Frontiers Records' president, Serafino Perugino, had an idea for an all-star project which is now his company's top priority. Place Vendome (Place Vendome is also a famous square in Paris, created by Louis XIV in the 17th century) consists of Michael Kiske, Pink Cream 69 and Vandenplas members. The songs were written by Dennis Ward with help from his bandmates in PC69, David Readman and Alfred Koffler and Gunter Werno of Vandenplas. Ward is the album's (out on October 10th) producer, too. Kiske's involvement continues the route he chose when he left Helloween after the Chameleon (1994) album. After his solo albums, Instant Clarity (1996) and Readiness To Sacrifice (1999), the SupaRed project and his participation in Tobias Sammet's Avantasia and Sascha Paeth's Aina, he once more stays away from Heavy Metal as Place Vendome is a Melodic Rock and Melodic Metal in its heavier moments album. Usually, when reviewing an album, I search for other reviews of it because I like seeing other points of view. Place Vendome reviews are really enthusiastic. I'm sorry to say I was not that impressed. This album is very well constructed but suffers from the common projects' syndrome. In terms of performance there are no flaws. These musicians are very experienced to play badly. The composer also did a good job and presents decent songs, extremely FM friendly, that promise commerciality. Production stands on the same level. But the final outcome lacks in originality and that kind of inspiration that makes a good song a great song. Another problem is that the album doesn't have that special something that could discern it from similar ones. It's not that it sounds like PC69 but it doesn't sound like Place Vendome either, if you know what I mean. The vocals are a different subject. Kiske's magic voice will never let him fail in anything. So, since he decided to sing Melodic Rock, he does sing it. I am not among those who never forgave Kiske for rejecting Heavy Metal and still hope he will sometime regret it. After all, I'm not a metalhead and I admire his talent no matter how he takes advantage of it. However, the fact that an artist has the right to choose his way of expression in no way means that he can change his way of being. Michael Kiske is a Heavy Metal singer and in my opinion he is not capable of escaping his fate. He might not scream, to big disappointment of his less objective and devoted to the Helloween era fans, but even then his voice's patters are Heavy Metal. In general, Place Vendome is inevitably a good album but its quality refers to its ingredients more than the combination of these ingredients. I doubt any of the songs will be widely heard once Frontiers' promoting campaign ends. This album is too sterilized to become a classic and the exaggerated technical perfection prevents it from being classified as true AOR, which is mainly emotionally persuasive. - Album Highlights: Cross The Line, Sign Of The Times (the two heaviest songs of the album) and Place Vendome (a very lively track that could maybe become a hit). Above all, Michael Kiske's vocals, including the superb background chorus vocals in Sign Of The Times and his unique way of chewing 's'.
Cross The Line I Will Be Waiting Too Late I Will Be Gone The Setting Sun Place Vendome Heavens Door Right Here Magic Carpet Ride Sign Of The Times