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PRAYING MANTIS‘The Journey Goes On’ (Frontiers Records FRCD145) (2003)

The band has been around since the late 70’s and managed to make a career in Japan in the 90’s despite all things grunge. Original members, brothers Chris and Tino Troy and Dennis Stratton are still there and are joined by two very respected rock vocalists. They are John Sloman (ex-Uriah Heep/Lone Star/Gary Moore) and Doogie White (ex-Rainbow and current Malmsteen/Cornerstone vocalist). Martin Johnson provides the drums.

John Sloman sings on the opener ‘Tonight’, a tune etched in classic rock sound, not dissimilar to one of his older bands, Uriah Heep! Sloman’s vocals suit the song very well. The other two tracks he appears on are ‘Beast Within’, which turns into a great power ballad after a neat keyboard intro and ‘The Voice’. The latter is the album’s longest track clocking-in at over eight minutes and manages to keep the listeners interest going with some stylish guitar and keyboard interplay.

Doogie White takes lead vocals on four tracks, the best of which are harmonies on the mid-tempo rocker ‘The Escape’ and the great hard rockin’ ‘Hold On For Love’, one of the best tracks on the album. Special mention to the beautiful acoustic guitar on ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’.

A very enjoyable album, that will certainly please long term fans of the band. But the album has one or two songs that stop it from being a classic, such as ‘Lost World’. Well played and produced and with a bit of exposure could win the band a whole new audience.



Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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