
UN album que fomenta la vision borrosa al menos para mi. LOs temas son buenos pero el conjunto queda algo por debajo. UN aceptable trabajo de hard/aor

22/08/03: freddy de keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 50
The more I listen to this, the more that I'm disappointed ! Steve Walsh is not singing, but shouting ! There is so much talent here, but the result is so weak. You see, I'm not only hard for modern acts, but also for classic stars if the record is not that good. Streets and Kansas are head and shoulders aboven this project ! No variation, no surprises ! A big disappointment for me !

22/08/03: Danny - danielhayes13@hotmail.com
Rating: 65
What??!?!? Sorry to be the voice of dissent, but I really don't agree with these comments. I just really cannot get into Steve Walsh's vocals - to me they're just too dry and even sound off-key and dischordant in places. For the most part the songs are great but the Peterik songs aren't up to his normal standard IMO (and this is coming from a confirmed Peterik fan). I just kept imagining Peterik singing them and wishing they were the originals. The arrangements don't do anything for the songs - for example, while listening to Tears on the Pages you can imagine how it's "supposed to" sound (not the right phrase but you know what I mean) and the arrangement just seems to clash with the rhythm and melodies. And c'mon, there's just no comparison between Khymera's version of Bless A Brand New Angel and the Diana DeWitt/Venus & Mars version - where did all the passion and feeling go?!?!? The Mr Big songs are great but I miss Eric Martin, the Winger songs are fine-ish, and the Hardline track lacks the punch of the original band. It's a brave attempt to be sure, and an interesting collection of songs, but I was expecting so much more from this given the names involved. I'm not that familiar with Steve's work with Kansas; maybe it's just that these particular songs don't fit his vocal style? I admire the guys' courage for taking on such big names and attempting to equal performances by singers as talented as Eric Martin, Johhny Giolei, Peterik etc, but I just don't think they made it. Sorry! :-S

29/07/03: Tim Bucci - LadleyPG@aol.com
Rating: 95
I am very much impressed with this CD! The music is lush and the songs have more hooks then what you'd find in my tackle box. Honestly, there's not a bad song in the bunch! Steve does a great job singing (I've never been a huge Steve Walsh fan, but you can truly ignore the moans you've read here about his voice)! If this were 1988 in the US, at least three of these tracks would get a healthy radio rotation. This is one helluva release ... in fact, it's so good that if my music collection were stolen today, I'd be buying this CD again tomorrow. It's that good. My money was well-spent here! Great job, guys!

18/06/03: Stefan - grimbsel@aol.com
Rating: 91
The music is great, but i would like to see Joe Vana sing the song, because steve walsh voice sometimes don't fit with the music.

05/05/03: Todd - tgaudieri@amdex.com
Rating: 95
I think Steve Walsh sounds fantastic. Maybe not the same as when he was twenty but who does? He always puts more energy in his delivery making you as a listener feel the dramatic. Of course Liverani is in a league of his own. Must buy

12/04/03: Jose - joseluislopez@todito.com
Rating: 90
For me is nothing but a mayor great melodic rock showcase, just the way I love it. "Living in a Memory" alone worths the buy of this Cd.

07/04/03: Jerry - joliver2001@attbi.com
Rating: 85
The only real let-down of this album is the Randall track "Bless a Brand New Angel", which too me, should have been the highlight of the album. Instead, the vocals on that track crack and don't sound right for the song itself, especially when compared to the original version of the song by Venus & Mars. The rest of the album is good, true Steve's vocals have seen better days, but for the music, alone, this is an essential purchase for me.


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