Sjak : The third Place Vendome full-length album ‘Thunder In The Distance’ that saw the light of day in 2013, was more or less regarded as a record that was quickly pieced together, because singer Michael Kiske at that time was quite busy with his other band Unisonic. Still that didn’t really affect the quality level of the material on offer, because although the tunes on ‘Thunder In The Distance’ were certainly not of the same level that what was to be found on the first two records, it was still far better than what many other band in the genre releases. For this new, meanwhile fourth album ‘Close To The Sun’ they have taken a bit more time, but that didn’t really result in a spectacular quality boost of the Place Vendome material in my opinion.
Still the band is bringing us melodic metal with at times the accessibility of the better A.O.R.-work and still Michael Kiske uses quite a lot of guest musicians (like Michael Klein, Uwe Reitenauer, Alfred Koffler, Magnus Karlsson, Gus G., Simone Mularoni, Mandy Meyer and Kai Hansen, which are quite big names in the genre). Just like the fixed nucleus of the band (consisting of Dennis Ward, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Gunter Werno and Dirk Bruinenberg) everybody is doing his job as expected, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the instrumental interpretation of the twelve songs that this album has to offer. Singer Michael Kiske is having some weak moments though and at times doesn’t sound very convincing, which makes him the weakest link in the Place Vendome chain. That doesn’t take anything away from the fact that tunes like ‘Welcome To The Edge’, ‘Hereafter’ and ‘Yesterday Is Gone’ to name just a few are strong songs that will definitely appeal to the listener. The material on this ‘Close To The Sun’ is in my opinion not of the same quality level as what was brought to us on the first two albums, but still Place Vendome has been able to deliver a good, but especially very solid album.