Monday, November 18, 2013

PLACE VENDOME: ”Thunder In The Distance”

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

The third ”episode” of Place Vendome is here. As you may know, Place Vendome is an AOR project featuring the former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske working alongside Pink Cream 69/Unisonic bassist/producer Dennis Ward, PC69 guitarist Uwe Reitenauer, Vanden Plas keyboardist Gunther Werno. For this third album, the band replaced drummer Kosta Zafiriou (also PC69) with Dirk Bruinenberg (ex-Adagio).

While the first album was mostly written by Dennis Ward, the second one ”Streets Of Fire” and this latest release have been put together from songs provided by Frontiers’ ”in-house” writers. Yes, it’s another Frontiers project album! Yes, there’s Del Vecchio, Karlsson, Söderqvist, Tolkki and Denander involved! Yes, it doesn’t sound drastically different to the others! Yes, I like it! No, I’m not on their payroll!

It’s getting increasingly strange that a handful of people are responsible for a big share of Frontiers’ output, but as I’ve said it before, as long as the quality is there, I’m not going to start complaining. Okay, this isn’t as strong an album as ”Streets Of Fire”, but it’s still very good. Ward’s production is clear and smooth, and Kiske’s voice suits this kind of material perfectly. Maybe it’s a couple of songs too long, as there are a few that are pretty generic, but you can always skip those and still find plenty of songs to enjoy.

My favourite songs on this album tend to be slightly on the more dark, melancholic side of things. ”Power Of Music”, ”Lost In Paradise”, ”It Can’t Rain Forever”, ”Heaven Lost” and ”My Heart Is Dying”… well, some of the titles already suggest that these aren’t happy-go-lucky summertime anthems, but moody, highly melodic songs. As for the rest, they are all reasonably good AOR tracks, but maybe the final touch of magic is missing from them.
Michael Kiske Website

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