Track Listing
Khymera (instrumental)
Strike Like Lightning
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:
Mr. Big
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

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

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