|The only album released by the band in there 1st run Voted 91st Heavy Metal
Album of all time in Kerrang magazine Oct 81.
The original album sleeve history of band:-
…a subtle, hard rock outfit the songs consist of rich vocal and guitar
harmonies, with that dynamic ingredient, full of force and crisp musicianship.
MANTIS boast two talented brothers in the shape of Tino Troy (lead guitar)
and Chris Troy (bass guitar) both being of Spanish origin. On Chris’ eleventh
birthday his mother bought him a Spanish guitar, hoping he learn the flamenco
style. Tino was responsible or putting things together, in 1974 he persuaded his
brother Chris to join him and a college friend in forming a band.
Meanwhile the boys still had day jobs Tino took a 3 year college course in
furniture design, then later worked in conjunction with an interior designer.
Chris with 6 O-levels, studied for ONC in Mechanical Engineering for 2 years the
studying paid off as he came out with 3 distinctions and a credit. He then
embarked on a BSC honours degree in environmental engineering. However, after
two years of day jobs, studying and trying to keep the band together the boys
opted for the band.
In ’78, the band recorded a three track demo in a south east London studio,
the numbers cut were “Lovers To The Grave,” “Johnny Cool” and “Captured City.”
Tino took the demo down to the Soundhouse and gave it to well known HM DJ Neal
Kay, he loved it and gave them a gig there. He also wanted them to play at the
Music Machine on one of his shows…this started the ball rolling for Mantis.
In February 1980 the demo tape of both ‘Captured City’ and ‘Lovers To The
Grave’ topped the Soundhouse and Sounds HM Charts and subsequently Mantis
started pulling a good strong grass roots following. Interest then hotted up
from the Record Companies culminating in the release of ‘Johnny Cool’ and
‘Captured City’ on the bands own label ‘Ripper Records’ distributed by EMI which
sold well over 15,000 copies and achieved a placing of 99 in the music week
Meanwhile in February Mantis were asked by EMI to record a new version of
‘Captured City’ for a compilation album of new HM bands called ‘Metal for
Muthas’ which lead to a joint nationwide tour with Iron Maiden and Neal Kay, the
album which sold amazingly well established Mantis as one of the foremost HM
April ’80 powerful drummer Dave Potts joins the band. Since coming from
Liverpool in 1968 Dave has played with many name bands including TYA.
May ’80 now with the band stronger than ever Praying Mantis tour Britain yet
again, for two months, winning the hearts of countless audiences.
June ’80 the band is complete with the addition of Steve Carroll.
August 80, Praying Mantis sign a long term worldwide deal with Arista Records
after stunning the Reading Festival crowds with a powerful, exhilarating set.
Now with the band at their best, Praying Mantis record this their debut
Give it a listen, it’s Mantis Magic!
The 1996 German album sleeve history of band:-
The Story So Far
The origin of Praying Mantis Centers around brothers Tino and Chris Troy, who
formed the band in the mid 70s. Then known as Junction, they started their
career by playing covers at various venues around the UK. Gradually, they began
to introduce a flavour of their own, a brand of rock that gained recognition at
Neil Kay’s Heavy Metal Soundhouse., ‘The Bandwagon’. Praying Mantis released a
three track demo EP entitled ‘Captured city’ which saw them become one of the
pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM).
On the crest of this wave Mantis released their first album, ‘Time Tells No
Lies’, followed by the single ‘cheated’, which both charted highly in the UK.
They played the Reading Rock Festival to great appraisal from an ever increasing
army of fans. The band had everything to look forward to until things hit a sour
note with their management. It all ground to a halt while legal proceedings
prevailed. A year or so later Mantis were finally free from their contract, but
they struggled to gain the momentum they had generated before the split, and
were left in the wake of bands such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, who went on
to greater things while Mantis lay dormant.
The collapse of Mantis saw the rise of Stratus, in which Tino and Chris
teamed up with Bernie Shaw (ex-Grand Prix, now with Uriah Heep), and former Iron
Maiden drummer, Clive Burr. Stratus released the album ‘Throwing Shapes’ which
sold well enough but failed to capture the essence of the classic ‘Time Tells No
Lies’. Soon afterwards, the band went their separate ways.
After a lean period, Praying Mantis re-established themselves as a major
force in Japan. It was 1990 when Paul Dianno, of Iron Maiden fame, wanted to
tour Japan with his band Battlezone but was instead asked to front Praying
Mantis in a reformation to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the NWOBHM. The
band emerged in Japan billed as ‘Praying Mantis with Paul Dianno and Dennis
Stratton’. Dennis was, of course, originally of Iron Maiden and Lionheart. Bruce
Bisland, ex-Statetreoper, Wildfire and Weapon member, completed the line up.
