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Easily among the best ten AOR albums released in 2000's, "Wonderland", the debut from Swedes KHARMA, blends like few classic early '80s Pomp with traditional Scandinavian Melodic Hard Rock sounds.
The project started in the early Nineties with renowned Swedish session musicians writing and recording several demos, and it's clear they took the necessary time to polish these wonderful songs to the extreme.
With the addition of outstanding vocalist Goran Edman and the late, excellent former Yngwie Malmsteen keyboardist Mats Olausson providing ivory magic, the group recorded "Wonderland" at the highly respected Bohus Studios.
Mixing the pompy AOR melodies of Styx, Kansas and Journey with some Europe and alike harmony layers, backing vocals and guitar riffs, the result was a terrific piece of classic stuff.
No fillers, All killers.
Pompy gems like title track 'Wonderland', the orchestrated ballad 'Burn Forever' or the quite Kansas-like 'Don't Close Your Eyes' are interspersed with sharp melodic rockers like the vehement 'Free Yourself' and "Knowing You", alongside Scandi-AOR pearls such as "Standing Alone".
This Japanese Edition features a fabulous track as bonus, the killer anthem "Cold As Ice", where the band rocks in full muscle. It's a shame it was not included into the world-wide version of the CD as it's one of the highlights.
Crowned by Edman's superb vocal performance (one of the best of his career) and a top notch production, Kharma's "Wonderland" is indeed a wonder, a mandatory listen for every AOR / Melodic Rock fan.
01 - Free Yourself
02 - Wonderland
03 - Knowing You
04 - Burn Forever
05 - In Chains
06 - Standing Alone
07 - Part Time Lovers
08 - Angel Eyes
09 - Ray Of Sunshine
10 - Spell On You
11 - Don't Close Your Eyes
12 - Hold On
13 - Wings Of History
14 - Cold As Ice (bonus track for Japan)
Goran Edman – Vocals
Dragan Tanaskovic – Guitars
Atilla Szabo – Keyboards, piano, organ
Joel Starander – Bass
Imre Daun – Drums, percussion
Mats Olausson – Keyboards
Michael Erlandsson - backing vocals
KHARMA - Wonderland [Japanese Edition]