KHYMERA – Hold Your Fire (Album Review, 2023)

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Despite comprising of a collection of songs co-written by Mr. Everywhere Alessandro Del Vecchio, Dennis Ward remains in control of production and is the other writer, so this Khymera album, while featuring a different lineup, does adhere to the sound made popular with fans since Dennis took over with the second album from this franchise. His vocals remain raspily-warm as always and the songs feature some memorable melodies and that same mid-tempo sweet AOR sound.

Still not a rival the first two glorious Ward fronted albums, but a nice addition to the Khymera story.


Khymera (2003)

Khymera: A traditional AOR album featuring one of rock's great singers.

Daniele Liverani - Khymera's musical director Daniele Liverani talks about the challenges of making the acclaimed album.

Hi Daniele. First off, are you personally happy with the responses you have received back and the reviews you have read?
Well, I must say that I've read great reviews about this Khymera album and of course I'm really excited about this!
I'm especially very satisfied with the production and mix quality...I really hear everything well and in the right place in terms of sounds, balance, vocals...and this is very important to make a record sound good!

Did you enjoy making the album?
I enjoy a lot doing this Khymera, even if I didn't made the songwriting of these songs, I really did my best for making them sound very personal and original, staying of course into the AOR straight rock that this kind of songs were requiring.
So it was not only a production, arrangement job for me. I definitely feel this album close to my sensibility since I put all my style and experience on its creation.
I must say that it was very interesting to test my personal way to produce and arrange song on material written by these great songwriters...definitely a great experience and a great learning opportunity for me!

The songs are from a varied range of sources - how were they picked out and what role did you play in that happening?
The track list has been decided together with Frontiers and Steve, we all were searching for some great AOR tunes to produce into a more modern way with new sounds and the songs that you can hear in the album were the best choice for us.

Are there are songs that were not used you would have liked to have tried?
Well, of course there are great songs in the pocket of songwriters like Peterik, Moroder, Gioeli, Winger and all the others involved, but anyway I hope to have this chance in the next Khymera album!

Your take on these songs is close to the originals, is that what you had hoped for? Did any particular song have more challenges in recording than others?
Well, it was definitely my intention to keep the basic feel of the songs, I didn't want to go too far from the personality of the song, so I can say yes. It was what I wanted to do.
But If you listen to solos and guitar arrangements, to some sounds of the keyboards you'll find my taste and my way to arrange songs and in that aspect I think to have created a good original sound.
I tried to apply many of the research I did in my empty tremor, genius and solo album to a different style, that I never approached before as a producer.
It was very challenging to arrange and record the song Bless A Brand New that song there's almost only me at the piano and Steve at vocals...I worked hard to find a good piano arrangement that would fit the great performance of Steve and it's really more hard when you have only one instrument to must be very careful cause it's the only instrument that carries the song!

It's not the first time you have done this, but how hard is it to create these songs without the vocalist being present?
It's not too hard for me, since I think to have a good imagination and I usually figure out the song in my mind before I put it down on the recorder.
When you work in distance like this you must have a clear idea in your mind of where you want to go in terms of arrangement and you must imagine the vocal tracks in advance.
With genius it was easier since I wrote the vocals lines and lyrics so I had them very clear in my mind...but also in this Khymera, it was not too hard since they're all great and winning lyrics and melodies for the vocals!

Do you use a guide vocal for the songs?
I used a keyboard guide line melody for the Genius Rock Opera to show to the guest singers how the lyrics were going on in the songs.
In this Khymera I had the demos of the songs so it was more easy for Steve and there were no needing of creating a vocal guide track.

Have you had any personal contact with Steve Walsh while making the album?
Well, not personal, only by multimedia devices...he he, but we have been in a very close contact during his session, he was updating my with e-mails every time he was recording a new part of the lyrics!

Some journo's have had some contact and as you would know, the responses from him have been challenging, difficult and at times quite unreasonable. Does this disappoint you and somewhat sour the project?
Well, I've heard about some problems between him and Frontiers, but everything has begun much after the period of the production of Khymera. I remember that at that time everything was going great but yes at the moment it seems that there are some tensions with Steve.
I was very happy to work with Steve and we had a great time and of course this situation is really sad for me now, but you know, even if it's not what you expected
sometimes the things don't work well for many reasons...let's see what will happen!

