CD Review: Praying Mantis – Legacy

CD Review: Praying Mantis – Legacy
Frontiers Music srl
All Access Rating: B+

Praying Mantis - Legacy 2015
Keeping a stable lineup together was always difficult for Praying Mantis, whose role in growing the New Wave of British Heavy Metal into a force to be reckoned with in the '80s was relatively minor, as opposed to say, Iron Maiden or Motorhead.

Not as rough or as edgy as their denim-and-leather clad NWOBM brethren, Praying Mantis – established by brothers Tino and Chris Troy in 1973 – eschewed traditional metal to explore the possibilities melodic hard-rock had to offer, even as its revolving-door membership tested the strength of its hinges by continously spinning over the years.

For their 10th studio album, Legacy, Praying Mantis welcomed two new members into the fold in lead vocalist John Cuijpers and drummer Hans in't Zandt to a band that also includes guitarist/vocalist Andy Burgess. The changes are more than cosmetic, especially with a greater emphasis on larger-than-life production and a different singer belting out these gloriously dramatic anthems that, at times, fly awfully close to the blazing, blinding sun of bombastic power-metal, especially on a theatrical "Eyes Of A Child," the soaring epic "Against The World" and a defiant "Fight For Your Honour."

Were this 1985 and not 2015, the searing, streaming jets of twin-guitar leads, trampling rhythms, dynamic vocals and flashing synthesizers that carry Praying Mantis on their broad shoulders might have a puncher's chance at getting FM airplay, as radio-friendly, bittersweet fare such as "The One," "All I See" and the winding, night-crawling, aural metropolis "Tokyo" make for rousing eargasms. As it is, Praying Mantis will simply have to take pride in crafting flowing, captivating songs of resilience, romance and adventure with big climaxes for whoever's still listening for such things in music today. And while the sometimes all-too-familiar, completely over-the-top sound of Praying Mantis may have exceeded its expiration date, it hasn't become exasperatingly stale. There is a freshness and vitality to Legacy that puts it right up there with beloved works Time Tells No Lies and Predator In Disguise – the vivid, sci-fi inspired album art from Rodney Matthews only making the whole experience all the more enjoyable.
– Peter Lindblad

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