Place Vendome is cozy little area in Paris. It's also one of Frontier Records' president Serafino Perugino's pet projects. It revolves around veteran journeyman singer Michael Kiske (Helloween, Unisonic, et al) singing songs which Perugino hand picked from outside writers with the notable and ubiquitous Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69) producing. Thunder in the Distance is their third album.
The songs come from a boatload of skillful veterans from the European melodic rock and metal scene including Magnus Karlsson, Timo Tolkki, Alessandro Del Vecchio (who wrote six songs), Roberto Tiranti and Andrea Cantarelli, Tommy Denander, Sören Kronqvist, and Brett Jones. And there are a lot of songs, 13 total, one more than on the previous Streets of Fire.
And this also begs the question, is Thunder in the Distance better than that previous, rather average, album? The best answer might be simply, yes. One thing for sure is that this album is little edgier than the former, getting closer to more melodic hard rock, yet within an AOR wrapper. But it's not the melodic metal that was last year's Unisonic. Good examples of some of the edgier stuff are Broken Wings, Lost In Paradise, Fragile Ground, and the title track. Yet these are still tempered with a crisp melody and rinse of keyboards. On the more AOR side of things, Break Out, It Can't Rain Forever, Hold Your Love, and Power of Music tones things back a bit more.
Ultimately, both song writing and arrangements are much better than previous outing; I didn't get the feeling of mediocrity as before. However, I did have that persistent lingering feeling that, after the third or fourth song, I knew where the album was inevitably heading. Nevertheless, Thunder in the Distance is strong effort, and you certainly can't fault Kiske as melodic singer nor the exceptional musicianship of his supporting cast. Recommended.
Thunder in the Distance is strong effort of good hard rock within a melodic AOR wrapper, and certainly better than the previous work.
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