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Praying Mantis In The Press

Last Modified On 21 Mar 2009

Record Mirror - January 5th 1980

Budgie/Girlschool/Angle Witch/Praying Mantis by Malcolm Dome

Any gig proclaimed as the Heaviest Night of the Year (as this one was) is setting its sights astronomically high, and this four band assault on the sheer face of hard rock only partially lived up to the headbanging promise of the slogan.

First into the fray were Praying Mantis, whose tight-fisted 30 minute set really warmed up the place. The last time I reviewed Mantis, when they supported, Iron Maiden at the Marquee, I suggested that they were about ready to play larger venues, and their performance at the Lyceurn let no-one down. Firebrands such as "Got a Rainbow", "Ripper" and "Lovers to the Grave" fired the atmosphere a good few degrees in the process.

1980 promises to be a great year for the Mantis lads. Make sure you catch them live very soon and be in on the birth of something really exciting.

Next on were Angel Witch, whose set was the best of the evening. This band are a London based trio who haunt the gothic horror region of HM, and seem ready to take up the demonic mantle relinquished by Black Sabbath. Their raw, Primitive sound (heavily influenced by early Sabbath, drove titles like "Guillotine", "Execution Day" and their anthem "Angel Witch" into causing Poltergeist-style devastation that nearly tore the ballroom apart at its seams!

Angel Witch are about ready to break big, judging by this venomous performance and when they do watch out for volcanic eruptions and tidal waves!

What of Girlschool? Frankly I expected more from a band who, in recent months, have supported Ted Nugent and Motorhead. Oh sure; this all-female HM quartet (rather a contradiction in terms don't you think?) were efficient and competent and numbers like "Take it all away", "Tush" (The classic ZZ Top piece of southern boogie) were belted out with gutsy conviction, but overall they lacked the spark of inspiration that separates the men from the boys (if you'll pardon the expression).

They tell me with a feeling that they're going to find it very hard to live down the inevitable "Runaways - imitators" tag.

Finally to Budgie power-trio headliners of the evening. Burke Shelley and the lads have been around for a long time playing hard rock that in the main has not been compromised to fit in with passing trends. So with HM returning as a force to be reckoned with, the Lyceum gig should have been a time for real Budgie celebrations. Yet sadly, the champagne turned out to be flat lemonade.

Right from the moment they took stage in the wake of an audio-visual simulation of Cape Kennedy launch, the band looked and sounded as if their best days are well behind them. Songs like "Pyramids", "I get up out of bed in the morning", and "Melt the Ice away", were anaemic non-starters, and in the end they paid the penalty for appearing on the same bill as such hot outfits as Angel Witch and Praying Mantis they were blown clean of stage.

So that's it. Ultimately this was one heavy night that didn't quite tip the scales in the way it should have done.

Record Mirror - February 9th 1980

Praying Mantis release their debut single "The Soundhouse Tapes" on February 15. It will be on their own Ripper Records Label which is distributed by EMI. They recently changed their Guitarist to Bob Sawyer, who once played with an Early Iron Maiden. Coincidentally both groups are going out on tour together in the UK.

Record Mirror - March 1st 1980

PRAYING MANTIS: 'Captured City' (Ripper Records). Peace signs at the ready, cardboard cut out guitars primed for maximum posing? Praying Mantis manage to deploy every trick of the year 1972, even the flat production. Sadly, not worth bruising the forehead for.

Record Mirror - March 15th 1980

In a large Neil Kay Soundhouse article was the following -

Certainly the most sensational success story to come out of the Soundhouse to date has been Iron Maiden who "Literally grew out of this place." The band sent Kay a tape of their demo, which so impressed him that within a short period of time he put them on Live. "I listen to loads of tapes," says Key, "Even if something is appalling I will stick with it to the end because I wanna hear everything. But so far my spine has only twitched twice. The first time was with Maiden, within 30 seconds I just knew It was gonna happen for them. Certain A&R men at certain record companies laughed at me, but I Bet they sick now. The other band is Praying Mantis whom I am convinced have success in their grasp."

Such was Kay's commitment to both groups that he personally took their demos around to record companies becoming involved with all facets of the music business. One tangible consequence of wider interest has been the release of Metal for Muthas which grew out of a discussion between Kay and Ashley Goodall at EMI.

Snip (A bit about this excellent album)
Kay was also the first hard rock presenter ever to go on the road. He joined Iron Maiden and Praying Mantis on their nationwide tour recently.
The article then continues in an interesting manner but is not of interest here.

Record Mirror - March 29th 1980


Music Machine, London

CONNOISSEUR'S rock that everybody could get into. Don't believe me? You should have seen Praying Mantis and White Spirit proving that a mixture of high-quality craftsmanship and sharp slices of bad boy boogie can be a potent recipe for a good time.

White Spirit are among the hottest keyboard combos I've seen in ages. This was their second Music Machine date, and as on the previous occasion, they took the place by storm. Graeme Crallen (drums) and Phil Brady (bass) provided a constant co-ordinated backdrop over which Mal Pearson wove atmospheric keyboard patterns. Guitarist Janick Gers drove his instrument through the inner sanctums of Santana, Blackmore and Beck. However, the band's most devastating asset was definitely diminutive vocalist Bruce Walker, who reminded me in terms of both his phrasing and range of a younger Ronnie Dio.

Highlights of their 45 minute set were a trio of originals in 'Back To The Grind' (a version of which is due out as their first Neat Records single), mystic heart-searcher 'A Fool For The Gods' and the sci-fi swagger of 'Red Skies', plus a scintillating cover of Judas Priest's 'The Ripper'.

In the past, the only complaint I've had against Praying Mantis has been that occasionally their excellent battery of street-hard rockers have sounded a little muted. On this night, that problem just never arose. Numbers such as 'Johnny Cool',' Rock 'n' Roll Fever' and newie 'High Roller' were given a lick of arrogance and a dash of dirt that transformed them into scorching, customised earthshakers. Mantis's more expansive tones, for instance 'Lovers To The Grave' (an anthem for the undead) and their most recent composition 'Means Of Ebony', still carried the band's hallmark of richly resonant three-part harmonies. MALCOLM DOME

Record Mirror - May 24th 1980

In a Gossip section "Interestingly enough while he was still at school Dennis (Stratton) did trials for West ham and had he made a different choice we could have been saved from Iron Maiden and treated to the sight of him in those dinky shorts they wear."

In an Iron Maiden article with Paul Dianno "When Maiden start another UK tour, (as headliners) they'll be accompanied by old friends Neal Kaye and Praying Mantis. "All the lads in Maiden like Mantis a hell of a lot - as people and musicians. They were a natural choice to go out with us on this trek. "

Record Mirror - June 7th 1980


Fearless, half - deaf, half - man MALCOLM DOME grapples with Praying Mantis

THE PREYING Mantis is an Orthopterus (Straight-winged) insect that lives in South Europe and the Tropics, feeding off its less fortunate "cousins".

Not that Mantis the band have much in common with their insect at Kingdom killer namesake. The four members (Tino Troy and Bob Angelo on guitars / vocals, Chris Troy on bass / vocals and Mick Ramson on drums) being rather affable and easy -going chaps.

Right, before we go any further lets get one thing straight. Praying Mantis are a hard rock outfit as opposed to blood and thunder heavy metal hammerers, which means their sound has more to do with the UFO / Van Halen axis than Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. Musically, Mantis numbers tend to be subtlety crafted and melodic, yet vitally fuelled by a controlled fury. From the lyrical point of view there is an interesting dichotomy within the ranks.

On the one hand we have science fiction I horror - inspired songs (comic strip escapology) as instanced on such titanic efforts as 'Lovers To The Grave' and 'Children Of The Earth'. However their set also contains some real good -time Quo-style rockers like 'Johnny Cool' and 'Rock 'N' Roll Fever'. It's a combination which makes for Mantis live being a balanced, not to say exciting, proposition and this middle - path is something they don't want to lose. "We prefer not go overboard into the sort of epic stuff that Rainbow and Rush are doing," asserts Tino candidly.

Tino is the band's leader and was responsible originally for putting things together. The embryonic Mantis first experienced birth pains back in 1974 with in a and a college friend, Pete Moore, as the twin guitar cornerstones. "We had been jamming regularly for about 18 months and finally I suggested getting a band together", explains Tino. His brother Chris was persuaded to join the duo on bass guitar, even though he had never heard of the instrument! In fact, things were all rather amateurish initially Chris's first bass, for example, being a converted six - string guitar. In those days, too, the band went out under the moniker of Junction, a name eventually changed because, says Tino, "We decided that it sounded too harsh and nasal, and after trying a few other possibilities, we settled on Praying Mantis".

The band's first live exposure, like many before them, were, in Tino's own words "one off gigs in youth clubs. You know, the sort where everything is self -financed and the group brings along crowds of friends to cheer them on". That gave them the necessary background from which to graduate a couple of years ago to the pub circuit. However, Mantis began to branch out into these sort of gigs at a time when life was difficult for all hard rockers. Punk was in the commercial driving - seat which meant that the band found getting work a problem. "We used to ring up places to ask about playing, and they would invariably ask 'Are you punk?' and when we replied 'no', all too often they immediately lost interest in us," rues Mantis' founder.

That's a story which is common to many of the newer heavies, and like a number of their contemporaries, Mantis finally got the break they were seeking via a demo tape and a certain Neal Kay.

