KHYMERA - Master Of Illusions (Album Review)

Khymera Returns With Master Of Illusions

The Frontiers Record Label has released yet another project from the melodic masters Khymera. The mastermind behind Master Of Illusions is Dennis Ward. Some of you might recognize that name from bands like Pink Cream 69, and Magnum. This album has got loads of great tracks full of melodic arrangements, but still some killer riffs, and well thought out songwriting. Khymera isn’t carving any new roads that haven’t already been made, but they do have a lane of all their own.

The best comparison to Khymera would be bands like Def Leppard and Journey just to name a couple. These would be just a reference point. However, the music has its own merits. Just like many other bands in the Melodic Rock genre. In Khymera there are the slamming drums from Pete Newdeck and the non-forgiving guitars of Michael Klein. Next, you have the magical keyboards from Eric Ragno and the majestic vocals and bass from Dennis Ward.  Before Khymera, Dennis was usually just background vocals and mainly handled the bass duties. While in Khymera he has become an impassioned singer that handles the lyrics with a veteran’s delivery. This is Khymera‘s 5th album and also their first effort in also 5 years.  The last was the stellar, The Grand Design from 2015.

About The Tracks

Walk Away” kicks things off on Master Of Illusions, and coincidentally is also the lead-off single from the album. A rocking, upbeat tempo and Ragno’s keyboards really shine in this one. As melodic as Khymera can be, “The First Time” has that 80’s rocker feel to it. Think of the aforementioned Def Leppard reference. As much as the song kicks off a little slow, it picks up pace and once you hear it, you will hear the Joe Elliot peppered throughout.

Master Of Illusions” kicks things off with a guitar riff, and driving drum beat before Dennis jumps in with his building vocal style. This song climbs up into a midtempo rocker, again it also showcases the exceptional keys from Eric Ragno. This is a song that fans of Khymera have really come to expect from these guys. Great rhythm, stellar soloing and harmonic vocals. Truly a great title track. “The Sun Goes Down” is yet another with the guitars and keys working well together with another great vocal delivery from Dennis. The lyrics ebbs and flows well here. The star in this track, however, has got to be the drumming style of Pete Newdeck.

Next up we have “Paradise”. A track where the political vibe begins to creep in a little.  A song about our world, or a false paradise where everyone is only limited by their own limitations. The guitar sound is different at the start and quickly builds into yet another mid-tempo rocker. “The Rhythm of My Life” darts into another area of self-exploration and has a huge chorus of gang vocals. Again, you can almost hear some classic Lep in this one.

Follow The Sun” returns to more of the straight edge rocker style. Not too heavy, and just right for the Khymera fans. With this one, once again Pete Newdeck shines on the drums. Driving beats and the tone of the cymbals here bring this song into the perfect pocket. Next up is the album ballad. “Father to Son” is a gut-wrenching song filled with acoustic and electric guitars and is accompanied with keys that sound like they are doubling the guitar tones. It does eventually build into something larger sounding, however.

After All This Time” is a more pop-ish sounding track, with modern-sounding keys, and a solid rock undertone with huge choruses, and a fantastic guitar solo from Michael Klein. Getting back to basics for the fans is the very memorable “Victim Of Your Love”. Packed with just great melodic rock from all aspects of the bands. Ragno plays a great fill in the beginning on the keys, Newdeck punishes the drums but in a sensible way, Klein wails on the guitar and Dennis delivers exactly what is needed on the bass and vocally. Hopefully, this is the choice for the second single. “Let It Happen” closes out this 5-year journey that became Master of Illusions. A guitar-driven track that has those harder, more edgy rock elements that fans of great Melodic Hard Rock crave and desire.

Psycho-Babble

I can’t help but think of a few things about this record. First off, this album will grow on you. It’s melodic, rocking, and 100% enjoyable each time you listen. This listener really loved 2015’s The Grand Design, and Master of Illusions picks up perfectly where that one left off. Remaining true to the band’s sound but growing as well. We can only hope that it isn’t yet another 5 years before the next Khymera album comes out.

Rock on!

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Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall

Email Me at: Trevor “Psychoone” McD

Tracks:

  1. Walk Away
  2. The First Time
  3. Master Of Illusions
  4. The Sun Goes Down
  5. Paradise
  6. The Rhythm Of My Life
  7. Follow The Sun
  8. Father To Son
  9. After All This Time
  10. Victim Of Your Love
  11. Just Let It Happen

Band:

  • Dennis Ward – Vocals & Bass
  • Michael Klein – Guitars
  • Eric Ragno – Keyboards
  • Pete Newdeck – Drums