Artist: Place Vendome  
   Title:  Thunder In The Distance
   Label: Frontiers Records  

It was back in 2004 that Michael Kiske came out of a self imposed exile from the world of rock and metal and it took Frontiers President Serafino Perugino to persuade Kiske, to be part of Melodic Rock concept album 'Place Vendome'.  With great reviews of the first Place Vendome album, this planted the seeds for a second recording entitled 'Streets of Fire', which was produced during 2008.  This time it included some outside writers such as Robert Säll (Work of Art), Ronny Milianowicz (Saint Deamon) and Torsti Spoof (Leverage), handling the bulk of the songwriting, with Dennis Ward still handling the recording and production sessions.

Now the third Place Vendome sees Kiske return the Melodic Rock fold with another stunning release ‘Thunder In The Distance’.  This album is pure straight up Melodic Hard Rock with Serafino again bringing in outside writers, including Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline), Roberto Tiranti and Andrea Cantarelli (Labyrinth, A Perfect Day), Tommy Denander (Radioactive), Sören Kronqvist (Sunstorm, Issa) and Brett Jones, all of which bring out the best in Kiske's mighty vocals. 

The album opens up with ‘Talk To Me’ and instantly the power of Kiske shines through, along with the guitars of Uwe Reitenauer, the powerhouse drums of Dirk Bruineberg and the soaring keys of Gunter Werno, with Dennis Ward providing bass and rhythm guitars.  Although the songwriters differ, still the tremendous legacy of the first two album lives on.

The pure bred Melodic Rock continues with the excellent ‘Power Of Music’, a more keyboard infused track than the opener, but one that will still appeal to all the Melodic and Hard Rock fans.

‘Broken Wings’ sees a harder edged almost Symphonic Metal feel to the mix, again Kiske vocals dominate, as they do on the ultra modern slice of AOR in ‘Lost In Paradise’, which is one of my favourite tracks off the album.  I love to hear bands taking the genre to the next level and 'Thunder in the Distance' is such an album.  Yes we all like a bit of nostalgia, but on the same level I like to see bands in this genre pushing the envelope and that's exactly what Place Vendome are doing with this their latest release.

Saying that, it is back to heart of Melodic Rock for this next offering, with the haunting ‘It Can't Rain Forever’, before returning to the more edgier side of the Melodic Rock spectrum with the stunning ‘Fragile Ground’.  Next up we have the keyboard infused rocker ‘Hold Your Love’ and the mid-tempoed ‘Never Too Late’, two tracks that will warm the cockles of the hearts of all you Melodic Rock die-hards out there.

Another heart warmer has to be the soaring melody rich ‘Heaven Lost’, before things are picked up a notch or two with ‘My Heart Is Dying’.  Then it's pure 80’s fuelled rock with ‘Breakout’, before we bring things down a touch for the all out ballad ‘Maybe Tomorrow’.

The album closes as it opened with the title track ‘Thunder In The Distance’, another slice of modern Melodic Rock that wraps up another stunning Place Vendome opus, which has once again managed to capture the talent of one of the finest Rock vocalist’s around.

Review by: Barry McMinn 


1.  Talk To Me
2. Power Of Music
3. Broken Wings
4. Lost In Paradise 
5. It Can't Rain Forever
6. Fragile Ground
7. Hold Your Love
8. Never Too Late
9. Heaven Lost
10. My Heart Is Dying
11. Breakout
12. Maybe Tomorrow
13. Thunder In The Distance  



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