Sanctuary was released June 2009
(107 votes, average: 9.05 out of 10)
||FR CD 416
|01. In Time
||C. Troy, Freeland
|02. Restless heart
||Freeland, C Troy, T Troy, Burgess
|03. Tears in the rain
||C Troy, T Troy, Freeland, Burgess
|04. So high
||C Troy, T Troy, Freeland
|05. Turn the tide/Lonely Way Home
||C Troy, T Troy, Burgess, Freeland
|06. Touch the rainbow
|07. Threshold of a dream
|08. Playing god
||C Troy, T Troy, Burgess
|09. Broken Chains (Japanese release Only)
||Burgess, Freeland, T. Troy
||C Troy, T Troy, Burgess
|•Muse Studios, Muse Productions, Atlanta, US
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Entitled “Sanctuary” the new CD is again very personal with plenty of great melodies and songs. The mix of lead and harmony guitar breaks and solos with great vocals and keyboards is fantastic with an overall songwriting on the highest levels all over. What we have here is a band that contains some very fine and experienced musicians who have put together a collection of songs that create a really classic album. (2009)
Though perceived as New Wave of British Heavy Metal stalwarts, Praying Mantis pre-date the movement and always had more melodic leanings than their rivals. Plagued by bad luck, dodgy deals and shifting line-ups (Past vocalists include Bernie Shaw, Gary Barden, Tony O’Hora and Paul Di’Anno), Mantis fragmented in the mid 80’s before being lured back by the Japanese market. But core members Tino and Chris Troy have consistently delivered the goods. Recorded in Atlanta with FM, Romeo’s Daughter and Bruce Dickenson producer Andy Reilly, Sanctuary is big on hooks and drama, befitting a hugely underrated group of musicians. Though unable to match O’Hora’s sheer bluster and less expressive than Shaw, singer Mike Freeland registers a highly credible debut, excelling on the commercial hard rock of “In time” and “Tears in The rain”, also blending well with the Mantis sound during the big ballad “Lonely Way Home”. Sanctuary is a fine album that ticks many different boxes. 8/10
Spanish-Greek brothers Tino and Chris Troy returns with a brand new Praying Mantis album called Sanctuary. Their last studio album was released in 2003 called The Journey Goes On, an album that featured different singers and most notably was John Sloman (ex-Lone Star) and Dougie White (Malmsteen, Rainbow, Cornerstone).
Throughout the years, Praying Mantis has had various singers such as Bernie Shaw ((Uriah Heep), Paul Di’Anno (ex-Iron Maiden), Gary Barden (ex-MSG), Mark Thompson-Smith , Tony O’Hora and one of my favourites Colin Peel.
Yes, they have a new singer for Sanctuary called Mike Freeland and where they have found a perfect singer for their sound.
Mike has a fantastic voice that really surprised me and I have to say that he has given Praying Mantis new life and they sound hungry again.
The sound is more AORish than before and the melodies are brilliant and so are the harmonies and arrangements. The album is very even with a couple of highlights that are damn fine tracks. Just listen to the great Restless Heart with a stunning chorus. Tears In The Rain is a strong mid-tempo song and what a vocal performance Mike deliver, outstanding.
If youre into Pompish stuff, then check out So High (not the Touch song) but it reminds of Touch, the riffs are great and the chorus is huge.
The ballad Lonely Way Home is strong one with classy harmony vocals in the chorus. The song Highway must be a tribute to Journey because this sounds so much Journey with great Neal Schon-like guitars, the melodies are pure bliss and the chorus is so much Journey, fantastic song.
The production is crystal clear and has been done under the direction of producer/engineer Andy Reilly (Asia, The Cult, FM) with a great result. So if you thought Praying Mantis was done then youre wrong because their new album is a strong one and they are back for sure and with a new strong singer.
This is an album that is worth checking out.
I’m also glad that they have gone for the more AORish sound without losing the trademarks of Praying Mantis. A great album.
A few years ago I had a great interview with Tino and Chris Troy, two brother Greek brothers from England at the Bang Your Head Festival. They kind of told me their life-story about how their band Praying Mantis became kind of cult-band in the N.W.O.B.H.M period that brought us bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead and Saxon. Praying Mantis also had a chance to make it very big but wrong decisions made by the brothers were responsible for the band staying in the shadows of the bands mentioned above forever. Still they managed to stay in the spotlight because they had quite a few famous musicians amongst them over the years. Not less than three of them also played in Iron Maiden, I am talking about Dennis Stratton, Cliff Burr and Paul Di’ Anno. Also vocalist Gary Barden did his thing with this band and put his mark on the ‘Captured Alive In Tokyo City’ album. Good melodic rock songs sung by star vocalists was always the trademark of this British band and I was wondering what the present would bring once I first noticed two years ago they had attracted a fairly unknown vocalist in Mike Freeland.
When I saw him perform on for the first time on the Bang Your Head Festival I wasn’t that impressed with him but as I learned later, this guy was still very insecure and hadn’t much experience working a big crowd like on that festival. But now two years later, he is still in the band and had his experiences with the rest of the guys playing some more festivals and gigs. On the new album ‘Sanctuary’ it’s the first time Mike Freeland gets his fair chance to let the public hear what he is capable of and I can assure you that is no disappointing experience. The band has managed to come up with ten very strong new songs that have a refreshing Praying Mantis sound that has been modernized to this time.
A very good choice to open this new CD with is the fast ‘In Time’ tune. With this song the guys immediately gives their sign towards the listening public what quality this British band is about. ‘Sanctuary’ is a great mix between powerful rock and beautiful ballads. My personal highlight is the third song on this disk that is called ‘Tears In The Rain’, a heavy ballad with some bluesy guitars and a dreamy rhythm. This song really showcases the abilities of vocalist Mike Freeland that he is the right choice for Praying Mantis. This album is everything a melodic rock fan needs, go check it out yourself! 91/100
As I sit here for what seems like hours looking at a blank screen and listening to the brand new album by Praying Mantis, “Sanctuary”, it occurs to me that this brilliant album is going to be damn hard to try and put into words. The feelings and emotions I feel when I listen to “Sanctuary” are indescribable; it puts me in my happy place!!! The resurrection of Praying Mantis began in the summer 2007 when they played at the Bang Your Head Festival. Consisting of original members the Troy brothers on guitar & bass Benjy Reid on drums, Andy Burgess on guitar and Mike Freeland on vocals.
“Sanctuary” is filled with plenty of great melodies that will stay in your head for days. The lead and harmony guitar work is sensational with great solos, all filled with just enough keyboards. I must say, the most impressive thing on “Sanctuary” is the singer Mike Freeland, sensational. At times he reminds me Terry Ilous from XYZ in parts and I can even hear some Michael Kiske. Were ever they found Mike they need to keep a tight hold on him. I personally think he makes this album.
