‘The Grand Design’
2015 release from Frontiers Records srl.
Artist location: Italy originally. USA (Ward and Ragno), Germany (Klein and Bohnke),
Dennis Ward – Vocals, bass. Michael Klein – Guitar. Eric Ragno – Keyboard. Felix Bohnke – Drums.
4 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- Never Give Up On You.
- Tell Me Something.
- Say What You Want.
- I Believe.
- A Night To Remember.
- She’s Got The Love.
- Land Of Golden Dreams.
- The Grand Design.
- Who’s Fooling Who.
- Where Is The Love.
- Streetlights (Remix, Japanese bonus track only).
Musician and producer extraodinaire Dennis Ward gave most of us a shock in 2005 when he joined Khymera, taking the place of original vocalist Steve Walsh, released the band’s second album, ‘A New Promise’, and we found out the voice that this man, who had been in the background for so many years in various bands, had on him.
Very well known in music circles as a big time producer and multi-instrumentalist, a founding member of the powerful German hard rock act Pink Cream 69 as well as being a member of bands such as Unisonic (with Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen) and Place Vendome (also with Kiske). Very few knew of Ward’s vocal abilities prior to that 2005 album, but since that time we have had three great records from Ward and Khymera and have been blessed with hearing his voice behind the mic on those three records.
The sole returning member is Ward himself. Along for the ride this time are also guitarist Michael Klein (ex-Wicked Sensation), frequent session keyboardist Eric Ragno (Takara, David Readman, From The Inside, Michael Bormann) and drummer Felix Bohnke (EdGuy, Avantasia).
The latest record and, in my opinion, the greatest, ‘The Grand Design’, was delivered to us last year in 2015. Easily the most melodic album from the band and featuring some of the best and catchiest songs of the band’s career, ‘The Grand Design’ is a fantastic AOR record full of outstanding songs and, of course, the fabulous vocals of Ward.
The album is much stronger then the previous ones and with a few minor exceptions is a near perfect record of some great melodic rock. There are really no bad tracks to be found on this one but there are a few that just don’t quite hold up to the strength of the others, hence the lower rating.
The songs, written by Ward with the help of Eden’s Curse Paul Logue, are simply fantastic. With songs like the opening ‘Never Give Up On You’ and ‘Tell Me Something’ we are given an almost Sunstorm sounding record, a band that Ward was a part of for the first three albums, with the multi-layered harmonies on top of the guitars and keyboards.
The band does not release often, but when they do they give us something to look forward to. While being in a band with the likes of David Readman I can understand the lack of more vocals from Ward, Readman is a powerhouse vocalist that one would be hardpressed to outdo, but I would sure like to hear Dennis put out some more music vocally on some other projects.
Highly recommended for melodic rock and AOR lovers.
‘Never Give Up On You’.
‘Tell Me Something’.
‘Say What You Want’.
‘She’s Got The Love’.