2013 - Thunder In The Distance

2013-10-02 12:03
Place Vendôme
Release date: 
November 01st, 2013
Line up
Michael Kiske
Uwe Reitenauer
Dennis Ward
Dirk Bruinenberg
Gunther Werno
Track list
Total lengh: 

Information Thunder In The Distance

- Album produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Dennis Ward.
- Executive producer Serafino Perugino.
- Album recorded at HOFA Studios and The TrakShak.
- Mixed and mastered at The TrackShak.
- European release date: November 1st by Frontiers Records.
- USA release date: November 5th by Universal Music Group Distribution.
- Japanese release date: October 23rd by Avalon Marquee.

Place Vendôme 'Talk To Me' EP

Place Vendôme project released a digital EP before the release of Thunder In the Distance full-lenght album. The Italian label; Frontiers Records chose the track 'Talk To Me' as single. This digital EP was released on 7th October, 2013.


This single only exists as digitally release.

Michael Kiske commented about the song 'Talk To Me': "The track 'Talk to me' is very cool. It has a very interesting chorus that I really like, and it certainly has a beginning guitar part that reminds me a little bit to 'Cross The Line'. I know that Dennis Ward likes that song too, so I guess it is up to... We have also made a video of this song, by the way."

- Produced and mixed by Dennis Ward.
- Executive producer Serafino Perugino.
- Worldwide release date:  7th October, 2013 by Frontiers Records.

Different editions Thunder In The Distance

01. Standard Digipack edition: 13 tracks by Frontiers Records in digipack.
02. Standard edition: 13 tracks by Frontiers Records in standard case, not digipack.
03. Japanese edition: 13 tracks + bonus track by Marquee/Avalon (Same than Korean edition).
04. Limited Vinyl edition: 13 tracks in gatefold 180 gramm by Frontiers Records.
05. Digital promo edition: 13 tracks.
06. CD Promo edition: 13 tracks.

Composers Thunder In The Distance

The composers are Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius, Avalon..), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline), Tommy Denander (Radioactive), Sören Kronqvist (Sunstorm, Issa), Andrea Cantarelli and Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth, A Perfect Day) and Brett Jones. Here is the list:

Alessandro Del Vecchio wrote: 'Talk To Me', 'Power Of Music', 'Hold Your Love', 'Never Too Late', 'Thunder In The Distance' and 'Heaven Lost' (this song also with Carmine Martone). Brett Jones wrote: 'Broken Wings' and 'Fragile Ground'. Timo Tolkki wrote 'Lost In Paradise'. Tommy Denander wrote 'My Heart Is Dying' with Nina Soderqvist. Magnus Karlsson wrote 'Break Out' and Soren Kronqvist wrote 'It Can't Rain Forever' with Camilla Anderson and Thomas Vikstrom.

Frontiers Records in the official statement sent the request to get some tracks:

So, if you have some tracks which could fit in the style sent an email to Frontiers to this address. The editorial rights of that songs will belong to Frontiers Records.

Promotional stuff Place Vendôme

Artwork Thunder In The Distance

Place Vendôme Thunder In The Distance artworkThe cover artwork was done by the artist Stanis W. Decker. He is a designer who usually works with the U.S. label Metal Blade and Italian Frontiers Records.

Michael Kiske commented about the cover: "I think it’s great! The eagle stands for spirituality. That is good with me."

He did the cover artwork of another project related with Michael Kiske, its the Timo Tolkki's Avalon album: The Land Of New Hope also the singles A World Without Us and Enshrined In My Memory. He also worked with other bands like: Stryper, Monument, Gaia Epicus, Vanden Plas, Battlecross, Tidal Dreams, Lady Fuel and a lot of more. In an interview for Kiske fanclub he commented about the cover:

Stanis W. Decker: "The cover concept was suggested by the staff of Frontiers Records. But I knew the previous two albums (I’m a fan of Streets Of Fire, an album full of great songs) and I thought it was a good idea to continue with that path. But I also wanted to add a mystical dimension and more surreal look of the eagle to create a direct link with the album title. The wings are the storm clouds, the lightning give the dynamic movement of the wings, the whirlpools in the ocean came naturally to increase the power of the image and give strength to the concept. The bright colours and the contrast seemed to me appropriate to the group’s music. They are a little soft– this is how I understand the FM aspect of Place Vendome – and on the other side they have heavy reminiscences, symbolized by the dynamics of the illustration.

