Friday, November 7, 2014 Leave a Comment
[To read the review in Dutch; Please visit: PROGWERELD: Promise Land – Harmony In Ruins]
Eric Bowser: drums
Rod Kozikowski: lead vocals
David Michael: lead/rhythm guitar, bass guitar, keys and lead vocals
With the cooperation of :
Janette Ralston: backing vocals
Progwereld is a website for progressive music lovers. We try to be as good as possible to evaluate which artists, bands and albums may be of interest to our readers. And of course we are also lead by our own preferences. Every now and then we get a request or a recommendation from our readers and are happy to accommodated if it is fitting to our site. Such was the case with the album, “Harmony In Ruins” from(U.S.) Pittsburgh, PA band, Promise Land. This album was brought to our attention by one of our readers and, as such, we contacted Promise Land management, Janette Ralston, through the band’s website and mail (she is also the background vocalist on this album). This is a good example of networking and using social media to effectively promote an album.
Promise Land is a symphonic/progressive metal band founded by David Michael. It was originally formed in 1997 as acoustic duo, by founder David Michael and highschool friend, Alex Coyne. With a previous e.p, demo and single release; this is the band’s first full-length album. Previous attempts to release this full-length has been delayed for a variety of reasons, including money, illness, time and changes within the lineup of band members. Thanks to the tenacity and perseverance of David Michael; with the help of his wife and business partner, Janette Ralston, “Harmony In Ruins” has become a reality; fully integrated in-house and produced in a private owned home studio.
The album starts with a cinematic opener ‘In The Beginning’, followed immediately by a heavy instrumental, ‘Harmony In Ruins’ which can be described as Symphonic Power Metal, with classic influences, orchestral synths, choirs, immersed guitar solos, heavy drums and bass. It can be best compared to well-known female fronted bands, such as Epica, Nightwish, but without the high soprano female vocals.
The band has two singers – Rod Kozikowski and David Michael, who equally divide and share the lead vocals on the album, with the background vocals being supported by Janette Ralston. Both the vocals of Michael and Kozikowski have a normal heavy-metal range and do not differ that much from each other. In fact, they are hardly distinguishable from each other, especially on the songs where they both sing. But a song like ‘The Piper Illusion’, Kozikowski provides with his voice for a rap-rock like nature and the song, ‘Before The Dawn where Michael accounts for the lead vocals, has an American rock ballad-like sound.
The lyrics of Promise Land clearly fall within the Christian Metal flow. They do not hide their faith, such as the lyrics of adoration for God found in the song, ‘Holy’ and the assertive testimony of their faith in ‘C. I. U.’, which, for my taste, go a little too far. However, in contrast, the band’s lyrics also takes-on social themes, such as suicide in teenagers in the song ‘Before The Dawn’ and our indifference to human trafficking in the song ‘Her Name’. The song ‘Hiding Place’ is a tribute to the book, “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom when during the second world war, she and her family helped hide Jews.
All in all, a stunning and wonderful debut from David Michael who has been making remarkable progress with his music for 17 years . Fans and lovers of symphonic progressive metal, but without the high female voices that usually accompanies this style, should definitely try this album by Promise Land.
Mario van Os