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Praying Mantis - Keep It Alive Award winner

Praying Mantis
Keep It Alive
by Quinten Serna at 07 February 2020, 4:51 AM

From a time now lost to the reaching eons of events yet to pass, music has the ability to span far beyond its immediate era and find its way into crevices, niches, and paths within every generation, and behind these great and often archaic trackings exist bands and entities that not only still draw breath but continue to pursue pure expression and create music that still reaches out. Having a career that spans 47 years is no easy task for any career choice, music affiliated or not, and yet the Troy brothers, Chris and Tino, have done just that as illustrated by the band’s latest release the live album, “Keep It Alive” - a live album that spends the band’s entire release history.

Starting their latest live album with their first release, “Captured City”PRAYING MANTIS immediately return to their roots albeit heavier and more defined. The song perfectly captures the sound and feel of the late 70s comprised of dual lead guitars, organ, and Rock n’ Roll in-the-pocket drum grooves. A strike from their first album, “Panic In The Streets”, starts up immediately with a segued drum roll from its immediate predecessor; somehow this variant carries with it more energy than its “Time Tells No Lies” counterpart. The title track of the album, and perhaps the most memorable track from “Gravity”, “Keep It Alive”, begins with a modest introduction completely bypassing the a cappella introduction from the studio album; the song as a whole has the greatest atmosphere when it comes to a “live setting” making it feel that, as the listener, you actually are at the Frontiers Rock Festival V.

Coming off Predators In Disguise”, the track “Time Slipping Away” is in every way superior to its counterpart coming in heavier, louder, and faster. Ending the album is the final track from their first album, “Children Of The Earth” - a fitting closing track to the 60-minute performance the song branches in a multitude of different directions whilst also sporting a solo that spans near a minute and a half taking hold of the entirety of the ending.

The instrumentation is laid out to highlight the bulk of everyone’s individualistic talents within the capacity of the band from the harmonious and melodic guitar solos, whose woven rhythms and leads only compliment and strengthen one another; the telltale purity of the bass, in all of its firmly rooted narrative; the amble and bounce of the drums, which drives the songs and fuel the rest of the band; to the soaring and reaching vocals that dance around the rest of the instrumentation yet never inhibiting a single section. The combined mastery of each player is evident and epitomized within the album itself having nary a misstep, off-key note, or out of time beat. It stands to be stated that most live albums are never as good as the studio recordings, though the opposite is true here.

It’s a shame on my part never before listening to the magnitude that is PRAYING MANTIS, though through casual pursuit not a great amount of information is readily available. Yet this live album not only does justice to the band’s legacy, but also delivers a multitude of great recordings which few bands approaching their fifth decade could manage to keep as tight and pristine as PRAYING MANTIS does. If you can get past the science fiction pulp art upon the edifice of each album, you’d do yourself a favor in discovering some timeless music, some of the best of which are offered in an even greater variant within this album “Keep It Alive”.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Captured City
2. Panic In The Streets
3. Highway
4. Believable
5. Keep It Alive
6. Mantis Anthem
7. Dream On
8. Fight For Your Honour
9. Time Slipping Away
10. Children Of The Earth
Chris Troy - Bass, Vocals
Hans In ’t Zandt - Drums, Vocals
Andy Burgess - Guitars, Vocals
Tino Troy - Guitars, Vocals
John “Jaycee” Cuijpers - Vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Music Srl


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Edited 02 February 2023

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