Unfortunately this land only offers a battle of strings and keys.
All instrumental neo-classical metal can be found on “Promised Land” a project of keyboard player Vitalij Kuprij and guitarists Marco Ferrigno and Javier Leal.
Vitalij Kuprij is very a talented Unkranin keyboardplayer and is known from his work with Artension and Ring of Fire. Despite his presence in the metal scene, he seems to be familiar with classical music, as the main themes of the songs, primarily performed by keyboards, are definitely influenced by classical themes. It’s a pity that in all pieces these nice themes are overshadowed by the regularly freaking guitar play of the guitarists. Both guitarists are from Mexico and that’s all I can tell about them. The rhythm sections of this project is formed by Philip Bynoe on bass (who has worked with Steve Vai) and Jon Doman on drums.
As already mentioned almost all tracks feature a melodic theme played by keyboards. After a few minutes the guitarists take over (one on the left and the other on the right channel) sometimes in conjunction with the keyboards. The title track “Promised Land” (8:13) opens with some nice atmospheric keyboards sounds and this piece as a whole is rather melodic with some nice in unison play and good keyboard solos from Kuprij. This opening part is, together with a nice easy piano part with which “Echiopia” (5:30) finishes, the only atmospheric and laid back piece you will find on this album, because after that it’s fast, faster and at last grueling and tiresome instrumental outbursts. Track 2 “The prisoner” (5:15) starts of with some tasteful Hammond organ chords and a synth melody where the Hammond comes back shortly in the end. “Death and illusions” (6:34) followed by “Inner” (5:56) feature both a more or less swinging synthesizer melody. These first tracks are actually quite good digestible.“Eternal” (6:55) opens with nice church organ. The title of track 7 “Vigilante” (6:19) sounds nice and promising, but this piece is actually neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring. Closing track “The prophecy” (5:29) is again a piece that opens with a nice “classical” theme.
Apart from the interesting details mentioned it’s nimble-fingered keyboards and guitar play that dominate this album. Drumming is adequate, but throughout the album I find the bass play rather blurred. All compositions feature in the first instance attractive melodic themes played by a variety of keyboards and even guitar, but then silt up in guitar and keyboard solos trying to surpass each other in speed. The result is an in the end tiresome album.
From the perspective of progressive rock I cannot give this album a positive score, because despite the high level of technical instrument mastery the compositions are too weak to appreciate them fully. Nevertheless I think that lovers of (progressive) metal will have a positive appreciation of the fast instrumental interplay this album has to offer.