IN 1978, the band went down to a studio in Penge, South London and recorded a three track demo, "Because we thought," says Tino, "It would help us to get bigger and better gigs." The numbers cut were 'Lovers To The Grave', 'Johnny Cool' and 'Captured City'. Subsequently, on the advice of friend, Paul Williamson (lyricist for Johnny Cool) Tino took the treasured tome down to the Soundhouse and gave it to DJ Neal Kay. "The next day he phoned me up to say he thought it was great and asked us to do a live date there, and also said he wanted us to play at the Music Machine on one of his shows."

©1998 Lee Burrows
Paul Williamson

Since then things have begun to happen for Mantis. Both 'Captured City' and 'Lovers To The Grave' topped the famous Soundhouse HM charts, and they have slowly been building a large following as the gigs get progressively larger. Along the way, they also acquired skins beater Mick Ramson (who joined towards the end of last year and has successfully filled what had been previously a problem spot in the band), and guitarist Bob Angelo, who replaced Pete Moore (his departure was for personal reasons).

Indeed, the one outstanding matter still to be cleared up is a deal with a major label, but that, too, should be in the bag shortly.

Thankfully, however, the absence of a long - term recording contract has prevented them from unleashing some vinyl product on the public. At the end of February, they released two of their demo cuts, 'Johnny Cool' and 'Captured City' on their own Ripper Records label distributed by EMI) under the title 'Soundhouse Tapes 2' and at the time of writing, this has sold 15,000 copies in just two and a half weeks - good enough to have it bouncing around the nether reaches of the Top 100 and positive proof that there is a market for Mantis - style hard rock.

'Captured City' is the band's finest explosion to date. Weighing in at a little under six minutes, it is executed with enough commerciality to make it instantly appealing; sufficient complexity to keep interest beyond the momentary; yet has a hard - edged propulsion which heavy rock freaks ignore at their loss. The lyrics deal with a mystical city in the sky, whose inhabitants are held eternal prisoners by a giant Praying Mantis. Flash Gordon rules OK? Not surprisingly, it was this number that was chosen to represent the band on 'Metal For Muthas', although it has to be said that the re-recorded version is certainly inferior to the demo cut, something which the four musicians endorse. "That recording lacks any feeling or atmosphere, and also happens to be the quietest track on the album," admits Tino. The reasons for this seem to be two - fold. Firstly a session drummer was used on the number and he, explains Chris, "only had about two and a half hours to learn what is after all a rather complex arrangement. In fact, all things considered, he did well to get the basics right, but he never really had a chance of adding any feeling to it." Secondly, the production leaves a lot to be desired, lacking the fullness and hard approach which 'Captured City' deserves and needs.

NONETHELESS, being associated with this project has given Mantis national exposure with a chart-selling LP, and also allowed them to go out around the country with Iron Maiden and Neal Kay on the 'Muthas' tour. That short February trek was the first time any of the quartet had actually experienced life on the road, and it's something they all enjoyed. "It was hard work, sometimes being up for long hours without any sleep, but in the end it was great fun," enthuses Angelo, while Tino reckons that strangely the most tedious part of it all was the home - coming."

The audience reaction was phenomenal with Mantis being warmly received everywhere "As we were support to Maiden, I thought we'd get a few claps and lots of bored yawns from fans who had only come to see the headliners. But amazing, we got an encore at every gig, which just blew us away, relates a happily stunned Angelo.

Being out on the road with old buddies Iron Maiden (the two mobs share the same business manager and have played together on numerous occasions) gave people chance to compare the East Ender's style with dynamic front man Paul Dianno pounding the boards, as opposed Praying Mantis, who don't have a spotlight -grabbing vocalist. Since the end of the tour, Mantis fans and critics alike have expressed the opinion that this lack of a genuine front man is a real weakness in the Mantis armoury, but the band don't agree.

"We did have a vocalist until about three years ago, but things didn't work out with him, because he seemed to more into pop than hard rock," explains Tino. Following his departure the band began to look around for a replacement but no suitable candidate was found. "So we started rehearsing as a four - piece," says Chris "And began to bring in three - part harmonies mainly because none of us, Pete, Tino nor me, had a really strong voice. Since then we've continued with this approach because we find it suits our material and makes it more melodic."

It seems therefore, that the current refreshing harmonised approach to vocals introduced almost out of necessity by Mantis is here to stay.

So the Mantis future is slowly taking shape, and once a deal is sorted out then they should be ready to take the ingredients of talent, class, and commonsense, which have been fermenting in their rank for some time, and bring them to vintage fruition.

Neal Kay told me recently that he was convinced Praying Mantis had success within the grasp. My sentiments exactly.

Record Mirror - June 28th 1980

Praying Mantis currently supporting Iron Maiden on their tour release their new single "Praying Mantis" on July 4.

Record Mirror - July 5th 1980

In a Black Sabbath gig review - But the threat to available sew in space of the denim on the view by the likes of Whitesnake, Def Leppard and Praying Mantis, demonstrates that the languid phase in recent years of the genre is burnt out and the new talent emerging from the ashes has already thrown the gauntlet down to contemporaries.

Sounds - July 5th 1980

Praying Mantis - Sunderland

I realise, of course, that giving a heavy metal band my nod of approval is a kiss of death tantamount to Mary Whitehouse endorsing the latest skinflick. But, it must be said, I thought Praying Mantis were all right.

They've got an obliquely American persona to them, glossy and smooth with the Aerosmith/Angel pretty/ugly boy look. Like those bands Mantis lean more towards the hard rock than the out and out heavy and do it with a shade more class than your average third generation riff-rifflers can generally muster. The vocals of the Troy brothers, guitarist Tino (so that's what he's been doing since Stingray came off) bassist Chris and lead guitarist Angelo are excellent. There's nothing like lugging a band who can really sing and Mantis most certainly fit the bill. 'High Roller' has a great acapella section and the old vox expertise also gets the chance to sparkle on 'Lovers To The Grave'.

Once attuned to what Mantis are about they do get a little predictable (show me a metaller who doesn't). Their songs, while some distance from crashing macho monotony do fall into clicheville when it comes to subject matter. And like seemingly every other HM band these days Mantis have written a song about themselves. A bit overplayed this one. Still, to play the game you've got to use the house's dice, I suppose.

Mantis are well able to powerhouse along but have more on show than assault and battery of the earlobes. File under HM. For Mantis Music, rather than Metallic Mayhem (or Melody Maker)

Ian Ravendale

Record Mirror - July 12th 1980

½ page advert. PRAYING MANTIS. HATCHED FROM SOLID ROCK. Fresh from a wildly successful 48 date tour with Iron Maiden, Praying Mantis have released a single "Praying Mantis." Get it while it's still available in a picture sleeve with a free transfer inside*

* Imagine Transfers

The Picture is in Black & White with the top two thirds of the Picture sleeve shown. I.e. a Praying Mantis breaking out of a space view picture of the earth

Record Mirror - July 19th 1980

Praying Mantis: Praying Mantis (Gem). Assured by deaf-aid Dome as being the more melodic side of the NWOBHM, Mantis could easily be a bunch of cocked up Americans, so effortlessly do they slide into the smug slipstream of easy beat blandola commonly confused for rock'n'roll

Record Mirror - July 26th 1980

In a three column review of a Girlschool/Praying Mantis/Vardis gig at Electric Ballroom, London Mantis got the following paragraph

Praying Mantis went in for post C, S, N & Y harmonies in a set which only new guitarist Steve Carroll seemed intent on rescuing from the jaws, or rather gums, of early seventies AOR excess. MIKE NICHOLS

Record Mirror - August 2nd 1980

In Paula Yates The Natural Blonde column

Due to high temperatures last week, many works found themselves with fevered brows and trembling hands unable to cope with the high degree of intricacy of their work at the RCA pressing plant. Many Praying Mantis fans are going to be wailing and gnashing their teeth when they get their single home, as the free iron-on was inserted into the sleeve with the sticky side down to the A side of the memorable single. Faulty records can be exchanged at the place of purchase but I felt perhaps that little extra texture might add something.

Record Mirror - October 18th 1980

VARIOUS: 'Metal Explosion' (BBC Records REH 397) By Malcolm Dome

YOU KNOW, after suffering the brainless, monotonous dirge that is 'New Electric Warriors' I'd just about had it with HM compilations . . . until, that is, 'Metal Explosion' shuffled on to the scene. Eight cuts culled from sessions originally recorded for Radio One's 'Friday Rock Show', this is a sprightly, timely reminder of the oft-ignored depth of talent hidden behind the rapidly rusting NWOBHM handle.

Forget about Gillan's eight minute, ill-conceived bore 'If You Believe Me' (Ian, leave the blues to Whitesnake, PLEEEZE) and let the likes of 'Paper Chaser' (from the excellent cigarettes 'n' whisky boogie salesmen, Taurus), 'Johnny Cool' (a manifestation of the better side of Praying Mantis' duelling-guitar, melodic hard-rock approach), 'Take It Like A Man' (a deft slice of Samson slashing) and 'Soldier' (from metal muvvas More) bring your blood to the boil.

Then prepare yourselves for three hot spikes through the veins via 'Visionary', from Suffolk's own masters of the rock brigade, Trespass; 'Leo The Jester', a complex, haunting yet gut-wrenching tome delivered by Money with the sort of sensitivity and control that makes me wonder why on Earth they've been left tasting exhaust fumes in the scramble for recording contracts and, ultimately, the phenomenal power that is the Angel Witch grinder 'Extermination Day'-track of the album? Heaven and hell, this is the track of the year and no mistake!

From the commercial angle, 'ME' has come too late in the day, but, from the aesthetic (HM aesthetic??!! - Ed) viewpoint, it is a useful jolt at a time when I was beginning to have doubts about the durability of many newer UKHM acts. Come alive, you're in the perspiration generation! ++++

Record Mirror - November 15th 1980

SAMSON/PRAYING MANTIS/TAURUS/MONEY Music Machine, London By Malcolm Dome

YOU'VE HEARD the radio sessions and the album, now prepare to witness exploding metal on the Camden High St! The fiery sages of the apocalypse were called together into a package that delivered a value-for-money deal of which even Sir Freddie Laker would have been proud.