This is classic English melodic rock/AOR. Think bands like TEN, Bob Catley (Magnum) and Whitesnake. I really can’t pick any one good song, because there is no filler on “Sanctuary” just 10 cracking rock anthems. But in saying that, “Sanctuary” won’t knock you off your feet the first listen. You need to take the time to let the songs unravel and discover their beauty. This is a well put together album by some real professional musicians and it tells. If you get the chance to see Praying Mantis over the summer you should not hesitate to go & make sure you buy a copy of “Sanctuary” a must have album for any rock fan. 87/100
Praying Mantis will forever be associated with the NWoBHM, but are in fact far more melodic. Think Magnum without the pomp and more of a metal (twin guitar) edge.
The band split in the early 80s after one classic album, but reformed in 1990 and have sporadically produced some fine albums along the way. This is no exception, from the outset it is thoroughly listenable. Opener “In Time” shows how well the new line-up is gelling. Still with bassist Chris Troy and guitarist Tino Troy leading the helm, the sound moves smoothly between polished AOR and pounding hard rock. “Tears In The Rain” is far more searing than the title suggests, although there is a hint of Heavy Pettin’. “So High”, in comparison, is an all out hard rocker with some intricate guitar work.
If Iron Maiden ever made a melodic rock album, it could easily sound like “Threshold Of A Dream” or “Playing God”. From beginning to end, an excellent album that at no point do you want to skip through.
Sadly, one of the best tracks (there’s no tracklist on this CDr) is a bonus on the Japanese only release. Well worth searching out.
For a band that first split in 1982 and will indelibly be associated with the NWOBHM era, Praying Mantis have enjoyed a surprisingly durable career, helped by their popularity in the Far East, and it is good to see founding members Chris (guitar) and Tino (bass) Troy back with a new line up and their first release in six years.
All the Mantis trademarks are there- quality melodic guitar work with periodic twin lead breaks, big backing vocals and thoughtful arrangements. But the biggest impression is how contemporary the album sounds, with something of a symphonic metal feel- indeed opener In Time almost verges on power metal. Generally the songs take a few listens before they embed themselves, but Tears in the Rain and Restless Heart (not AOR power ballads, whatever the titles might suggest!) and the more immediate So High and Touch the Rainbow all impress. Highway, which does what it says on the tin is perhaps the most obviously commercial song on offer, though it was tantalisingly familiar in places.The one slight disappointment is that new singer Mike Freeland, though he has the right kind of voice for the material, does not impose himself as he might. Nevertheless this is a quality album from an enduring, if cult, British institution.
Although their origins will forever be inextricably linked with the NWOBHM, Praying Mantis were never really what you’d call an atypical metal band. Whilst most of their contemporaries were content to trade in simplistic riffs and even simpler songs, Praying Mantis had loftier, decidedly more melody friendly ambitions. Founded by the Troy brothers (guitarist Tino and bassist Chris) in the late 70’s, the band soon found themselves swept up in the furore that surrounded the likes of Iron Maiden and Diamond Head, yet despite regularly supporting Steve Harris’ mob and issuing an acclaimed debut (‘Time Tells No Lies’), from a commercial point of view they weren’t particularly successful. After the usual line up shuffles, periods of down time and a brief name change to Stratus, Praying Mantis regrouped in the early 90’s, and bolstered by their successes in Japan, released a string of great studio albums throughout the 90’s and into the early part of this century. Last we heard from the band was via 2003’s ‘The Journey Goes On’, but now after another lengthy hiatus, they’re back, and on the strength of ‘Sanctuary’ sounded as good as (if not better than) ever! Along with the Troy brothers, this latest incarnation of the band is completed by Benjy Reid (drums), Andy Burgess (guitars) and vocalist Mike Freeland. Slick, sophisticated and polished, ‘Sanctuary’ oozes class from every pore, each of the ten songs within containing the sort of hooks and melodies most hard rock bands would literally kill for. Stylistically speaking, it isn’t a million miles from what they’ve done before, although I do like the ‘Kamelot goes AOR’ undercurrent which threads it way through opener ‘In Time’. Freeland has one of those powerful, booming hard rock voices that fits the music perfectly, and the band sound as tight and relaxed as I’ve ever heard them. And to be honest, as I listen to the likes of ‘Lonely Way Home’, ‘Sanctuary’, ‘Playing God’ and ‘Tears In The Rain’, that evident self belief shines through like a beacon of light in the darkness. Put it this way, if TNT had followed up ‘My Religion’ with an album even half as good as ‘Sanctuary’, everybody would have gone nuts … here’s hoping it won’t be another six years! Fantastic! (D.Cockett)
Album Review: Sanctuary (2009)
For fans of: Hard Rock… and a fine addition to long-term discography
Praying Mantis – Sanctuary
Praying Mantis were former in the late 70’s by brothers Tino and Chris Troy. They supported the first tour Iron Maiden did in the UK and recorded a debut album, Time Tells No Lies, with Dave Potts on drums and Steve Carroll on guitars and vocals.
After working their way through several members, appearances at various festivals, changing their name a couple of times, more line-up changes and several more albums and festival appearances, the band – now consisting of Mike Freeland (vocals), Andy Burgess (guitars), Benjy Reid (drums), Tino Troy (guitars and vocals) and Chris Troy (bass and vocals) – are back with album no. 9.
I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing any of their earlier work, but it’s often compared to NWOBHM bands such as Iron Maiden, Saxon and so on. Have to say the music on Sanctuary is considerably lighter and more melodious than typical NWOBHM fare. But, not to panic, that doesn’t mean it ain’t as good. Far from it. Sanctuary has a hell of a lot going for it.
The opening track ‘In Time’ is speedy in places, sort of Dragonforce-lite if you like. There’s no real heaviness to the track but it still rocks. The underlying BPM is right on the money for that epic vitality. ‘Restless Heart’ goes all Westcoast USA, maybe with a softening hint of Middle England. It’s a friendly inoffensive track with a vintage persona. There are definite hints of Michael Kiske’s work with Place Vendome in the mix. It’s a real grower.
‘Tears In The Rain’ is a pleasant ballad with a heavyweight edge and a beautiful main theme. It’s full of expression and sweet-sounding melodies, and the guitar work is incredibly poignant but full of subliminal power. Mike Freeland’s voice isn’t technically brilliant but he has a certain something going on that gives him bags of plus-point character. ‘Lonely Way Home’ is arguably an even better track. Another ballad, it isn’t as ‘metal’ as the previous effort and consequently has a greater emotional appeal. M.F. puts his heart into the track and it shows… in spades.
‘Touch The Rainbow’ is a straight ahead rocker with a tinge of Eastern mysticism. As a whole the song doesn’t really get the pulse racing, but there are moments which catch your attention. ‘Threshold Of A Dream’ sounds like a song that would be amazing live. The main riff is as heavy as a heavy thing, but on the album it’s a tad subdued. The result is a song with obvious potential not realised.
