Published on May 12th, 2020 | by Justin G.
Khymera: Master Of Illusions (Frontiers, 2020)
I never thought I’d be this excited about a new Khymera album, but ever since the melodic rock band revitalized their sound on 2015’s The Grand Design I’ve been anxious to see if they could recapture that energy. They made me wait five years to find out, but the core of the new Khymera – bassist/vocalist Dennis Ward, guitarist Michael Klein and keyboardist Eric Ragno – have delivered another very memorable album with Master Of Illusions.
Once Dennis Ward took over as the producer and main songwriter for this band, Khymera has had a more dynamic sound that was more obviously rooted in the classic melodic rock sound that bands like Giant, Giuffria, Signal and House Of Lords perfected. Big, catchy melodies, prominent keyboards, slick production and the kind of well-written songs you want to sing along with abound on Master Of Illusions. Ward, who always surprises me with just how good a singer he is, turns in a great performance here. His smooth/gruff voice bears some resemblance to Ronnie Atkins, so there’s a Nordic Union vibe on some of these songs. And Klein’s guitars and Ragno’s keys are perfectly balanced, whether it’s a more rocking song or something with a lighter touch.
From the upbeat rocking opener “Walk Away” to the dramatic closer “Just Let It Happen,” Master Of Illusions is full of first-class melodic rock songs. The Pink Cream 69-ish “The Sun Goes Down” and “Follow The Sun” are early favorites (and will make you regret Ward’s choice to step back from that band), but every song on this album is a winner.
With Master Of Illusions, Khymera has continued to stand tall in an increasingly crowded melodic rock pack. This is as strong an album as anything Nordic Union, Vega, House Of Lords or Hardline has released lately, and is probably Khymera’s best album to date.
Summary: First class melodic rock