Thunder In The DistanceLABEL:
Frontiers Haulix PortalCOUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Michael Kiske - vocals * Dennis Ward - bass, vocals, guitars * Dirk Bruineberg - drums * Gunter Werno - keyboards * Uwe Reitenauer - guitarTRACK LISTING:
01 Talk To Me * 02 Power Of Music * 03 Broken Wings * 04 Lost In Paradise * 05 It Can't Rain Forever * 06 Fragile Ground * 07 Hold Your Love * 08 Never Too Late * 09 Heaven Lost * 10 My Heart Is Dying * 11 Breakout * 12 Maybe Tomorrow * 13 Thunder In The Distance * 14 Maybe Tomorrow (Orchedtral Version) (Japan Bonus Track)RATING:
Cool name for an album huh? Even cooler is the album cover! Michael Kriske's long running project delivers yet another consistently good album. Enough to keep all the melodic rockers happy over the forthcoming Christmas break. It may have an air of familiarity about it, and there maybe more songs than usual, but the quality is right up there. It's the same cast as per the previous PV albums but it appears they've come armed with some excellent material. I've had this album on playback over the last week, and I've really enjoyed it. More so than the other PV albums from the past, What is interesting to me, and its the first time I've noticed it, is Kiske's vocal vibrato technique. You hear it often. Whether or not he's pulled this trick out previously I'm unsure. I'll probably need to go back and have a listen to some of those earlier Helloween
albums plus the two PV albums. Whatever, it sounds kinda cool.
As for the songs, these are some of the smoothest tunes heard during 2013. I probably need to go back and listen to those two PV albums again to make sure I'm not dreaming, because if anything, Place Vendome are on a roll and sounding better than I've ever heard them before.
This is apparent as early as the opener 'Talk To Me' (video below), which is urgent in the delivery; even more so than Santa being late on his Christmas deliveries.
Songs such as 'Power Of Music' emphasis the strength in the choruses, one of several features to stand out on this melodic wonderland.
We all know how important strong choruses are in the overall scheme of GDM things, and 'Broken Wings' is no exception, sounding like it could be a bonus track for the exceptional Find Me
album earlier this year.
'Lost In Paradise' eases up on the tempo, and features more in the way of orchestration, plus of course another great chorus.
The tempo drops down into first gear for the ballad 'It Can't Rain Forever', but don't be fooled, this is AOR Central, and under a set of headphones, it comes to life on its own steam.
Some cool synth sequences from Gunter Werno lights the way for 'Fragile Ground', becoming an anthem of sorts. It's one of the more rocking tunes on the album.
like piano lines grace the opening to 'Hold Your Love', before the song is prised open like a shucked oyster. It's one of my fave tunes there. The chorus is straight out of the Lionville
songbook, and that reference is enough to send it over the top, though the feature set all over the song should please all AORsters!
'Never Too Late' sounds like something better suited to the latest Fergie Fredriksen
CD, but I'm happy that Kiske has delivered hot melodies like pancakes for our breakfast. 'Heaven Lost' has elements that represent part power-ballad, but the whole song is driven along by excellent but darker melodies. If the guitars were heavier, this could be power/prog metal!
Continuing the melodic enjoyment, 'My Heart Is Dying' contains all the tell-tale signs of melodramatic AOR, topped by a hot bridge and solo section which begs repeat-play.
'Breakout' might be the name of a famous Bon Jovi
song, but this version is bound to be played more often than JBJ does with any of his older material. Kiske is less heavy-handed with his version, and at eleventh place in the song order, the attention is still high this deep into the album.
There are two version of 'Maybe Tomorrow' on this album, both sound similar, though one is apparently called the Orchestral version. I couldn't tell to be honest.
The title track is as AOR as it gets, and it's a pearler! The arrangement, the keys, and the pre-choruses are simply killer. For mine, one of the best tracks of 2013 within the AOR sub-genre. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
To really get the most out of this album, I had to give it a full two weeks of repeat-play, and I'm glad I did. Without doubt, I believe it's Kiske's best Place Vendome album by far. Call it third time lucky, but in reality, he's just got all the stars to be aligned just about perfectly for this set of songs. There's no real filler, and as you can see, I've gone through each song to point this out. What would be better, if Kiske and co could get out of the studio and bring Place Vendome to life on stage. Their sound is finely honed now, and they've got great material to work with. So what about it Michael?
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