‘Highway’ is a spunky upbeat track, again with strong hints of Westcoast AOR. It’s a definite driving song, even without taking the title into account. The final track, also the title track, goes considerably heavier – although again it’s a smothered heaviness. It’s like listening to a metal band through tinny speakers. Maybe the sound has deliberately been held back to appeal to a wider audience… it’s a shame because this could be a stunning track if it had more in the way of balls.
Sanctuary is a fine album with a couple of truly excellent moments. However, as mentioned, the production job either inadvertently or purposefully robs the release of some much needed horsepower. The end result is good, and the quality of the writing and performances really shine through, but as a package it leaves a taste of ‘what if?’ in your mouth.
Check out… The vocals. Mike Freeland should get his voice on albums more often!
Every single release by Praying Mantis is a guarantee for a pleasant –to say the least- sonic result. Melodic metal guitar riffs, uplifting choruses, catchy tunes (even by the first time that you listen to them) etc. All the hardcore, purist N.W.O.B.H.M. fans have denounced them for their transgression from the sound of that excellent debut of the early 80s, but the truth is that Praying Mantis have released much better records since then…
“Sanctuary” does not stray from the aforementioned rule…there are songs in there like “Lonely Way Home” and “Touch The Rainbow” that still impress even the most reserved listener and a couple ones that simply cannot stand the test or the comparison with the past. Isn’t that natural, after all? Who really expected a new “Best Years” or a new “Can’t See The Angels” from Praying Mantis in 2009? The good thing is that the atmosphere of “Sanctuary” remains the same with the familiar Praying Mantis albums and that’s the most important fact!
Highlight: Impressive cover sleeve…
The most crucial fact in the whole history of this excellent band was that – due to a couple or more reasons – PRAYING MANTIS stayed in the shade of compatriot bands instead of climbing up in the ranking of household NWOBHM names in the 80s. Whoever’s grown with British Metal forged two or three decades ago surely praises the band’s “Time Tells No Lies” (1981) debut masterpiece, while a whole new generation of fans got themselves familiar with the Troy brothers’ reincarnation as MANTIS raised from its ashes in the late 80s…
…and still hang up with good music in order for us to have a good time with their – the last 20 years – melodic Hard Rock/Metal music. Well, ’Metal’ is not a strong scenario describing the quintet’s post-80s deeds indeed, but – in any way – PRAYING MANTIS runs a second youth and a faithful clan of hard rockers and traditional metalheads still honor each and every album of the British band’s CD’s after 1991’s “Predators In Disguise” album.
PRAYING MANTIS cut their teeth in 1979 with a maxi-single entitled “The Soundhouse Tapes” and in the “Metal For Muthas” 1980 compilation. Apart from Tino and Chris Troy there has been a typhoon of lineup changes taking place all these years, with established names – especially singers – joining the MANTIS camp: Paul Dianno (IRON MAIDEN, BATTLEZONE, KILLERS), Gary Barden (MSG, STATETROOPER), John Sloman (URIAH HEEP), Doogie White (RAINBOW, Y. Malmsteen, TANK), Bruce Bisland (WEAPON, WILDFIRE, TANK, STATETROOPER), Clive Burr (IRON MAIDEN, ELIXIR) and Dennis Stratton (IRON MAIDEN, LIONHEART).
Now, six years after their “The Journey Goes On” CD it’s time for “Sanctuary” to hit the stores. Chris stated, by the way: “the album title has no relationship to them [IRON MAIDEN]!! However, we do share some history and maybe this album will put us up there with them”. The new CD sees a couple of crucial evidence taking place. First of all, and as expected by many, there’s a new singer behind the mic: Mike Freeland. He appeared with the MANTIS in 2007’s ’Bang Your Head!!!’ fest in Germany and reports stated that his was quite good even if kinda shocked by the crowd’s volume. Well, what we listen to in “Sanctuary” is some very talented and passionate vocalist – a mix of Steve Perry (JOURNEY), Jonathan K. (Q5, NIGHTSHADE) and Michael Kiske (HELLOWEEN)? – who really fits to the bands melodic music, while he cleverly exposes both his own vibe and the ’80s’ attributes needed to support the songlist featured. He can scream and sound sensational in e.g. songs like “In Time”, “Tears In The Rain” and “Lonely Way Home”; the demanding PM devotee can confirm that. Thus, in general, thumbs up for Mike!
The next fact dressing this new MANTIS album is the quintet’s flirt with more AOR sounds – some songs or song parts may even bring the fast blend of JOURNEY to mind – and some modern patterns in the production. Andy Reilly (ASIA, THE CULT, BRUCE DICKINSON, FM etc) has done a marvelous job in the songs’ sound, succeeding in building up a fresh vibe while not abandoning everything PRAYING MANTIS related. This meaning, “Sanctuary” is again full of mature melodic Hard rock songs with a serious work being unveiled in – apart from the pre-mentioned -tracks like “Restless Heart”, “Threshold Of A Dream” and the same-titled ending cut.
The eighth studio album from PRAYING MANTIS is here; the fast songs (“Playing God” rulez!), the guitars leads, the melodic hooks, the efficient keyboards back-up…A fresh offering that cannot let down the legendary band’s fans, I think/hope. Listening to again this wonderful ballad named “Lonely Way Home”, it’s a blessing PRAYING MANTIS succeeded again in offering an excellent amalgam of the old/vintage and melodic/fresh style we love and need. Glad to have you back, guys!
PRAYING MANTIS: “Sanctuary” 8
Review by Alan Holloway,
8th June 2009
Well here’s a surprise – when I saw Praying mantis last year I wasn’t really that impressed, so when I was asked to review “Sanctuary” I expected a NWOBHM flavoured slice of average pie. What Praying Mantis have delivered is a very nice AOR album that could just see them reinvented as a growing concern in the melodic rock scene. I know – who would have thought it?
The main reason for this change in direction seems to be vocalist Mike Freeland, who has a great, pitch perfect voice in the higher register, almost reaching Steve Perry territory during the chorus during the appropriately named “So High”. Let’s not forget the rest of the band here, as the playing on “Sanctuary” is exemplary, including some really nice guitar work from Andy Burgess and founder member Tino Troy. Troy’s brother Chris, who plays bass, has written some great songs here, and as a result, “Sanctuary” can hold it’s head up amongst many of the better melodic rock albums out there today.
If you like a good dose of Journey or Boston then this is an album that should really appeal to you, although Praying Mantis still manage to keep a good dose of their own identity. When “Sanctuary” works, it works very well indeed, and I have to recommend it to any and all fans of quality melodic rock out there.
Well said Alan. Having seen Mantis in many places of differing sizes over the years, supporting some huge names and also headlining their own shows, three things has always dogged them: 1/ A lack of a really consistent line up. 2/ The quality of some of the releases has been patchy. 3/ Their touring schedule has been non existent.
