Forgotten Realms: ‘Metalmorphosis’ review

Praying Mantis – Metalmorphosis – Praying Mantis – 2011 [ CD ]
Praying Mantis - Metalmorphosis - Praying Mantis - 2011 [ CD ]
1. Children Of The Earth 2010
2. Praying Mantis 2010
3. Lovers To The Grave 2010
4. Panic In The Streets 2010
5. Captured City 2010 

Lineup: Chris Troy – Bass & Vocals Tino Troy – Guitars & Vocals Andy Burgess – Guitars Benjy Reid – Drums Mike Freeland – Vocals

Mantis are back! In February the 21th 2011 Praying Mantis released this special limited edition EP “Metalmorphosis” to celebrate 30 years since the release of their critically acclaimed Album “Time Tells No Lies” and include 5 songs some of which are from the original album re-recorded by the current Mantis line up. The songs the band have chosen are: 1. Children of The Earth 2010, 2. Praying Mantis 2010, 3. Lovers to the Grave 2010, 4. Panic in the Streets 2010, 5. Captured City 2010. All these tracks have been completely re-recorded. The band is: Chris Troy – Bass & Vocals, Tino Troy – Guitars & Vocals, Andy Burgess – Guitars, Benjy Reid – Drums, Mike Freeland – Vocals. 

Metalmorphosis features three songs from 1981 debut album “Time Tells No Lies” (“Children of the Earth,” “Lovers to the Grave” and “Panic in the Streets”), the song “Praying Mantis” from the band’s second single (Praying Mantis – out in 1980) and finally the song “Captured City” that appeared on the band’s actual first single that was called “Soundhouse Tapes Part 2” or “Captured City” and was basically released for promotional reasons in 1980 as well, the track is also featured on the original NWOBHM compilation “Metal for Muthas” (and yes before you ask the first part of the Soundhouse Tapes was the recording that brought Iron Maiden to the daylight).

Well I am sure that all the Praying Mantis fans are aware of those classic tunes, but ok anybody can ask: How the new versions sound like? The answer is simple: the new versions sound great. The -now veterans- Mantis return back to their early stuff and re record it, offering new powerful and passionate versions of the selected songs. I enjoyed very much hearing the great voice of Mike freeland on the new versions and yes the melodic double guitar attack by Tino Troy and Andy Burgess puts real fire into the songs.

My two favorites from this release are the songs “Captured City”: a magical song that has a slight pomp touch, enforced with melodic guitars and vocals and that in its new version sound even more impressive to my ears. Well listening to this song again and again I understand why it was difficult for this band could never be putted totally into the NWOBHM genre, simply because their music was something more than NWOBHM stuff and this tune that was released before their debut was -and still is- a big proof. The classic “Lovers To The Grave” is my other favorite and I guess there is no need for further explanations: it is one of the greater songs that the band has ever written and its new version is simply outstanding.

“Metalmorphosis” is available from the band’s web site and at the anniversary shows Praying Mantis are playing across Europe this year.

The band have also released “Children of the Earth 2011” from the 30th Anniversary EP “Metalmorphosis” as a download and are donating all profits in aid of the Red Cross Tsunami Appeal to help with the relief effort. Here is their statement: “Without our Japanese fans, we would have no 30th Anniversary. We have been monitoring the news of the Japanese tragedy with great sadness. We are all lost for words and we pray for all the people of Japan.” You can order it by clicking here.

Review by: Countraven