Monday, July 20, 2009

Praying Mantis-Sanctuary


Often lumped in as part of the NWOBHM, but this band actually formed quite a few years before that scene erupted. Also rather falling under the usual metal sound of many bands from that movement, Praying Mantis leaned more towards a melodic approach. Their 1981 debut "Time tells no lies" still stands as a must hear from the early NWOBHM scene though. They have certainly gone through the lead singers over the years as Paul Di'anno, Gary Barden and Doogie White are just a few on the long list of vocalists who have recorded with this band. The current vocalist is Mike Freeland and here's hoping he stays for a while because he is a wonderful fit on this album. His voice reminds me at times of former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske. He has an excellent range and a dynamic presence. The Troy brothers Tino (guitar) and Chris (bass) have always been the heart and driving force force of this band. Rounding out the line-up this time around are guitarist Andy Burgess and drummer Benjamin Reid. On "Sanctuary" the band plays a smooth and severely tight blend that draws on hard rock/metal and AOR. They remind at times of a mix of older Scorpions and Whitesnake although far more involved. Every song on this album is a work of a well oiled machine. I am not sure if the key ingredient was time, new members or a combination of the above, but whatever the reason they seem to have found the proper recipe for success. This was one of those albums where I immediately took to it on the first listen. Easily their best since their debut. Normally many bands who are 35 years into the game are doing well to just put something decent, but Praying Mantis have managed knock a fantastic melodic hard rock album. Okay, it sounds a lot like it could have been done in 1983, but nonetheless "Sanctuary" is certainly worth hearing.

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Blogger Rhodeislandrock said...

I just got this in the mail today, can't wait to hear it. Time Tells No Lies was a classic but i haven't really kept up with Praying Mantis for a while.

11:49 AM  

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