The gig did have a serious point to it, 'cos although compere Tommy 'It's The Music That Matters' Vance proved a right turkey (and we all know what happens to them at this time of year!) the event gave a clear indication that, despite the last rites presently being incanted over the funeral pyre of the new wave of heavy metal the credits are armed and ready to rock 'n' roll.

Money set the pattern by coming across more as HM Bards than barbarians, with a considered degree of poise and sophistication at the core of their music that put the Brum quartet somewhere between Girlschool and Triumph in the contemporary market. Indeed, so impressive was their 40 minute performance that they'd undoubtedly have been the night's most crucial revelation were it not for the band who followed, 'cos Taurus were an absolute sensation. Middlesbrough's answer to AC/DC, they pounced, trounced and bounced around with all the diplomacy of the Red Brigade.

Praying Mantis Newest line-up at last seemed to have gelled into a cohesive fightin' unit and in the process, dispelled any doubts I may have had about their future. Significantly, they've succeeded in putting their naturally effusive melodies into a much tougher framework not only do comparative newies such as 'Panic In The Street' and 'Flirting With Suicide' move along with relaxed precision but those established meisterwerks, 'Lovers To The Grave' and 'Captured City' have never sounded so good.

It says much for Samson's resilience that despite having little commercial luck, they're still committed and certainly gave the best performance I've ever seen from 'em. Bruce Bruce threw convincing poses and matched each one with a vocal style that shrilled to thrill. Set against this the seamless strings of Paul Samson and Chris Aylmer provided pure uncompromising power, fused into a sonic steel fist and detonated into a true metal explosion by the unrelenting kit annihilation tactics of Thunderstick.

Record Mirror - December 6th 1980

Praying Mantis have cancelled their gigs at Newport Bailey's on December 4 and Egham Holloway Collage on December, because of recording commitments.

"Teenage Depression" Fanzine #13 - 1980

The Day of the Mantis - An Interview by Geoff Banks

If I'd have been asked a month ago what I thought of Praying Mantis I would probably have said "Just another ambitious pub band trying to be the next Thin Lizzy". You see whilst most of the new heavy rock bands were moving towards the Motorhead chord thrashing, Mantis were moving towards the Lizzy "metal with harmonies" area. Slowly but surely they were tightening up their sound and replacing their cover versions with far superior self penned material.

Imagine my shock when I saw them supporting Iron Maiden. Gone were the sloppy harmonies and sub Lizzy twin guitars replaced by a unique tightness and songs that could more than hold their own against any of the now redundant covers. Even "Captured City" that all but died the death on the "Metal For Muthas" album has become a minor classic.

So it was with none of my previous reluctance that I approached the bands management for an interview with the "most improved band of 1980"

The setting for the interview was a cramped dressing room back stage at Birmingham Odeon Just before the bands sound check. Obvious first question was .... pause for fanfare ... How was the band formed? Founder member Tino Troy was nominated to answer.

"It started when I was at college Me and this guy, Pete Moore, decided to form a band. He was going to play bass but didn't know anything about bass guitaring so we taught him it had four strings and that was it basically. The first song we ever did was "Caroline" by Status Quo and progressed from there. But after a while that all dissolved, people didn't want to take it seriously."

The next thing to happen was the arrival of the KM new wave and along with Maiden, Samson and Angel Witch, Praying Mantis with their new line up started to play the pubs and clubs that were once again opening their doors to heavy rock. For a while pubs like The Brecknock, Ruskin Arm. and GreenGate were the only places you could see and hear good heavy rock bands. One place, however, that had been putting on heavy metal discos for quite a while, unknown to most people was the Bandwagon in Kingsbury and the man behind the decks was Neal Kay, self proclaimed HM spokesman.

You see not only did Neal play tried and trusted favourites he also played demo tapes of the new up and coming bands. One of those bands was praying Mantis.

Tino - "When we first took the tape to Neal he started paying the tape to the kids and they really liked it, so did he. He's helped the band a hell of a lot to get where we are at the moment. We may have done it ourselves but it would have taken a lot longer, maybe another eighteen months to two years."

On "Metal For Muthas volume One" "Captured City" doesn't come across very strongly.

"No the problem was that the album was recorded on a really tight budget and at the time we had no drummer so we had to record the song with a session drummer. We Just went into the studio, rehearsed the song with him and recorded it straight away. There was no feel there at all. This is one of the things that has held us back, every time we lose a member we have to spend time looking for a new member and rehearsing with him."

However, the bands line up is now more stable than it has ever been and with a debut album imminent Praying Mantis seem ready to close the gap on the leaders.

Record Mirror - January 10th 1981

PRAYING MANTIS release their second single, 'Cheated', on January 16. The track is taken from their forthcoming album 'Praying Mantis' but the B side, '30 Pieces Of Silver', is unavailable elsewhere. Included with the package will be a free single with two further tracks from their album which are 'Flirtin' with Suicide' and 'Panic In The Streets'.

Record Mirror - January 17th 1981

Contains a half page add for the Cheated Single.

Record Mirror - January 24th 1981

In the News Section
PRAYING MANTIS have released a new single 'Cheated'. It contains a free live single called 'Flirting with suicide'.

In the Single Reviews
PRAYING MANTIS: 'Cheated' (Arista). One of the better of the new wave of British heavy metal exponents prove that making singles is not as easy as it seems but they cope better than most of the ilk but not enough, despite a free single.

Sounds - January 24th 1981

PRAYING MANTIS 'Cheated' (Arista) A right old Wishbone Ash duelling guitars situation, again with definite US hard rock tendencies and considered melodies; Styx with a bit of balls, and even a free bonus single. Could be that the lads who took the time to find the right deals have got something.

Unknown - 1981

Record Mirror - March 14th 1981

OUR METAL fatigue experts report that various members of Lionheart, Rainbow, Steve Hackett Band, Whitesnake, Michael Schenker Band, Bastlie, Tygers of Pan Tang rubbed shoulders with Gary Moore and pathetic poseur and Bay City Roller Relict Ian Mitchell all turned out to see Praying Mantis attempt to tastefully pierce the sound barrier at the Marquee.


PRAYING MANTIS: 'All Day And All Of The Night' (Arista).

Praying Mantis give the standard HM treatment to the old Kinks' hit, totally missing the sharp simplicity and sensitivity of the dapper ones rendition.

Sounds - March 14th 1981

Rainbow "Difficult to Cure" **

"I Surrender": The Russ Ballard song Blackmore filched from Praying Mantis. Lord know why the Guitarist went to such great lengths to secure the number as it is, at best a poor man's "Hold the line". That said ….


Just When you thought it was safe to go back into the Water…

Praying Mantis discuss the fine art of submerging with ROBBI MILLAR

IT'S A blissful situation. Lazing in a soothing humidity, I'm sprawled by the side of a white washed pool sipping frozen orange juice and contemplating a gentle stroll down to the bubbling Jacuzzi while multi-coloured parrots screech their best Scorpions impersonations in the background and a solitary toucan eyes the large golden fish that swim amongst the tropical greenery.

Where, dear readers, do you think I'm spending my agreeable leisure time Is it an extraordinarily lavishing of Hugh Fieldor proportions, an excuse to leech off some unfortunate rock millionaires with Only a picture caption in mind? Have I replaced Annie Nightingale in Sting 's affections and travelled to deepest Bengal to drink the freebies and avoid the beggars?

Unfortunately no. This particular Saturday evening sees me just a hop. skip and a jump from the Sounds office, where chilly Covent Garden transforms itself into a paradise called the Sanctuary, an exclusive ladies 'club until tonight as I'm rudely reminded by the sight of a semi-clad Gross HaIfwit as he pads around taking lewd photographs of the equally semi-clad Praying Mantis. Ah well, it's an almost blissful situation.

Actually, the Sanctuary is a jolly good place to rendezvous with the Mantis. Those of you who chanced upon the last PM feature must remember that their erst while guitarist. Rob Angelo, once penned a song called 'Sanctuary' which would no doubt have bean a Mantis mayhem hit had Iron Maiden's manager, Rod Smallwood, not purchased it fore miserly sum and used it to further his boys' careers. However, the band accepted the blow with a philosophical smile just as they have accepted other failures.

They've yet to score a bit hit single although their debut album, 'Time Tells No Lies' might alter this when released on February 20, they've since lost Angelo and replaced him with ex-Little Bo Bitch guitarist, Steve Carroll. they were beaten to the post by Rainbow when they tried to release Run Ballard's "I Surrender' as a 45 although the replacement, 'cheated'. Is far more enjoyable than Rainbow's week rendition of the former choice - they're still relatively unknown in their field and, most of all, they are heartily fed up of being called a heavy metal band.

Each and every time I mention HM or, worse, the NWOBHM, I'm cut a little short by the Mantis who would like it to be known, in true Neal Kay stylee, that they are a rock band.

Chris Troy, their amiable bassist, explains the problem: "I don't 't think that we were ever much involved with the heavy metal thing. We were involved in those early 'Metal For Muthas' albums and we did support Iron Maiden on their tour but, on the whole, don't think many of the people who came to sea us regarded us as a HM band. A lot of them said that we weren't."

WITH THESE thoughts in mind, Praying Mantis have taken longer then most to get around to releasing their first elpee. They've also been rather fussy about the quality off its sound et al, a discrimination which has paid quite well as it's a fair representation off its genre - far more a 'The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent' than an 'Ace Off Spades'.

