Michael Kiske has one of the most powerful voices in music and especially in the metal genre. The once-vocalist of Helloween publicly stated that he had lost the desire for rock and metal once upon a time. After a decade away from the scene, and to much disgustment from metal fans, Kiske made an attempt to get back into the scene with Place Vendome’s debut effort. He even had a collaboration with ex-Helloween bandmate Kai Hansen in Unisonic and a stint with Avantasia, but his return was with Place Vendome. With each Place Vendome album, chills gather on my spine with Kiske’s amazing voice.
With anyone else but Kiske on vocals, Place Vendome’s “Thunder in the Distance” would be an average album at best with some nice guitar licks, but with Kiske in the mix, the music takes on a life of its own and his voice transends the music. Simple power ballads like It Can’t Rain Forever are handled meticulously on vocals and shine on the album, but the meat of the album are the rockers found throughout the album.
Kiske is not the only shining spot on the album though because the few well-timed guitar leads are spread out to add a little extra emphasis. While the music is mostly melodic and center around the vocals, the subtle splashes of guitar leads and high-impact riffs are what keeps lets the listener know that “Thunder in the Distance” is more than a simple melodic rock album.
Songs like Fragile Ground shine with Kiske on vocals, but also included some heavy riffs that appear briefly to shock the listener, but the song is still all about the melody.
Overall, I would listen to anything Kiske is a part of it. He is just that dynamic. There are not many vocalists that I could say that about. To see him back home with Place Vendome is always pretty special. I doubt that there will every be a reunion with Helloween and I am okay with that. Helloween has never been the same band without Kiske.
Thunder in the Distance Track Listing:
01. Talk To Me
02. Power of Music
03. Broken Wings
04. Lost in Paradise
05. It Can’t Rain Forever
06. Fragile Ground
07. Hold Your Love
08. Never Too Late
09. Heaven Lost
10. My Heart is Dying
12. Maybe Tomorrow
13. Thunder in the Distance