I was introduced for the first time to Praying Mantis by a friend who gave me their debut Time Tells No Lies, as a gift back in 1981. Since then I have followed the band and I have to admit that Praying Mantis was one of the first bands that really caught my interest and passion for hard rock/metal.
With Sanctuary they sound better than ever, and with a new strong line-up they sound tight and delicate in every direction.
The album open with In Time, a classic Praying Mantis song of the finest mark! An up-tempo catchy song with a fine melody and huge choruses. The new singer Mike Freeland is in my opinion the best singer that have been in Praying Mantis since the start.
A good example on this we get with the next tune Restless Heart. A more melodic hard rock oriented song with a strong melody and rememberable chorus parts with really strong vocals. Not so many of the bands are left from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal period, so it pleases me to know that we still have a band like Praying Mantis going on stronger than ever!
Tears In The Rain is a more blues oriented rocker, the guitars and instrumentation sounds really great the first seconds. A melodic fine tune that builds up to a bit rougher chorus parts. I like the steady and tight rhythm in this, and the keys and guitars throughout will get your attention.
So High is one of the songs that reminded me most of the early work from Praying Mantis. It has something with the way it is built, the fast rhythm and the way the instruments are played take me back to the early days.
Turn The Tide is a fine ballad and also the first Video from the album. A diamond of a song with strong vocals and you will easily find yourself singing to this fine tune after some rounds in the player.
Touch The Rainbow opens with fine played drums and guitars. A bit more advanced song, but still with the melodic and catchy intact. A classic hard rock song with all the right ingredients, great vocals, steady rhythm, great played guitars and a rememberable chorus.
Threshold Of A Dream opens slow with nice guitar playing before it kicks of with a faster tempo. The instrumental part is delicate with nice played guitars, and the vocals from Mike takes the song to a great level.
Playing God sounds partly more experimental in a way, but what a fine song this is! A song that grow for each listening and that keep me as listener interested with great variety from song to song.
Highway is a straight forward melodic rock/ hard rock oriented song. A strong radio friendly song that easily get stuck in your head.
The last song the title track Sanctuary is maybe the most metal oriented song on the album. A perfect song to end the album that eminently sums up all the styles from Praying Mantis.
So for all fans and to new fans of Praying Mantis, run and buy one of the finest releases so far this year in this genre!
Praying Mantis is:
Mike Freeland – Vocals
Andy Burgess – Guitar, voc
Tino Troy – Guitar, voc
Chris Troy – Bass, guitar, voc
Benjy Reid – Drums