However, with the release of SANCTUARY, two of those problems have hopefully been eradicated. The addition of Mike Freeland, into a band that always thrived on good vocals and towering harmonies, has been a godsend. His power and range have now taken PM to another level, as proved by vocals like “Turn the Tide”. The two other new team members in Benji Reid and Andy Burgess bring the “power and thunder” up a notch or two as well.
The songs across the entire album are well thought out and well delivered, with plenty of light, shade, power and melody. Some of the hook lines are simply AOR heaven. The entire CD smacks of quality. If PM were from the US, the press would be wetting their melodic rock pants!!
Now then, delivering an A1 album is one thing, but getting people to buy it is another. If I could give PM one bit of advice, it would be to load up the Ford Transit, get the snacks and beers in, and get out on the road with CD. That is the only way that PM can really make this new wave of interest keep rolling!! There must be a big time band out there who would take these guys on the road in support…..or are they too good? Who knows?
I’ve seen Mantis before with the likes of Maiden, Diamond Head, Gamma, Glenn Hughes, Saxon and at Reading and The Gods. They CAN handle and cut it live, so let’s just hope that they can make this happen. They deserve it…….”By the way Tino, you still owe me a beer or two from the Gods. As does Dennis Stratton, mind you Dennis owes everyone a pint mate!!”
See you guys on the road…………..You could just be on “The Threshold of a Dream”.
The history of the band goes back into the 70’s, and this is their new album. After a short break for a couple of years, original band members Troy brothers, are back once again, with a new line up. What stayed the same though is the style of music, with the band playing a very interesting and catchy style. Blending AOR, bits of Classic Metal and NWOBHM, and tons of melodies, Praying Mantis managed to create a noticeable album, something that will please both old and new fans. Melodic songs, with warm vocals, memorable choruses and parts easy to sing along, are the key elements of this album, and the ones that make it very easy for the listener. But besides that, there are many things to discover, with a closer and more cautious listening. Wisely used keyboard lines add a depth to the whole album, while the songwriting is excellent, with no weak moments, or things that could have been done better. The production is also moving to the same high level, completing a very good release in the best possible way. If you like the work of the band so far, or you are into AOR and Melodic Metal in general, then this album is one of those you should check out.
Canberra Times (OZ) – Sanctuary Review
Amazingly, Brit Rockers PM have been at this game for over thirty years now, having shared stages with all of the giants of the New Wave of Heavy Metal scene in the early eighties. A sorry combination of poor management, labels and luck conspired to put the band on the back foot when their no-more-talented rivals were making good with the prize; So 2009 sees the band returning to the fray with a fine album choc full of classy melodic hard rock but none of the fanfare that saw the recent release of compadres’ Iron Maiden’s nostalgia-plus cash fest Flight 666. Which is a shame, because, in the songwriting stakes at least, Mantis yield to no one. One listen to the likes of the majestic So High will attest to that, with band mainstays the Troy Brothers (Chris and Tino) and throatsmith Mike Freeland all putting in top-notch performances that’ll have the unsuspecting bystander crying out for more. The class doesn’t let up for a minute, and if you have a yen for high quality, sophisticated hard rock , then this is the album you need.
Burrn! magazine – Japan – ‘Sanctuary’ Review
Long awaited new album after an interval of 6 years. Mike Freeland, Andy Burgess joined so rest of Tino & Chris Troy brothers are completely changed, however smooth and melodious Mantis-bushi remains same. New vocalist has clean and high tone vocal like Colin Peel so he fits the band.
Actually, from hard tune it featured uplift melody to light melodious number and Ballad, his voice supports base of new Mantis.
It seems like Troy brothers project, by the absence of Dennis Stratton because of musical dissension, but as we hear the tune, it is a revival work with the persuasive power is filled.
Australian mag ‘Metal as F**k’ – ‘Sanctuary’ Review
No nostalgia trip here, NWOBHM originals Praying Mantis deliver a stunning rock/AOR album with no sign of flab, grey hair or walking frames.
Brother’s Chris and Tino Troy first started playing back in the early seventies (Chris on bass and Tino on guitar), and Praying Mantis is without a doubt their creation and their baby. Unfortunately for them, from the beginning when the band was at the forefront of the burgeoning NWOBHM scene they’ve always had trouble keeping a steady lineup, which has seen them miss out on the peaks that fellow travelers such as Iron Maiden have reached. In fact, the band have shared a few members, with former Maiden drummer Clive Burr joining the band in the mid 80s when they underwent a name change (to Stratus), and recent Aussie visitor Paul Di’Anno sang for Praying Mantis in 1990.
But this is a new millennium, a new line-up and a new album, so let’s forget the past glories (or lack of them) and concentrate on Sanctuary.
Although, having said that, it is kind of hard to forget the past with a band whose sound encompasses so much of that past. With lashings of twin guitar work courtesy of Tino and Andy Burgess, great melodies, vocalist Mike Freeland – who at times reminds me of David Coverdale and Joe Lynn Turner – along with the touches of Def Leppard, Journey, Whitesnake’s peak 80s commercial period, as well as latter-day Rainbow that drift through this album, you can see that Chris, Tino and the band are not shy about looking backwards to move forwards.
From the twin guitar riffs that launch the album’s opener In Time, this is an album propelled forward by great playing, great singing, solid rhythm and more hooks than Ali Vs Frazier II. So High, Playing God, Highway and the title track Sanctuary are highlights for me, but hell there isn’t a bad track anyway – except maybe for the obligatory ballad Lonely Way Home, which ain’t bad but is no Paul Stanley rock ballad, if you get my drift.
What you get here is a band that is quietly confident in their ability to rock out, aren’t ashamed to be commercially viable, and can deliver the goods. There are plenty of young bands out there looking back for inspiration. But these guys were there the whole time and the difference shows. Absolute classic AOR rock.
Praying Mantis’s Sanctuary is out now on Frontiers/Riot.
Metal Dreams ‘Sanctuary’ Review
For those who do not have too many references to the band of brothers Tino and Chris Troy commented that in 1981 released their first album, “Time Tell No Lies,” which is considered one of the core of the NWOBHM and at that time were themselves Iron Maiden Paul Di’Anno..
In the following years passed through their ranks Bernie Shaw of Uriah Heep and Clive Burr from Iron Maiden, but then turned under the name Stratus. In 1990 joined Paul Di’Anno and Dennis Stratton, both former members of the Maiden. The following were Gary Barden on vocals and Statetrooper MSG and brilliant Tony O’Hora, who recorded their best albums in years (Forever in Time, Nowhere To Hide). In their last album also collaborated Dougie White (Rainbow, Y. Malmsteen) and full back with a remarkable 2009 album called “Sanctuary,” where have the services of vocalist Mike Freeland, “Sanctuary” has been recorded in the USA and returns Praying Mantis the most genuine, so fans of the band are in luck.
