Reviewed By: Scorpion
Artist: Praying Mantis
Genre: Melodic Rock
Year of Release: 2009
On Amazon: http://www.amazon.de/Sanctuary-Praying-Mantis/dp/B0027CWGSS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339969433&sr=8-1
If both the lack of comments on Youtube and Amazon as well as the extremely small number of listeners on Last.fm don’t present a completely skewed image of the notoriety (or lack thereof) of Praying Mantis, then I think it is safe to say that this band is not very well known here, on DTF. Maybe that is all fine and nobody would enjoy them anyway, but I don’t think that that is the case – hence me writing this review.
Praying Mantis date back to 1974, and they are often classified as a more melodic version of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. I don’t really agree with this classification, though I do have to say that their debut album Time Tells No Lie
s from 1981 is far more up that alley than Sanctuary
. They have gone through various line-up changes during their career, with the founding members Chris and Tino Troy (bass guitar and guitar, respectively) being the only constant members. A few relatively prominent people have played with Praying Mantis in the past, most of them associated with Iron Maiden one way or the other, such as Paul Di’Anno, Clive Burr and Dennis Stratton. Nevertheless, Praying Mantis never became widely known, except, oddly enough, in Japan, where they have their biggest fan base up to this day.
The gap between Sanctuary
, released in 2009 and their previous album The Journey Goes On
(2003) marks the longest break between two Praying Mantis albums, without the band actually dissolving, like they did between their debut album and Predator in Disguise
(1991) and the band has matured greatly in this time. Unlike with their previous effort, the band does nearly everything right. From the energetic opener In Time
, which is based on a simple yet memorable guitar motif, to the mid-tempo closer Sanctuary
with its awesome chorus, there are very few low points on this CD. In my opinion, this album has everything that a straight-out melodic rock record should have, be it upbeat and lively tunes such as Restless Heart
, slower and more melancholic songs like Tears in the Rain
, awesome hooks and soloing (Playing God
) or emotional power-ballads such as Turn the Tide
The only songs that don’t particularly do anything for me are So High
, which sounds a bit too Bon-Jovi-esque for my tastes. All the other songs range from good to great, despite their simplicity and similarity in structure. True, the variety isn’t as great as it could be, but it is a definitive improvement over their previous albums, with nothing that Praying Mantis recorded later than 1993 coming close to this. If Praying Mantis continue to release albums (a big if – it’s been more than three years already and there aren’t even news on a new album in sight), then I sincerely hope that they continue into the musical direction that this album took them.
Final rating: 8/10