The Metal Files

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Michael Kiske – Twilight of a vocal god

with 5 comments

Like most people, I was introduced to Kiske’s voice via Helloween’s Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1.  He instantly kiske_michael-770967became one of my favorite singers along with Bruce Dickinson, Dio, Jeff Scott Soto and John Arch.  He had a very unique voice but was constantly compared to Dickinson.  I never got that, but whatever.  To this day I still follow Michael’s albums and have only been disappointed a few times along the way.  Unfortunately I have never seen them live except for the Hell On Wheels Halloween Show they did on MTV, which was awesome.  RIP Ingo!

I just spun Keeper 1 and 2 (NOISE Records 2 CD set) a week or so ago.  Keeper 1 holds up well, good songs, great vocals.  Keeper 2?  Not so much.  That album was pretty goofy when it came out and it’s even more so now.  Other than Eagle Fly Free, Save Us and I Want Out, the album is pretty awful.  When Pink Bubbles Go Ape came out, I was none to thrilled about the title or the album cover.  WTF?  The album is almost a joke save a few songs like Kids of the Century and Number One.  I haven’t spun it in years and not sure when I’ll actually pull it off the shelf again.  All that being said, Kiske still had the pipes and could pretty much reach any note he needed to.  By the time Chameleon came out, I was really apprehensive about it, and with good reason based on the previous 2 albums.  Chameleon is mellow, quiet and was really showing a different side of Helloween…a non-German power metal side.  These guys essentially invented that style and ultimately completely abandoned it.  While Kiske’s vocals were consistent on this one and while it is a better album than Pink Bubbles, it’s not great…but I still reach for it from time to time.  It was a good indicator of what was to come for Kiske.

Kiske left after Chameleon to pursue a solo career.  It’s not very often that new like this makes me happy, but this was one of those cases.

I was very excited when Instant Clarity came out in 1996.  It featured Adrian Smith and Kai Hansen as guest musicians.  The album is fantastic and Adiran’s and Kai’s contributions are certainly noteworthy.

A few years later came Readiness To Sacrifice.  While I like this album, it’s certainly even more mellow than the last.  You can see that Kiske really wanted to get away from hard rock.  And that’s quite alright.

Unfortunately his next project was Supared.  I tried and tried to like this post-alternative album, but it just didn’t connect with me at all.

Michael release 2 other solo albums under the moniker “Kiske”:  Kiske and Past In Different Ways which was basically his acoustic interpretations of some Helloween classics.  It’s not bad at all but the Kiske CD is a bit better.

Then there’s Place Vendome.  I simply love the 2 CDs he did with them.  Place Vendome and Streets of Fire are basically radio friendly slightly hard rock with, of course, great solos and really nice guitar solos.  I highly recommend both of these albums if you like some of the mid-to-latter era Journey works.  This is certainly comparable.  AOR they call it?  Whatever, it’s good stuff.

In summation, I love Kiske’s voice, I always have.  I didn’t care much for the offshoot stuff he did with Avantasia etc, I prefer it when he’s the lead singer of a band.  I’d love to see him whip out one more metal album but it’ll never happen.  I think Place Vendome will be as close as he gets to that stuff ever again.

Written by The Metal Files

September 2, 2009 at 8:39 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Michael Kiske is unreal on the song Halloween… I can listen to that song 100 times over. Aw, heck, I can listen to that entire album anytime of the day and never grow tired of it! “Keeper of the Seven Keys part 1” is without doubt, Kiske at his very best. I admire Edguy to the hilt, Kiske was/is a guest vocalist on the song “Judas At The Opera” – it is on the Edguy “Superheroes” EP… very, very good stuff.

    In Metal – Stone


    September 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm

  2. I saw Helloween on the Headbanger’s Ball in 1989. They were really good, but I was like one of four or five people who seemed to like them. Everyone else stood there looking like zombies I guess just because they were waiting for Anthrax.

    Metal Mark

    September 6, 2009 at 9:31 am

  3. I wanted to let you know that besides his solo album and Place Vendome, Michael Kiske has sang lead vocals for 5 tracks in the “Revolution Renaissance” album New Era (2008). The tracks are 3 melodic metal songs and 2 ballads, which are overall great (especially if you liked the harder tracks of Place Vendome). Additionally, he also sang lead vocals (alone) on the track Hello Moon from the album Tin Soldiers by “Trick Or Treat” (2009), another nice melodic metal song.
    Kiske is currently involved in a melodic metal duet project with Amanda Somerville and has also formed a new band with Dennis Ward with which he will release an album in 2010 and also go on tour.
    I’m glad to read that more people are interested in Kiske as he is surely one of the best, if not the best, vocalist in both rock and metal nowadays.


    October 17, 2009 at 8:00 am

  4. I personally think that Kiske was better on keeper part 2, than 1, if you listen to both albums back to back more than once, part 2 just has more of a stronger feel to it than part 1 did, following with an ending more superbe, not saying “Follow the Sign” wasn’t a bad ending with bringing up for a sequel for part 1, but keeper had a better finish than halloween did, and yes I’m compairing the albums from 2 songs really, both 13 minute songs, since when people look at the albums thats the thing that really catches their eyes and is well, a “Must Hear Song”.
    But, overall, both albums are amazing and Kiske is definitely one of the most influential metal vocalists of all time.


    January 15, 2010 at 4:08 am

  5. Michael Kiske is surely one of the best vocalists in both rock and metal! I adore his voice since I first heard him with Helloween. He has come a long way since then and I must say that he has improved his singing technique a lot.

    For everyone who enjoyed his 2 albums with Place Vendome, he has just released a duet album together with Amanda Somerville. The music resembles Place Vendome, but has a heavier edge as it was written by members of Primal Fear. Here are 2 videos from the Kiske/Somerville project:

    Additionally, Kiske has formed the rock band Unisonic, with whom he toured again after 17 years. Unisonic is scheduled to release an album shortly. Here is their version of the Helloween classic A Little Time, performed live at the Masters of Rock festival:


    September 25, 2010 at 8:30 am

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