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
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
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
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
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
PRAYING MANTIS / WHITE SPIRIT
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
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.
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
CLIMB EVERY MANTIS
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
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."
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
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
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)
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
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
"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…
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(TIME TELLS NO LIES) -
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
Sounds - July 4th 1981
Invasion of the Giant Insects
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
POP + ROCK magazine 12/1981
(Originally in Greek. Translated and typed by
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
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
"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
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
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
*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: 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
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
*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
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
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
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...
*When I first saw you at the Marquee the other night you reminded me of
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
*Do you play any instruments with the band?
Tom:No, he smiles. I just sing.
*You play the guitar, I ask Tino
*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
*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 together.it'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
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
Tom:We haven't.But you have forgotten to bring some girls from Greece
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.
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
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'
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 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.
PRAYING MANTIS won't have to eat in greasy cafes any more when they're out on
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
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?
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.
LET US PRAY
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 <RTY891@WACCVM.corp.mot.com> 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
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
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
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
10/10 Tom Coyne