KHYMERA – A New Promise

KHYMERA - A New Promise


Frontiers Records
Release date: December 5, 2005

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It started out innocently enough as a studio project in 1993, and was designed to bring together one of Rock’s historic voices (Steve Walsh of Kansas fame) and one of the most talented multi-instrumentalist musicians on the music scene today (Daniele Liverani, mastermind behind the Genius Rock Opera project). The end result was an album in 1993 by the two, simple entitled Khymera, under a moniker of the same name. It’s now twelve years later and the project has evolved into a second studio album, aptly entitled A New Promise, with Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) taking control of the larynx duties in place of Mr. Walsh. The project still includes Liverani who handles Bass, Keyboards, and Production, as he did on the debut release. For this go around, though, Liverani has handed over the guitar reins to the emerging Frontiers session man Tommy Ermolli. Drummer Dario Ciccioni (Genius, Hartmann) also returns on Drums. The net effect is one nice slab of modern day Melodic Hard Rock to end the year 2005 with.

A New Promise, like its predecessor, borrows songs from some of the top writers in the Melodic Rock and AOR scene featuring the likes of Robin and Judithe Randall (Mark Free, FM), Jeff Scott Soto and Don Barnes. The majority of the songs, however, were written by the songwriting duo of brothers Tom and James Martin (ex-Sugartown).

While not a bad thing, the debut Khymera release ended up sounding similar to Walsh’s Streets project, which was logical considering Khymera involved three-fourths of Streets’ main men in Walsh, Billy Greer (Back-up Vocals) and Mike Slamer (co-Production, Mix). This time around, Khymera’s sound is more reminiscent of Ward’s other project this year, Place Vendome, which is a very prestigious comparison.

The release starts very strong with the short instrumental track “A New Promise” and leads one to believe that this current line-up might indeed be more Operatic and Progressive. Sadly, you’re brought back down to Earth when the second track “Alone” starts off with a more traditional Melodic Rock/AOR beginning. Ward proves from the beginning that his pipes are melodic and confident as “Alone” portrays him to have a vocal delivery style similar to House Of Lord’s James Christian. The opening track itself is appealing and melodic with plenty of synthesizer accompaniment be Liverani.

“Let It Burn” has a heavier Ermolli guitar riff in it, but still manages to maintain it’s massive AOR stature. Ermolli does a commendable job on Lead Guitar throughout by staying within the framework of the songwriting without every really getting “carried away.” So, if you’re looking for a “Guitar Masturbation” release, then look elsewhere.

Album highlights are “Looking For You” and “The Damage Is Done,” with both having mammoth, unforgettable hook-lines … especially “Looking For You,” with its hook-line riding on top of a melodic Liverani keyboard line and a Ciccioni cymbal ride all accompanied by Ermolli who provides Guitar fills throughout …breathtaking! “Damage Is Done” stands alone on its own merits and actually packs a little more “crunch” than “Looking For You.” Regardless, its hook-line is just as powerful. The remainder of the album has other shining moments of Melodic Rock brilliance, albeit some mellower moments, but overall there are no real atrocious tracks. One has to wonder, given the success of Ward’s writing on Place Vendome, why he didn’t (or shouldn’t) do more of the songwriting for this incarnation of Khymera. It seems like it would be a successful musical union.

Bottom line, spot-on production quality and a talented group of musicians equates to one of 2005’s best Melodic Rock releases. If you were a fan of Ward’s other 2005 project, Place Vendome, then by all means this one is a definite must-buy. Otherwise, it’s not hard to justify spending your extra Christmas cash on this release. The question is, with so many exciting and successful projects under Dennis Ward’s belt this year, what do his itinerary and goals look like for 2006? Fans can only hope it’s more of the same caliber of music.


Dennis Ward – Vocals
Tommy Ermolli – Guitar
Dario Ciccioni – Drums
Daniele Liverani – Keyboards, Bass, Production


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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