I’ve designed all the artwork, the Japanese and the regular edition. There are a few differences between these editions (some pictures are different). I didn’t make the vinyl edition. I personally would have loved to make the whole package, I love to create a beautiful package and the pages of the booklets while listening to the music."

Videoclip 'Talk To Me' and EPK

Frontiers Records released  a videoclip for the single 'Talk to Me' with images of Kiske's city and studio shoots.

Samples Place Vendôme 'Power Of Music' & album

Promotional photo session

Michael Kiske photo session Thunder In The Distance

The promotional photo session of Michael Kiske for Place Vendôme's Thunder In The Distance album was done in Hamburg, Germany on August 14th, 2013. The photographer was Anabell Ganske (Sight Of Sound).


History behind Thunder In The Distance

In 2012, during the first interviews to promote Unisonic album, Kiske did an interview in France with Gentlemen Chronicles webzine where he said a third album of Place Vendôme's project would be done the next year, this is his quote: "...It might be another Place Vendome album next year, the next year Kai will be more in Gamma Ray, one year this one year that. I will try to do as much as I can as long as I can." And he also said in a different interview: "...it could very well happen that I do another Place Vendome album with Dennis and Kosta." He said to Linearock webzine: "It might be another Place Vendome album, we already talk about it, we want to do a third one, maybe the next year. We are sneaking a 3rd Place Vendome record." Michael also repeated the same in another interview in that "round" of interviews during the Unisonic promotional visit to Spain/France. Probably some guys - who were spreading the rumour Serafino (Frontiers Record's owner) wanted to use another vocalist to take Kiske's place in this project - are not very happy now, but like Sinatra said, that's life.

Place Vendôme Thunder In The DistanceAt first the idea was to return, at least partially, to Place Vendôme first album, Dennis and his team - based in Pink Cream 69 band - will be writing the whole album, Dennis commented to Uber Rock webzine: "I didn't have a lot of time around the second one, I was quite busy. This time there have been a lot of songs offered, however I am going to sit down and try and offer some songs myself. If I'm lucky I'll get three or four in there too. I've actually only recently started writing again because I was on tour and then I had a large production with Krokus that I've only just finished as well as working with Pink Cream at the same time. So since Christmas I've been trying to endeavour with some new song writing and I've got quite a few ideas. That's easy to say but sometimes they come out well and sometimes you say what the hell? (laughs). But I'm actively writing now and I'm hoping it's gonna be some stuff for Place Vendome." But they changed of idea soon. Michael explained that they wanted to save their songs for the second album of Unisonic: "When I write a song it just sounds different, it doesn't mean that it couldn't be produced in a way that it fits. That's not the reason why I don't write, I mean Dennis didn't write anything for it either. That's because we want to save the songs for Unisonic you know, that's the main reason why we don't do this."

On November 12th, the label Frontiers Records published the official statement to confirm the third album and also to request people songs in the same style AOR/Hard Rock. So, it will not be very different than Streets Of Fire album, with different composers. Dennis will manage the project like always.

Recording process

During the first months of 2013, Dennis Ward was working in the songs that Serafino (Frontiers owner) got for this project. Tracks were composed by different people, some people are not a surprise in Kiske-history like Magnus Karlsson who previously worked in the second album of Place Vendôme and Kiske/Somerville, Tommy Denander who is the typical collaborator in projects of Frontiers like Indigo Dying for example, but also some new like Alessandro Del Vecchio who belongs of an amazing band of Hard Rock/AOR: Hardline and the new star of Frontiers Records Timo Tolkki between others.  And one strange thing is Dennis Ward said that he will find some time to write songs for the project but he didn't do it, perhaps he will save the songs for the new album of Unisonic. But still is soon to talk about it, there are not so many information about who wrote all songs.