Tino, Chris's brother and guitarist off Mediterranean parentage, Joins in: "We took six weeks to record the album which is more than most off the NWOBHM bands took to record their first albums and I think it's bean a good idea, especially when I listen to some of those albums and to the quality of sound on them. That amount off time, along with Tim Friese-Green's production, has done a lot for our sound."

Chris: "I suppose this album is rather late compared to all the other band's debuts but I don't think a had the right band to record an album with before."

Tino: "Rob was a good guitarist but . . . although he provided a lot of humour, he didn't provide all that much musically."

Dave Potts, the Mantis' 'elderly' drummer: "He'd spend more time telling jokes than rehearsing for example and, at the same time, we were all working really hard and contributing all that we could. Overall, there's no malice against Rob but the band does sound better with Steve on guitar. He blends well with Tino and that's a great advantage."

If hassles with the line-up weren't enough, the band's relations with their first record company, Gem - the label that released 'Praying Mantis' - were beginning to sour. Matters weren't helped when the iron-on transfer, given away with that single, Inadvertently attached itself to the record making it look pretty and, as Chris points out, impossible to play. Soon after the Mantis and Gem parted company, the former to Arista records where they say, affairs are a lot more beneficial to their cause."

Tino: "It's an extraordinary deal. Gem didn't have an option on the album and, since we didn't think they were pulling their weight, we left them. "

Dave "We've been told to say that it was due to a 'mutual disagreement'.

ALONG WITH the Arista deal came a chance to appear the Radio One Tommy Vance album, 'Metal explosion''. Now, we all know what Geoff Barton thought about that venture but how do Praying Mantis view it now?

Dave: "Er, absolutely diabolical? I dunno, it gained us a lot of plugs on the radio. "

Tino: "It was the first thing we'd ever done with the BBC. There's no point in looking a gift horse in the mouth, is there?"

Chris: "Personally, along with that album, I think 'Cheated' is the first time that we've ever been really happy with any of our recordings. Evan taking into consideration the Soundhouse Tapes', the recent stuff is ten times better than anything else."

Praying Mantis are, by and large, content with the press they've received, over the span of their career. With dextrous timing, they've managed to avoid much of the venom that's flung at hapless hard rock by grim-macked reviewers although Chris still has his complaints - particularly concerning one comment on 'Cheated', dispensed by the manager of the Boomtown Rats in a singles page scenario.

Chris: "It's not his place to review singles! Besides, I'm sure he never listened to it."

Dave: "The thing is, he called us self-pitying. He must have had some idea of that from our loss of 'I Surrender' but there's nothing further from the truth."

They point out that the idea of the band feeling cheated by the loss of that song is a double meaning that may appear in the context of the single but it's a loss that they are not going to spend sleepless nights worrying over.

Tino: "It's not as if we didn't make some attempt to fight for it but.. ."

Dave: "Originally, Bob Keen" (their manager) "came up with the idea of using the song for a single. I mean, we all really liked the idea but, unfortunately, so did Ritchie Blackmore. He realises that he still needs hit singles, I'm sure. 'Since You've Been Gone worked for Rainbow after all. Really everything works on a business level and you have to make an allowance for the business side of things if you're going to survive as a band."

BESIDES WHICH, Rainbow are an HM band aren't they' And Praying Mantis are anything but …

Chris.' "I think our music appeals to a wider audience than most HM, say eleven to 55 year olds. Sort of a cross between Motorhead and the Nolans, maybe. Seriously though, we have to get across to an audience who still think we're heavy metal and that's the main purpose of the single. I just hope it works."

Steve Carroll Pic's by Ross Halfin. Steve was not happy when Ross took this shot as he was about to get up hence Mantis complained to Sounds about the Front cover (shown in    80'sFanclubNewsletters) and the above being Printed

Sounds - Spring 1981

Praying Mantis


CELEBRITIES, CELEBRITIES they're everywhere. From MSG and Whitesnake members to Lionhearts and Bastilles, everyone was focusing attention on front cover Stars Praying Mantis as they went through their paces, to coincide with the release of their album.

Barely had they hit the stage when the first problem became apparent. They were distinctly overdressed Even bigger disappointments were in store though, and of a more serious nature. The naked truth is that they were, ahem, somewhat untogether

Overawed by the star presences, or just an off night?

But stripping away the excuses, they were pretty awful this time around. Their almost legendary inability to sing was further emphasised and the excellence of their guitar work was rather compromised by the failure of Steve Carroll and Tino Troy to synchronise their parts quite right. In individual content the drumming of pint-sized powerhouse Dave Potts was brutal and excellent, but it would have been nice if the bass drums had been audible from time to time.

The material was drawn largely from the just-released album, and ran pretty much according to plot. Their eponymous opening number 'Praying Mantis' appeared in addition, despite being banal and dull, and also a new number. 'The Story', which sounds quite promising - a fiery opening ushers in a mid-seventies rock ballad that escalates into a thundering climax. Or at least should do - on this gig's form it was a blundering climax instead.

What Mantis need right now is a good vocalist (a strong female voice would suit their particular style well methinks), and a slice of luck when it comes to which of their gigs get reviewed. Some forms of exposure you can do without, eh lads?


Sounds? - March/April 1981



'Time Tells No Lies'

(Arista SPART 1153)***

THE INTER-LABEL shuffling that Praying Mantis performed last year must surely have delayed the appearance of their first album, and they've seen several bands of formerly equal status whizz past them in the meantime. However this has given them the opportunity to observe and to plan their path on the basis of seen and learned the gradual rise of HR songs over HM riffs. The result is a neatly British blend of power and class, captured by Tim Friese-Green of Touch production fame.

The crucial difference for him this time is that none of Mantis can sing. The production is faultless throughout, capturing

precisely the melodic intensity of Tino Troy's and Steve Carroll's guitars, gruff and raw and purposeful, but fails to completely overcome the vocal inadequacy of the band.

At times the problem is successfully side-stepped with, for example, the soaring, multi-layered hook of 'Cheated' which channels the aggression of the song superbly. 'Flirting With Suicide' is the track to emphasise the vocal weakness most strongly, and despite a layered, buzzing guitar line loses out completely thanks to a banal throwaway hook line (one of the many on the album).

But for power freaks alone there are plenty of treats, notably the swelling urgency of 'Running For Tomorrow' and the semi-epic 'Lovers To The Grave'. 'All Day And All Of The Night' plunders The Kinks successfully. It's nowhere near as absurdly exaggerated as Van Halen's approach, and thunders along dramatically.

But ultimately it's the shortcomings of this album that stand Out most Without their vocal problem could have done so much better, not held back their songs as they have, and reaped far greater their rewards as a result. Their target seems to be a blend of the best of US and UK rock but they've so far failed to reach it - but if they're going to spoil their voices catching colds through loafing about with rite clothes on, they've only got themselves to blame.


Unknown - March/April 1981



SPART 1153 +++++

First of a11 let's get it quite clear, we've waited a hell of a long time for this album. MANTIS were first formed way back in ' 74 , When Tino & Chris Troy, brothers, lead guitarist and bassist, set the ball rolling. They have developed into superb artists, masters of their craft. After the set they produced at Reading last year, Arista grabbed them and gave them this contract which they tell us is long term. MANTIS went full time in '78,and recorded a demo tape, one track from which is featured on the album: "LOVERS TO THE GRAVE" which is by far the best track, if one were to be chosen.

Deep lyrics spring from the album, just listen to this:-

Daylight giving way to night,

Darkness roams the sky,

Sinners of the night return the sanguinary cry,

A virgins life falls to the grave,

Submitting to the call,

Her blood to bathe the devils needs

Her body has no soul…..'

Wow. 'The album is powerful from the musical point of view too. Guitar solos both fast and slow run through the tracks, the task alternating between Tino & Steve Carrol, the other guitarist. Perhaps the autograph of the band is their harmonious and melodical sound, using the human instrument, the voice. By these methods then do Mantis achieve their quality and coupled with the packaging, which includes ,perhaps the most interesting cover since Saga's "Images

At Twilight" an album has been produced which must rank highly in any ratings.

No doubt, 5 stars!

Alan Mushing

Bolton Chronicle - March 1981

Win A Praying Mantis by David Hier

I DON'T think I've seen a more frightening looking insect then the one on the cover of the new Praying Mantis album "Time Tells No Lies".

Musically the album is a nice blend of rock music steering clear of the "heavy metal" tag.

Although the band has self-penned all but one of the tracks they've decided to release the odd one out as a single, "All Day and All of the Night" by Kinks front man Ray Davies.

Praying Mantis, if you remember, had a run in with Rainbow about a song that both bands wanted to record. "I Surrender". Rainbow won the battle.

Dave Potts, the band's drummer told me with a smile on his face "It's just one of those things, I don't know if It would have been as big a hit for us as it is for Rainbow".

A few days after seeing Praying Mantis at the Free Trade Hall I received a few copies of the new album from the lads, so if you'd like one just send me the name of the songwriter who wrote the song in question "I Surrender".

All the albums have been personally autographed and are well worth listening to. Send your answers to Poparound, Bolton Chronicle, Corporation Chambers, Corporation Street, Bolton by April 1.

Record Mirror - March 21st 1981

PRAYING MANTIS: 'All Day And All Of The Night' (Arista). Kinks 10 - Praying Mantis 0. A complete dog's dinner of the original.

Record Mirror - March 28th 1981

Marquee, London
By Malcolm Dome

IF I were feeling vitriolic then I'd accuse Mantis of displaying more flaws than the Empire State Building (think about it).

