‘Master of Illusions’ comes five years after Khymera’s previous studio album ‘The Grand Design’, making the wait for new material almost as long as the band’s seven year hiatus following 2008’s ‘The Greatest Wonder’. It’s not like band leader Dennis Ward has been resting, of course: he’s continued to be one of the busiest men in the melodic rock scene, working with his other band Pink Cream 69 and moonlighting with Place Vendome (both of whom released albums in 2017), making an album with Gus G in 2018 and even stepping in for bass duties on Magnum’s 2020 opus ‘The Serpent Rings’. You have to wonder if he ever sleeps.
The all round quality of Khymera’s ‘Master of Illusions’ doesn’t suggest that Ward has spread himself too thinly, either. The album has more than enough top drawer material to make it stand up with the band’s earlier works. In ‘Follow The Sun’ and ‘After All This Time’, there are a couple of career bests, which is reason enough to check out this long player.
Khymera are an example of a band with a fairly fluid existence. Originally formed as a project for Italian musician Daniele Liverani and sometime Kansas man Steve Walsh, they gained a following despite not always being as impressive as Walsh’s Streets, or hitting the highs of another band from the Kansas family tree, the mighty Seventh Key. Walsh only appeared on the debut LP, subsequently handing lead vocal duties over to Pink Cream 69 man Dennis Ward for the next two releases – works that seemed well respected within the AOR community.
Back in 2013 Magnus Karlsson released an album entitled ‘Free Fall‘, a disc of hard rock collaborations with various guest vocalists that yielded mixed results. Mixed, maybe, but when those collaborations worked, in terms of classic hard rock, they hit the spot.
Longtime Helloween frontman Andi Deris has a new record out via the earMUSIC label in November. Released under the moniker Andi Deris & The Bad Bankers, the project marks Deris’s first extra-curricular disc for almost a decade and a half.
Swedish guitarist Magnus Karlsson will be familiar to some rock fans as a collaborator on Jorn Lande and Russell Allen’s trilogy of albums, having lent some meaty musical chops to the works of those powerhouse vocalists. ‘Free Fall’ – Karlsson’s solo debut – follows in the melodic power metal tradition, with a roll call of impressive vocal talents helping to breathe life into his material, as well as some killer lead guitar work throughout.