The Journey Goes On was released March 2003
|CD||FR CD ???||Frontiers/Now And Then||Italy/UK|
|01. Tonight||Music & Lyrics by C. Troy||6:29|
|02. The Escape||Music & Lyrics by C. Troy||6:40|
|03. The Journey Goes On||Music by C. Troy / Lyrics by T. Troy & D. Stratton||5:59|
|04. Silent War||Music & Lyrics by C. Troy||4:21|
|05. Beast Within||Music & Lyrics by C. Troy||5:17|
|06. Hold On For Love||Music & Lyrics by D. Stratton||5:12|
|07. If Tomorrow Never Comes||Music & Lyrics by C.Troy||6:39|
|08. Lost World||Music & Lyrics by C. Troy||4:55|
|09. The Voice||Music & Lyrics by C. Troy||5:47|
|10. Naked (re-recorded version)||Music & Lyrics by T. Troy||8:10|
|•Fleetwood Studios London||•Tino Troy|
|•Tino Troy||•Kazuo Hakamada|
Photos From The Studio
Martin “Magic” Johnson
Date: Apr 07, 2003
Album: The Journey Goes On
Name: Alun Thomas, Heartoftherock.com
Here’s a review from The Heart Of The Rock Page
PRAYING MANTIS – THE JOURNEY GOES ON (2003, FRONTIERS RECORDS)
Tino Troy – guitars, vocals, keyboards; Dennis Stratton – guitars, vocals; Chris Troy – vocals, guitar, keyboards;
Guests: John Sloman – vocals; Doogie White – vocals; Martin Johnson – drums
Since the 2001 departure of vocalist Tony O’Hora and drummer Bruce Bisland, Praying Mantis have been reduced to the trio of the Troy brothers (both founding members) plus Dennis Stratton, a member since 1990. Their last album, 2000’s ‘Nowhere To Hide’ was released to some acclaim, Mantis adapting their previous NWOBHM sound to a more melodic metal variety, an approach which takes precedent on ‘The Journey Goes On’. Instead of using one lead vocalist Mantis hired seasoned pro’s John Sloman ( Lone Star , Uriah Heep ) and Doogie White ( Rainbow , Brzaen Abbot , Cornerstone ) to contribute their talents to seven of the ten tracks. Sloman features on three and White five, a better pair you couldn’t find. At nearly sixty minutes it’s a lengthy listen, but there’s sufficient melody to maintain interest, although any old timer expecting another ‘Captured City’ might find little to savour here, Mantis abandoning that style back in the 80’s.
In many respects ‘The Journey Goes On’ mirrors Uriah Heep ‘s 1998 ‘Sonic Origami’, with long compositions heading in an often pompish direction, with an abundance of keyboard use and quieter acoustic moments on occasion. Sloman appears on opener ‘Tonight’, as well as ‘Beast Within’ and ‘The Voice’. ‘Tonight’ is a subtle mixture of synth-guitar interplay, with classy harmonies. It’s near AOR with a heavy edge with Tino Troy’s production being crystal clear. Stunning pomp keyboards greet the listener at the onset of ‘Beast Within’, remaining constant throughout, shades of progressive metal indeed. Stratton’s distinctive guitar harmonics are displayed prominently on ‘The Voice’, a nice counterpart to some brazen keyboard work. Doogie White takes part in the most accessible track, the blazing AOR of ‘Hold On For Love’, a direction which unfortunately is not explored further. Typically British in execution, it’s not too far off from Heartland ‘s 2002 effort ‘Communication Down’. Three of White’s contributions, ‘The Escape’, ‘Silent War’ and ‘Lost World’ go the same way as the Sloman’s cuts.. epic, with winding tangents, ‘Lost World’ in particular delivering some searing duelling guitar passages. White’s ‘Naked’ is uncredited on the album sleeve, a basic hard rock affair, with some harder riffing and thrilling chord exchanges. The Troys and Stratton all assume vocals for the title track, while Chris Troy coughs up for ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’, a slower, half acoustic ballad, with a passable chorus.
The album requires some effort to decipher, with most songs running over five minutes. The end result is a professionally handled example of modern melodic metal, which fortunately doesn’t sound dated. The implementation of different vocalists adds a diverse touch to the sound, but the AOR factor should have been touched on more throroughly perhaps, as Mantis sounds right at home during the brief moments it’s hinted at. A worthwhile album though, with a touch of everything for any fan of melodic rock/metal in general. Due for release at the end of April, this should see Mantis continue their recent run of success.
