Album review: PRAYING MANTIS – Keep It Alive


Frontiers [Release date 06.12.19]

Formed in London in the mid 70s by the Troy brothers Tino (guitar) and Chris (bass), Praying Mantis were associated with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, but have always been at the more melodic end, almost AOR compared to their contemporaries. They have, however, remained solid and continue to record some fantastic material. A wonderful back catalogue that has at one time featured Paul Di’Anno and Dennis Stratton. Lead vocalists have come and gone, and now with John Cuijpers (who replaced the solid sounding Mike Freeland), who has built on the band’s wonderful sound over the last few studio albums. This live set features material across their catalogue (it’s not all about the first album, which is essential listening) and it’s a solid performance from the outset.

Alongside brothers Troy and vocalist Cuijpers are long time rhythm guitarist Andy Burgess and drummer Hans in’t Zandt.

Recorded in 2018 around the release of the excellent Gravity album, Keep It Alive is the band’s 3rd live album. Opener is the classic Captured City, and is a little heavier here, next up is Panic In The Streets which is blistering; a great drum intro too. The more recent Highway Is a little more melodic, but shows good vocal range, and a great feel on the guitar too. Likewise with Believable, which the crowd love. Some great guitar harmonies, and proof that Cuijpers has adapted to the band’s catalogue new and old well.

And although there is a melodic feel running throughout the band’s music, some very solid moments and blistering guitar solos pepper the songs and do stand out.

Closer is the epic, classic and brilliant Children Of The Earth, which on every level is a great song and great performance.

On the plus side too, there is the DVD of the performance, and overall my only criticism is that it’s 10 songs, a longer set would have been nice.

I do love Praying Mantis, they are always a great listen, and with so much of their catalogue currently unavailable (including a couple of albums never released in the UK), rarely has a co-ordinated reissue campaign been so overdue. ****1/2

Review by Joe Geesin

In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)

Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)

THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)

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