In the early-spring 2013, Dennis started to record the album, with his main collaborators the guitarist Uwe Reitenauer and the drummer Dirk Bruinenberg. Michael recorded the vocals in parts, first in the days-off during Avantasia tour and the last songs at the end of the tour.

Song by song (by composers)

Michael Kiske fanclub did two interesting interviews to composers of Place Vendôme Thunder In The Distance album where they talk about their songs. Interview part 1 and part 2. But here is a compilation of what they said song by song.

01 - 'Talk To Me' (Alessandro Del Vecchio) (4:03):

Alessandro: "Talk To Me is a song about cancer and a witness of the strength we can give for those who suffer from this tremendous disease."

02 - 'Power Of Music' (Alessandro Del Vecchio) (4:03):

Alessandro: "With pride and supreme love towards my work here's the first single that I wrote for Michael Kiske and his Place Vendome. Why speak of love for my work? Because I dedicated this song to me and to all the musicians like me who have sacrificed every moment of their lives in the name of that emotion that takes your breath away and makes us live a dream. I hope you like it and I hope you can all live music in the best way possible: making a big bunch but enjoying life as can happen with anything imaginable in the world I am. Power Of Music :-)"

03 - 'Broken Wings' (Brett Jones) (4:20):

Brett: "I actually wrote 'Broken Wings' back in 2010 during a period where I was finding it hard to find musical inspiration. I guess every artist comes across a creative block during their career. It can be very frustrating but then all of a sudden, inspiration comes shining through. Broken Wings came about from the intro riff."

04 - 'Lost In Paradise' (Timo Tolkki) (3:53): Sample, sample by Melodicrock.

Timo Tolkki: "I remember writing it very quickly because I was asked to do it in the middle of mixing my Avalon record. I wrote the song including the lyrics in just a few hours and made a quick demo. I haven’t heard the final song but I’m sure it sounds good. I think ironically that the best songs I have ever written are those that come very fast. It was specifically written for Place Vendome with Michael’s voice in mind. I didn’t really “try to” achieve anything when I wrote the song. I don’t write songs this way. If there is any aim, then it must be memorable chorus, melodies and the overall atmosphere."

05 - 'It Can't Rain Forever' (Soren Kronqvist/Camilla Andersson/Thomas Vikstrom) (4:05):

Soren: "I co-wrote 'It Can't Rain Forever' with Camilla Andersson and Thomas Vikström. Our song is a positive song about looking forward in life when things are tough there will be a better tomorrow one day. We are very pleased with the power ballad we wrote. Camilla texted me a title while I happened to be out for a walk. Immediately I got a melody in my head and I pressed record on my telephone and sang the chorus, so I would not forget it. After the chorus I did not press stop but kept on going improvising a couple of other parts. Therefore, most of the song got “written” in only one and a half minute or so. After that I went home and recorded drums, bass, guitars, and keyboards. Thomas and Camilla came over and we re-wrote some parts of the song and Thomas recorded the demo vocals. In the back of my mind I actually had Michael Kiske as a vocalist for this song."

06 - 'Fragile Ground' (Brett Jones) (4:10):

Brett: "The song 'Fragile Ground' was written in 2012. Without giving too much away, I believe everyone can relate to the lyrics in some way. I am proud of both my songs and cannot wait to hear the final result. With 'Fragile Ground' I wrote the chorus one day at work and then finished it off later that night."

07 - 'Hold Your Love' (Alessandro Del Vecchio) (4:35):

Alessandro: "The songs 'Hold Your Love' and 'Never Too Late' are more generic rock love songs."

