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Praying Mantis - Sanctuary (CD)

Praying Mantis
by Grigoris Chronis at 11 June 2009, 7:57 PM

The most crucial fact in the whole history of this excellent band was that - due to a couple or more reasons - PRAYING MANTIS stayed in the shade of compatriot bands instead of climbing up in the ranking of household NWOBHM names in the 80s. Whoever's grown with British Metal forged two or three decades ago surely praises the band's Time Tells No Lies (1981) debut masterpiece, while a whole new generation of fans got themselves familiar with the Troy brothers' reincarnation as MANTIS raised from its ashes in the late 80s…
…and still hang up with good music in order for us to have a good time with their - the last 20 years - melodic Hard Rock/Metal music. Well, 'Metal' is not a strong scenario describing the quintet's post-80s deeds indded, but - in any way - PRAYING MANTIS runs a second youth and a faithfull clan of hard rockers and traditional metalheads still honor each and every album of the British band's CDs after 1991's Predators In Disguise album.
PRAYING MANTIS cut their teeth in 1979 with a maxi-single entitled The Soundhouse Tapes and in the Metal For Muthas 1980 compilation. Apart from Tino and Chris Troy there has been a typhoon of lineup changes taking place all these years, with established names - especially singers - joining the MANTIS camp: Paul Dianno (IRON MAIDEN, BATTLEZONE, KILLERS), Gary Barden (MSG, STATETROOPER), John Sloman (URIAH HEEP), Doogie White (RAINBOW, Y. Malmsteen, TANK), Bruce Bisland (WEAPON, WILDFIRE, TANK, STATETROOPER), Clive Burr (IRON MAIDEN, ELIXIR) and Dennis Stratton (IRON MAIDEN, LIONHEART).
Now, six years after their The Journey Goes On CD it's time for Sanctuary to hit the stores. Chris stated, by the way: the album title has no relationship to them \[IRON MAIDEN]!! However, we do share some history and maybe this album will put us up there with them. The new CD sees a couple of crucial evidence taking place. First of all, and as expected by many, there's a new singer behind the mic: Mike Freeland. He appeared with the MANTIS in 2007's 'Bang Your Head!!!' fest in Germany and reports stated that his was quite good even if kinda shocked by the crowd's volume. Well, what we listen to in Sanctuary is some very talented and passionate vocalist - a mix of Steve Perry (JOURNEY), Jonathan K. (Q5, NIGHTSHADE) and Michael Kiske (HELLOWEEN)? - who really fits to the bands melodic music, while he cleverly exposes both his own vibe and the '80s' attributes needed to support the songlist featured. He can scream and sound sensational in e.g. songs like In Time, Tears In The Rain and Lonely Way Home; the demanding PM devotee can confirm that. Thus, in general, thumbs up for Mike!
The next fact dressing this new MANTIS album is the quintet's flirt with more AOR sounds - some songs or song parts may even bring the fast blend of JOURNEY to mind - and some modern patterns in the production. Andy Reilly (ASIA, THE CULT, BRUCE DICKINSON, FM etc) has done a marvelous job in the songs' sound, succeeding in building up a fresh vibe while not abandoning everything PRAYING MANTIS related. This meaning, Sanctuary is again full of mature melodic Hard rock songs with a serious work being unveiled in - apart from the pre-mentioned -tracks like Restless Heart, Threshold Of A Dream and the same-titled ending cut.
The eighth studio album from PRAYING MANTIS is here; the fast songs (Playing God rulez!), the guitars leads, the melodic hooks, the efficient keyboards back-up…A fresh offering that cannot let down the legendary band's fans, I think/hope. Listening to again this wonderful ballad named Lonely Way Home, it's a blessing PRAYING MANTIS succeeded again in offering an excellent amalgam of the old/vintage and melodic/fresh style we love and need. Glad to have you back, guys!

4 Star Rating

In Time
Restless Heart
Tears In The Rain
So High
Lonely Way Home
Touch The Rainbow
Threshold Of A Dream
Playing God
Mike Freeland - Vocals
Andy Burgess - Guitars
Benjy Reid - Drums
Tino Troy - Guitars, Vocals
Chris Troy - Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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