The band recorded a live album, ‘Live At Last’, which was highly praised by
the fans, so much so that Praying Mantis were asked to record a studio album.
Paul Dianno continued with his solo project while Tino, Chris, Dennis and Bruce
recorded, and released on the Japanese Pony Canyon label, their new album-
‘Predator In Disguise’.
At this stage in their career, Praying Mantis decided that a front man would
be a great asset to the band, so the search began for a singer. Dougie White,
now lead singer with Rainbow, guested on the ‘Predator’ tour, and Colin Peel
joined the band in the studio to record their forthcoming album. However, Colin
had a pre-arranged engagement which he had to fulfill.
In 1994, Praying Mantis released ‘A Cry For The New World’ which was judged
to have captured the essence of ‘Time Tells No Lies’ but with a 90’s spirit. The
record was voted 4th Best Album by the Burrn Magazine Readers Poll, with Tino
and Chris taking the award for the second best songwriters of the year. When
commencing their third tour of Japan with this album, Mantis recruited a special
guest singer, Mark Thompson-Smith.
On returning to London, the band decided they must find a new vocalist who
would give total commitment to Mantis – enter Gary Barden, previously of the
Michael Schenker Group and Statetrooper. Gary proved to be the ideal choice for
the group and joined Mantis in the studio to record their latest album, ‘To The
Power of Ten’. This album was toured in November 1995, during which Mantis
recorded another live album and video.
Such was the bands repertoire by this stage that it was difficult to choose a
set which would not disappoint their many loyal fans. Therefore they decided to
play for a mammoth two and a half hours. This whole show was released as a
limited edition double album CD, along with a video and an accompanying standard
album CD of selected tracks.
Praying Mantis are now in the process of writing their fifth studio album and
are staying true to their roots. It will feature Tino’s and Chris’ unique and
distinctive sound, being powerful with a melodic approach. Twin guitars are ever
present above the thunderous rhythm section while rich vocal harmonies
compliment intelligent and thoughtful lyrics.
The future looks exciting for this dynamic band as they break ground in new
territories with a prospective tour of the Far East and, of course, their 1996
A Word Or Two From Tino
Praying Mantis… What does that name conjure up to you? Perhaps a bunch of
cast-offs from the NWOBHM era trying to cash in on the wake of the CD success
story – or maybe a vintage act that has matured into a very fine example of the
Best of British rock?
It has been some time since those memorable days of the 80’s when we rubbed
shoulders with the likes of Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. More importantly, it
was during this period that ‘Time Tells No Lies’ was first released … Has it
stood the test of time? Personally and humbly speaking, my opinion is that it
has surpassed all of my expectations. I still enjoy playing the songs on stage
to this day and can not believe that they were written some sixteen to twenty
years ago! Anyway, don’t let me sway your mind. I’ll let you, the listener,
As I write these liner notes, I am giving this very LP (not CD) a long
awaited airing. It brings back memories of the excitement we experienced in
recording this, our first album. It took us about four weeks of sheer fun, we
were on the crest of this New Wave of British Heavy Metal and nobody was going
to knock us off. We were all a bit green back in those days, and the producer,
Tim Friese-Green, was a bit like a teacher. But I thought he did a sterling job
of bringing out the best in the band.
His forte was in the arrangement of vocal harmonies, a technique we employ to
this day. I can’t remember how many times we sang these choruses (don’t forget,
these were the days of no samplers to make life easier!), maybe a million times
over (OK! Just two weeks of sheer fun …). Hearing it now makes me realize that
all the hard work was well worth the effort involved.
There is a peculiar little tale attached to this album, too. There was to be
the inclusion of a very well known song on the album, written by Russ Ballard of
Argent fame. We had the majority of the track down on tape when we received the
unwelcome news, informing us that Rainbow were also recording the song with a
view to releasing it as their next single.
That song was entitled … ‘I Surrender’!
It was a very frustrating moment and we all felt hard done by. We had no
choice but to hold our hands up and say ‘We surrender’, hailing yet another in a
long string of managerial cock-ups! In fact, things came to a head between
Praying Mantis and their management about a year or so after the release of
‘Time Tells No Lies’. Everything ground to a complete halt while legalities
prevailed. It all took a painful year to sort it out, and by that time the band
had lost the terrific momentum it had previously generated. The NWOBHM boom was
over, and, sadly, so was Mantis. I truly believe that had this problem not
arisen, the band would have become a major force in the rock world today.
Nevertheless, they say that every cloud has a silver lining, so here we are
at the present once more.
