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PLACE VENDOME Streets Of Fire Frontiers (2009)

Place Vendome

Place Vendome's 2005 debut received rave reviews in the melodic rock world and came out of the blue, with the unlikely combination of long-disappeared former Helloween singer Michael Kiske and a trio of members of Pink Cream 69. A follow-up has been a long time coming, but is worth the wait, with the same musicians, but this time a series of outside songwriters from current European bands.

Given that Helloween were one of the godfathers of power metal, any long-time fans may be choking on their cornflakes as the album is slick and melodic throughout. There are the odd progressive and symphonic metal stylings, notably on the title track which opens the album, while Kiske's soaring but precise vocals do sound a bit like Geoff Tate in places (think Queensryche's Rage for Order era). However the overall sound is in the mainstream of melodic rock, with the bright choruses and melodies of Believer, A Scene in Replay and Changes reminding me of European acts such as Treat, Skagarack and Terra Nova.

Valerie (overused song title!) is a curious song, sounding like American pop rock from the early 80's, right down to the synth solo, while Surrender Your Soul has an up tempo journey feel and quality is maintained right to the end with the big chorus of Dancer, and I'd Die for you, which builds from quiet beginnings into a bit of an epic with some of the best musicianship on the album. All in all a minor masterpiece of the genre.


Review by Andy Nathan

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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