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Hotrock (Sweden)

Let me first state that I never heard this band before. I do know that they are from Scotland but thats all...

First time listening to the album I was a little bit disappointed. I thought that there was no really strong songs, even though the "style" was right. I also thought that singer Ian Benzie had a weak voice that felt too strained most of the time. Well, as usual albums that don't come across as classics first time tends to sneak up on you, this one certainly did. My sincere apologize to the band, there are several top songs and the vocals... well, I can't think of anyone that would have done a better job. I confess to have mistaken the personality of the band for lack of talent... That's why I refuse to review and publish anything too soon.

So, what about it then? The overall sound of the album is tight and heavy. A lot of great guitar riffs and strong melodies. I don't know how to explain this, but in my mind there is no way that The Promise could be anything but British. As I said, I can't put my finger on the reason and to be honest I don't care. But the most obvious traces are found in "When Love Takes A Hand". A track that might be described as Deep Purple ("Perfect Strangers" era) goes AOR. Absolutely amazing track! I like the more up tempo songs the best but that might be a "moody" thing... I do love "Only A Woman" too. Tracks like "Let's talk About Love" and "Kiss Me And Kill Me" really makes things rock! I've seen reviewers that have compared this band with several others but to me they're more a band that have taken the best pieces from the british music inheritance and worked it into their own formula.

To sum things up I would like to say that this is a great album, filled with personality. Not so eager to please first time listeners but we all know that it's the 100th listening time that counts. An essential album for everyone that like British AOR.
 85/100 - Thomas Persson

Silk & Steel (Germany)

The PROMISE return after a number of line up changes from their debut release and deliver a more AOR orientated release. This can be seen on the opening track called ' Lets Talk about Love' . Very much an improved style to their debut. ' Kiss me and Kill me ' is another great track very much in the vein of FM/STRANGEWAYS. This likeness can be heard on tracks like 'Hold onto Love' and the beautiful ballad 'There Goes My Heart ', with the vocal work of IAN BENZIE being a standout on both the tracks. The guitar work is also quite impressive( Gareth Davies & Nods Graham) especially on tracks like 'When love takes a hand ' and 'Hole in my Heart'. More quality tracks follow including ' Let The Night go On Forever ' & the riff-o-rama 'Looking Glass'. 'Arms of a Stranger ' finishes off the Cd, being a bit of an epic track clocking in at just under 9 minutes, but still very listenable.
Overall, this a very good melodic hard rock CD. The PROMISE have developed into an excellent outfit. No one overshadowing the other in terms of musicianship. 'Human Fire' is a fine Aor (with the very slight prog influences) release. Production is also of very high standards. Great work guys !  
85 % - Richie Galas
(Review by Verdict : highly recommended to fans of FM / Strangeways)

Atomic Chaser, (LA, USA)

Scottish AOR rockers , The Promise unveil their second release, 'Human Fire', and if you like bands like Ten, Dare and Journey, this is one band that you will definitely enjoy listening to. The Promise is, Gareth Davies and Nods Graham on guitars, Ian Benzie on vocals and bass, Steve Craig on keyboards and Colin Fraser on drums.  Right off the bat the brilliancy of The Promise can felt with the opening number, "Let's Talk About Love", a groove laden rocker that will get your AOR blood pumping big time! Next up is the just as powerful, "Kiss Me And Kill Me", that has that Dare meets Thin Lizzy feel to it, due in part to the brilliant guitar tandem of Davies and Graham.  Ian Benzie's vocals are solid. I tell you, The Promise is a band that has a very bright future ahead of them. They have all the right weapons going for them. Superb musicians and a sound that is both rocking and melodic. Two very key elements any AOR rock need to posses to be successful. If you like your AOR laced with a melodic touch the band offer up tracks like the touching ballad, "There Goes My Heart" . A good example of how the tight the band is as far as chemistry can be heard on the melodic masterpiece, "Only A Woman" and the guitar driven mover, "Arms Of A Stranger". By far one of the best AOR releases I've heard this year and one that will certainly turn heads! It would be wise to keep tabs on The Promise, I assure you we will be hearing alot more from this talented AOR band and that's a "PROMISE"!
85/100 - Tony Sison

Strutter'zine (Holland)

THE PROMISE have finally released their long-awaited follow-up to their fantastic debut a few years ago. And to be honest is worth to wait such a long time, because the second album of these Scottish AORsters is a great album which should take the band to higher places. Like the band told me in an interview we had a few issues back in our magazine, the album would consist of some heavier melodic rockers, some pure AOR songs with lots of keys and a few pure AOR ballads. And indeed we can hear all sorts of songs like these. There are 10 tracks on the CD, which was produced by guitarist Gareth Davies and Niall Mathewson. Mark Ashton from NOW&THEN/FRONTIERS Records was the executive producer.

The CD starts with the uptempo melodic rocker "Let's talk about love", which has a very catchy excellent AOR chorus. Next song "Kiss me and kill me" is a fantastic uptempo classic AOR rocker with a killer AOR chorus that won't get out of your head after you heard it once. The chorus reminds me a little of the MARK FREE song "Dyin' for your love".

Next up is "Hold on to love", a superb classic 80s AOR/Radiorocker that sounds like a mix between early FM, early SHY and some SURVIVOR thrown in for good measure. Really a song to die for, just listen to those piano-keys, they are just perfect and this is what pure AOR is all about. Following song is the pure AOR ballad "There goes my heart", a lovely song to dream away.

The beginning of the song "When love takes a hand" has a rhythm like SURVIVOR (circa 'Eye of the tiger'), during the chorus though it is more tough AOR/Melodic Rock which still is really great. Then we get to hear the first average sounding song on the CD, namely "Hole in my heart", this is heavier Melodic Rock with no special feelings.

Things slow down with the following two songs. First there is "Let the night go on forever", a calmer late-night AOR ballad like FRANKE & THE KNOCKOUTS, TOTO, DAKOTA and THE AUTOMATIX. Some lovely 80s AOR keys can be heard in this song, while the chorus and song itself is very relaxing.

More of the great 80s AOR keys can be heard in the following fantastic track "Only a woman". This song is also quite relaxing, but a bit more uptempo AOR ballad in a way bands like JOURNEY and STRANGEWAYS played them in the 80s. To put it in other words, this is another pure AOR track of the Scottish AORsters.

Then we get to hear the second average track on this CD, which is "Looking glass", but the closing track "Arms of a stranger" makes this CD complete. This song takes you really into 80s AOR at the start with the classic AOR keyboard/guitar interlude a la AVIATOR and AIRRACE, while the rest of the song is just great uptempo AOR. This final track has a playing time of almost 9 minutes, which is quite out of the ordinary for an AOR song.

With this new album, THE PROMISE is up there with FM, SHY, AIRRACE, STRANGEWAYS. The band has a pure AOR sound at times, including everything that made this genre so popular. There are catchy AOR melodies, hooklines, choruses and harmonyvocals, basically everything that a pure AOR band needs to have and THE PROMISE has it all on this new album. Concluded there is only one thing to say about this fantastic album. It's a must to have for the AOR fans!


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