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Carl Verheyen - The Grand Design album review

Virtuoso guitarist shows strengths and weaknesses

CARL VERHEYEN The Grand Design covert art

Nobody who’s ever heard Carl Verheyen play, whether solo or in Supertramp, can doubt his guitar-playing aptitude. There are times on The Grand Design when he astonishes. The range of his expression takes in folk (Beyond My Reach), pomp (Live My Days) and Supertramp-style pop rock (Adeline). The album shifts gear from the moody introspection of Intangibles Collide through to the more expansive tenacity of Candy Fame.

And throughout, there’s a feeling that Verheyen is capable of adapting to any style. But this is also something of a hindrance, because there’s a sense here of a collection of songs with no perceived flow. Taken individually, the tracks are thoroughly enjoyable, matching exhaustive musicianship with a respect for melody. But does it work as an album? Not really. It’s as if Verheyen is struggling to find his own personality, simply because he can go across the spectrum. He’s clearly a lot more effective in a band situation, rather than out on his own. However, this is a more than decent release, and the version of Bob Dylan’s evergreen The Times They Are A-Changin’ sums up Verheyen’s talent for finding fresh ways to tell an old story. Classy, if slightly flawed.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio (opens in new tab), which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.