Since 1990, the band has experienced amazing acclaim in Japan, releasing a
further five albums. This all started out as a project to commemorate the tenth
anniversary of the NWOBHM. Masa Itoh (the voice of rock in Japan) had asked Paul
Dianno to speak with Praying Mantis, in an attempt to reform the band featuring
Paul himself and Dennis Stratton (both previously of Iron Maiden) as a kind of
We toured Japan and recorded the album ‘Live At Last’. The material was a
cocktail of Mantis, Iron Maiden and Lionheart songs. We returned from this tour
with our batteries fully recharged. The album and the live show (full of its
frolicking and spontaneity) captured the hearts of our fans and we were soon
under pressure to record a further studio album.
Since then, we have not paused for breath. Paul Dianno went on to work on his
own projects while Dennis was invited to become a permanent member of Praying
Mantis. With the addition of former Statetrooper, Wildfire and Weapon skin
beater Bruce Bisland the band was now a formidable force. There have been a few
changes on the vocalist front, but we have now settled with another old buddy –
Gary Barden, also formerly with Statetrooper and, more commonly, MSG.
The band have recently returned from another hugely successful tour of Japan,
with a limited edition double live album and live video under their belts. We
are currently writing another studio album, confident that if we stick to our
guns, the band will become something of a name closer to home. The future still
looks bright for Praying Mantis, especially in these days that sadly, for the
most part, lack any real quality music delivered by equally decent bands. We’ll
continue to offer a refreshing change to tired ears, which is what we’ve aimed
to do ever since the band was formed. ‘Time Tells No Lies’ did and still does
this job – even though the record will be some sixteen years of age at the time
of this going to print. Happy listening!
Tino Troy, London, March 1996
The notes from the Japanese addition have been kindly translated for me by
Tino and Chris formed Junction in mid ’70s, the other members were Chris
Hudson and Peter Moore, both were college friends of Chris. After that Tino and
Chris made first recording supported by their friend, Paul Wiliamson, at studio
in Kent on 8 track tape. From this time, they changed the band name from
Junction to Praying Mantis. They sent a demo featuring 3 tracks to Neal Kay.
Neal received this demo tape a few days before he received demo tape of Iron
Praying Mantis released “The Soundhouse Tapes 2” in Dec. ’79 distributed by
EMI. After the release of 7inch, they released a 12inch version featuring an
extra track “The Ripper”.
Pete Moore quite the band, and Mick Ransom joined. They recorded “Captured
City” for “Metal For Muthas”. They appeared on BBC 1 Friday Rock Show in this
line up and played “Johnny Cool”, it was featured “Metal Explosion”.
Bob Angero, aka Bob Sawyer, former guitarist of Iron Maiden, joined the band.
They were going to start recording in the studio in Essex. The track was
“Praying Mantis”. The Credit of songwriter on “Praying Mantis” was Tino/Chris,
but Paul Samuelson, who wrote “Johnny Cool” also co-writer.
On Feb 1,’80, they started Metal For Muthas tour with Iron Maiden. It
continued to March 2, Birmingham, total 29 shows.
They were going to support Iron Maiden UK tour from May. But Mick Ransom and
Bob Angero quite the band. So Steve Carrol former member of Little Bo Bitch, who
has the same management Fireball, and Dave Potts, former member of Love Affair
and Ten Years After, joined.
They appeared Reading 1980, and after that they got deal with Arista. Their
first album released 1981.
Praying Mantis did their club tour, and also supported UK tour of both
Triumph and Gamma.
About this time, Peter Mench, now he is Q prime, offered advance to US. Peter
advised them to get a strong vocalist to make up for their weak point. So they
got Tom Jackson in June 1981 as their vocalist, and they made an 11 date club
tour from June 14 at Leeds to June 27 Lancaster. They recorded “Heartache”and
“No Mercy” this line up. But Tom quit the band that autumn.
From end of 1981 they had some problem between their management Fireball.
After 6 months silence their line up was Tino, Chris, Dave Potts, Steve Carrol,
Bernie Shaw and John Bavin. They got deal with Jet and released the single “Turn
The Tables” and made demo tape for forthcoming 2nd album include ” Give Me A
Reason”, “Time Slipping Away”and “Battle Royal”.
After another appearance at Reading, they booked Battery Studio and Ridgefarm
Studio with producer Rodney Mills, but Jet canceled their contract. They had to
call off the US tour with Black Sabbath.
In fall 1983, Troy brothers joined with ex-Maiden drummer, Clive Burr. Dave
Potts entered Tristar management, which owner was Ozzy Hop former staff of Jet,
and they had contract with this management. This group, featuring Tino, Chris,
Bernie and Clive with session keyboard player, made 8 track demo tape. After got
Alan Nelson ex-Lionheart, they changed name to Limelight, Tigon in May 1984,
then become Stratus.
After listening Escape’s demo, Japanese label CBS Sony approached them, But
after the contract, they got another master tape, which was “Throwing Shape”.
Stratus said they made new recording for Japanese request. But it was wrong. So
great master tape which succeeded “Time Tells No Lies” sound, were gone.