Their style is as individual as usual, halfway between Heavy Metal and Hard Rock melodic harmonies and elegant where you have to appreciate the contribution of Mike Freeland, not for anything in the personal world of “Mantis religion.. As I see it “Sanctuary” falls below a few tenths of that fantastic album of 2000 “Nowhere To Hide,” however I must point out that each new listener hooked me more and more, and in general I think a remarkable work.
The album begins with “In Time”, which includes the usual bent simple melodies so personal and original of the brothers that Troy and liveliness that is always appreciated. “Restless Heart” on his part brings a chorus full of great choruses. “”Tears In The Rain” is denser; we found beautiful vocal melodies on guitar arpeggios clean. The fourth issue is one of the highlights of the new release, “So High,” a very moving show where they do best, a superb bill of Heavy Metal which emphasizes the catchy chorus. The first hit single and video clip of the cd is entitled “Lonely Way Home”, a beautiful ballad that has appeared subsequently under the title “Turn The Tide” and that,to me, is the best issue of the British in this new journey.
“Touch The Rainbow” again set foot on the accelerator and the new crop MANTIS more genuine Freeland’s work is commendable. Continue with the acoustic “Threshold Of A Dream”, which then retrieves the most metal DICTUS and transforms the song into a really powerful. In “Playing God” is missed very close to “Nowhere To Hide,” which introduced a wraparound keyboard and chorus vocals mark infested home.. And as colophon, “Highway,” which is the most commercial album, the final and most hard rocking “Sanctuary,” which does not differ at all in the style so far and commented that it is also a matter of filling it for the closing album.
Ultimately, one of the bands “damn” our style just drawn from the hat and other prominent magical cd that probably pass unnoticed as the general public like the rest of his discography, however, who appreciated the tireless fighters unjustly neglected and ostracized will have the opportunity to enjoy another great delivery of the best British melodic Metal.. Then you have the good fortune of knowing what we cook. I know one of those who enjoy this delicatessen; “Sanctuary” is a good way to invest money wisely and profitably.
While the line-up may have fluctuated more than a little from the Praying Mantis of yore, the name lives on with a new album at last. It’s been a while, but the classic hard rock that Praying Mantis have been known for since their inception about seven thousand years ago is just as potent. With a few nods to a more modern sound the new Praying Mantis album is not the NWOBHM nostalgia trip you might expect. In fact there are a couple of moments here where the album slips almost into power metal territory (a few very Yngwie Malmsteen-esque song structures add to this).
Current vocalist Mike Freeland puts in a sterling performance, his soaring pipes conjuring Mark Boais, Don Dokken, Gary Hughes and even ZP Theart. Fear not though, classic rock fans, the band isn’t flying off into Dragonforce territory, “Sanctuary” is a powerful album of classic melodic hard rock that has been given a fitting contemporary facelift. Some very strong lead guitar helps elevate the music another level – never overly flashy, there is a restraint and an elegance to the playing of Andy Burgess that brings to mind Vinny Burns and Neal Schon at times, while providing a strong backdrop for the stunning vocal harmonies.
It is a little more polished that I was expecting from Praying Mantis, but with their current line-up they have something very strong here. The legend is in safe hands, even if those hands are far from the originals. The band still features the original core of the Troy Brothers, which makes it Praying Mantis, really. They have surrounded themselves with musicians that do the job perfectly, and fans of uplifting hard rock with a British heart will find a great deal to love here. Welcome back guys. You’ve done the legend proud.
Power Metal.de ‘Sanctuary ‘ Review
After six long years, the world’s best melodic rock band is back with one of their strongest albums ever:
After going all the way via Japan, the band with the roots in NWoBHM-times has meanwhile established themselves in Europe, too, as a respected name in melodic rock. And that’s well deserved, given the fact that ever since the reunion in 1991 they have delivered great albums and amazing live shows. During all those years, the two bandleaders Chris and Tino Troy had seen a lot of various musicians, especially a lot of different singers, entering and leaving their band, and still they managed to preserve all the trademarks of the mantis’ special sound.
After the split of the pretty long running last line-up, the Troy brothers are together with the new lead-singer Mike Freeland, the second guitarist Andy Burgess and drummer Benjy Reid for almost two years now. So it has finally been time for the follow-up to the already six year old “The Journey Goes On” to see the light of day, bearing the title “Sanctuary”. With great anticipation and high expectations, I now put the disc into the player and listen for the things to come:
To take away a part of the summary: PRAYING MANTIS remain true to themselves, of course. The trademark are all still present: Tino Troy and Andy Brugess perfectly co-operate on the six strings. Whether it’s double melodic leads, heavy yet melodic riffs or blossoming solos, just having their own special and uncopied flair. Plus there’s a rhythm work characterized by a relaxed attitude, still tight and providing the necessary rocking drive on ‘In Time’ and ‘Highway’ or the dreamlike trips for ‘Tears In The Rain’ and ‘Lonely Way Home’.
The most important quality of any PRAYING MANTIS album of course are the multi-layered lead vocals, for which the Troy Brothers and their new frontman Mike Freeland are responsible. And that’s the point where it gets interesting:
How will the vocalists work together and how will that affect the overall sound of the album. Well, I must say, that I’m a bit surprised, and maybe you will be surprised, too, that this band still can positively surprise me, being a long time fan expecting nothing but the best anyways.
Here the band actually managed to stay true to themselves, but to still put new accents to their music. Of course Mike Freeland can sing like an angel and arrange all those heavenly choir-vocals for the choruses, together with Tino and Chris paying respect to the great heritage of this unique band. But he also can provide rougher and more rocking parts. Not saying that his predecessors like Dougie White and Tony O’Hora couldn’t have done that, it is still remarkable that Mike does dare using them and that Chris and Tino let him use them more frequently. This does make “Sanctuary” sound partially more aggressive than its predecessor or “A Cry For The New World”, however, never distracting PRAYING MANTIS from what they do best: creating royal melodies, emotional vocal lines and tenderly rocking grooves for the speakers and stages of this world.
And the album is also full of small sparkling moments: The acoustic parts of the semi-ballad ‘Lonely Way Home’, the spacey synths and the warm main riff of ‘So High’, the great solo introducing ‘Tears In The Rain’, the amazingly fast melodic leads on ‘Touch The Rainbow’ or the dark, partly almost heavy and also progressive title track at the end.
All these tracks make PRAYING MANTIS extend the borders of their stylistic homebase. Not really crossing the borders, but making the band sound fresh and hungry without shocking any of the old fans.
What can I say more? Well, with “Sanctuary” the – world’s in my opinion – best melodic rock band does also deliver one of their best albums ever. That’s not a band resting on their past glories. It’s a band re-inventing themselves in the 32nd year of their existence, without losing the recipe and the main ingredients of their success.
