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Place Vendome Place Vendome Frontiers Records
FRCD260
· Produced By: Dennis Ward

· Running Time: 45.49

· Release Date: October 24

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock

· Links: Frontiers
95%
Songs: 95%
Sound: 93%
Place Vendome is easily the surprise package of the month. Fronted by former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske, this project sees him step well and truly into melodic hard rock territory, albeit, with the immense and indeed intense vocal power he is famed for.
Equal credit must go to the brains trust behind the music. Pink Cream 69's Dennis Ward wrote all the songs in collaboration with bandmates David Readman and Alfred Koffler, with contributions also from Gunther Werno of Vandenplas.
Ward produced this tight affair and plays bass, with Kosta Zafiriou on drums, Gunther Werno on keyboards, Uwe Reitenauer on guitars.
The question – when can you get a new PC69 album that isn't PC69? Right here, as Place Vendome delivers an amazing collection of songs for fans of European melodic hard rock.
Kiske transforms perfectly for this more melodic affair – but the power of Helloween isn't far from his mind. I love melodic rock with passion and fire and this album has both.
The album features some songs that border on melodic metal, just as the case was on Allen/Lande's monster album. Then just around the corner are some perfect melodic gems.
The mix of both styles works a treat and the album is perfectly balanced between the two, meaning it will appeal to both metal fans and melodic hard rock fans.
Looking at the rockers - Cross The Line is a great opener and showcases the harder edge to Place Vendome's sound. The swirling keyboard is something new for both participants, definitively a touch of Vandenplas there.
I Will Be Gone has a definite Helloween vibe to it, especially with the vocal delivery. I can hear a little Strabreaker/Tony Harnell also.
Place Vendome is simply a fabulous happy-go-lucky rocker with a great anthem chorus.
Right Here mimics the crossover appeal of the opening track and Magic Carpet is another very commercial, breezy uptempo melodic AOR track with a powerful chorus.
The album's closing track Sign Of The Times turns slightly more intense and ends the album as it started – in strong rocking form.
A far as slower tracks – the moody and intense The Setting Sun impresses and has a dark vibe. Heavens Door is totally different – it's a sweet, acoustic driven AOR ballad with a feel good chorus. It's quite a revelation for fans of Kiske!
I've saved the best for last. Amongst the great melodic hard rock here, this album also offers two of the great AOR anthems of the year. Of any year. I Will Be Waiting and Too Late are both so utterly perfect, it's hard to believe your ears.
There is nothing better than melodic rock/AOR delivered with power and these two tracks rip the roof right off.
The brilliant moody I Will Be There reminds me of my other favourite release of 2005 – the Oliver Hartmann release. Moody, powerful, intense, but thoroughly melodic. Bliss!
If that isn't perfect enough, it's followed by another gem in Too Late.
This is one of the great heavy AOR anthems of recent years. Kiske sounds brilliant, but overall, the whole song is just wonderfully delivered, with a moody verse which explodes into melodic bliss. The chorus is just perfect – I mean perfect. This is the blueprint for bliss with a soaring feel good chorus and some amazing harmony vocals.
The Bottom Line
In a year where some of the big melodic names have disappointed, it has been the metal boys that have impressed the most! Hartmann, Allen/Lande, Starbreaker and now Kiske and Ward.
Place Vendome may be a slightly daft band name, but the contents within are as surprising as they are brilliant. Another album that comes from a metal background and crosses over into melodic rock, bringing fans of both together.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Place Vendome

Line Up:
· Michael Kiske: Vocals
· Uwe Reitenauer: Guitars
· Kosta Zafiriou: Drums
· Dennis Ward: Bass
· Gunther Werno: Keyboards

Essential For Fans Of:
· Pink Cream 69
· Allen / Lande
· Helloween
· Starbreaker
If you enjoyed this release - also check out:
· Pink Cream 69 - Thunderdome
Track Listing
· Cross The Line*
· I Will Be Waiting*
· Too Late*
· I Will Be Gone
· The Setting Sun
· Place Vendome*
· Heavens Door*
· Right Here*
· Magic Carpet*
· Sign Of The Times
--*Best Tracks


13/05/08: Matt - bruges@comcast.net
Rating: 95
This is one of the best cd's I've heard in the past couple years. There is no way to tell someone exactly what this style is because it transcends various genres of melodic rock & metal. Sign of the Times is my favorite and can be described as progressive metal lite. Then there is Place Vendome (the song) which is a happy rock song. Michael Kiske must absolutely hate this album because it only reinforces what his entire fanbase must think -- stop with the solo BS you keep putting out and freaking ROCK......