Review By: Alun Thomas
Here’s a review from On The Rocks
The Journey Goes On
“The Escape”: In my opinion, the strongest of the new songs! After a balladesque opening this Doogie White-sung track turns into a thrillingly arranged mid-tempo rocker that could have appeared easily on CORNERSTONE’s “Human Stain” album.
“If Tomorrow Never Comes”: A moody ballad sung by guitarist Chris Troy, who does a really good job. The song opens with Spanish guitars, atmospheric keyboards and crying e-guitar leads before, one by one, the lead vocals and the other instruments set in and erupt in a mighty chorus.
“Lost World”: “Lost World” is a slow paced and slightly progressive Melodic Rock track with Doogie White on vocals. The song goes through a couple of arranged tempo changes, but never loses the thread. The absolute highlight is the instrumental final act which features one of the most thrilling guitar duels I have heard in a long time!
“The Voice”: The best song with John Sloman on vocals. Carried by surprisingly dominant and pompous keyboards, this highly melodic up-tempo track delivers one of the most memorable choruses on the album.
“Naked”: A remake of a “Nowhere To Hide” song. “Naked” is a upbeat, 8 minutes
+ long epic in the classic PRAYING MANTIS style with melodic guitar leads, spheric keyboards and strong lead and background vocals. Due to Doogie White’s unique lead vocals, the new version sounds audibly different from the original.
With this follow-up PRAYING MANTIS album, I was very sceptical that the British Melodic Rock veterans would not be able to survive after the split from lead singer Tony O’Hora. His majestic lead and background vocals played a very decisive role in the quality of the band’s latest masterpieces “Forever In Time” and “Nowhere To Hide”. With former URIAH HEEP frontman John Sloman and CORNERSTONE vocalist Doogie White, the band has hired two very experienced new lead singers, but for some strange reason the new PRAYING MANTIS line-up can’t fill the gap Tony O’Hora left. The new singers do a good job, but the vocal melodies and the background vocals on “The Journey Goes On” don’t have the power, dynamic and intensity as on “Forever In Time” and “Nowhere To Hide”. But that’s not the only reason why the new record is not seen as strong as its predecessors. The problems also lie within the slightly powerless sounding production and the arrangements/songwriting. Most of the ten songs on “The Journey Goes On” move in the mid-tempo fields and could need a bit more variety and tempo. After so much negative feedback I have to state clearly that I still think “The Journey Goes On” is a good Melodic Rock album! It’s just not as outstanding as “Forever In Time” and “Nowhere To Hide” and needs a couple of listens to grow on you. Nevertheless, the fans with a weakness for CORNERSTONE and ASIA will surely appreciate it. I really stand behind the rating of 83 % for this album, but I hoped and expected to award it with a higher rating.
Here’s a review from Melodicrock.com
Praying Mantis have a hard time ahead of them. They not only have to make up for the loss of singer Tony O’Hara, but they also have to follow up one of the best albums of their career, in Nowhere To Hide.
While this is a solid enough album, is also does neither of the above.
In comes vocalists John Sloman and Doogie White, who join the rest of the band on lead vocal duties. Sloman sings on 3 tracks, Doogie on 4. The rest is covered by the band internally. What that does is create a bit of a mess, as vocalists are coming and going throughout the album. Highlighting that problem is the vocals of Doogie White, which so clearly stand above those of the rest of the guys. His songs are not only the most enjoyable of the album, but his self-supplied harmony vocals make those the best songs of the album.
And that I guess is the crux of of the problem – the songs just aren’t as strong and powerful as the last album. Instead there are too many mid-tempo tracks that fail to ignite the listeners imagination.
The overall sound and production quality of the album is fine – there are still some good English NWOBHM style moody rockers to enjoy and a few dramatic passages of music that will find a home with established fans of the band.
But as far as capturing new fans like the last album did, I don’t think it will happen here.
The Bottom Line
While this album is enjoyable and thoroughly competent, the difference between this and the well received last album is fairly evident. That album crossed over to a wider listener base, while this one is likely to remain a fans only affair.
Stronger songs and a punchier approach would have made for a stronger release
After waiting for what seemed like 10 years for this follow-up to Nowhere to Hide, I thought that this album would be a bit of a letdown after Tony and Bruce both left. How wrong I was!!!
I have given my thoughts on the message board already after a week of listening. Now after another week, I have to say this is an absolutely brilliant piece of work!
