Published on March 22nd, 2017 | by Justin G.
Place Vendome: Close to the Sun (Frontiers)
Place Vendome, the melodic rock project featuring vocalist Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) and bassist/guitarist/producer Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), is back after a four-year absence with a new album. Close to the Sun is Place Vendome’s fourth album to date, and in addition to Kiske and Ward, it sees guest contributions from Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray, ex-Helloween), Many Meyer (Krokus), Simone Mularoni (DGM), Gus G (Firewind), Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear) and others.
As much as Kiske’s unique vocal style is associated with the power metal style, he really shines in a melodic rock setting. Something about that warm voice and signature vibrato just “sells” melodic rock songs. It helps that he has some top-shelf songwriting support on Close to the Sun. The Magnus Karlsson-penned “Falling Star” immediately brings to mind the Kiske-Somerville magic, and Kiske gives the DGM song “Hereafter” a whole new life. Michael Palace (Palace) provided the very upbeat, very rocking “Light Before the Dark,” which is one of the album’s best tracks. Most of the songwriters here are heavy metal veterans, so Close to the Sun ends up being the most rocking of the Place Vendome albums.
The only downside of having so many different songwriters – talented as they are – is that Close to the Sun lacks some of the cohesive feel that held the early Place Vendome albums together. It can sound a bit disjointed at times. Still, hearing Kiske turn in such a fantastic vocal performance on a new slate of melodic rock songs is always reason to celebrate. If you were a fan of the first three Place Vendome albums, you will absolutely want to hear Close to the Sun. And if you’re new to Place Vendome but enjoy recent Frontiers offerings like Lionville, Palace, Kiske-Somerville and Sunstorm, this album makes a great introduction.
Summary: In Kiske We Trust