02/08/07: Bruce - bruce330@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 93
Very good album. I don't consider this an AOR album though. It has some songs that fit that genre, but many others are more in a progressive melodic hard rock vain. A good mix between the two styles. I love this album. Would not hesitate to pick up their next release when ever that occurs.

19/04/07: Mike - quick-lil-evo-8@verizon.net
Rating: 94
Don't know why it took me so long to decide to take a chance on this CD. I think it had a lot to do with the cover art. It's cool and all but for some reason it turned me off. Glad I finally added it to my collection. This is a really good CD. Guess I'm behind the times with the review but I guess better late than never. Figure I'll give the next CD he does a better chance if he does release one under the Vendome moniker.

09/09/06: Gonçalo - joao.custodio@pmintl.com
Rating: 99
Simply, the nº1 of 2005!! Man, this feels like i´m on the eighties again, listening to a mix between Whitesnake, Helloween, Rick Price and Pink Cream 69. Just Perfect! Michael, you should be performing forever in this style. Thanks for the music guys!!

15/06/06: Danimal - thenuge1@aol.com
Rating: 99
one of the best albums of 2005. damn good. Kiske rules.

28/04/06: Aytek - aytek34@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
best album of 2005. simply brillant.

09/02/06: Mike the Conqouror - mhiner14@charter.net
Rating: 94
Top 5 album so 2005. "Cross the Line" being one of the best song of 2005 set this album apart from other good AOR albums released recently but might confuse the someone if that was the only song they heard. The album does get alittle lighter and more AOR after the killer opening heavy track. I hope that this leads to another follow-up project

03/01/06: Tom - alphastart@fastmail.fm
Rating: 90
I have hear from this album thought "Munichs Hardest Hits" webradio and was really stunned. Great songs, fantastic vocals, all very cool AOR. Thanks to iTunes, it was a classic instant purchase :-)

01/01/06: mark - sluss528@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
this cd has more hookes than a women's closet! the best melodic cd of the year period!

05/12/05: Igor Italiani - worldwideweb@katamail.com
Rating: 95
AOR album of the year! Michael Kiske returns with a performance for the ages! Let's hope for a second chapter and some live dates as well!

04/12/05: Axe Machine - info@hugomusic.net
Rating: 97
Surely this years finest record. When I heard this I couldnt believe how good it was. Unbelievably solid vocal performance and an ultra polished production make this one quite simply one of the finest hard edged AOR albums of this decade. For me, the last album released which I could call a real classic AOR record was the Full Circle album by Jim Jidhed. This also enters that 'classic' category for me. The title track, Cross The Line, I'll Be Waiting, Right Here and Heavens Door are utterly essential melodic rock. I Cannot reccommend this record highly enough...roll on number two!

01/12/05: Glen G - glen@visualrisk.com
Rating: 95
Without doubt the opening track is a highlight!!! This is one of the best metal melodic rock songs I've heard for some time. The rest of the album takes a couple of spins to get right into but from there it is pure nirvana. Highlights for me included the 'rockier' tracks such as Cross the Line, I Will Be Gone, Magic Carpet and Sign of the Times. Interesting, I think the title track is one of the weaker songs as it has just a couple too many 'cheesy' moments.

30/11/05: Nick - savasnake@yahoo.com
Rating: 99
Brilliant! Kiske's performance is smooth and effortless, the song writing and arrangement near perfect. My album of the year thus far...

28/11/05: Mika - erkkonen8@hotmail.com
Rating: 97
Kiske is back with a great band and fantastic cd it just blows me away!

25/11/05: Matute - matutedevit@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
Well, i was a Kiske fan when i was in my metaldays... I'm not into metal anymore ,and now that i listen to AOR more than anything it is a big big surprise to hear Kiske sing these beautiful AOR anthems!!! I don't like at all the opener "Cross the line" but the rest is pure AOR class!!! Kiske is now among the best AOR singers in the world!!!