Why do you think he won't answer questions directed to him?
I think that his behavior and missing answers could be connected to the problems he and Frontiers have been passing through lately, in the pre-release period, about 2 months ago.
Anyway I know that Frontiers has done everything possible to take care of this project and to support his great team, and I hope that everything will be cleared as soon as possible...

Will you work with Steve again?
I think that if there will be another Khymera album will be probably with another singer...and probably I would really like to get the project more close to a I'll have to find a singer available for live too...

What is planned for Khymera 2 then?
Let's see what happens with this first release in terms of reaction and sells, and then Frontiers and I will think about when and who's going to take part into the next Khymera. I think it's too early to talk about this point at the moment...he he!

Can you please take us through each song on the album and what is was like to record that - what your feelings are?
- Khymera

Well, I did this intro very spontaneously...I wanted to create something strong enough to present all the smart songs of this Khymera album...It's very powerful and glorious in my opinion and I'm very happy on how it came out...I like especially the guitar melody of the Khymera intro...I think that is a good balance of musicality and technique.
I was very fun to hit the last note so high! I had to use my Washburn 30 frets for that!

-Strike like lightning
Very nice Moroder, I was really amazed to record a personal version of a song already recoded by MrBig!

- Shadows
Probably one of my favourite! Very powerful riff and A great Walsh interpretation! Also I like very much the drumming by my friend Dario Ciccioni...he's really intense in this song!

-Who's gonna love you tonight
I spent a lot of time working at the keys in this song...I tried to give to this soft song the right feel and I had to work a lot, cause it's a style that I never did too much in my other records;)

- Living with a memory
I like very much the intro of the bass I recorded here...It's something very different form my usual style in playing bass...I think that this song really gave me a way to experiment new ways of my playing

- Say it with love
Really bombastic song, the choirs are great!!! I did the solo of this song more that 100 times...I remember that I could not stop playing that!

-Tears on the pages
Great Peterik song...I love this!

- Live without love
I especially like the chorus of this song...I think that Walsh did a great job here...really impressive how he opens the chorus with his high tone voice!
Also I like the very straight rock duet of my guitar with Steve at the end of the song before the solo. I think that the solo of this song is my favourite of the album! ;)

- Bless a brand new angel
There are no words to explain the great expression of Walsh here...anyone can here himself! :)

- Without Warning
Great Winger song! It was great to record a version of this song...I always loved Winger!

- Written in the wind
Great Guest appearance of Slamer at the guitar here! I was very happy to have his guitar playing in this song..he is a great style and
a lot of experience and has given to the album more prestige with his guest appearance here!

- Love leads the way
Another great song...also here great choirs and lead vocals!

And after that - anything you would like to add mate?
I'd like to thank very much all the guys involved in this Khymera project, Dario Ciccioni for the great drumming, Steve Walsh, Joe Vana Thom Griffin and Billy Greer for their great vocal performances, Mike Slamer for its great mix and co-production and
all the team at Frontiers for believing in me!!
I hope to be talking to you soon for another interesting musical adventure!!!

How is Genius 2 coming along?
Genius 2 is going very well, you can expect a great second episode of the trilogy with a great cast of singers, many new great vocalist from the international scene!
Everything is almost completed and we are working hard for creating a great cast also for this second episode.
You can expect another great piece of rock/metal music! I'll do my best as usual!
Anyway you can get the latest news about genius at the official website.

If you pass some news in your great it would be a great help to have my links inside: and

Consider it done Daniele!


KHYMERA - The Grand Design (Review)

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Produced By: 
Dennis Ward
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Release Date: 
Musical Style: 
Release Year: 
Friday, December 4, 2015
Like an overblown Jim Steinman Masterpiece, the new rougher, tougher Khymera explodes with the glorious symphony of 80s keyboards and Euro-AOR guitars that is the feisty rocker Never Give Up On You.
This is a slightly different Khymera than we last heard. Dennis Ward is the only constant through all the 4 releases, joined on this occasion by Eric Ragno on keyboards (an inspired choice); Michael Klein on guitars; Felix Bohnke on drums.
Dennis Ward has the prominent writer’s role here – involved in all twelve, with half co-written with Paul Logue (Eden’s Curse).
It’s a slightly heavier Khymera here, and slightly rawer, with Dennis’ vocals definitely turning up the rasp. But other than that, it’s classic Khymera all the way – that is, European, commercial melodic Rock and 80s AOR.
One big chorus after another – all bathed in layers of keyboards, guitars and harmonies.
At this point in time I’m leaning towards this being the best of the Khymera albums to date.
The quality of the songs simply demand it.
Never Give Up On You is one of the catchiest anthems of the year; Say What You Want is a classic old-meets-new rock ballad; I Believe is fast and free flowing AOR; A Night To Remember is straight out of the White Sister playbook, with 80s synth dominating.
Land Of Golden Dreams has a strong, dramatic Gary Hughes/Ten mood to it; The Grand Design goes into overdrive and Streetlight is one of the more lush, emotional ballads of the year.
Who’s Fooling Who is another highlight – perfect moody, uptempo AOR here.
Closing the album is the big piano ballad Where Is The Love, featuring a very soulful vocal.

