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Majestic Magazine, (Holland)

Frontiers/Now & Then is really busy to show us that they still have the best nose for great talent in the
AOR/Melodic Rock biz. Johnny Lima, Terra Nova and The Promise all released in the same month... Hattrick! It's been four years since the first album by The Promise was released and to be honest, I've never heard it. But I will go looking for it, 'cause if it has the same quality as Human Fire it's a
necessary purchase.

The album is full of great melodic monsters like for example Boulevard used to do. I name that band in particular because it's odd how much Ian Benzie's voice sounds like that of David Forbes - lead singer in Boulevard - at times. And hearing the ballads one could swear this really is the new Boulevard. The more uptempo songs have their own identity though.  The album starts off with two of those. Let's Talk About Love is a great opener. Fastpaced, with wailing guitars and big drums - it's the kind of tune I like to hear an album start with. Kiss Me And Kill Me is even better.  A little slower but with great hooks. I can't get enough of this song and especially the climax at the end almost blows my mind... But before that happens Hold On To Love comes by. This is one of the songs I already told you about. The resemblance with the Boulevard stuff is remarkable which can also be said of There Goes My Heart. Listen to the last note Ian Benzie does here. It's beautiful!  But only mentioning the leadsinger/bass player would do wrong to the other bandmembers. Especially during the faster, heavier songs we can enjoy the talents of both the lead guitarists (Gareth Davies and Nods Graham) and the drummer (Colin Fraser) while Steve Craig fills every hole with his keys.

The album just goes on and on at the same level, except for the not so good Hole In My Heart, which I personally see as nothing more than a filler,considered the quality of the rest of the album. Fortunately it sticks to that one song. The last four are really fantastic with Only A Woman being one of my favorites. Usually one bad song is good for the loss of one M. But due to the very high level of the other songs the damage is reduced to only a half one. Please, don't let us wait another four years for the next album...
MMMM˝ - Fred Monster

Hard Roxx UK, Issue No 42, May 1999

Four years in the making, a time span that would destroy most bands, luckily for The Promise they've had the full support of their record label during that time and full credit must go to Now and Then for allowing them to do that.

If you liked the debut but thought that vocalist Ian Benzie was a little on the monotonous side, this album should come as a bit of a shock because alongside the guitar playing the vocals are one of this album's strongest points and Ian Benzie has put 110% effort into his performance on this album.

'Let's Talk About Love' opens the album in fine style with its atmospheric intro that leads into a storming keyboard and guitar riff coupled with an instantly memorable chorus, making this one of the album's stand out tracks.  Compared to the debut this has got a harder edge to it with songs like 'Kiss Me and Kill Me' and 'When Love Takes a Hand' proving the point with the latter having an almost orchestral feel to it in places.

'Hold On To Love' has some great vocal harmonies and a poppy feel to it, while 'There Goes My Heart' is a sentimental style ballad.  'Let The Night Go On Forever' features lush harmonies and prog style guitar with a superb solo from Nods Graham, that leads nicely into 'Only A Woman' with its Journeyesque intro, and its songs like that prove how much this band have improved since their debut.

Saving the best till last The Promise unleash the 8 minute epic that is 'Arms Of A Stranger' which has a moody intro - a bit like 'Private Investigation' - before a scything riff and keyboards cut in, giving the song an almost pomp feel.  Nods Graham puts in some of his best guitar work; from the classical guitar mid section to the stunning solos that litter this song he doesn't get any better than this.

There are a couple of throwaway songs on the album in the shape of 'Looking Glass' and 'Hole in My Heart' but compared to the other 8 excellent songs on this album that's only a minor hiccup as this album is by far The Promise's finest hour.
8/10   Rob Evans

Raging Heart, Issue 4 - January/February 1999
Initial pre-release review

The first track to fly from the speakers is "When Love Takes A Hand", and the first thing that becomes instantly obvious is the greater depth and increase in overall power from the slightly laid back debut.  The sound is now much fuller, with rich layers of guitar and keyboard throughout, accompanying a glittering vein of vocal gold.  In fact it is in the guitar and vocal department that such enormous progress, sonically has been made; although drums are crisp and hard, and bass is thunderous (natch!), the keyboards are cool in their newly understated role, coming to the fore in later tracks.  This track is full frontal, 'shield wall' attack, the song itself akin to a Tommy Shaw composition with added fire - the last word in my note pad about this ditty is "storming"!

Next song up is "Only A Woman" with its cloak of keyboard intro (almost Giuffria-esque) settling nicely to a substantial classy AOR groove.  For those aged ones amongst us, the song structure is reminiscent of the Phenomena material, and is balladic with clean, fluid guitar lines, infused with power.  The solo is a killer, as indeed is the end piece that sews together a huge guitar break with pumping rhythm section and serious vocal histrionics.  Oh Yes!

"Kiss Me And Kill Me" is next, with a hefty groove driven crunch that is fairly heavy, but never loses the melodic impetus.  The hook is instantly memorable, and the chorus is nothing short of massive.  Guitar work is of the scorching, heavy weight type, much favoured by Y&T and sounds almost Nightranger-ish in places.  Add a few Jovi approved "Whoa, whoa's" and what we are left with is a dance floor favourite in the making

A piano and strings intro washes into "Hold On To Love", giving way to drums and a guitar with wings!  This song is definitely an explorer into Survivor country, with a chorus bigger than the Statue of Liberty, and the potential to collapse dance floors worldwide!  The vocals and backing vocals are definitely heaven sent, and the guitar is their messenger!  Marvellous!

The last of the finished tracks begins with ciccadas (those cricket things in cowboy films - the 'cheep cheep' noise at nights) and a surprisingly Metallica like, guitar grinding riff.  This is hard and fast, with a big chorus, a heartbeat bassline, quick trip drums and more of that magic guitar work, again in the Y&T/Nightranger attack mode, but with more time changes, and a lengthy mid section instrumental work out, wickedly offsetting some fine guitar/keyboard interplay.

Breathless - oh yes, but well worth the ride.  I was also played some of the other material, at time of visit unmixed, and was equally impressed with the calibre of the songs, but you'll have to wait for the full CD review next time for that one.  Buckle up people, The Promise have appeared in your rear view mirror and it's gonna take some serious fuel to catch them this time.  Another rave - why not?  With material this good, I'd be doing you a great disservice not to.  Marvellous.
Lee Brimilow


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