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Grand Design - 'Viva La Paradise' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     November 20, 2018    
 
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It's not what I expected from Grand Design, but it's still an album worth adding to your collection.

I've been a big fan of Grand Design ever since I first heard their debut album, 'Time Elevation', in 2009. Led by vocalist, producer and principal song-writer Pelle Saether, they unashamedly pay homage to Def Leppard by brilliantly taking the style of the 'Pyromania', 'Hysteria' and 'Adrenalize' era releases and imbuing it with a distinctly Swedish sound and quirkiness, thus creating their own niche. Two more albums followed, 'Idolizer' (2011) and 'Thrill Of The Night' (2014), before moving from the AORHeaven label to GMR.

However, for album number four, 'Viva La Paradise', the Leppard-isms have largely been diluted in comparison to the earlier releases, the band stripping back the huge drum sound, multi-layered harmonies and Mutt Lange-style production. Sadly, by losing the Leppard-ness, Grand Design have also lost some of their own identity in the process.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Don't get me wrong, this is still a pretty decent Melodic Hard Rock album, but tunes such as the first single 'Face It', 'Rawk 'N' Roll Hysteria', 'Don't Ice Me Out' and 'Too Late To Fall In Love' don't immediately grab you in the same way that some of the oldies like 'Air It Out', 'Sad Sound Of Goodbye' or 'Get Up 'N' Luv Someone' have done previously – they certainly take several listens to really appreciate.

The brilliant title-track is the most "old-school" sounding song here, while it's the more straight-ahead, melodic and slightly lighter fare, like 'I Would Be The Wind', 'Love Shouldn't Hurt' and the semi-ballad 'Aim 4 The Heart', that are the real winners. For somebody with the capabilities of Saether, the production is also slightly disappointing with his vocals a little buried in the mix and the drum sound not quite as speaker-shattering as usual. However, guitarist Janne Stark is once again firing on all cylinders.

It's not what I expected from Grand Design, especially given my love for their earlier output, but it's still an album worth adding to your collection.

Ant Heeks

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