“Close to the Sun” is the fourth album from Place Vendome, the project fronted by former Helloween singer Michael Kiske, and it was released via Frontiers Records on 24th February. Once again it sees Kiske collaborating with a wide range of song-writers and artists and delivering some great AOR / Melodic Rock tracks. The title track was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show on 3rd March.


The first Place Vendome album was released in 2005 after Frontiers President Serafino Perugino suggested that Michael Kiske work with a number of writers. That first album was followed by “Streets of Fire” in 2008 and “Thunder in the Distance” in 2013.

Kiske’s bandmate in Unisonic, Dennis Ward, handled the production of the album and tracks were offered by many people  - Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear) - “Falling Star”; Jani Liimatainen (Cain’s Offering, ex-Sonata Arctica) - “Welcome to the Edge”; guitarist Olaf Thorsen and singer Fabio Lione - “Helen” and “Riding the Ghost”; the DGM song “Hereafter”;  DGM’s main composer, Simone Mularoni wrote the album’s title track and “Across the Times”; Alessandro Del Vecchio also offered two new songs, “Strong” and “Yesterday Is Gone”; while Secret Sphere’s guitarist Aldo LoNobile wrote “Distant Skies” and “Breathing”. The full picture was finally completed with a new song written by Swedish melodic rock artist Michael Palace (Palace, Skylander), “Light Before the Dark”.

There were numerous artists involved in the album so I’ve provided the full list from the press release -

Lead Vocals - Michael Kiske
Backing vocals - Dennis Ward, Michael Kiske // Additional Choirs on “Strong” by Alessandro Del Vecchio
Bass - Dennis Ward
Keyboards - Günter Werno
Drums – Dirk Bruinenberg
All Rhythm Guitars by Dennis Ward, except: "Welcome To The Edge", "Across The Times", "Close To The Sun", "Hearafter" – Rhythm Guitars by Uwe Reitenauer

Guitar solo by Michael Klein on "Yesterday Is Gone", "Distant Skies", "Strong", "Breathing".
Guitar solo by Uwe Reitenauer on "Close To the Sun"
Guitar solo by Alfred Koffler on "Welcome To The Edge"
Guitar solo by Magnus Karlsson on "Falling Star"
Guitar solo by Gus G on "Light Beyond The Dark"
Guitar solo by Simone Mularoni on "Hearafter"
Guitar solo by Mandy Meyer on "Helen"
Guitar solo by Kai Hansen on "Riding The Ghost" and "Across The Times"

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About “NI Rocks Recommends”

The simple idea behind “NI Rocks Recommends” is to acknowledge and promote some of the great music being submitted to Rock Radio NI. I'll not be giving marks or ratings or analyzing the tracks in great detail; just telling you something about the artist and the album. It’s a personal recommendation to go check someth    ing out, not a traditional “review”!

My musical tastes cover most things rock; from the not too melodic to the not too heavy. The albums that I’ll be recommending are those that you’ll hear me playing tracks from on my shows on Rock Radio NI.

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