Something that only few bands did achieve in the recent years. Especially not in this specific genre.
Praying Mantis: Sanctuary
Melodic Hard Rock
Review: Craig Hartranft, 06.14.2009
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Praying Mantis is another enduring musical adventure from our friends in the UK. Their history goes deep into early 1980’s NWOBHM, but since then their roots are pure melodic hard rock. Sanctuary is their ninth studio album in a nearly three decade career. Sanctuary is a tour-de-force of prime melodic hard rock in the greatest tradition which now is mostly found across the pond. Even though Praying Mantis and most traditional melodic hard rock may be lost in the fickle musical climate of America, Sanctuary, though hardly perfect, is still an exemplary example of the the best the genre can offer.
Praying Mantis offers both brilliant and conventional, meaning traditional in a very good way, melodic rock on Sanctuary. They are not reinventing the wheel here. Sanctuary is characterized by passionate lead vocals, grand vocal arrangements, a solid rhythm section, and slick guitar solos: all these are ingredients that make for basic melodic hard rock. This is not a bad thing.
Praying Mantis presents their best work on Tears In The Rain, So High, and Threshold Of A Dream. Sometimes their offerings becomes standard, awash in the predictable, as on Touch The Rainbow, Highway, or Playing God, which is only saved by the guitar solo. Yet, in the end, Sanctuary is a moving, and often versatile, album of melodic hard rock. It’s good stuff in a grand tradition. I liked it and believe fans of traditional melodic hard rock should jump on board. Quite recommended!
Rapid Beat Promotions & Music News – Praying Mantis Intro & Feature
We would like to say thank you to Peter & Jacki at Rapid Beat Promotions for featuring and introducing the band on their awesome website.
Please check the links below for more info 🙂
The article is up on their forum:
The introduction for the band is here:
Feel free to comment the threads, it is free.
Heavy Metal Time Machine
Monday, July 20, 2009….
Often lumped in as part of the NWOBHM, but this band actually formed quite a few years before that scene erupted. Also rather falling under the usual metal sound of many bands from that movement, Praying Mantis leaned more towards a melodic approach.
Their 1981 debut “Time tells no lies” still stands as a must hear from the early NWOBHM scene though.
They have certainly gone through the lead singers over the years as Paul Di’anno, Gary Barden and Doogie White are just a few on the long list of vocalists who have recorded with this band. The current vocalist is Mike Freeland and here’s hoping he stays for a while because he is a wonderful fit on this album. His voice reminds me at times of former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske. He has an excellent range and a dynamic presence. The Troy brothers Tino (guitar) and Chris (bass) have always been the heart and driving force of this band. Rounding out the line-up this time around are guitarist Andy Burgess and drummer Benjamin Reid.
On “Sanctuary” the band plays a smooth and severely tight blend that draws on hard rock/metal and AOR. They remind at times of a mix of older Scorpions and Whitesnake although far more involved. Every song on this album is a work of a well oiled machine.
I am not sure if the key ingredient was time, new members or a combination of the above, but whatever the reason they seem to have found the proper recipe for success.
This was one of those albums where I immediately took to it on the first listen. Easily their best since their debut. Normally many bands who are 35 years into the game are doing well to just put something decent, but Praying Mantis have managed knock a fantastic melodic hard rock album.
Okay, it sounds a lot like it could have been done in 1983, but nonetheless “Sanctuary” is certainly worth hearing.
Skrutt Webzine Sweden – ‘Sanctuary’ review
PRAYING MANTIS-SANCTUARY(CD-FRONTIERS RECORDS) Tur för den här gruppen att det inte var för några år sedan jag skulle skriva om detta för då hade de inte fått högt betyg. Men jag har ju ändrat mig om den här typen av musik. De var tydligen redan med på Iron Maidens tidiga dagar och det hörs. Jag menar inte att de låter trötta utan mer att de faktiskt är väldigt bra på det de gör…powermetal. För sången sitter precis där den ska och solona är inte för långa för det gillar jag inte när de är. Allting är ju inte perfekt men för den här musiken känns det nästan som den är det. Restless Heart är en liten låt som känns som en lugnare låt och sådana skall ju alla band av denna digniteten ha.(SEX) 22/7-09
PRAYING MANTIS-SANCTUARY(CD-FRONTIERS RECORDS) Lucky for this group that this wasn..t some years ago because then had this group hadn..t get so high grade. But I have changed my mind for this type of music. They was obvisiously on the road already on Iron Maidens time and that you hear. I don..t mean that they sound tired more that they..re actually really good at the thing they do…powermetal. Because the vocals is precisely there it should be and the solos aren..t so long because that I don..t like when they are. Everything isn..t perfect but for this musicsort it feels like it is hat. Restless Heart is a song which feels a little bit calmer and that shall a band of this dignity always have on their records.(SIX) 22/7-09
Metal To Infinity Review ‘Sanctuary’
PRAYING MANTIS – SANCTUARY
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 http://www.praying-mantis.com and order your copy!
I truly have to bow my head for these giants!! My rating is accordingly: 93/100
Patrick de Sloover on behalf of Metal To Infinity Webzine
Rock Eyez Zine USA ‘Sanctuary’ Review
BAND: Praying Mantis
LABEL: Frontiers Records
GENRE: Melodic Metal
REVIEWER: David Felix
MYSPACE PAGE: http://www.myspace.com/prayingmantisrock
Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5 Stars
Oh My God! Yes… YES!… YES!!!!
My ears just had an audio orgasm!!!
After over six years, one of the founding bands from the early 80’s NWOBHMNew Wave Of British Heavy Metal) PRAYING MANTIS is back with a brand new studio release titled “Sanctuary.” With founding members Chris and Tino Troy still solidifying the exoskeleton of this sturdy arthropod, they are joined by guitarist Andy Burgess, drummer Benjy Reid and lead vocalist Mike Freeland to produce one of the most potent PRAYING MANTIS line-ups yet… and a release that’s just as dynamic.
Like a shot of adrenaline, “Sanctuary” rips open with the double-bass pounding rocker “In Time.” With its heavy, guitar-driven rhythm combined with a stout, melodic chorus, “In Time” delivers a razor sharp bite and I absolutely LOVE the extended musical ending featuring some stellar guitar work reminding me a bit of what JOURNEY did with their hit “Who’s Crying Now.” Just an awesome arrangement all around and that’s one of the things I really love about this band… not only are these guys talented musicians but absolutely incredible song-writers and arrangers as well putting them a step ahead of a lot of other bands out there.
