Allegro Promise Land -Demo (independent) 1998/2010

1. Shock & Awe
2. Life?
3. Christ in Us
4. Secret of Life

Keyboard heavy progressive metal with a slight classical influence. The four song demo starts off with an instrumental that gives the band a chance to strut their stuff. Both the guitars and the keys seem to play an equal role in this band and both get equal time in this instrumental. The remaining three songs do have vocals. Vocalist Dave Ralston has a mid-range, clean style that reminded me immediately of Paradise Lost's Nick Holmes, and specifically his performance on "Draconian Times". Musically these three songs are mid-paced, dark and moody. Had the keyboards been mixed back and the guitars brought out front a bit, this would be a much heavier album than it is. As it stands, the keys almost drown everything else out and this becomes a bit distracting for me. Being that this is a demo and probably done on no budget, the sound isn't bad, but is overall a bit thin. (Although I must confess that I had been listening to this CD on a less than stellar sound system prior to writing this.) Also, the drums sound like they were either programmed or triggered. For the most part this isn't a big deal, but every once in a while the rolls sound a bit digital. Despite my complaints about the recording and mix, the songs are well written. "Christ in Us" is definitely the standout cut on the album. This song too has a dark, moody feel, even though the lyrics are very positive and edifying. This song reminds me of a cross between Paradise Lost and Savatage, especially towards the end of the song with the layered vocals, not unlike something you might hear on some of the later day Savatage material. Promise Land are very open about their Christian faith. All three vocal songs are very blatantly faith based. "Secert of Tears" even finishes off the album with a prayer of supplication. With better production and some growth as a band, Promise Land may be force to be reckoned with. (Thanks Dale)

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