What can one say? Three very strong AOR releases in one month by the same label – Frontiers. And all pretty much essential.
But if there’s going to be a pecking order, this just comes out on top.
Terrific old school AOR without sounding dated or repetitive.

KHYMERA Back With 'The Grand Design' December 4

Release Year: 
Friday, December 4, 2015
News Feed
The return of the KHYMERA Project - fully in the hands of Dennis Ward
New album 'The Grand Design' out in December on Frontiers
Frontiers Music Srl is excited to announce the release of the fourth album of the KHYMERA project entitled “The Grand Design”, on December 4 in Europe and North America.
While the KHYMERA project started out as an alliance between Italian producer/musician, Daniele Liverani and then KANSAS singer Steve Walsh, it actually developed into a regular musical project when Pink Cream 69/Unisonic bassist and producer Dennis Ward came into the picture.
While known as a bass player, Dennis always sings background vocals with his bands, so it was quite interesting for many fans to hear his voice taking the lead on the Khymera albums “A New Promise” and “The Greatest Wonder”. While the project went on hiatus for some time, it was a natural choice now for Dennis to grab the reins and take complete control (both on the songwriting – together with Paul Logue and Michael Klein - and on the production side) of the new album, “The Grand Design”, which comes 7 years after the release of “The Greatest Wonder”.
“Everything changed this time!” says Dennis Ward. “First of all there were no songs written by outside writers, just the people involved in the recordings and Paul.  I wrote all the melodies and lyrics this time, something I had not done on the previous KHYMERA albums, but regardless it was a very comfortable working situation.”
The band is also totally “new”. Other than Ward, no other old members performed on the album. “I was on tour playing with Unisonic in Europe and Japan” tells Dennis, “we had a double headlining bill with Edguy and I was really impressed by Felix Bohnke’s drumming.  He’s a fan of AOR and was more than happy to participate to the new KHYMERA album, which was great because his style fits so well. Whilst collaborating on one song with Paul Logue (EDEN’S CURSE), he came up with an idea to have a certain type of choir in the song which he worked out with Pete Newdeck.  I was so impressed by the choirs Pete made and how they fit to my voice that I asked him to be Khymera’s “backing vocalist”. His choir ideas greatly impacted the entire outcome of the album.   
“A couple songs ideas that Paul Logue presented had beautiful pianos in them,” continues Dennis.  “I too had a piano song and asked Paul who played his piano parts in. He told me of Jim Rykbost, whom I’ve never worked with.  Jim is a down to earth Piano player, not just a keyboarder. With all due respect to many pop/rock keyboarders the true art of playing the Piano seems to get lost these days. Jim had the feel and the mood I was looking for and took the songs to another level. Since I also needed keys I quickly got into contact with Eric Ragno, someone I’ve worked with in the past and has so much experience and class in AOR.  I love his modern approach to building AOR keyboard parts.”
Musically, the new album very much follows along the logical progression of the musical path that was started a few years ago. “The Grand Design” is a strong, extremely melodic release, which showcases the fantastic vocal abilities of Dennis and highlights his great skills as a songwriter and producer.
“The Grand Design” truly offers one of the most shining examples of what great European Melodic Rock is all about: crystal clear production, soaring vocals, killer musicianship and songwriting that reminds fans of the heydays of the genre when bands like Giuffria, Icon, and Signal ruled the airwaves.
“The Grand Design” tracklisting includes: 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; Streetlights; Who’s Fooling Who; Finally; Where Is The Love.
Enjoy the new album trailer here:
Dennis Ward: bass guitar and lead vocals
Felix Bohnke: drums
Michael Klein: guitars
Eric Ragno: keyboards
Jim Rybkost: piano, additional keyboards
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