Out Now

(Frontiers)

Michael Kiske’s heartfelt tribute to the 80s might have started out as a self-indulgent side project but Place Vendome continues to morph into the former Helloween frontman’s most impressive project yet.

Four albums in and Close To Sun represents a new high for the star-studded studio project featuring a heavy duty supporting cast including Dennis Ward, Gus G, Kai Hansen and more.

Kiske sticks to the tried and tested formula of previous Place records – offering his Bruce Dickinson meets Myles Kennedy take on songs written by some of the biggest names in melodic rock.

And once again it works an absolute treat.

The Alessandro Del Vechhio-penned Strong perhaps best sums up what Close To The Sun is all about: the soaring power ballad deliciously kneads together the key ingredients required to serve up the most sumptuous of pop rockers.

Light Before The Dark – featuring a shimmering Gus G solo – leans heavily on the West Coast hair metal that fired Dokken, Ratt et al to the MTV summit with a hint of Malmsteen thrown in for good measure.

Place Vendome are never going to win prizes for pushing the envelope but Close To The Sun delivers on every level as a lesson in masterful melody replete with Kiske’s definitive vocal stamp.