Saturday, March 4, 2017

Quickbits : Place Vendome, Tokyo Motor Fist, Lionville

Place Vendome - Close to the sun (2017) When AOR and metal unite
Michael Kiske and producer/bassist Dennis Ward are back with the 4th Place Vendome album "Close to the sun" and although I wasn´t that impressed by the previous album "Thunder in the distance", I do think the new one is not only harder, it´s also better.
This is solid AOR-ish metal where Kiske sings like a true rock god in  the powerballad "Strong", another memorable song is the title track "Close to the sun" that bring thoughts to The Poodles.
The line up on the new album is completed by Gunter Werno - Keyboards (Vanden Plas), Uwe Reineauer - Guitar (Pink Cream 69), Dirk Bruinenberg - Drums as well as guest appearances with guitarsolos from Mandy Meyer (Krokus), Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), Simone Mularoni (DGM) and Gus G (Firewind).
It´s a big year for Kiske because he has reunited with Helloween where he will share the lead vocal duties with their current frontman Andi Deris, plus this new strong album that should make fans of Kiske very happy.
(+) Kiske sings with more passion on these songs compared to the other albums with Place Vendome.
(-) It feels a bit too obvious with all these cliche´s in the melodic rock genre.

Tokyo Motor Fist - Tokyo Motor Fist (2017) Domo Arigato 
How would you think a collaboration with members of Danger Danger and Trixter would sound like? Well, like a blend of Danger Danger and Trixter!
With Ted Poley behind the mic, it´s easy to believe that Tokyo Motor Fist sounds like the Poley-era of Danger Danger but Trixter guitarist Steve Brown´s riffs and songs have more in common with the Paul Laine-era of Danger Danger.
Tokyo Motor Fist is a good melodic hard rock album that feels more 90´s than the 80´s, if you´re a big fan of The Defiants album from last year, then you´ll like TMF too.
Poley and Brown aren´t the only veterans in this band, they are joined by former Rainbow members Greg Smith on bass and Chuck Burgi on drums so we´re home safe with a competent rhythm section.
This is so much more fun to listen to than Ted Poley´s solo album "Beyond the fade" from 2016, there are plenty of great songs on TMF but my personal faves are "Love me insane", "Shameless" and "Put me to shame".
(+) The Def Leppard-like background vocals are spot on.
(-) "Picking up the pieces" is a weak album opener.

Lionville - A world of fools (2017) A shadow of a lost genre
"A world of fools" is the 3rd studio album and the first in 5 years from the Italian melodic rock band Lionville featuring Lars Säfsund - Lead Vocals (Work of Art) and Stefano Lionetti - Guitars/Production.
I can´t say that I cared about the first two albums and I won´t start by going back either because this is a rather average westcoast/AOR album, but die-hard fans of Radioactive, H.E.A.T and Work of Art should check it out.
Lionville is one size too small to be compared to westcoast giants like Toto or Richard Marx, "A world of fools" is not a bad album, there are some decent songs on it but the music is just too ordinary. For example, the title track and the ballad "Image of your soul" are pretty good.
(+) Singer Lars Säfsund once again shows that he belong in the elite of voices from Scandinavia.
(-) The drummer has zero groove factor.

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