March 18, 2023

Purveyors of the finest and smoothest melodic rock, Khymera was initially put together as a project by the Italian producer/multi-instrumentalist Daniele Liverani and Kansas vocalist Steve Walsh but it took on a real life of its own when the talented (some may even say genius) bassist Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69/Unisonic/Magnum) became involved from the 2nd album onwards.

Ward is another of those great musicians who supplied backing vocals in many of the bands he was involved with but was simply biding his time before he could take over the role of main vocalist and this transition was simply revelatory as he has one of the most gorgeous, rich and sumptuous voices in melodic rock. He took over the singing duties on 2005’s A New Promise and has never really looked back so that he now has a truly exceptional back catalogue including his work in and with bands like Pink Cream 69, Unisonic and Place Vendome and when Magnum comes calling as they did in 2019 then you simply do not say no and Ward features on The Serpent Rings and The Monster Roars which has allowed him to work with one of the true great voices in rock in Bob Catley.

We now come to album number six from Khymera with Ward slightly shuffling his team with guitarist Michael Klein and keyboard player Eric Ragno continuing in their roles and drummer Michael Kolar coming in for the departing on Pete Newdeck although he does supply backing vocals on the new album. Dennis Ward again shows his true value by supplying bass and keyboards alongside his classy vocals and his songwriting is exemplary as he has a real talent for supplying 3 to 4-minute hook laden AOR stadium rockers and any band lucky enough to work with him should feel truly blessed. The music is similar in style and delivery to the mighty Ten, Dare, Toto, Night Ranger, Heart and even Magnum so that you know you are going to get hard edged AOR with soaring and powerful vocals that always delight and musicianship that is off the scale. Michael Klein is a quite exceptional guitarist with lots of exciting riffs and fluid guitar solos which he combines with the lush keyboards to give a rich and complex backing with great depth over which Ward lays down his thrilling vocals.

All rock fans will find plenty here to entertain but if you are especially into AOR then this (and all the previous Khymera albums) are exactly what you are looking for. Dennis Ward’s star is most definitely in the ascendancy and Khymera is the latest outfit to benefit from his involvement, an essential listen.

Hold Your Ground

  1. Don’t Wait For Love (4:28)
  2. Firestarter (3:34)
  3. Hear Me Calling (4:56)
  4. Sail On Forever (3:48)
  5. Our Love Is Killing Me (3:52)
  6. Hear What I’m Saying (3:49)
  7. Believe In What You Want (4:40)
  8. On The Edge (3:51)
  9. Could Have Been Us (4:23)
  10. Runaway (3:45)
  11. Am I Dreaming (3:02)