http://www.metalunderground.com/ – It’s hard to go wrong when you declare your influences to be Judas Priest, the late great Ronnie James Dio and Armored Saint. For the most part, Johnny Lokke does those influences proud on his latest disc, “Promises And Lies.”

Lokke handles the vocals, rhythm guitar and bass on “Promises And Lies,” with master shredder Carlos Arcay Fernandez handling lead guitars and Glen Lyons on drums. With his voice, which goes everywhere from a Hetfield growl to a Halford shriek, Lokke is definitely the star here, but Fernandez’s squealing leads on songs like “Promises And Lies” and “Burning The Wheel” are nothing short of breathtaking.

Lokke wisely frontloads the album with the most modern-sounding tracks, “Accident Of One,” “Scarred For Life” and “Black Sunday,” which, though they definitely show a love for classic metal, are also reminiscent of bands like Black Label Society and Alice In Chains. Then, out of nowhere comes “Heal Me,” which has Lokke hitting Halford-style high notes over a latter-day Priest groove.

From that point on, things take a decidedly more classic metal approach, with tracks like “Burning The Wheel” reminiscent of mid-1980s Dio and “Fly For Me” having a distinctly Iron Maiden feel. Unfortunately, there are a couple of tracks, including “Obsession” and “The Next Revolution,” in which the devotion to the classic/power metal style has a “tribute band” feel rather than seeming like a unique musical expression.

Still, there’s no denying that Lokke and his backing players have chops to spare, and the excellent production serves to emphasize that fact. Those looking for a modern take on the classic metal sounds of Dio and Priest will find plenty to get their heads banging on “Promises And Lies.”