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KHYMERA (Frontiers Records FRCD143) (2003)

A project that sees Italian guitar wizard Daniele Liverani (he was behind last year’s Genius album) team-up with Kansas lead vocalist Steve Walsh. Joining them are fellow Kansas and ex-Streets member Billy Greer on backing vocals, along with Thom Griffin and Joe Vana from Mecca. Mike Slamer, also ex-Streets, co-produces the album to give it a real Streets reunion feel! Add to this the list of songwriters, who read like a ‘who’s who’ of melodic rock. You’ve got Jim Petrik, Russ Ballard, Journey’s Neal Schon, Kip Winger and Mark Spiro amongst others.

After an instrumental opener, the hard rocking ‘Strike Like Lightning’ roars into life! Big guitars, big harmonies and a heavy backbeat create a very powerful track. ‘Shadows’ follows the same vein, a great pounding song in the style of Streets. The song also contains Samuel L Jackson’s famous speech from ‘Pulp Fiction‘. The ballad ‘Bless A Brand New Angel’ sounds as though it could have come off Kansas’s ‘Spirit of Things’. Piano led, with Steve Walsh’s vocals have never sounded better and there is the bonus of angelic style backing vocals. Another great slow number is ‘How You Gonna Live Without Love’, that builds gradually to a chorus full of vocals and keyboards. ‘Say It With Love’ features heavy synths with Queen style harmonies. Would make a good radio track. Album closer ‘Tears On The Pages’ rounds the album of in fine style. It’s very catchy with some tasty guitar.

Overall heavier than Kansas, similar to parts of Streets and lovers of hard rock will thoroughly enjoy the album. Steve Walsh’s vocals are fine form, especially on the slower numbers. Special mention to Liverani’s guitar playing, which is very technical in parts but doesn’t detract from the melody of the songs - a very talented guitarist.



Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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