Grand Design - V

Grand Design – V


The Grand Design experiment is now into its eleventh year and onto its fifth album, and the Swedish roller coaster appears to be no closer to stopping.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Grand Design
YEAR: 2020


LINEUP: Pelle Saether – vocals, production * Dennis Vestman – rhythm guitars, backing vocals * Dan Svanbom – solo and rhythm guitars, backing vocals * Stefan Westerlund – bass * Joakim Jonsson – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Right Away * 02 I Won’t Cry Over U Tonite * 03 Strandead (Trapped In A Heartbreak Zone) * 04 Wut Are U Waiting For * 05 Shame On U * 06 Walkin’ The Wire * 07 Gimmie The Fire * 08 Take Me To Yer Heaven * 09 I Dunno Wut to Say * 10 The Warrior * 11 Guilty of Luv In The 1st Degree

RATING: Score=85%



The Grand Design experiment is now into its eleventh year and onto its fifth album, and the Swedish roller coaster appears to be no closer to stopping. Like Alun always looks forward to reviewing Bullet albums, I on the other hand always look forward to hearing a new Grand Design album.

It’s not like I’m expecting to see a u-turn in style and direction. What you hear is what you get with Pelle and the lads, and their Def Leppard copy-cat brand of melodic rock is always welcome at Glory Daze Towers. The one big change in the band is the departure of guitarist Janne Stark for Dan Swanbom, and I feel its a notable one, which I’ll touch on further in the review.

The Songs

Immediately we are greeted with those massive multi stacked vocals on ‘Right Away’ which whack you in the side of the head like an infrasonic ray gun. GD sign on just where they signed off on 2018’s ‘Viva La Paradise’.

‘I Won’t Cry Over U Tonite’ lift it a notch with shimmering guitar melodies, more big harmony vocals plus a distinctive chorus, though the guitar solo was a bit underwhelming. ‘Strandead (Trapped In A Heartbreak Zone)’ is an anthem to all those who have loved and not completely lost, but are having problems escaping or working toward a resolution. Just like Brexit huh?

‘Wut Are U Waiting For’ is probably the most commercial offering on the album. Not a lot of sting here but still appealing regardless. The GD boys rev it on the red line courtesy of ‘Shame On U’, a tune that picks up the tempo with a big singalong chorus to boot. I was hoping they could’ve lifted the pitch of the song by a note coming out of the solo to build even more momentum.

‘Walkin’ The Wire’ is a bit more serious in tone. Edgier and a shade darker. ‘Gimmie The Fire’ is a return to the GD template built up over a decade or more. Sometimes familiarity is a good thing right? ‘Take Me To Yer Heaven’ is loaded with melodic elements right the way through and builds nicely to a chorus climax, though I would’ve preferred a slightly different outcome on the chorus as there wasn’t a lot change.

‘I Dunno Wut to Say’ tries to reach for heavier realms but they don’t quite make it. The chorus is punchy, no problems there, but the verses needed to be more effective. ‘The Warrior’ is a cover of the track made famous by Patty Smyth and Scandal. It’s OK and good to hear it updated, but as they say, there’s nothing quite like the original. ‘Guilty of Luv In The 1st Degree’ sees GD sign off in style, another from their template form book that is distinctly theirs.

In Summary

A good listen overall with two observations to make. Mostly the material is solid but it sounds less rockier than previous albums. Secondly, I think they’ve lost something in the lead guitar department too. The solos were adequate but really didn’t set the album on fire either. No doubt fans will get a kick out of ‘V’ and hopefully once the COVID-19 is all done and dusted, the band can hit the road during the northern summer.


Right Away

Grand Design "Right Away" (Official video)

The Warrior (Scandal cover)
Grand Design "The Warrior" (official video)

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