|Praying Mantis Sanctuary||Frontiers Records|
Definitely not what I was expecting. I didn't even recognize the band for a while. Praying Mantis have turned in a very solid album here bordering on commercial in nature – mixing hard rock elements with more straight ahead melodic rock and even some AOR melodies – albeit delivered with a more powerful base.|
The band is another act with a long rich history – one with different selection of lead vocalists and other musicians along the way. But they are still here. The founding Troy Brothers are still the foundation of the band, so the direction is not going to be too unfamiliar to long time fans.
Mike Freeland is the new vocalist, who suits the tone of the new music. He should – he had a major hand in writing a lot of it.
The band retains that British hard rock vibe, but the smooth nature of the vocals and the albums overall production will see some crossover appear here from the USA and other areas.
There are some truly memorable hooks embedded within this album – none better than the acoustic driven rocker Restless Heart. The fast tempo So High motors along before the tempo changes for the slower, sentimental ballad Lonely Way Home which features a great lead vocal and chorus.
Fans of NWOBHM will still find plenty here to love – such as the trilogy of fast and furious classic rock themed tracks Touch The Rainbow, Threshold Of A Dream and Playing God.
Highway is a touch of melodic brilliance, with a real AOR heart, big chorus and singalong lyric.
Closing the album is the more progressive Sanctuary, adding some grit to proceedings.
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