Thursday, September 10, 2015
PRAYING MANTIS: "Legacy"
Label: Frontiers 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
The Legacy of Praying Mantis? One of those acts (Saracen, Nightwing, Demon, etc.) that lazy U.K. journalists filled under New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). They never really belonged there in the first place though. Always out of place, always under the radar. Thick, narrow-minded, rock writers of the past, simply couldn't grasp the reality that your working class U.K. act just wanted to play Pomp and Melodic Metal harmonies.
They were always more about Magnum than Iron Maiden. Even if they once included several ex-Maiden members. For feck's sake. That's Rodney Matthews and not Derek Riggs on the cover artwork. Although Praying Mantis were treading water from about 1985 and onwards, the Troy brothers (Tino -guitar. Chris -bass) are still waving the melodic flag, and it's the U.K. version of soft hard rock. To be perfectly honest. I didn't expect much from Legacy, but it's a darn solid effort, and one third each from the styles of melodic metal, pomp, and AOR.
One of the main problems with the band, in the past and now, the lack of front men. They seem to be changing lead singer with each new album and that's never a good thing when you're about to build your fan base. John 'Jaycee' Cuijpers, the latest in a long line of vocalists and he's a proper shouter with just the hint of Jorn Lande (Masterplan). A stint in a Dio tribute band may suggest that you're in for a treat. He's no bozo for sure. Smeared with twin guitar harmonies, atmospheric keyboards, nicely put arrangements, Legacy may still lack the extra oomph, the super catchy hook, but it's overall a very fine album effort without any real downer. You may just need to spend some time with the songs as several of them are growers not showers. NWOBHM? Not in my books.