Frontiers Records 2018 Hard Rock/AOR/Melodic Hard Rock
Praying Mantis have always managed to deftly tread the line between melodic hard rock and hard rock, achieving fame by attaching themselves to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Due to this, the band soon found themselves mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Tygers of Pan Tang. 35 years on and since their reformation in 2008, the band has continued to fly the flag for British rock and metal attracting fans of the genre both old and new.
‘G.R.A.V.I.T.Y.’ is the latest album by the London hard rock veterans and immediately it shows the level of experience behind the band. This is a raw experience, the sort of skill that is only earned in the trenches of playing dive bars and endless low-key concerts, but because of this, ‘G.R.A.V.I.T.Y.’ comes equipped with an integrity that cannot be bought but is earned. Although the album is not initially grabbing, it does not have that raw, quasi-live feel that a lot of younger bands are channelling with a style that automatically pulls you in, ‘G.R.A.V.I.T.Y.’ does come with an excellent smooth production, which serves to emphasise the maturity behind this album showing that that the band know their audience well and what is expected of them.
Fortunately for ‘G.R.A.V.I.T.Y.’, this album is insidious, it works covertly and once stuck with, it is utterly enjoyable and impressive. It has all the AOR and melodic feel of Magnum, crossed with the fun and memorability of Journey, the latter of which is certainly alluded to during ‘The Last Summer’. Furthermore, vocalist, John Cuijpers shows his pedigree and versatility throughout, switching effortlessly between styles, from a beautiful Steve Perry clean soar, to a raspy and much more raw approach which brings back memories of a young Ronnie James Dio in his Elf and early Rainbow days.
One of the only downsides to ‘G.R.A.V.I.T.Y.’ is that although the production is slick, during a few tracks, particularly the outro to the title track, the snare drum is so crisp and clear that it stands out well above the other instruments, eventually becoming annoying. However, when this is one of the only complaints of this album, it shows how good of an album that Praying Mantis have released. ‘G.R.A.V.I.T.Y.’ is a decent album, it is a definite grower which becomes more endearing with each listen.
Rating : 80/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann