Now and Then, Frontiers Records
Scottish natives Gareth Davies (guitar, vocals), Colin Fraser (drums), Ian Benzie (bass, vocals), and Nods Graham (guitars, vocals) form one of the UK's most crafted power-rock quartets. For 13 years The Promise has been playing their local haunts in Aberdeen, Scotland and for the past three years have played the prestigious Gods festival, headlining their second year. Moments after their riveting performance at this year's Ultrasound 2000 show, the four sat down to educate the masses of what Aberdeen has known for years; this band kicks serious ass!
Says Gareth Davies in his rogue accent, "Me and Nods have been playing a long time, maybe since we were six years old. We’ve always liked the sound of The Beatles, Wishbone Ash, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple and Queen. But our sound is more dictated by the way we sing our songs. Since we all sing in the band we can create harmonies that add texture. It does make a difference especially when we play live."
Anyone who has seen The Promise knows that the band prides themselves on being a totally live unit. Gimmicks are minimal and yet they are able to duplicate their studio sound with astonishing accuracy. Their superb musicianship mixed with a high level of energy wins the crowd immediately.
Originally formed as Tour de Force in 1985, the group did their time as a cover band including Journey, Toto, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, Autograph, Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy and Van Halen songs in their set. They occasionally threw in an original number or two as they worked on developing their own sound. After recording three separate demos and miles of touring, they acquired a loyal following throughout Scotland which spread over into Europe.
"We all had day jobs so the band was more of a hobby for years," says guitarist Nods. "We would work here and there but still had to depend on a paycheck." After nearly ten years and with a name change, The Promise signed to Now and Then Records in 1995. Their first disc bulged with catchy hooks, delicious harmonies and ripping guitar action. End Of The game, You Are The One, Holding On and Restless all represent the hard driving swagger of years of road work. And what would a great AOR record be without a tearful ballad? Sleeping Alone and Silver Lights move with passion and emotion in a subtle, caressing mood illuminating the band’s softer side.
Having estab lished themselves as a powerful recording and live act, the group looked to expand their core audience with their second release Human Fire (1999) and a gig in the US. "The invitation to join Ultrasound was an opportunity for us to come to the States and show what we can do," says Gareth, "but it wasn’t cheap in that we had to find our own money to get here." Adds Nods, "We all have day jobs so when we heard we were going to come over, we got five or six gigs in Aberdeen to help finance us. We’ve got a bit of a local following and folks came out to support us." Laughs Garteth, "Some paid just to get us out of town for a week!"
Vocalist Ian Benzie cuts in, "There’s not a big demand for bands doing their own stuff in Scotland - cover bands do better. But we try and push our own material as best we can. Coming to Vegas gives us a chance to try it out on a new audience."
Human Fire is the perfect calling card to do just that. Enriching all the key elements of their debut, the record radiates with brilliance. Let’s Talk About Love, Kiss Me And Kill Me and the MONSTER Only A Woman combine the best of Thin Lizzy-meets-Journey, a sound The Promise have perfected. Let The Night Go On Forever is the album’s ode to the Bee Gees peppered with a tinge of R&B anchoring the groove. Looking Glass and When Love Takes A Hand graze hard rock leaving the melody etched on the brain and in constant replay. The record is as perfect a slice of AOR as you’re going to find.
Asked what they plan to do in the wild west of Las Vegas, Gareth says with a twinkle in his eye, "We’re going to have a look about and enjoy the ambiance of the place. We decided to not only treat this as a way of getting our music out to another country, but having a good time. We’re also here to drink as much alcohol as we can and then spontaneously combust."
NEWS FLASH: Gareth wrote in recently, "Just like to report we didn’t spontaneously combust. We arrived back home safe and sound. Human Fire will see US distribution through SUMTHING Distribution in New York. Our management company (Now & Then Productions) and our record label (Frontiers Records, Italy), have teamed up and have arranged for an exclusive distribution deal in the USA. Sumthing was recently awarded "The Best Independent Distribution" label in the USA. It is now owned by Nile Rodgers, ex-guitar player of Chic and claims to have had outstanding results over the whole market in the USA with the distribution of the last David Lee Roth (Van Halen) album. See their website at www.sumthing.com
Human Fire will be pressed and released in the US by Majestic Entertainment Inc (MEI). According to MEI's website (http://www.majestic-rondelrecords.com/) M.E.I. were planning to release Human Fire in the US on July 25th. MEI have stated that they will support all releases with strong and aggressive independent radio (more than 600 stations in the whole country) and magazine promotion (including regular advertisements in magazines like METAL EDGE, HIT PARADER and others).
Buy Human Fire online from NEH Records
Visit The Promise online at www.the-promise.co.uk.