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Close To The Sun
Released: 2017, Frontiers
Reviewer: John Haseltine
I remember that first time I heard the song “I Want Out” by Helloween way back when. Those vocals by Michael Kiske blew me away. I was instantly a fan. And it seemed just as I was getting into Helloween here in the U.S., he was gone. He stepped away from the metal scene for reasons I get, but don’t. He continued in music and various projects for several years after his stint with Helloween, but tried to distance himself from heavy metal. As many of you may know, Kikse could not stay away for too long as he has been featured on many of Avantasia’s releases over the years.
Place Vendome was a studio project created by Frontiers’ President Serafino Perugino while chatting on the phone one day with Kiske. Place Vendom is a project that was to highlight the vocal talent of Kikse with music and lyrics written especially with Kikse’s voice in mind following an AOR / melodic rock flare. And highlight it did. Er, does.
CLOSE TO THE SUN is the fourth release by Place Vendome. It still follows much of the same architecture from the beginning, with Kikse’s soaring vocals backed by an extremely well rounded and talented band of top notch musicians. Many of the tracks here have been penned by many of the guest musicians listed below. It is a who’s who list of performers of the melodic / power metal genres.
I had listened to a couple tracks from an earlier release several years back and did think they were good. However, I never looked into Place Vendome again. I am not really sure why. Shame on me. CLOSE TO THE SUN is a great album with not one dull track on it. Each and every track highlights Kikse amazing crooning abilities. And Kikse highlights each and every well-crafted track. I don’t feel there is a need to really do a track by track rundown as they are all very good. This whole album is a standout in my book. No I need to go and track down the other three releases. Believe me, if CLOSE TO THE SUN is the first real time you are listening to Place Vendome, you will be left wanting more. Even as fulfilling as this album is.
1. Close To The Sun
2. Welcome To The Edge
5. Across The Times
6. Riding The Ghost
7. Light Before The Dark
8. Falling Star
10. Yesterday Is Gone
12. Distant Skies
Lead Vocals - Michael Kiske
Backing vocals - Dennis Ward, Michael Kiske
Bass - Dennis Ward
Keyboards - Günter Werno
Drums – Dirk Bruinenberg
All Rhythm Guitars by Dennis Ward, except: "Welcome To The Edge", "Across The Times", "Close To The Sun", "Hereafter" – Rhythm Guitars by Uwe Reitenauer
Guitar solo by Michael Klein on "Yesterday Is Gone", "Distant Skies", "Strong", "Breathing".
Guitar solo by Uwe Reitenauer on "Close To the Sun"
Guitar solo by Alfred Koffler on "Welcome To The Edge"
Guitar solo by Magnus Karlsson on "Falling Star"
Guitar solo by Gus G on "Light Beyond The Dark"
Guitar solo by Simone Mularoni on "Hearafter"
Guitar solo by Mandy Meyer on "Helen"
Guitar solo by Kai Hansen on "Riding The Ghost" and "Across The Times"