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"Promised Land" (Lion Music; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

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I had no idea what to expect when I put "Promised Land" into the CD player. It was pretty obvious that it was going to be instrumental music as I could see no credit given to a vocalist. Also, I had a vague idea about virtuoso keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij's role in Artension, but hadn't heard his playing in any manner, shape, or form (oops, I was wrong - I've heard Kuprij on James Murphy's "Feeding The Machine"). Of course, it goes without saying that I'd never heard of the two feature guitarists on "Promised Land" either; Marco Ferrigno and Javier Leal were complete unknowns to me.

Regardless of the players, one spin of "Promised Land" will have your head spinning if you are a fan of the neoclassical style of instrumental metal. Often this style is associated with one guitarist (Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine, Yngwie J. Malmsteen) or occasionally two guitarists (Marty Friedman/Jason Becker). But to hear three virtuosos sharing inspiration, pushing each other, and adding their distinctive musical voices to the performances herein was quite a trip. The music veers more to the style of Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Tony MacAlpine than anyone else Iíve mentioned so far.

Guitarist Javier Leal gives off vibes like a possessed mix of Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Tony MacAlpine as he struts his six-string histrionics. Guitarist Marco Ferrigno has a more diverse approach to his sections. All the while, keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij is laying down a melodic foundation for the music to take flight as well as taking a number of opportunities to solo and give the proceedings a non-guitar explosion into instrumental heaven.

Bassist Philip Bynoe and drummer Jon Doman are pretty much relegated to true rhythmic support, but occasionally get the chance to elevate the music with their skillful playing to near-Liquid Tension Experiment heights. That, my friends, is high praise.

"Promised Land" is a thoroughly enjoyable listen for those of you who enjoy instrumental metal.

Ferrigno/Leal/Kuprij is Marco Ferrigno on guitars, Javier Leal on guitars, and Vatalij Kuprij on keyboards, Philip Bynoe on bass, and John Dornan on drums. You may have heard of Vatalij Kuprij from his work with Artension and Ring Of Fire.

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Jan 2019 01:27:05 -0500.