From the first song, Tonight, until the last song , a re-recorded version of Naked from the last album, this is a collection of truly epic songs with all the trademarks of Praying Mantis in there. I mean epic choruses, great guitar work and fantastic compositions and the production is excellent (excuse me for a moment, I’m listening
to it as I type and all of my hairs are standing up!!).
That was Lost World which had that effect. Real standout tracks are Lost World, The Journey Goes On, Naked, Hold On For Love, Tonight, The Beast Within, Silent War, The Voice, The Escape and If Tomorrow Never Comes. Hang on!!! That’s all of the tracks!!
This is the first album for ages, by anybody, that I can actually sit through and listen and enjoy the whole album from start to finish. Okay it did take a few listens to get into it, but I would urge anyone who buys this CD to give it a chance – you will NOT be disappointed.
As I said, the guitar work on the album is brilliant. The new drummer is amazing (Bruce who???) and the two vocalists are superb – I could not pick out the best one, as they both fit perfectly to whichever songs they sing (Tony O’WHO!!!).
My only hope is that Mantis will play live properly for this time round. Although it is always great to see them performing, I would have to say give me a full set of songs anyday.
GO OUT AND BUY THIS ALBUM NOW!!!
“THE JOURNEY GOES ON”
It is really strange how this band managed to survive after all these years, taking into account that it never enjoyed the success it deserved (for more information take a look at our “Hall of Fame”). For those who don’t know Praying Mantis, I have to say that the band begun in the late 70’s as part of the NWOBHM movement but differed quite a lot from groups of the genre as it adopted a melodic, lyrical approach. Now, three years after the successful “Nowhere To Hide” (2000), the band returns with an even better album. The approach of the group hasn’t changed a lot: melodic heavy metal, based in harmonies and the inspired guitar riffs and solos of Tino Troy. The keyboards play a more significant role here, and I have to say that at times the music reminds me of Magnum (early days). The band these days consists of the Troy brothers, Dennis Stratton, Martin Johnson, and in the vocals John Sloman and Dougie White, with the latter of those delivering some amazing performances, adding even more quality to the songs. Fans of the group have already bought the album and have placed it next to the legendary “Time Tells No Lies”. As for the rest, give it a try and you won’t regret it. Intellectual heavy metal!
by Alex Savatianos 8/10
Taken From the Metal AByss webzine (metal-abyss.tripod.com)
Having seen a couple of ok, but fairly average, reviews of this album in the music press I was a bit concerned that the departure of Tony and Bruce might have had an adverse effect on the band. I need not have worried. This is as good, if not better, than both of its predecessors (the great Forever in Time and Nowhere in Time) and is crammed full of the trademark Mantis riffs and melodies. The overall style and feel of this album is a bit different to their previous releases and it takes more than one listen to fully appreciate the quality of the songwriting. However, to my mind this is always the sign of a great album. “The Journey Goes On” kicks off with “Tonight”, a typical melodic and rocking Mantis track that anyone who has heard them before will recognise. The next four tracks took me a couple of plays to fully appreciate, but having heard them several times they stand up really well. “Hold on for Love” is a real belter of a song and is one of my personal favourites on the album. Another highlight for me is “Lost World”, which has a cracking guitar break. Having the lead vocals shared between Doogie White and John Sloman works really well with great performances by both of them. The Mantis lads share the vocals on the title track and Chris Troy takes over on his own for “If Tomorrow Never Comes”. I must also mention the contribution of “guest” drummer Martin Johnson who really adds something to the proceedings. All in all this is a wonderful album.
the last one from praying mantis… no more tony o’hora on it … 🙁
sad, but as the champions said, show must go on … and the team troy brothers plus dennis is good enough. 2 vocalist hired: doogie white & john sloman, and the song that i like most (if tomorrow never comes) is not sung by either, but by chris. chris & tino are not new in singing, they sing in time & predator, and their voice is more than acceptable.
tonight, the escape & the journey goes on, are good examples of mantis still rocks. all the songs, nevertheless are very good, though for me can not top the incredible forever in time.
beast within is inspired in james bulger history
Naked was, maybe, the best song that Tino has ever written. When i first heard it in Nowhere to hide, i thought wow!, and after going through the lyrics i wanted to cry too, but this version, thought it seems the authors like it more, i do not. in this one the feelings do not show as they did in the other version. the original was ab-so-lu-te-ly outstanding.
the rest of the songs are real good, so the record is … really good? though i do not think it will make it as a classic