Grand Design was formed in 2006 by singer/producer Pelle Saether and the band’s first album “Time Elevation” was released by AOR Heaven in October 2009. The release gained massive success and was awarded ‘best album’ and ‘best song’ by BeRockRadio and received numerous top 10 positions for ‘best album 2009’. Several concerts, including the prestigious FireFest in Nottingham, UK (which I attended), proved that Grand Design also deliver live. Two years later, it was time for Grand Design’s second album “Idolizer”. It followed up the fans expectations. In 2012 Janne Stark was included to the line-up. Now they present with “Thrill Of The Night” their third album.


Grand Design is:

Pelle Saether – vocals
Dennis Vestman – guitar
Janne Stark – lead guitar
Mats Vassfjord – bass
Magnus Ulfstedt – drums


Grand-Design-Thrill-Of-The-Night-350x350The previous album “Idolizer” from Grand Design was in fact the album Def Leppard never released after “Hysteria” and “Adrenalize”. Not only the sound referred to their idols but also titles such as “Oughtograugh” did just that!

The opening chords from “U Got me Good” make it clear what the difference is with the previous album. The guitar sounds bigger and heavier and that’s due to Janne Stark’s input. But rest assured folks; they still have the mighty Def Leppard as a big influence. When you listen to the solo here, a big smile will appear on your face. Janne delivers the goods! The party goes on with the cracking “Rawk N Roll Heart Attack”. The harmonies are a real treat for AOR-fans. This is AOR with a capital A, people. The incorporation of the guitars from Janne takes the music to a higher level. When you listen to the guitar parts you can definitely hear pieces of Overdrive shine through, but in a more slick way. I can even hear some Satriani sound in the solos. “The Rush Is Gone” is pure catchiness. Those ‘oo-oo’s’ in the background are simply heaven on earth. Pelle has a high pitched voice, but it’s a perfect match if you ask me. During “10 Outta 10” the drums draw your attention alongside the crunchy riffs. This album is on its way to almost get a perfect score! Time for some romance during the ballad “When The Greatest Love Of All Kicks In”. Great to hear a mellow ballad again, like we all heard on the radio back in the 80’s and early 90’s (Scorpions, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and of course Def Leppard). With “Rip Iddup” they kick back in gear and I can spot a riff that reminds a bit of Queensrÿche. Yeah, I have the tendency to hear things others won’t! The chorus has an arena rocker feel. But the guitars during the break are pure ear candy! Happy feelings and love are all around on “Get Up n Love Someone”. But what Pelle does on “You’re The Only One” is beyond that! What an incredible catchy tune this is, people. A track to melt hearts from girls all around! Erik Mårtensson co-wrote “Who’s Gonna Rawk You Tonite”, but to my surprise the guitars aren’t all over the place here. Instead you get a commercial sounding soft-rock tune. But nevertheless, it’s completely in the vein of the Grand Design sound! But the wild cat with the spots pops up his head again on the album closer and title track. On the artwork you can spot a leopard that looks you right in the face. In fact, that’s just what this album does. It won’t hide his Idols!!

To me this is the most complete album Grand Design has ever done. The input from Janne Stark has improved the sound even more. The many layers deliver a full sound and every fan of Def Leppard (especially era “Hysteria”) should listen to this gem. I immediately got infected and I’m glad to say there ain’t no cure!! Strongly recommended purchase!!

Track list:

  1. U Got Me Good
  2. Rawk N Roll Heart Attack
  3. The Rush Is Gone
  4. 10 Outta 10
  5. When The Greatest Love Of All Kicks In
  6. Rip Iddup
  7. Get Up N Love Someone
  8. You’re The Only One
  9. Who’s Gonna Rawk You Tonite
  10. Thrill Of The Nite

Score: 4,5 out of 5


Text by Rik Bauters

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