Frontiers [Release date 11.05.18]
Originally part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, albeit at the more melodic almost AOR end of the spectrum, Praying Mantis are still going strong. This new album is their 10th studio outing, 11 if you include the ‘Metalmorphosis’ EP issued as a full album in Japan, where they have remained consistently popular.
Led by the Troy brothers Tino (guitar) and Chris (bass), the band formed in the mid 70′s and have had a ‘name’ or two pass through their ranks, including Paul Di’Anno, Clive Burr, Bernie Shaw and Doogie White. But the current line-up of Chris and Tino with Jaycee Cuijpers (vocals), Andy Burgess (guitars and keyboards) and Hans in’t Zandt (drums) is already proving stable and solid.
The opener ‘Keep It Alive’ is a solid, powerful and loud opener; with layered backing vocals and Jaycee’s solid but wide range it’s a great start. Some screaming guitar and a touch of keyboards mid song, it’s polished melodic rock at its best.
The programmed intro to ‘Mantis Anthem’ has an Eloy feel, but then it does move in slight (heavy) power pop direction, a very 80′s feel. Then ‘Time Can Heel’ is a full blown AOR effort – piano and guitar working well together.
With it’s keyboard intro and heavier guitars, and lots of guitar harmonies, ’39 Years’ is a stand-out, and has a Quartz feel. The title track is really worth checking out – a fine groove with a driving bass line from the outset.
Some of the tracks have a really polished sound and tracks like ‘Destiny In Motion’ have both a heavy feel and big production (think strings), nodding to melodic power metal, contrasting well with the AOR elsewhere.
The band’s debut ‘Time Tells No Lies’ was illustrated by Rodney Matthews, an artist the band have reconnected with in recent years and his artwork here is as wonderful as ever.
If you like melodic rock, you’ll love this. ****1/2
Review by Joe Geesin
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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.
Featured Albums w/c 6 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 JESSE DAMON Damon’s Rage (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 STORMFORCE Age Of Fear (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 GARY FLETCHER Rivers Keep Flowing (indie)
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