Praying Mantis - Legacy (Frontiers Music)

Time tells no lies... and it still hasn't defeated Praying Mantis!
Release Date: 
20 Aug 2015 - 11:30pm

New Wave of British Heavy Metal stalwarts Praying Mantis have been releasing high quality rock music through four decades now, and it’s a great thing to be able to report that, in 2015, some thirty four years since their first full-length, Time Tells No Lies, was released, they sound as fresh as ever. 

There’s not as much metal in the sound as once was, widespite the fact that guitarists Tino Troy and Andy Burgess are a formidable duo up with the best axe partnerships in British hard rock history; In fact, the band are at their most effective delivering high quality hard rock/AOR in the form of Journeyesque tracks such as  All I See or the brooding ballad Better Man, which features a fine vocal from new boy John Cuijpers, who along with fellow Dutchman Hans In t’Zandt (drums) seems to have given the band something up a boot up the backside and given the ‘Mantis some fresh impetus since their arrival in 2013. 

Cuijpers has a much ‘heavier’ voice than predecessor Mike Freeland, enabling the band to switch smoothly between rock and metal, something the band were keen to do as they sought to produce an album that fused all eras of the PM sound together. He’s the eleventh man to take the vocal helm in this band (and there have been some big names behind the mic, not least Uriah Heep’s Bernie Shaw, former Iron Maiden man Paul Di’Anno and MSG’s Gary Barden), and there’s never a moment when he’s found wanting. To say the man’s a find would be something of an understatement.

Still, a good voice is still just a good voice, wasted if there are no good songs to sing, so Cuijpers is lucky to have joined a band that has no trouble churning out the good stuff; Songs like the drama-laden Eyes of a Child are top-notch stuff, whilst heavier tunes Fight For Your Honour, Against the World and The Runner more than hold their own in the wider ‘Mantis canon. In fact only the slightly hackneyed Tokyo lets the side down – but even this song has its moments even if it does sound like something Bon Jovi might have rejected in the early eighties.

However, one duff track out of eleven is nothing to complain about, surely, and with Legacy Praying Mantis have once again proven that class and staying power will always win through, whatever current media mores might have you think. High quality stuff.