For one thing, leader Tino Troy tried embarrassingly hard to come across as an affable yet larger-than-life front man. The result was that he seemed contrived.

Secondly, the band seemed decidedly uneasy when going for an out an out rock approach. Numbers in this vein from the turgid 'Praying Mantis' anthemic set opener (a real nursery rhyme after the stirring 'Dambusters' intro tape) to the equally forgettable 'Rich City Kids' lacked true grit. To compound the issue, neither Tino nor fellow guitarist Steve Carroll could carry Out the traditional macho poses so beloved by hard rock aficionados.

With all this negativity why did I find myself vaguely enjoying the set? Simply because musically they were nearly strong enough to overcome their failings for a crisp 60 percent of the time, anyway. The excellence of such epics as 'Lovers To The Grave' 'Children Of The Earth' and 'Beads Of Ebony' wouldn't be denied. This wasn't a BAD performance. Just misdirected.

Unknown - Spring 1981

New Man-tis

PRAYlNG MANTIS (above) have added a vocalist to their line-up and have rescheduled the dates on their British tour. The new singer is Tom Jackson (pictured above, Centre) and little is known about him apart from the fact that he bears little resemblance to the boss of the Union Of Post Office Workers (unfortunately).

The band now play Leeds Fforde Grene Hotel June 14, Barrow In Furness Civic Hall 15. Lincoln Drill Hall 16. Southsea Rock Gardens 18, London Marquee 19. St Albans City Hall 22, Bristol Granary 23, Wigan Pier 24, Workington Slypt Disc 25, Liverpool Warehouse 26, Lancaster Rossendale College 27. A new single is out soon.

Sounds - July 4th 1981

Invasion of the Giant Insects

Praying Mantis


LET'S NOT beat around the bush. Prime object of this liberal literature is the determination of an unbiased layman's verdict (my one) on Tom Jackson, newly anointed Mantis mouthpiece and virtual unknown. Soooo. . . Verdict: misadventure. A misfit. Not the man for Mantis. Wrong.

Why the fellows felt the need for such a supplement in the first place I cannot comprehend. More liberty from the ball and chain of the microphone. perhaps? Or are the orthopterous ones aiming for a Bohemian Rhapsody choir like sound? Well, at the rate they're growing...

Certainly with the brothers Troy waving a timely bye bye to the grossly overrated Rob Angelo and welcoming the undeniably talented Steve Carroll; axe merchant and voice. 'Mantis metamorphosis seemed complete. Just bend an ear to their debut vinyl masterpiece 'Time Tells No Lies' for a trifle more than circumstantial evidence. Difficulties in translating studio to stage?

Sure, I appreciate that Jackson had the entire (brief) set crash-coursed into him faster than a Casio would learn Its two times table, and nerves can affect London first time for anyone. But he struggled to reach those high Mantis harmonies, indeed to be heard above a band never noted for its sheer volume. When audible, his voice struck me as nothing special or out of the ordinary maybe the kinda voice you'd find somewhere in a cabaret act. I ain't trying to end a career prematurely, but if another front man is necessary this wouldn't exactly be my number one choice. Short hair, baseball Jersey emblazoned with a skateboarder - I dunno, it all seemed misplaced.

Otherwise - sixty minutes of flawless dual guitar (as opposed to guitar duel), certainly a recognisable Mantis trademark, and there's no denying we've a traditional axe-hero in the pipeline of time here with Tino Troy (he wasn't responsible for all the finger- lickin' tasty solos, remember), the target of innumerable pairs of enthusiastically alofted digits.

'Panic In The Streets' and the abridged version of 'Freebird' by any other name 'Lovers To The Grave' featured fervent fretboard frenzy, and let's hear it for Dave Potts, the man with a steam turbine in each limb, hammering a rock steady but never too simple beat out through an immaculate (aside from occasional farting) P.A.

It's hard to fault a show that left the courageous punters saturated from well shaken head to toe an' still hollerin' their hearts out for another after an ear-splicin' rendition of 'Captured City'.

Apart from the one small detail, that is.


Kerrang! August 1981

Another Tom Jackson line up Pic?

Sounds - July 11th 1981

Wimbledon Theatre

These punters had the honour of witnessing the first London gig performed by the new Lionheart (not again? - Ed) who recently parted with their vocalist and original drummer to test the sands of fortune as a four-piece. Personally. I'm not sure that this is a good idea as I can imagine the same problems that afflicted Praying Mantis - pretty harmonies and clever guitar work are often not eye/earcatching enough to dispense with a front man - laying hold on Lionheart, although bassist Rocky Newton's voice showed distinctive (if under-rehearsed) promise on the newer songs such as 'Modern Love'.

Definitely. Dennis Stratton shouldn't attempt to take over the vocal spotlight. Tackling sticky numbers such as 'Misunderstood', he sounded just too damn ordinary - or as one unkind spectator put it like "a Club singer".

Unknown - 1981

PRAYING MANTIS , who sold out their gig at the Marquee last week, have been booked back for two nights on July 6 and 7

From Sounds 17th October 1981

IRON MAIDEN. who have just recently been joined by Bruce Dickenson as lead singer, will be making their UK debut with the new line-up at London's Rainbow Theatre on Friday, November 6.
Special guests on the bill are Praying Mantis. who will also be debuting a new line-up. Mantis are now a six-piece having added two new members to the present line-up - Bernie Shaw, vocals (ex-Grand Prix) and John Bavin, keyboards.
DJ Neal Kay who was closely associated with both bands in the Bandwagon days, is also on the bill.
Tickets are already on sale from the Rainbow Box Office and the usual agents and are priced £3.50, £3.00, £2.50.
The Rainbow will be the last concert on the mammoth 'Killer Tour's as, due to recording commitments, the band haven't time to play more concerts before the New Year.
They are currently putting together an extensive UK tour to start in mid-February and tickets are expected to go on sale in mid-November. The band go into the studio soon to record their third album with producer Martin Birch, who produced "Killers", which has already sold in excess of 750,000 worldwide and charted in 14 countries.

From Sounds 17th October 1981

Iron Maiden/Praying Mantis


AT FIRST glance, Iron Maiden's Autumnal return to London's Rainbow was a case of metal deiá-vu. They could almost have re-used last year's posters.

With Praying Mantis filling the support slot and Neal Kay spinning the disco, it reminded me of an old music business irony - good old, safe old heavy metal where nothing ever changes and the song remains the same - except that many things have changed for both bands and neither will ever sound quite the same again.

Of course, part of it fitted the norm. Praying Mantis had problems, a dodgy sound and bombed not totally but almost. That is, faced with a hungry Maiden army, they had trouble serving up the first course and their decorative flamboyance didn't have a firm enough grip to mean real business, although it should be said that new singer Bernie Shaw has added some class to Mantis' line-up. I still reckon they should cease wearing those daft shirts, mind.

But to get to the meat of the matter ...

The two major questions of the evening were, quite naturally, would new Maiden vocalist Bruce Bruce (whoops, Dickenson!) cut it, and have Iron Maiden spent too many months away from these shores - in other words, can they still cut it too? While answering a resounding yes to the first, I have some niggling doubts about the second.

For Bruce's part, he should have no problems. With the exception of a few drongos at the back who insisted on yelling "Bring back Dianno" in a feeble manner, the Rainbow took to him with frank admiration and although I think he needs a stronger visual image of his own - the leather and studs ware Dianno's kick and sit a little self-consciously on Bruce's shoulders - there's no denying that his strong vocal style suits Maiden surprisingly well.

For Iron Maiden's part, there might be problems. Admittedly, they've been away on a long 'too long?) and eventful 'holiday' and, equally, they hadn't promised anything new for the Rainbow show apart from a couple of recently written songs - 22 Acacia Avenue', a slightly over tumultuous follow up to 'Charlotte The Harlot', and an interesting slowie, 'Children Of The Damned'.

However, something should explain the fact that the Rainbow was quite clearly not sold out - plenty of room at the back there with a total of around two thousand punters - and that those who were there took some concentrated warming up.

OK, so it's hardly fair to expect the whole of London to turn up when a band are still breaking in a new singer but I remember a time when Maiden tickets were worth their weight in pure cocaine.

Still on the evidence of Sunday night, I have more confidence in Iron Maiden's ability to stand their ground. Sounding (and looking) remarkably fresh after their arduous tour programme, they came over as A Band - and not so much Steve 'Arris's band either! - with a purpose, scoring points for both presentation and marked musical improvement.

And while Iron Maiden will never really be the same without Paul Dianno - don't kid yourselves, it won't - their present state of attack augurs wall for the future. Keep your minds open ...


Record Mirror? - October 81?

Iron Maiden / Praying Mantis, Rainbow London by Robin Smith

And what of Praying Mantis with their new Improved line up fronted by ex Grand Prix braggart Bernie Shaw? Bern appears to be giving them the much needed kick up the arse they've needed for a long time and we were looking up a line up with confidence in its own ability rather than a bunch of badly - rehearsed puppets. Mantis Mark Two might just be coming out of hibernation at last.

Sounds? - October 81?

Iron Maiden / Praying Mantis, Rainbow London by Brain Harrigan

Sadly one could scarcely say the same for Praying Mantis. The new six-piece line-up looked good and the vocals were handled cleanly and efficiently. Unfortunately they, like the instrumental side of the band, were simply unarresting.

I still maintain that Mantis have the innate musical ability to do well, but they need to look long and hard at their material. It simply isn't strong enough.

POP + ROCK magazine 12/1981

(Originally in Greek. Translated and typed by Konstandinidis Michalis)

Today this band, the new Praying Mantis, with only two of the original band members (still in the band - Michalis), the Troy brothers, has decided to take business seriously at last leaving aside all those certificates they have acquired.

