PRAYING MANTIS - SANCTUARY



FRONTIERS RECORDS


  
  Metal To Infinity

After six long years, there is a new album of UK legends Praying Mantis.  I remember like yesterday, when I bought the Metal For Muthas compilation albums, and in my opinion, one of the highlights were the brotherhood of Praying Mantis.  As years go by, the style and musical direction changed from, the so called, N.W.O.B.H.M. in the 80's to Melodic Rock and AOR in present time.  Of course, there have been several line-up changes through the years, the band was even put on ice for a while, but all in all, they managed to come back, and that's praiseworthy!   

Well, it was worth the wait!  The new album is called ''Sanctuary'' and when I received my promotional copy, the first thing that popped up in my head was the similar feeling with the movie ''The Day After Tomorrow'', where we saw the torch of the Statue Of Liberty holding out of a massive ice cap. On the new Praying Mantis album we see what happened with the head of the statue, and it gave me creepy feelings... Well, this is luckily just art, and the material that is burnt on the silver disk can be described as 'art' as well.  The music on Sanctuary is from opener 'till closing track pure top-class amusement.  The songs are brought with an eye and ear for detail, the structures and arrangements are contemporary and moving with the times, so we can conclude that Praying Mantis is still alive and kicking and stronger than ever before!    

Opener 'In Time' starts at high speed, it's like a punch straight in the face, but the musicians of Praying Mantis succeed in holding the strings and keep it interesting for fans of melodic rock that like a heavy riff and fans of the more commercial style. Fact is, the ten songs on the new album have a lot of variety, and above all, there is not one song that is inferior.  If I had to point out my favorite songs, it would depend on the mood that I'm in.  If I'm into a ballad, there is plenty of choice, if I'm into a wilder track; there is enough to choose from as well.  ''Sanctuary'' can be described as the best of both worlds, and I'm inclined to say that this is their best album of the last decade.  

Besides 10 breathtaking songs, there is also a bonus video clip of 'Turn The Tide'. It's all in the vein of the song, and the clip gives the words and lyrics a deeper meaning.  (Boy and girl fall in love, the girl dies in a car accident, and the boy wants to turn the tide).  I was also amused to see how Mike Freeland is bringing his lyrics with a lot of emotion and charisma, and although he's not that long with the band, his enthusiasm lifts the song to a higher level.  Besides the skills of Mike, we definitely have to mention the brother Tino and Chris Troy who take care of the lead guitar and bass.

They play in this band since 1973, and we can easily conclude that they 'live and die' for their Praying Mantis!  Keep up the good work, and as it seems right now, this is only the second youth that has begun.  I hope that they will team up for another 30 years with drummer Benjy Reid and Andy Burgess (Lead Guitar), and they will continue in bringing such great melodies and dedicated art!  Make sure that you visit the website of www.praying-mantis.com and order your copy!     I truly have to bow my head for these giants!! 

My rating: 93 / 100 (Review by Patrick De Sloover)   

RETURN TO MTI INDEX