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The first time I heard Promised Land was when all of the songs from the album, except for the title track, were aired on radio show Rockline just prior to the albums release in 1994. Being a huge Ryche fan I was quite disappointed when not a single song jumped out and grabbed me by the throat. After buying the album and listening to it for a few months I decided that it was decent enough but couldn't hold a candle to any of their previous classic releases.
A surprising number of Ryche fans actually consider Promised Land to be the band's best effort. While I will never rate the album as highly as Rage For Order, The Warning or Operation:mindcrime, over time I have developed more of an appreciation for Promised Land. Certainly the lyrical theme of the album has always been a powerful one, as many can relate to the disaffectation and disillusionment voiced here.
After the brief introduction of 9:28am,the agression-fuelled duo of I Am I and Damaged kick the album off in fine style, before slowing things down with the Floydesque Out of Mind. The acoustic Bridge then leads into the eight and a half minute title track, a plodding number that sits well within the context of the album and forms the crux of the lyrical theme. This is followed by Disconnected, which is made unique by Geoff Tate's vocal approach, as well as ending in a chugging fashion that is quite compelling.
Next up is the atmospheric tune Lady Jane, which is followed by the very average My Global Mind. To my ears, this one sounds like a leftover from the Empire sessions. One More Time is an infectious lament, that leads into the album closer Someone Else?, an emotive piano-driven number that is admittedly rather bloated but serves to highlight Geoff Tate's amazing voice.
Promised Land contains a diverse collection of songs and is truly an adventurous work. Songs that may not seem as powerful when standing alone, serve to complement one another to create something more potent. Yes, it took some time, but I now feel comfortable singing the praises of Promised Land.