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PRAYING MANTIS, Bush Hall, London, 3 May 2009
Praying Mantis were never as big as they should have been; the music has always
been more than accessible, even when the albums have not had a UK release. This
intimate gig / launch party for the forthcoming 'Sanctuary' (Frontiers) featured
plenty a rock journo and ardent fan alike, with many a t-shirt showing Rodney
With expert PR providing both drinks and nibbles, and founder members Chris
(bass) and Tino (guitar) Troy mingling, a good evening was guaranteed, even
despite the poor PA sound and singer Mike Freeland's loss of voice, shortening
the set. The Troy brothers were more than happy to sign my 'Predator In
Disguise' LP, issued only in South Korea (officially) and a genuine rarity.
If you are not familiar with Praying Mantis, they were part of the New Wave Of
British Heavy Metal, releasing their own Soundhouse Tapes EP and touring with
Iron Maiden, but the music was (and still is) far more melodic. With twin
guitar, think Magnum with a tad less pomp and more NWoBHM relevance.
The 10 song set kicked off with 'A Cry For The New World', the title track from
their 1993 album, a good opener, and was promptly followed by 'Children Of The
Earth' from their 1981 classic debut 'Time Tells No Lies'.
A Maiden-like guitar solo sounded good too. 'Restless Heart' and 'Tears In The
Rain' from the new album followed, the latter a slower more bluesy number, and
were the first of several from the new 'Sanctuary' set. One, a more acoustic
number, showed the band's versatility, and both Tino and Chris were more than
happy to chat to the crowd between songs. And given the conditions and small
stage, they were certainly enthusiastic
'Turn The Tables' finished the main set, with an encore of the classic 'Captured
City' made for a good if short concert.
The new material, even the tracks I hadn't already heard, stood up well and were
clearly appreciated. The band face the 30th anniversary of the NWoBHM with
Review by Joe
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