Released: 2005, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Place Vendome is a project that includes many experienced musicians from Germany. It looks like their label has a kind of obsession regarding promoting and releasing projects. The members involved are Dennis, Kosta and Uwe from Pink Cream 69, and Gunther from Vandenplas, all backed by the very famous ex-Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske. Place Vendome sounds, according to Kiske, much alike Journey and Foreigner, however in my book is somewhat harder melodic hard rock with the main focus on lead vocals and guitar.
The album is packed with heavy tracks as well as both ballads and up-tempo ballads which isn’t strange when it comes to this genre. The slower songs are “To Late”, “The Setting Sun” and “Right Here” and all these songs are in the same vein as Journey and Foreigner. In these tracks, keyboards have a bigger part while the other songs are mainly dominated by guitar. The only pure ballad is named “Heavens Door” - it’s an incredibly slow song with lead vocals and keyboards in the center and nothing much happens except that we have excellent proof of how good Kiske’s voice still sounds. Both in this song, as in the rest of the album, Kiske takes the music and lyrics to a whole different level with his still amazing lead vocals.
Kiske and boys give us 10 stunning tracks to enjoy on this self titled album and I think that it’s Dennis from Pink Cream 69 that’s written much of the material. All of this is high quality and nothing much can be found that’s even remotely negative. Dennis has built well structured songs with really strong harmonies and catchy choruses. For once I can’t pick any favorite or killer tracks, every song is strong.
The album opens with the brilliant “Cross The Line” which instantly shows what a high class this album represents. Heavy guitar playing shares the space with lead vocals and makes a perfect match in every way. “I Will Be Waiting” and “Place Vendome” gives us a more melodic hard rock approach combined with Kiske’s stunning voice at the top of the mix. It’s sure a quite ironic twist of fate that Kiske found himself to work with members of Pink Cream 69 when the band’s original singer Andy Deris took Kiske’s place in Helloween when he left. But it seems like Kiske still had a lot of fun during the recordings because otherwise the result would not of sounded as good as this.
Dennis hasn’t only written the material, played the bass, guitar and did the backing vocals, he has also produced the album. He’s just as skilled a producer, putting the focus on lead vocals along with the guitar playing and it all complements each other in a really fine way. This is not so strange considering that this project lies close to what Dennis does in Pink Cream 69.
This album is a must have in your CD rack if you’re at least interested in guitar based melodic hard rock or a fan of either Kiske or Pink Cream 69. I really hope that the guys plan to release a second album.
More info about the band: http://www.michaelkiske.net