|Place Vendome Streets Of Fire||Frontiers Records|
The debut Place Vendome album was quite a revelation. Vocalist Michael Kiske (Helloween) fronting a band featuring most of Pink Cream 69, performing commercial melodic rock/AOR.|
Sensational idea...and the melodic meets hard rock feel of the album ere met with universal praise and delivered two of the very best AOR anthems of the year - I Will Be Waiting and Too Late.
So what has album number two got in store for us? Thankfully more of the same.
This album seems just that little heavier, perhaps edgier is a better word, but just as melodic as the debut. And the strength of the songs is unquestionable.
I really haven't bought into Kiske's softer solo endeavors, they have either been too strange or too soft, but here he is back into absolute monster form, with some superb vocals and soaring harmonies.
The stellar production of Dennis Ward and the complex keyboard melodies of Gunther Werno make this affair a multi-layered and intriguing listen.
The more you listen to this album the better it gets (which was also true of the debut), but what I sense from this release is that it is even more consistent from start to finish and there simply are no fillers or weak tracks here.
I'm not sure what album I prefer, so I'll happily award the same points here as I did the debut and call it even.
Songs within the album are written by guys responsible for some of the better melodic music of recent years – Torsti Spoof (Leverage), Robert Sall (Work Of Art), Magnus Karlsson and Ronny Milianowicz (Saint Deamon).
Streets Of Fire is the necessary 'muscle track' to open proceedings and delivers a great chorus straight off the top.
My Guardian Angel is another Magnus Karlsson gem and full of hooks and a great heavy AOR chorus. The mid-tempo rocker has a dark heart and moody feel.
Completely Breathless is a terrific, complex slower track with another strong chorus and a really good lead vocal.
Follow Me comes from songwriter Robert Sall and is another album highlight. A straight forward mid-tempo AOR track with a hard edge riff driving the song. Yet another great chorus.
Set Me Free is more attractive AOR/melodic rock with an intense and moody feel.
The tempo bursts to life with Believer, a double time uplifting melodic rock anthem with a great hook and a feel good vocal. Yet another outstanding track.
Valerie (The Truth Is In Your Eyes) is again instantly recognizable as from the pen of Robert Sall. The Westcoast styled AOR track sounds like a new Work Of Art track and the chorus is glorious. A Scene In Reply starts slow and reflective and builds into a monster chorus – classic AOR and filled with layers of vocals and keyboards alongside the guitars. Love it!
Changes features yet another big chorus and more perfect AOR, with the verse featuring a nice raspy mood vocal.
Surrender Your Soul is nothing short of glorious traditional AOR in the purest sense. This uptempo, feel good track is another album highlight and the vocal is just great.
Dancer takes on a moodier edge, with the bridge building up the song before a heavier chorus delivers another set of memorable hooks.
Closing this amazing album is the big ballad I'd Die For You. Slow and haunting to start, the song builds before some amazing guitar work kicks the song into overdrive and an anthemic close.
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