08 - 'Never Too Late' (Alessandro Del Vecchio) (3:30):

Alessandro: "The songs 'Hold Your Love' and 'Never Too Late' are more generic rock love songs."

09 - 'Heaven Lost' (Alessandro Del Vecchio/Carmine Martone) (4:40):

Alessandro: "I co-wrote with Carmine Martone 'Heaven Lost'. I heard the final result and I think it’s pretty awesome to hear Michael sing the parts I wrote for him. This song talk about what we’re all experiencing in the world today: crisis, debt, poverty and cultural misery. I had the idea of 'Heaven Lost' watching footages of the crisis in Greece."

10 - 'My Heart Is Dying' (Tommy Denander/Nina Soderqvist) (3:07):

11 - 'Break Out' (Magnus Karlsson) (4:34):

Magnus: "I wrote for this album 'Break Out' and I didn’t get the final result yet but I can’t wait to hear it . When I know I gonna write for Michael it’s easy to get a flow. I Listened a lot to him.. both old and new stuff and I can hear his voice in my head when I write. I wrote songs to him before and I always try to copy his singing style on the demos. And even if I absolutely can’t sing like Michael I hope it helps him and everybody involved to get the vibe I had in my head when I wrote the song. This time I did a mid tempo, emotional song that I know that Michael sings fantastic! I always write new songs for the singer.. no left overs Not only do I think it’s giving a better result, it’s also so much easier for me to get inspiration when I know who’s gonna sing it."

12 - 'Maybe Tomorrow' (Andrea Cantarelli & Roberto Tiranti)(4:24):

Andrea: "I wrote the music and Roberto both melodies and lyrics. The song is a ballad, and it’s about old memories and how to cohabit with them… Well, I’m very proud of this song, it is very representative of who I am as musician and how I feel today. I wrote this song in really few minutes, as always happens. Sometimes nothing happens for many weeks, sometimes you’re able to write a song smoothly. I wrote this song specifically for the Place Vendome new album. Of course I thought to Michael and his way to sing, but not so much. This is my way to intend the music and I’m so happy to know that Michael appreciates this song too!"

Roberto: "Basically I wrote this song for Michael, I know enough about his wonderful voice to find the right key and melody. A simple typical rock ballad! Andrea Cantarelli gave me the song without melody and lyrics and everything come out fast and easy!"

13 - 'Thunder In The Distance' (Alessandro Del Vecchio) (4:26):

Alessandro: "The song 'Thunder in the Distance' and especially 'Heaven Lost' talk about what we’re all experiencing in the world today: crisis, debt, poverty and cultural misery. I was signed to write one song. The first one was “Thunder in the Distance”, then Serafino kept on asking if I wanted to write some more and I ended up having six songs of mine!"

Michael Kiske about Place Vendôme's TITD

"I like many tracks off the Place Vendome albums, but especially Guardian Angel, Streets Of Fire, I Will Be Waiting, Set Me Free from the previous albums or now Maybe Tomorrow. For me the vocals are the most important part of a song of course. I like 'Talk To Me', 'Thunder In The Distance', 'Maybe Tomorrow' and 'Heaven Lost' a lot.

"Perhaps the biggest difference for me in this album is that I used a new microphone for the recording. I usually use two microphones of an Australian manufacturer but I got this new one two weeks before the recordings started and I loved it... I used the computer also slightly different, so the final sound is something different this time as well."

Kiske about 'Never Too Late': "This song gave me a lot of work and it was one of the songs that I had to do twice because the first time I tried I was not very satisfied with the interpretation, so a short time after my first attempt I made a second recording. It's not an easy song and I think one of the best songs on the album, and it also reminds me of one track of Unisonic and this as not only by the coincidence the title."

"We decided to make another album because we received a lot of requests. While we were doing Unisonic, we were always asked "You won't do Place Vendome anymore?" There was no doubt that someone enjoyed it. Personally, that is a main stream AOR, but I like singing there as well. It's interesting that there is a market for it."

