Praying Mantis
Metalmorphosis (30th Anniversary EP)
Release date: 21 February, 2011
Playing time: 27:35

British rockers Praying Mantis were part of the NWOBHM craze that swept the nation in the late '70s/early '80s. Formed in 1974 by the Troy brothers (Chris-bass/vocals, Tino-gutars/vocals), Praying Mantis' harmonized dual vocals and melodic AOR elements set them apart from the then up and coming NWOBHM bands such as Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and Samson.

The band’s history is kind of a letdown, though. After gaining much success and notoriety with their inclusion of "Captured City" on the famed 1980 Metal for Muthas compilation album, and their successful 1981 debut album, Time Tells No Lies, they fell off the face of the earth, until reforming in 1990.

Commemorating their 30th anniversary of Time Tells No Lies, a selected few songs on Metalmorphosis 30th anniversary EP get a slight facelift. They were re-recorded by the current Mantis lineup, also including drummer Benjy Reid, guitarist Andy Burgess and vocalist Mike Freeland. The five songs that make up the special limited edition EP are from the Time Tells No Lies album, with the exception of "Praying Mantis" and "Captured City."

The new versions are a little slicker and with a better production, bringing a more robust and modern sound to them. But the Catch 22 is, even though they sound good, most of the songs lose that nostalgic, original appeal with the updated studio modernizations.

On the newer version of "Children of the Earth," the most noticeable difference is the different drum fills at the beginning, as well as the extended guitar solo, which is cleaner and sharper. The updated version is almost a minute longer even though the pace is slightly a little slower.

"Lovers to the Grave" has a slightly different beginning and a less pronounced bass line, but crisper guitar picking and a better drum tone. "Panic in the Streets" is more beefier with a rawer edge, more upbeat and stylistic. It's slightly slower, but the intro drum fill is heavier and the chorus is more ballsier. "Captured City" was such a great classic Praying Mantis song, it was pretty much their signature song. The new version has a heavier dynamic to it with a stronger sounding chorus.

The new versions have a more modern and updated sound, with a new life injected into them. But, I think this album is strictly for die hard fans only. If you're just discovering Praying Mantis for the first time, Metalmorphosis will whet your appetite, then seek out the original Time Tells No Lies or Metal for Muthas compilation album and then decide for yourself if the newer versions are better or not.


01. Children of the Earth
02. Praying Mantis
03. Lovers to the Grave
04. Panic in the Streets
05. Captured City

Label: Praying Mantis
Promotion: Rock 'n' Growl
Reviewed by: Kelley Simms
Date: 5 February, 2011