Chris' first contact (with music -M.) was their mother's present, a Spanish guitar when he was eleven, but Tino was the one who, although he didn't get himself that present at the time , later on formed the band.

Lot has been said and written about their half Spanish descendance - motherwise - yet little is known about their other half, the cypriot one.

"We're Greeks, Chris told me when we first met,our father is Cypriot".He also told me the Cypriot surname yet I forgot - sorry Chris.We met each other at Bob Keene's offices , Keene being the band's manager and for the first time managing a rock band.It was a small, pretty neatly decorated office, in a very chic neighborhood .There were the Troy brothers, Steve Carrol and Tom their new vocalist.

"Sorry but Dave didn't make it" Chris explains.

P.M. have recently released "T.T.N.L." (LP) in Arista/Ariola and a double single with three songs from the record and "Thiry pieces of silver" which is previously unreleased. "Cheated", which is the single's name, had also been included by EMI in the Metal for Muthas collection in a different version.( He must be at least misinformed - M.)They had also released "Johny Cool" and "Captured City" on their own label sometime in the previous years (I know- I know).

P.M.have managed to become very well known in England, in a very short notice, and I think their success shall be repeated in Greece too.I 'd caught the band in action some time ago in London Marquee, and I'd been impressed by the group's energy and also the puriness and the harmony of the sound. Definetely the guys are young and they lack experience, which is something that one could see at the gig.Another new heavy metal band one might say. No, things aren't as simple as that.This ain't plain heavy metal. I saw them being far more melodic and I'm glad that after our conversation I find that I am right in all points.

From the very first time I entered the office Tom 'd been asking me for women "Where are the girls?" he asked.Sex, drugs and r'n'r you see.Forget the drugs, it's r'n'r and women left.We put the former and you put the latter - this mast have been his thought.Anyway we mention that many a time during the interview - always in a way somewhere in between fun and seriousness.

Tino: History begins way back, when I was at college.I bought a guitar and decided to become a r'n'r star.I asked then my brother to join me but he didn't agree.I had formed a band at the time, but it wasn't until 4 years ago that P.M. was born.During the last year band members came in and others left.Two old members only, Steve in the guitar and David on the drums have been playing with us for the last year.Tom is brand new, he's with us for the past month.Up to now we have been a four - piece, using mainly Chris and Steve on vocals.We needed somebody to fully take over though, so seeking a singer we came on to Tom.

*How did you find him?

Tom:Used to stand outside Euston station wearing sunglasses and playing the banjo,he comments laughing.

Tino: We listened to many singers and we finally ended up in him.

Tom:Yeah the best out of a stinking pile..

Tino: It's hard to find exactly what you are looking for. I guess Tom's alright.

Tom: If there's another band looking for a singer tell'em (says laughing). Money's very few, he goes on. We're starving..

Tino: People believe that it is the best job.It depends of course on the amount of records that you sell.You sell a lot, you eat good.Otherwise you starve. And we haven't really managed to survive until only recently.

*Yeah but usually you don't earn any money by your first record...

Tino: That's true, so we 'll see.

Chris: Our next albums will show really what's going to happen..

Tino: We don't really expect to become rich by our very first record.We're just aiming to create our own audience.After our second and maybe third L.P. I believe that we'll be able to live from the music, and this shall only happen if our records sell well worldwide - not only in England. Things follow the known, usual formule of a rock group.Radio should play our stuff,the press must write about us.

I believe that we are capable of making the great hit.A good second album will break the walls.

*Do you see people that follow you in every concert, known faces that often come to see you in your gigs?

Tino:We haven't played outside England, so we can't tell what's going on out there.In England we're considered to be another heavy metal band so we would like to have the h.m. audience. Yet we want to escape this mould, for it doesn't represent us.We don't consider our music to be heavy metal, either.

*How do you see the group then?

Tino:We 're a melodic rock group.We're very interested in melody and harmony.We would like to escape from this audience in a short while, but at the time being we need it.

*Are you happy with your album sales up to day?

Tino:We're doing pretty well in England and we'll do better as time passes by.

Tom:Sales in Japan are even better.Japan is a very big and good market for rock music.And of course if you're having hits in Japan you can see the money coming .

*How do you see America and what are your plans for it?

Tom:Having lived previously in the U.S. I believe that P.M. are very likely to achieve some great success there.I've seen many of the american bands and I can assure you that a few of them really stand out! As for the tour in the States that's of course a job for a good manager! We can't just take the plane and yell on our arrival:"Here we are guys!Come and see us!!!"We could tour with some big band at first so as to have the chance to contact the american audience.After that things will just go along...

Tino: After all our music isn't really different from the american rock.

*How do you see your music in England?

Tino:I think rock music is popular yet it's strongly ignored by the radio and the press.Right now, everybody's interested in the neo-romantics and with all that's remained from the new wave.Radio plays Duran Duran and the Spandau Ballet.Rock is scarcely receiving any air-play.So all you got left is the concerts.But even there unless you're the main act they don't bother to listen to you.Although you play the kind of music they supposedly listen to at a certain point, they fight to kick you out of the stage...They don't even give you a chance to perform your music..

Tom: In Europe and the U.S. the audience is different.They listen to you before they scorn!!!And that's what we really want actually:to listen to us.

*How do you consider the television as a mass media?

Tom: Bullshit.Top of the pops is the only thing they have...The Duran Duran sort of thing...

*Don't forget the Old grey and Whistle test.It does play rock doesn't it?

Chris: It used to.Nowadays it usually shows those neo-romantics. There isn't any proper musical information in England.Tho only thing that counts in England is commercial music.

*Do you compose any commercial music?

Tino: Kind of..At first you need a couple of commercial stuff to get the public attention.I don't think though that we're as commercial as Rainbow for instance.

Tom: At first you write a couple of songs to be sold.After you have become famous your fans will buy your records.They will make 'em successful.And the sales of course..

Tino: You see we're at a point where we have to "drag" some people to buy our records.When we have achieved this we'll be able to write technically better music.We'll be able to write anything we want as long as it is good!!I'm determined to write a few commercial songs cause we need it.

*Do you enjoy writing commercial - pop stuff or you'll change your technic when you 'll have become rich and famous?

Tino: I definetely like writing succesful songs but by no means pop-ditties!Our music will always be a Boston - Foreigner crossover.

Tom:You must have in mind that always with every record you make you ought to convince your label that it's a hit so that they're happy...Your records always have to seem commercial to them...

*What do you think of the new British rock acts, Iron Maiden for example?

Tom:I'd never go and see them.Basically they're a lot different from us.I don't "hit" 'em for their music, on the contrary I believe they're very good in what they're doing.There isn't any British rock act I'd go and see actually.My personal favourites are bands like Boston, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder and stuff. I once saw accidentally Ted Nugent in Glasgow and he was a real dynamite! In my record collection though you'll never see any r'n'r albums.

*What was it that led you to sing in a rock band then?

Tom:Aaaaahm...(he grins..)you really want the truth?


Tom:When I started I wrote many songs in the S.Wonder vein, but unfortunately nobody took any notice..So, thinking back a few things (hunger!!) and of course knowing well that being a white man I ain't gonna make it I started playing with other musicians lots of different stuff, including rock music.After having rehearsed 3 or 4 rock songs I understood that this was the best thing for me. So I was looking for a rock band - and also bought a pair of black spandex and cowboy boots(laughs).

*So the music you enjoy more - even more than the thing you do - is soul music right?

Tom:Yes.It's so pure and the sound harmony is fantastic.

Tino:That's what we're trying to achieve actually...We want to perform purity and harmony in our music.We want to present a nice and clean image (laughs..)

Tom:None of us is sick with drugs or anything but we're not against those who use it.

*Yeah but you must be sick with women ( I tell Tom)

Smiles and comments from the rest...

Tom:No comment!

*When I first saw you at the Marquee the other night you reminded me of Graham Bonnet.

Tom:Probably the hair..

*Not only that!But also your whole performance, the way you act, the way you sing even your voice at times...

Tom:My only relationship to the guy is the one time I saw him at the Top of the Pops.I thought he was great!You know when I was around 15 I used to listen to bands like Free, Grand Funk Railroad and Jack Bruce etc.But having attended many rock concerts I figured that rock singers don't really sing but yell.They were the reason I approached soul music.However, perhaps EWF singer would like to sing in a rock band - who knows?

*Do you play any instruments?

Tom: A bit of everything...(laughter from everybody)..No seriously.I can play a bit of everything , he adds a bit frustrated.It's not that difficult anyway.

*Do you play any instruments with the band?

Noooooooope!(someone whispers)

Tom:No, he smiles. I just sing.

*You play the guitar, I ask Tino

Tino: Yes

*What are your influences?

Tino:It's hard to say.I don't listen to a certain musician that much so as to say that he has influenced me...When I was 16 I used to listen to bands like Status Quo.Although it's been years since, they must have influenced me.There are some guitarists I like such as Van Halen or Michael Schenker...

*Is there anybody you adore his work so much, that you have used something from him in your own work?

Tino:Eddie Van Halen.I believe he affects my compositions.

At this point Tom interrupts once more

Tom:Well to be honest, I think there is someone that has influenced me from the old days:Jack Bruce.

*Do you play any other instruments?I ask Tino.

Tino:I can play the piano, and the drums a bit, but I'm basically confined in playing the guitar.

*Did you play in any other bands before P.M.?

Tino:No.They're my first band actually.But I play the guitar for eight years of course.

*How many years have the P.M. been around?

Tino:We formed six years ago.

*Six years?What have you been doing for so long?

