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Place Vendome - 2017 Close To The Sun

ARTIST: Place Vendome
ALBUM: Close To The Sun
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2017


LINEUP: Michael Kiske - vocals * Uwe Reitenauer - guitars * Dennis Ward - bass, production * Dirk Bruinenberg - drums * Gunther Werno - keyboards

Additional Musicians: Gus G, Kai Hansen, Mandy Meyer, Alfred Koffler, Magnus Karlsson, Simone Mularoni, Michael Klein - guest guitar solos

TRACK LISTING: 01 Close To The Sun * 02 Welcome To The Edge * 03 Hereafter * 04 Strong * 05 Across The Times * 06 Riding The Ghost * 07 Light Before The Dark * 08 Falling Star * 09 Breathing * 10 Yesterday Is Gone * 11 Helen * 12 Distant Skies


WEBLINKS: Place Vendome FB Page

Michael Kiske's Place Vendome has always been a band/project that has received maximum coverage at GDM. Much like Joe Lynn Turner's Sunstorm and also House Of Lords. In the past, all three seemed to have albums released around the same time, so to write about them concurrently was more than a coincidence. Of course the major focus with Kiske and compatriot Dennis Ward, is that the PV material is supplied by other contributors such as musicians and songwriters. 'Close To The Sun' is a continuation of that process which started way back in 2005 with the first Place Vendome album.

The Songs
The excellent Italian band DGM were featured last year, and their main-guy Simone Mularoni provides three songs, including the opening track 'Close To The Sun', 'Hereafter' and 'Across The Times'. The second of these: 'Hereafter' is particularly robust and bombastic. Frontier's in-house producer Alessandro Del Vecchio provides two songs. The ballad 'Strong' and the bruising 'Yesterday Is Gone'. One day this guy is going to release his own stuff. Well overdue. The second track 'Welcome To The Edge' written by Cain's Offering Jani Liimatainen is a heavier affair, but Kiske's vocals on the verses were kinda weird. The pick of the bunch for mine was the Michael Palace contribution 'Light Before The Dark'. This one just seemed to be best suited to Kiske's. Other contributions from the likes of Olaf Thorsen and Fabio Lione (Labyrinth) offered up one rocking tune 'Riding The Ghost' and one ballad 'Helen'. The same could be said for Secret Sphere's Aldo LoNobile who provided 'Distant Skies' and 'Breathing' as a similar pairing.

In Summary
It took me a few plays to get into this platter. Even with all these outside contributions, the sound of the album is cohesive, and doesn't suffer from all the different writing styles. It's not an approach I wholly subscribe to, but in this case it sort of works. Kiske has a busy time leading into 2017 with a Helloween reunion on the cards and a tour riding off the back of that, but in the meantime, if this style of melodic rock appeals to you (I know for some it doesn't), then give it a spin.

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#1 | melodiapositiva on March 14 2017 16:45:06
First album was great,but the following three sounds almost the same .There's no progression in their sound, and even with 3 or 4 different writers, the pattern of the songs are very similar (and imho that's not good).
Altough they are not bad albums, and kiske is one of my favourite singers i find this project and almost every Frontiers projects tooo similar and boring.But well, maybe it's me that i'm stuck on the 80's.hmm!
#2 | gdazegod on March 14 2017 20:25:14
Me too.
#3 | george_the_jack on March 25 2017 12:57:48
Admittedly, I have never been Place Vendome's biggest fan nor Kiske's, despite me loving Helloween since I remember myself. I have always been on the Deris side plus Kiske has recently adopted a miserable ''sobbing'' in his voice and singing style which literally disgusts me, leading me to skip tracks. Can't help it!

However, if there is one Place Vendome album aside TITD that appeals to me in terms of songwriting, this has to be the one. I believe that the songs are quite good in here - nothing memorable or breathtaking but they do sound more reasonable to my ears. Still IMO this project pales in comparison with ''Sunstorm'' in terms of quality (at least with the first 2 Sunstorm releases), although I remember many compared these 2 at the time they first appeared due to the same core of musicians being shared between the 2 projects.

Likewise, I have started to become very tired with that same 'ol' same 'ol' production and ''AOR by numbers'' the Frontiers label tends to put out. I find a lot more interest in AOR Heaven releases or even in Indie ones.

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