Continuing on, “Restless Heart” is another solid, melodic composition with a nice, underlying guitar melody which builds to a dramatic climax before rolling into “Tears In The Rain.” With a little more of a bluesy feel, “Tears In The Rain” reminds me a little bit of what FIREHOUSE did with “Shake & Tumble”… and speaking of FIREHOUSE! It finally dawned on me who lead vocalist Mike Freeland reminded me of. He’s definitely got a “hint” of that C.J. Snare style going on only a little smoother in its delivery. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the power ballad “Turn The Tide” which really gives Freeland his chance to shine! Another incredible track with layers upon layers of BIG vocals… I’m really beginning to love this guy! No, he doesn’t have the range of say a Geoff Tate or Steve Perry (but then again, who does?!?) but for what he’s doing, Freeland more than delivers a solid performance on track after track after track.
But I seem to be getting a little ahead of myself here almost glazing over my absolute favorite track on the release “So High.” This is just a great tune… aggressive but still melodic, this power-anthem really delivers and really, REALLY reminds me of something on the lines of an early 80’s RAINBOW from the “Straight Between The Eyes”/ Joe Lynn Turner era. Incredible tune and one you’ll wanna crank up next time you’re heading out to the highway in your car.
Staying in that RAINBOW vein and even having the word “rainbow” in its title, “Touch The Rainbow” is another high-octane rocker that’ll definitely keep your blood flowing. As will “Threshold of a Dream” which is definitely giving “So High” a little competition as far as being my favorite pick on the release. The hard, edgy rhythm of “Threshold…” featuring one of the best guitar solos on the CD makes this one another diamond in this sea of gems.
Holding it back just a hair, “Playing God” proves itself a formidable composition in its own right with yet another amazing guitar solo compliments of the tremendous guitar talent of Tino Troy. “Highway” comes up next and is easily the most “commercial” sounding track on the release having a bit of a heavier OUTFIELD feel to it. Then finally, the title track “Sanctuary” rounds off this extraordinary release in almost epic fashion.
PRAYING MANTIS’ “Sanctuary” is an absolute triumph! Fans of edgier, melodic rock and that old NWOBHM influenced sound ala bands like HOUSE OF LORDS, SAXON or TYGERS OF PAN TANG have a new, ripe apple to sink their mandibles into and will absolutely eat this up! I am just so, so tempted to give this a perfect 5 out of 5 star review but PRAYING MANTIS’ 1981 “Time Tells No Lies” release will always be very special to me but “Sanctuary” is a VERY close second.
: Lead Vocals
: Lead Guitar/ Vocals
: Bass/ Vocals
: Guitar/ Vocals
: Drums/ Percussion
Tears In The Rain
Turn The Tide
Touch The Rainbow
Threshold Of A Dream
Overloaded Rocks & Radio UK – Review & Airing ‘Sanctuary’
Praying Mantis – Sanctuary
When this album dropped on the doormat I was blown away.
Melodic yet rockin’, hook laden and played with passion. The London based 5 piece have put in the work and come up with some outstanding material for this their first new album in six years. This really is one hell of an album, great performances all round. Highly recomended.
Overloaded Radio is playing tracks on the show on friday nights which are also available as free download at http://www.overloadedrocks.com on the playlists & download page.
Go check it out and tune in
Blast Magazine US – ‘Sanctuary’ review
Praying Mantis ‘Sanctuary’ – Released through Frontiers Records in 2009
Tino Troy – lead guitar/vocals
Chris Troy – bass/vocals
Mike Freeland – vocals
Andy Burgess – lead guitar/vocals
Benjy Reid – drums/percussion
1.) “In Time” – This track opens with a short rhythm guitar riff before going into the musical verse. The musical verse consisted of two different rhythm guitar arrangements and gradually picked up speed as it progressed. There is a small drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical pre-chorus. The band not only slowed the pre-chorus down a little however changed the arrangement. The guys used the same arrangement for the musical chorus as the one for the musical verse. There is a small lead lick underneath the second musical pre-chorus. There is a small breakdown section in between the second pre-chorus and chorus. After the second chorus there is a more predominant breakdown section that leads into the lead guitar solo. The lead guitar solo was heavily influenced by some of the rhythm guitar riffs Neal Schon wrote for Journey. This is the major solo and runs over the top of the outro section.
2.) “Restless Heart” – This intro opens with a short snare fill. There is a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the intro section. Though the notes that came with the promo disc does not say anything about keyboards the way the minor solo was arranged you can hear a distinct keyboard underneath the solo. I am just not sure who is playing it. There are a couple of the notes of the minor solo that is definitely double tracked. The musical pre-verse consisted of just a very simple electric picking arrangement. It sounded as if there was a small echo attached to a few of the lyrics of the vocal lines. At the end of the second lyric line there was a vocal accent attached to the lyric line. There is a pick up within the arrangement change of the musical verse. For the musical pre-chorus the band added a second rhythm guitar arrangement. There is a small lead riff connecting the pre-chorus with the chorus. The chorus was very short. There are a couple lead licks underneath the lead vocal lines of the second verse. The hook of this track is amazing!!!! There is a breakdown section connecting the second chorus with the third pre-verse. At times you can hear an acoustic guitar section bleeding through the arrangement. Though this guitar will go unnoticed it is however the glue that holds the different guitar arrangements together. There is no lead guitar solo for this song.
3.) “Tears In The Rain” – This is one of those amazing Whitesnake influenced blues songs that is a blast to play live!!!!
4.) “So High” – This intro opens with a very progressive keyboard riff. This riff leads into a twin rhythm guitar arrangement. Underneath this Benjy is playing several drum fills. There is a lead vocal accent connecting the musical into and musical chorus. The lead vocal accent runs over the top of the opening musical chorus. The musical chorus also consisted of a musical change. The song opens with the chorus instead of a verse. This is something you see more and more. The rhythm riffs for the musical chorus are mainly just rhythm chords. This lets the vocals become the main focus of the song. There is a small rhythm guitar change for the musical verse. The musical verse consisted of two different rhythm guitar riffs. After the second and fourth lyric lines of the verse there are two small lead guitar licks. The guitar arrangements on this track completely blew me away!!! After the lead guitar solo there is a small progressive breakdown section.
5.) “Turn The Tide” – This ballad, which by the way will be one of the coolest things you’ve heard in a very long time!!! The intro opens with a minor acoustic guitar solo over the top of a very simple electric picking arrangement. This leads into the main musical intro which consisted of a twin lead guitar solo over the top of a drum/bass line. There is a small tweak within the electric solo of the main intro section and guitar riffs of the musical verse. Too me I felt Mike’s vocals on this track was very reminiscent the way Brian Howe (The best of the Bad Cd. Vocalists) feel to them. There is a small rhythm guitar change for the opening musical chorus. For the main hook of the chorus the guitarists kick the distortion pedal in. This alone completely changes the dynamics of the rhythm. All inspiring young songwriters out there should take not on just how something this simple can completely change the feel of a song. After the second chorus, there is a blistering acoustic lead guitar solo. After the third chorus there is a small musical break that consisted of just acoustic guitars and vocals. For the fourth chorus the band added an orchestrated section underneath the music arrangement. This orchestrated music arrangement was used to give the music a thicker sound. There is a small minor solo that leads into an acoustic guitar outro section.