Tino:Well it used to be a hobby back then.It's got more serious now.

*Were you doing any gigs?

Tino:Used to play in pubs in north London.Serious work though begun three years ago.Two members of that mark fled for personal reasons.One got married and the other couldn't make do with his job.

*It's those women again, I smile to Tom.

Tom:Exactly.Do you know that all my life problems are due to wmen?I was doing very fine in America and would have never got back if it wasn't for women.

*You didn't like American women you mean?

Tom:No, it's the exact opposite:I was full for a woman's loving and decided to leave her so as not to get in any trouble.Tis the same reason I left Glasgow.Music's OK but there's always trouble with women.

*Do you think that a woman would make you leave Mantis?

Tom: (thinks a bit)No.I sacked everyone. Even the last one.Of course I'm referring to long time commitments.Not the one night stands (laughter).

*Did you sing with any other band before Mantis?

Tom:We had formed a band in Glasgow and after long and tiring rehearsals we gave two concerts which had tremendous success.But later on our drummer left us.

*Woman trouble, is that it?

Tom:No, not really.He joined another band but...they sacked him.

Next up is the other Troy, Chris.

Chris:I play the bass guitar, but I wasn't interested in that instrument until three years ago - really!See, I play spanish guitar but since Tino wanted the guitar he took it.There aren't any influences cause I don't listen to music that much, although I know I have to.But I bought a great sound sustem now and so I 've started listening to american rock.I like Styx, Foreigner, Pat benatar and others in that mould.Anyway, you can see that every band needs a bass player but he's always restrained at the back..

Tom:He couldn't have been the singer you know.

*Why is that?

Tom:well he's got a wooden leg and he can't jump around,(laughs his guts out).That was a joke of course...

Here comes the last one.Steve Caroll.He's an axeman too.

Steve:I really like reggae music and generally the black sound.I used to play many instruments but I gave 'em up for the guitar.

*Who's the main composer?

Tino:I've written most of the songs until today.But now we're all writing songs's better that way, and of course we want be talking 'bout the same things all the time.

*Tell me, what sort of things do you usually write about?

Tom:anything that comes in mind.Sex, drugs and r'n'r...

In TTNL we can find songs that refer to everyday situations, love and problems of the young..Do your songs reflect perhaps some personal situations?

Tino:No, I don't think so.But the situations could reflect anyone's experiences .It's common problems and i'm aiming to reach every young man.Who hasn't lived the story of "Cheated" for instance?

*So what you're trying to do as a composer is to become able to write something that reminds something to a fan, so as to urge the latter to go and buy your record

Tino:It's neither as bad nor as simple as it sounds.Yet it's quite close to reality.

*Are you happy with your album?

Tino:It could be better but still I'm happy.The production lacks a bit but it's still very good for a first album.Let's not forget that we're still learning from it. Based on that we'll see what we'll do with the next ones.

*Did you have any problem in signing a record deal?

Tino:A bit, but almost none compare with what happened with other bands.There have been other reasons that took us so much time to sign.

*Are you happy with your company or they are giving you any trouble?

Tino:They could have been better.But there's always some trouble.Basically they hadn't taken any notice from us until very recently.Having the Stray Cats all their attention was devoted to them.(Same thing told me Undertones for WEA)But it's better now.

*So you stay with them.

Tino:We'll see. That'll depend on the assistance and the attention they'll give us on our following album.

*When is it going to be released?

Tino:Around autumn's fall

Tom:There's two songs that are almost ready.But we haven't decided on the final mixing.

*Are you going to release 'em as 45ers?


Tom:Our new album shall be recorded in W.Germany you know.


Tom:(smiling)There's better women over there...

Tino:Probably better studio deal.Nobody really knows.

*Are you using the same producer again?

Tino:No, we're going to do it ourselves this time.

*Were there any trouble between you and your former producer?

Tino:Not much, for we usually we used to let him do his own thing.But now we have our own ideas and don't want anybody around really.We 're hoping the result shall be OK.Judging by the 45er we did I think it'll be succesful.

*Wouldn't you like to work with any of the other well known producers?

Tom:In the future maybe.Right now we wanna do it ourselves.

*About TTNL's artwork.Whose idea has that little monster been really?

Tino:We didn't really have any ideas then.So the artist who took over made this "little monster" as you said.All the heavy metal bands are having monsters on their album coversbut unfortunately we're gonna have to get rid of such stuff, cause we ain't heavy metal and we don't believe in monsters.

*Where does the name "Praying Mantis" derive from?

Tino:It just came in mind and stuck there for qiute a while.The others liked it too, so it was settled.

*What are the comments of the British press on Praying Mantis?

Chris:Until now, we ain't got no complaints.We usually hear nice words.But it's early still.i'm sure we're going to hear a lot worse.

*How do you like other kinds of music?

Tino:One should have an open mind and listen to many stuff.Tis the only way you'll be able to know what's going on in the music world.

Chris:I also like disco music.But only when it comes to dancing it in discos.(WOT????? M.)

Tino:I don't understand how people pays money for such records.

*How do you like other rock acts?

Tom:Don't know much.Usually old names and old stuff.Now you tell us what music do Greeks like?

*Rock and disco for all I know.Recently there has been some modern information from Britain.Is there anything you'd like to add?Have we forgotten anything?

Tom:We haven't.But you have forgotten to bring some girls from Greece with you...

The interview appeared at the December issue of the magazine, in 1981.I know some may think it's a bit awkward - this just reflects Greek rock press at its birth.If there's any trouble with the translation let me know.

Konstandinidis Michalis.

Kerrang! - August 1982

PRAYING MANTIS, recently signed to Jet, have now recorded tracks for their debut EP on their new Label. Co-produced by the band and Guy Bidmead, the record contains four songs: "Tell me the Nightmare's gone', 'A Question of time', 'Give me a reason', and will mark the recording debut of Mantis new line-up, comprising Jon Bavin (Keyboards/vocals), Chris Troy (Bass), Tino Troy (Guitar), Dave Potts (Drums) and Bernie Shaw (Vocals). Release data is August 27, the day of the bands Reading Festival Appearance.

Unknown - September 82

IT WAS left to Praying Mantis, though, to provide the first real surprise of the day. Considering the inherent difficulties of an open air gig , they played excellently. "Tell Me The Nightmare's Gone", "Enough Is Enough" and "Turn The Tables" were like a perfect exercise in how to glide easily from slow atmospheric, almost pomp HM, through medium paced rock to a good, bashing foot-stomper.

Brain Harrigan

Sounds - September 11th 1982

Reading Festival - Friday

Praying Mantis were their usual selves, meaning that they didn't inspire me at all. They did get the first encore of the day though, running through 'Fooling With Suicide'

Dave Roberts

Sounds - September 1982

HAVING READ your review of the Reading festival, I find I have to put pen to paper and send a letter to your much revered, kinda weird mag.

Firstly, the music was admittedly below par and hours of bludgeoning HM does become boring - but for the experienced festival goer the true fun of Reading is the atmosphere and that, unlike the music, was as good as ever this year. However, beer-can fights are more interesting than plastic bottle fights.

Secondly, the reviewers. Congratulations to Dave Roberts. He went realising Friday was to be anything but musically stimulating, but was open-minded enough to give credit where due, although I found Praying Mantis to be the best band of the day.

The Chairman, Sailisbury Sheep-Shaggers,

From Kerrang! August 1982

PRAYING MANTIS, recently signed to Jet, have now recorded tracks for their debut EP on their new label. Co-produced by the band and Guy Bidmead, the record contains four songs: 'Tell Me The Nightmare's Gone', 'A Question Of Time', 'Turn The Tables' and 'Give Me A Reason', and will mark the recording debut of Mantis' new line-up, comprising Jon Bavin (keyboards/vocals), Chris Troy (bass), Tino Troy (guitar), Dave Potts (drums) and Bernie Shaw (vocals). Release date is August 27, the day of the band's Reading Festival appearance.

Kerrang!? 1982?


PRAYING MANTIS won't have to eat in greasy cafes any more when they're out on the road.

Their new singer Bernie Shaw, is hot stuff at cooking and he's planning to take his trusty frying pan on tour.

"A good pan is all you need," he says. "I'm into classic French cooking and authentic Chinese food. It's high time this band had a taste of culture."

Bernie's culinary arts are just one part of the band's attempts to move upmarket. Formed in 1974 by brothers Tino and Chris Troy, Mantis were part of the heavy metal boom - but big success always eluded them.

But now they've signed a deal with Jet Records and released a three track EP, with a smooth Infectious ballad 'Tell Me The Nightmare's Wrong' as the title track.

Apart from Bernie, who used to sing with Grand Prix, Mantis have recruited an old friend, keyboard player Jon Bavin, into the line up.

"I think we need some new blood," says Tino. "Jon has taught me a lot about melody and Bernie's a really strong front man. He has one of the cleanest voices I've ever heard."

Bernie keeps his voice in shape by regular trips to a doctor who peers down his throat and uses soothing sprays.

"I don't know where I'd be without him," says Bernie. "It costs me about £50 a year, which is well worth it."

Fine, now what about a nice plate of egg and chips?

Robin Smith

Unkown 1982

Advert for Turn the tables

From Kerrang! January 1983

Long-forgotten NWOBHM insects Praying Mantis (once dubbed Iron Maiden's perennial support act), are about to start work on their first LP for Jet. Tentatively titled either 'A question Of Time or 'Turn The Tables', it's to be produced by .38 Special's collaborator Rodney Mills. As to the actual venue for this mighty work of modern art, this will be Ridge Farm or Battle Studios. Time has been reserved at both. The slant of the album, according to band bassist Chris Troy, will be heavily American, and none too surprisingly, Mantis (now handled by MSG and former Whitesnake manager John Coletta) will be heading out to the States soonest in support of Black Sabbath.

