Praying Mantis: Legacy

The NWOBHM survivors’ tenth album.

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Some 35 years after the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was at its peak, the two biggest bands to emerge from that scene are still doing big business: Iron Maiden’s The Book Of Souls has recently been a huge hit around the world, and Def Leppard’s new album is to be followed by a UK arena tour.

In this context, a new release from Praying Mantis is no more than a footnote. Like Diamond Head, Praying Mantis were among the nearly men of the NWOBHM. But what remains, on their tenth album Legacy, are the essential qualities that made their 1981 debut Time Tells No Lies a cult favourite, if not quite a lost classic.

The band’s founding members, brothers Tino and Chris Troy, have always favoured a melodic approach to hard rock. This is present in new songs such as Fight For Your Honour and The One. And the new Mantis singer, a large and hairy Dutchman named John ‘Jaycee’ Cuijpers, has plenty of gusto.

For all that, Legacy is merely a solid album. Good, yes, but not great. With Praying Mantis it was always so.

Paul Elliott

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”