6.) “Touch The Rainbow” – This intro opens with a bass line and tom-tom drum pattern. About two measures into the intro the guitar kicks-in playing the same rhythm as the tom-tom pattern and bass line. There is a arrangement change for the musical verse. The way the band arranged the short pre-chorus caused it to slow down a little. The lead guitar solo connects the second chorus with the third chorus. It is also at this time where you can really hear the keyboard arrangement.
7.) “Threshold Of A Dream” – This intro opens with an acoustic guitar solo over the top of an acoustic guitar arrangement. As this second progresses the band add an electric lead guitar over the top of the two acoustic guitar arrangements. This first intro leads into a second more major musical intro section. This major musical intro consisted of several underling lead guitar licks. Laced throughout the entire musical verse there are scattered lead guitar licks within the rhythm guitar arrangement. All in all this is a very typical progressive style song. For me the highlight had to be the bass line.
8.) “Playing God” – There is a minor twin lead guitar solo over the top of this intro section. The band used the same rhythm for the musical verse as the one they used for the intro section. The rhythm arrangement does not change until the musical chorus. There is a small hollowed sounded vocal accent over the top of the musical arrangement connecting the musical chorus with the musical verse. The lead guitar solo for this song starts real slow then builds-up speed as it progresses. There is a drastic musical change after the third chorus.
9.) “Highway” – This intro was heavily reminiscent of a lot of the intros Journey has written & arranged over the years. This is especially evident on the lead guitar licks. The band changes the arrangement for the musical verse. The phrasing of Mike’s vocals was heavily influenced by Steve Perry. There is a small arrangement change for the musical chorus. The chorus also has a very short simple hook attached to it. There is a breakdown section connecting the second chorus with the lead guitar solo. The drum line for the breakdown section consisted of a small percussion section. There is a minor lead guitar solo that runs underneath the chorus of the outro section.
10.) “Sanctuary” – This song opens with a small progressive type build-up arrangement. There is a small vocal accent connecting this section with the main intro. The main intro consisted of a minor lead guitar solo. The musical arrangement for the pre-verse and verse had a very progressive feel to it. In the way the Mike phrased the lead vocals of the chorus was very reminiscent of Dennis DeYoung. (formerly of Styx) The lead vocal lines of the breakdown were echoed. There was a second breakdown section after the lead guitar solo. For this second breakdown Benjy switched to a double bass drum pattern which completely alters the songs dynamics. For me, when I look at this song in comparison to the other songs this track was my least favorite.
As a first time listener of this band I was completely blown away by this band’s songwriting & sound!! The song “Turn The Tide” alone makes it worth buying. If you are a fan of Praying Mantis then this is a definite must have CD!!! If you are a fan of the Bad Company with Brian Howe stuff then you should really check this band out! Believe me you will not be disappointed!!!!
Darrell – Blast Magazine
Melodic Hard Rock Today (NO) ‘Sanctuary’ Review
I was introduced for the first time to Praying Mantis by a friend who gave me their debut Time Tells No Lies, as a gift back in 1981. Since then I have followed the band and I have to admit that Praying Mantis was one of the first bands that really caught my interest and passion for hard rock/metal.
With Sanctuary they sound better than ever, and with a new strong line-up they sound tight and delicate in every direction.
The album open with In Time, a classic Praying Mantis song of the finest mark! An up-tempo catchy song with a fine melody and huge choruses. The new singer Mike Freeland is in my opinion the best singer that have been in Praying Mantis since the start.
A good example on this we get with the next tune Restless Heart. A more melodic hard rock oriented song with a strong melody and rememberable chorus parts with really strong vocals.
Not so many of the bands are left from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal period, so it pleases me to know that we still have a band like Praying Mantis going on stronger than ever!
Tears In The Rain is a more blues oriented rocker, the guitars and instrumentation sounds really great the first seconds. A melodic fine tune that builds up to a bit rougher chorus parts. I like the steady and tight rhythm in this, and the keys and guitars throughout will get your attention.
So High is one of the songs that reminded me most of the early work from Praying Mantis. It has something with the way it is built, the fast rhythm and the way the instruments are played take me back to the early days.
Turn The Tide is a fine ballad and also the first Video from the album. A diamond of a song with strong vocals and you will easily find yourself singing to this fine tune after some rounds in the player.
Touch The Rainbow opens with fine played drums and guitars. A bit more advanced song, but still with the melodic and catchy intact. A classic hard rock song with all the right ingredients, great vocals, steady rhythm, great played guitars and a rememberable chorus.
Threshold Of A Dream opens slow with nice guitar playing before it kicks of with a faster tempo. The instrumental part is delicate with nice played guitars, and the vocals from Mike takes the song to a great level. Playing God sounds partly more experimental in a way, but what a fine song this is! A song that grow for each listening and that keep me as listener interested with great variety from song to song.
Highway is a straight forward melodic rock/ hard rock oriented song. A strong radio friendly song that easily get stuck in your head. The last song the title track Sanctuary is maybe the most metal oriented song on the album. A perfect song to end the album that eminently sums up all the styles from Praying Mantis. So for all fans and to new fans of Praying Mantis, run and buy one of the finest releases so far this year in this genre!97/100
Hi from Moscow!
Dear members of PM, your band is one of two my favorite group (second is Fair Warning). Thank you for yours album & alive works, which always bring to me good feeling! I always bought & will buy only original your albums. Your new album is nice, but /Forever in time/ & /Nowhere to hide/ were too much better. Voice & guitars works now is very standart. Where yours firm style? Return it, pleace!!! I aw waiting for your new CD & DVD.
Hey guys..found Sanctuary on Itunes…absolutely brilliant..have now started acquiring all the previous albums …got Forever in Time today from Amazon (Fantastic album)…where have you guys been!!??
Here “down under” in Melbourne we love this stuff… Andrew at Melodicrock.com is the worlds biggest supporter of Melodic Rock….
Wait till you listen to the other albums as well. Especially the first one (Time Tells no Lies), Predator in Disguise, To The Power of Ten, A Cry For the New World and the live ones. I’m a huge fan since the first record. Mantis emerged from the stream of the bands of NWOBHM but they were far more melodic and sophisticated than most of the bands of the same scene, even from some that made it big (Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard). I’ve been always wondering why they were so underestimated, b ut shit happens often in music business. At least I’ve been lucky enough to meet the band after so many years and to see them on stage. Cheers to you and all the land down under rockers from Greece. Denis
Hi! I would like to buy «Sanctuary» but it’s unavailable on Frontiers, Amazon or stores near me. Are there any plans to re-release it?