Comment @ Scandals
05 September 2009
Praying Mantis are a proper old school heavy metal band, formed back in 1979 in the UK. Their newest album ‘Sanctuary’ has come after a gap of 6 years since their last full length ‘The Journey Goes on’, and they deliver an excellent, rocking album full of soaring riffs, melodious solos and memorable choruses. Praying Mantis come from the same school as Maiden, Jaguar and the like, classic rock riffing that informs most modern power metal ballads (which this bares some resemblance to in style occasionally, especially the theatrical ‘So High’). There are also a number of AOR moments, tracks like ‘Turn the Tide’ bring the likes of Journey to mind. In fact the band have never reached such levels of adoration as Iron Maiden or Saxon; perhaps this is down to their more melodic, hard rock sound than their metal roots. New vocalist Mike Freeland has an impressive range, from more aggressive vocals in speedy opener ‘In Time’ to more power metal melodies and grand operatic sweep. However, it’s not all balladry and soppy moments. Praying Mantis still have a metal streak in them, clearly evident in faster tracks like the aforementioned ‘In Time’ and the galloping ‘Touch the Rainbow’. The latter in particular is punctuated by impressive soloing and catchy melodies. It is a shame that Praying Mantis never reached the heights of Priest, Maiden or Saxon; they definitely have the songs to be stadium rockers extraordinaire; ‘Threshold of a Dream’ would be perfect sailing over the heads of thousands of people at Wacken etc. Apart from some of the softer tracks, which are good but not generally my cup of tea, ‘Sanctuary’ is a pretty good album. It’s not overly original but since these guys are hitting 30 years in the business in 2009, we’ll let that slide. Maiden and Saxon fans should definitely look this album up.