20/11/05: Figge - anderssonfigge@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
Sheer class!!! Nothing else to add.

Figge

01/11/05: Freddy De Keyzer - freddk100@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
Spoken of a nice surprise !
I was never a big fan of mr. Kiske at all, but now he has surprised me big way !
First of all, the sound and production are impressive.
But it's the music on this album that impresses me even more !
Kind of hard edged AOR !
It would have been a classic AOR record if the guitars were not that upfront, and I know that Kiske wanted it to be a bit softer than this.
Would have been a masterpiece then.
Now, it's one of the highlights of the year and I'm curious if a second album will follow, hopefully with an AOR production !

01/11/05: AORAndy69 - andrea_boggio@virgilio.it
Rating: 85
What a beautiful surprise ! The opener CROSS THE LINE is my SINGLE of the year, an uptempo very melodic, guitar oriented, and powerful. The rest of the album (i think) it's a little bit under, but good anyway. Great MICHAEL ad UWE.

01/11/05: Fredrik Andersson - fredde79@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
This album is just brilliant....Strong songs, good production, strong vocals....Go buy it

01/11/05: Draka - morettigraziano@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
I bought the Keeper albums (by Helloween) when they were first released in the eighties and it was love at first listening when I heard Kiske' voice for the first time (Helloween's debut was sung by Kai Hansen, now Gamma ray's leader). Place Vendome is another winner and I'm starting to think that Michael has a real Mida's touch. His singing on Avantasia was superb, as his collaborations with power metal gurus Edguy, but listening to a true hard rock record graced by his voice is something I had lost all hopes for.
Kiske has recently signed a deal with Frontiers to produce a new record, so it's heaven once again!

01/11/05: Almir Fuschini - almirfus@terra.com.br
Rating: 95
The great thing about the melodic rock scene is that one doesn't have to be tie to one beat, one ritm, the same guitar sound, synths or no synths. You pretty much do (in the musician point of view) or get (in the listener point of view) whatever you want in terms of music. You can love Allen/Lande's album, wich has a heavier fell and at the same time love this album,too.
The style is a little different? Absolutelly. But man, it is fantastic. From the opener Cross the Line, to the very last song Sign of Times (my favorite), it is quite a jouney. A little too short I may add. I Will Be Gone is another great song. Magic Carpet and the ballads, specially The Setting Sun and Heaven's Door. Right Here, I will Be Waiting and Too Late, like Andrew said, are fine examples of the best melodic rock of the moment.
And Place Vendome is the more comercial of them all.
I never heard Michael Kinske before and but this guy knows how to sing. Incredible voice.

It is a great album, my #2 of the year, just behind The Battle but is a must.

01/11/05: IAN - ian_752@msn.com
Rating: 90
Some really great songs , and Michael singing in a much lower register make this a joy to listen to . Easily his best work in years lets hope it's not just a one off .

31/10/05: Dr Nick - ncsamaniego@blueyonder.co.uk
Rating: 85
I've never heard Michael Kiske sing before, but I'll be on the hunt for more now.
This is a very good melodic rock album. The songs are strong, with good choruses (and lots of harmonies), and comparisons with ourney and Foreigner aren't a million miles out, although the feel is more European. The rhythm section is tight, with the occasional flashy bit for added colour. Uwe is a very good guitarist, and I can hear a Neal Schon influence - melodic solos with occasional fast runs just to show that he could if he wanted to. Tasty. Very good keys (Gunter Werno is world class), mostly atmospheric, but some more complicated playing in places, always in the background.
Most songs are mod to uptempo pop-ish rock, one or two are heavier blues-based rock (the guitarist seems to have had a hand writing these), a ballad, and the opening track (Cross the Line) is a fast rocker based on a pedal 16th note with moving shords over it (sort of "Bark at the Moon" style, if that makes sense) which threw me, because it's by far the heaviest number on the album, and if it's the only track you've heard it might give a wrong impression of what the CD is like. It's also the song where Michael pushes his voice the most, with some superb higher register vocals and great feel.
My favourite track. And that's why I've given it 85% - without Cross the Line it would have been a solid AOR-ish album. With it, there's an added dimension and a hint at a heavier potential. Personally I'd love an album with the same band, but using Cross the Line as the benchmark. Instead, it's good stuff, but I'm left wanting more...


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