Praying Mantis – Legacy (Frontiers)

Genre: Melodic Rock/Metal

Even at their peak – perhaps unfairly so – Praying Mantis were never anything more than the nearly men of the NWOBHM. Their AOR-tinged metal was too limp for fans of Maiden and Saxon but at their heaviest the band struck fear into Journey and Boston acolytes.

Caught between two stools – and brutally overshadowed by Rainbow when both bands recorded I Surrender but only one enjoyed global acclaim – the Praying Mantis story is one of missed opportunities and what might have been.

So does the band’s second album for Frontiers offer a different slant on a largely despondent tale?

Listening to Legacy it appears Praying Mantis were a band out of time. This is a superb collection of cutting edge modern metal tracks bristling with passion and pride.

New frontman John ‘Jaycee’ Cuijpers veers between classic Dio and Biff Byford as he delivers a vocal tour de force – comfortably straddling the genres at the heart of Mantis’s trademark sound.

With the Troy brothers still driving the band forward at full throttle, Fight For Your Honour, Tokyo (replete with an Eastern-tinged guitar solo) and All I See are exceptional additions to an underrated back catalogue.

Forty years in and Praying Mantis finally have a career-defining record on their hands. Simon Rushworth

RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Praying For Success