Kiske about the lyrics: "I have the impression that some of the songwriters knows that I would sing and they write for me. I guess they also try to put the lyrics in a certain direction. They know a couple of things that I express in interviews and they know how I feel. Some of the lyrics suits me in a certain way. So maybe that's where it comes from."

Kiske explains how is the process to record the album: "Usually Serafino has some song suggestions and he sends them as Mp3s, as demo versions to me and to Dennis and we give our opinion, you know. It usually goes very quick. In two weeks or whatever and then we have the material. Then usually Dennis does rough versions of them. Most of the time with a drum computer, some rough keyboards and some rough guitars. Then I start doing some vocals for it and while I'm doing that, he usually work through the recordings, you know with guitars and all. And when I'm done, I send him my tracks and whenever he is done he starts mixing."


Thunder In The Distance Press ratings

Webzine - Radio - Magazine Rating 0/10
Rockeyez.com 10
Metalunderground.at 10
The Sentinel 10
Hardline Magazine 10
HardRock&Aor Magazine 9,5
Powerofmetal.dk 9,4
Knac.com 9
Whiplash.net 9
Ladyobscure.com 9
Markus Heavy Metal Blog 9
Lordsofmetal.nl 8,5
Heavy paradise Blog 8,5
Rockmeeting.com 8
Metalblast.net 8
Allaradio.org 8
Metaltalk.net 8
Dangerdog.com 8
Arcticmetal.no 8
Rockrebelmagazine 8
Metal Harem Blog 8
Copsderock.com 8
Hardrock.hu 8
Queenofsteel 8
Seaoftranquility.org 8
Seigneursdumetal 7,5
Darkscene.at 7,5
RockHard.de 7,5
Myrevelations.de 7,3
Rocknytt.net 7
Myglobalmind.com 7
Metalkaoz.com 7
Metal-temple.com 7
Rock&Metal4you 7
Musikreviews.de 6,7
Powermetal.de 6
Rockhard.gr 5
Uberrock.co.uk Tip


- Serafino (Frontiers Records owner), wanted a cover of Kelly Clarkson?

Kiske commented to Japanese Burrn! magazine: "Serafino sometimes comes up with a peculiar idea, such as, "What about Kelly Clarkson's song?" That was funny. Dennis and I, of course, said no. I mean... I like Kelly Clarkson, there is nothing wrong with her, but I just can't sing it... you know the hit single? I just don't want to blow it." And Michael also commented to Metalinjection.net: "The only thing we didn't wanna do this time were songs from Kelly Clarkson. He really suggested to do 1 or 2 songs of her, but it is ridiculous. She is great, but there is no way I record something like her hit single or something like that. This was really weird. But usually he suggest pretty nice AOR tracks."


- There are plans for a tour.

Nope. It was not planned. Remember Place Vendôme is a Frontiers Records project, and the label never make that kind of promotion. You can find a lot of statements of Kiske and Dennis saying good things about touring, for example Dennis told to fanclub: "So far no plans but if things go well I'm sure we would all be happy to hit the road with this record. Time will tell" and Kiske with his typical "it depends of the sales" but there never were plans for it. During the Thunder In The Distance promotional interviews Kiske commented: "Place Vendome started with Serafino asking me if I'd like to do a record where I'm singing AOR music. That was way before I even thought about joining a real band again. So that's how it all started and it was always something that Serafino was controlling and it's really his baby. It was never a real band. Those musicians on the album never played together in one room. Only Kosta, Dennis and me of course. If I wouldn't have Unisonic, I'm sure something like that would have happened, but since I'm busy with Unisonic and even several other things in terms of live playing I don't see that happening."


Catalog numbers
European CD editionFR CD 624Frontiers Records
Japanese CD editionMICP-11126Marquee Avalon Records
Greek CD editionSR-0125Sleaszy Rider Records