Kerrang! 1983?


SO, PRAYING MANTIS have finally bitten the dust. It's a sad moment, indeed, for they were undoubtedly the band to emerge from the NWOBHM era.

They played what they wanted to play and have paid the price for it. Tino Troy is One helluva guitarist and a member of a rare breed who manage to combine unusual tiffs with melody.

No doubt when Clive Burr's Escape reach the big time, Jet Records will release such gems as 'Raining In Kensington', 'I Know It' and 'Nightmares'.

Jastimongo, a 'Cheated' Mantis fan, Heaton, Bolton.

Metal Hammer - 1987

Memories. It rained the night that I first saw Praying Mantis. November 1979. The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was about to surge over the land, and Praying Mantis seemed to be one band in those boats with the right oars to row ashore.

That night they were supporting Iron Maiden, darlings of the legendary Bandwagon (Neil Kay et AI) and lust about to ink a contract with EMI. ..the rest, as they say, is history. BIG news. Mantis, though, never fought off their tag as Iron Maiden's perennial support act. No, too, did they ever quite manage to overcome the fat that their Lizzy/UFO- inspired music was a little too sophisticated for the times.

Perhaps they were guilty back then of trying just a little too hard to put melodies before image, virtuosity in place of grimaces. Ah well, that's all over, coffined and buried. The fact that alongside Diamond Head, Girl and Angel Witch, Praying Mantis have had a remarkable (if low-key) influence in subsequent years that far outstripped their achievements and stature says much about the quality of what they wrote and offered. FM, Shy and Tobruk. .so many of the recent crop of AOR bands in the UK pubs'n'clubs owe a debt, conscious or otherwise, to Praying Mantis. It's a legacy they. Should be proud of, but hopefully it's not one that'll persuade'em to try and hitch their wagons onto the Comeback Trail. That road has had more tears than Hallelujahs, more tarnished legends than burnished careers. Hopefully, this Marquee show will be what they originally claimed it to be: a one off night of nostalgia, wallowing in a past full of pleasant moments if frustrating hours. Certainly, the lure of the insects had brought more than just me out of the mothballs. There were people milling around who'd been stalwarts of the NWOBHM - Kevin Riddles (once the giant bassist with Angel Witch) and Paul Samson (now back in action with yet another line-up under his own moniker) being particularly in evidence. There were fans who looked as if they'd not seen a show since Mantis left the scene. Ah, memories...

And so into battle. Only two members of the Mantis incarnation that I saw on that wet and windy night in '79 were onstage this evening, brothers Tino (lead guitar/keyboards) and Chris (bass) Troy. No sign of drummer Mick Ransome (now with the Tattooed Love Boys), nor guitarist Bob Angelo (probably a second hand ticket inspector at a London Transport tube station by now). In their stead we have Dave Potts on drums (who replaced Ransome, then gave up as a muso to manage the band), Bernie Shaw on vocals (now with Uriah Heep and a member of the PMS towards the end of their career) and a chap called Hugh on rhythm guitar whom no-one, not even Chris Troy seemed to know much about; he was certainly never in this band previously.

Musically, there was a little rust on the needle, a little fluff in the grooves, a slight stiffness of the joints - only to be expected after such a long time away. But there was still a shivering magic about songs like "Panic In The Streets", "Enough Is Enough", "Beads Of Ebony", "Lovers To The Grave", "Children Of The Earth'; "Time's Slipping Away" and "Flirting With Suicide".. .ah, how well those numbers have stood the traditionally blinkered test of time. And once the five-piece got into their stride, then they shook of the years and really did show how special they were/are?

Yeah, here's where I get slightly worried. As a one-off this was perfect, a shimmering evening to float on a bubble bath of scented reminders leading back to more innocent era. But, the Mantis threw a couple of new numbers into the set as well.

Good stuff, like "Borderline", strong enough to give many younger bands a run for charts. So does this mean we're gonna see a full-blown reformation before long? Afterwards Chris Troy (whilst also defending the absence of the all-time Mantis classic "Captured City" as due to the fact that: "It would have been too nostalgic to do that one') skirted around the subject of future plans, leaving me wondering whether they're gonna be seduced into comeback tour/album etc.

In an odd way, my heart keeps pumping out the hope that they will get back on the circuit, bands of this calibre and quality are few and far between. But my head pleads they avoid the temptation. I don't wanna see Praying Mantis reduced Angel Witch style to signing to a backwater label and playing to half-empty pubs in an obscure parts of Worcestershire (no disrespect to s the fine people of that county...). No, I wanna remember the golden early live shows, the "Soundhouse Tapes Part II" EP, that much underrated '81 LP for Arista (the Tim Friese-Green produced "Time Tells No Lies"), the Jet EP/ Tonight it was raining again and Praying Mantis made a everything stand still for a little over 60 minutes. Leave it there, fellas, you were once special and I wanna keep it that way.


From Kerrang! November 13th 1993


'A Cry Far The New World' (Under One Flag CD FLAG 80) KKK

FORMER NWOBHM faves Praying Mantis return after a lengthy absence from the Metal scene. With an all-new band, too; natch, the Troy brothers are still there, but welkome to the fold former Maiden axepert Dennis Stratton. But here is where the pleasantries end, as lead vokalist Colin Peel dropped Mantis in it by quitting the band shortly after the kompletion of 'A Cry For The New World' - he joined the kast of the musikal 'Hair'

So have Mantis changed much over the years? Yes and no. Their love of the TWIDDLY GUITAR is still very much in evidence; you only have to listen to the likes of 'Journeyman' and 'Flight To Be Free' for that unmistakable Mantis groove.

This is a very kompetent album - a bit too polished for its own good really, and konsequently certain songs suffer. 'Letting Go' and 'Dream On' are very prediktable, whereas 'A Cry For The New World' and 'Dangerous have more BALLS, as we'd expekt from a band of Mantis' kalibre.

As for Peel's kontribution, he does a fine Steve Perry 'WOAH, WOAH, WOAH' on the title kut and a more than admirable job elsewhere, although there's the odd dodgy lyrik knokking around!


Burrn? Magazine sometime in 1996?

Captured - Alive in Tokyo City

Junichi Ishizawa <> Provided me the following translations on a Japanese review of Captured


Live recording of November 11th and 12th at club Citta in Kawasaki(it is not Tokyo, title tells a lie). Live performance is cruel to see video objectivity against to see live feeling heat through skin. "Dream on", "Letting go" is OK, but Gary Barden, it is hard to listen. It is enjoyable for person who can think this is GARY BARDEN or getting happy to see good-humoured member. It can not be do because of narrow place, though...repeating same angle, zooming up for old aged people... this kind of camera work makes video doughted meanings to see this band through video. It is better to listen CD if you want to enjoy goodness of songs.

enjoyable: ***

camera work: **

total value: **+


CD: It is almost completed live recording of the show. They are not a live band and member is member(Clive Burr, Gary Burden), so we expect so many adjusting live CD. However there are not so many adjusting and really "LIVE" sounds. The only thing not bear is playing of Clive Burr. Is it really sure to permit by band itself?????

total rate: 79/100

I hope you can understand my poor English. It is too hard to translate completely Japanese to English. Sorry.

From Hard Roxx Magazine Issue 34 - August 1998

Hard Roxx Magazine can be order my E-mailing Hard Roxx's Owners. As of issue 36 the Magazine cost 4 UK Pounds in the UK (4.50 Europe, 5 pounds the Rest of the World) and comes with a sampler CD of new music.

Forever in Time
Pony Canyon 01257

It has been a few years since we last heard from the brothers Troy, Tino and Chris respectively, and early reports were indicating that this was going to be one of the year's top records. The first thing that I noticed is that Gary Barden (ex MSG, Statetrooper) has relinquished the mike stand and the new guy is a chap by the name of Tony O'Hora. Gosh, that name seems awfully familiar, but for the life of me I can't place it. Anyway, this is no less than the fourth vocalist in the Mantis fold in the last few years and the guys really find themselves in need of an identifiable frontman. Colin Peel and Mark-Thompson Smith seemed ideal, but for what-ever reasons neither stuck around for more than an album each. Barden was just a little too worn around the edges for my liking, but I do believe the boys have landed a crown jewel in Mr. O'Hora, no better example being opening track, 'Wasted Years' which starts out with some classic twin guitar harmonies from Dennis Stratton and Tino Troy, which has become synonymous with the Mantis sound.

It is here the listener is first treated to the magnificent vocals of Tony O'Hora. What a song! What production! What a voice! 'The Messiah' showcases the vocal dexterity of O'Hora and the silky smooth vocal harmonies of the Troy Brothers and Big Dennis Stratton. 'Best Years' has tons and tons of swirling keyboards and builds into one of the best penned Praying Mantis tunes ever!! The guitar work is razor sharp and the rhythm section of Bruce Bisland and Chris Troy provide the perfect backdrop for the keys and those killer vocals. 'Blood Of An Angel' hearkens to mind the classic 'Cry For the New World' album and O'Hora puts forth the best vocal performance on a Praying Mantis record since Colin Peel sang his nuts off on the aforementioned platter. Other standouts include 'Valley Of The Kings', 'Man Behind The Mask' and 'The Day The Sun Turned Cold'

Actually out of the ten cuts on tap here, there isn't one shred of filler. Will garner some contention for album of the year in my book and surely will make my top ten, and hats off to Tino and Chris Troy for coming up with the best new vocal talent I've heard this year. Steve Harris, are you listening?

10/10 Tom Coyne