If anything this EP is a great reminder of just how good some of the NWOBHM bands were and continue to be. The name PRAYING MANTIS might not resonate much with the many readers of THE METAL OBSERVER, but in their heyday of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, they had a pedigree for espousing the virtues of good Melodic Metal. A thing they did very well.
So now thirty years on and after many ups, downs and a revolving door of personnel, PRAYING MANTIS has decided to re-record five of their best known(?) songs and package it as a budget release. You could find a lot worse to spend a few quid on.
PRAYING MANTIS shot to the fore with their now deemed classic album ‘’Time Tells No Lies’’; three of the tracks, ‘’Children Of The Earth,’, ‘’Lovers To The Grave,’’ and ‘’Panic In The Streets’’ are lifted from that 1981 offering, with a bit of spit and polish applied. The band's signature song ‘’Praying Mantis’’ is lifted from the group’s debut single and ‘’Captured City’’ is cherry picked from the legendary ‘’Metal For Muthas’’ long player.
There’s a real charm to these songs and with the excellent voice of Mike Freeland fronting the band, each track has a new lease of life. Granted they still sound like NWOBHM songs with an updated production but that detracts little from the quality.
Opener ‘’Children Of The Earth’’ cruises through early MAIDEN with the savvy choruses of SAXON. ‘’Praying Mantis’’ has that THIN LIZZY swagger and punch perhaps with a touch of US Melodic Rock injection. ‘’Lovers To The Grave’’ is pure PINK FLOYD. From start to finish. It’s a dreamy ballad, languid and absorbing, showing that the band could offer some level of musicality outside the chug of Melodic Metal. ‘’Panic In The Streets’’ is a standard blast of well crafted Hard Rock with overtones of RAINBOW leaving the Metal-ized ‘’Captured City’’ to complement a thoroughly valued release.
There might have been many incarnations of PRAYING MANTIS and their stock has or was never anywhere near that of IRON MAIDEN or even DIAMOND HEAD, but praise where praise is due as ‘’Metalmorphosis’’ is a cracking five tracker and available directly from the band via their web site.
(Online May 27, 2011)