One of the longest running and most beloved of the initial wave of the NWOBHM bands to emerge from the UK, Praying Mantis indeed have a rich 'legacy', so it's more than appropriate that their brand new album for Frontiers Records, and tenth overall, is titled Legacy. It's also the first album with new members John Cuijpers (vocals) and Hans in 't Zandt (drums), who join Tino Troy (guitars, vocals), Chris Toy (bass, vocals) and Andy Burgess (guitars, vocals). If you've loved this band since their stellar debut Time Tells No Lies on Arista Records back in 1981, you'll be pleased to know the bands blend of soaring AOR hooks with tasty twin guitar fueled hard rock & metal is ever present, and Legacy is easily their best album in many years.
You know you are in for an enjoyable ride after taking one look at the glorious Rodney Matthews cover art, but it doesn't end there, as the band delivers a stunning 1-2-3 punch to kick off the album with the anthemic "Fight for Your Honour", the catchy hard rocker "The One", and the absolutely soaring melodic rock with a touch of prog on "Believable". Alluring keyboards and tasty twin guitar harmonies permeate the lush, hook laden "Tokyo", while Cuijpers puts on a show with his powerful vocals on the melodic "Better Man". In fact, the singer is easily the MVP of Legacy, as he never fails to impress with his wide range and ability to deliver those catchy hooks on each and every song here. Just listen to those heart melting melodies on the crisp rocker "All I See", his more aggressive, histrionic tone on the searing "Eyes of a Child", or his potent, commanding passages on the energetic "Against the World", where he almost sounds like a young, hungry Joey Tempest of Europe fame. Other standout tracks on the album include the more progressive "Fallen Angel", the heavy rocker "The Runner", and the crunchy yet passionate "Second Time Around", each one filled with tasty guitar work and soaring vocals.
Honestly, if Legacy came out in 1985, we'd potentially be talking about how soon Praying Mantis would become one of the biggest bands in the world. This is world class AOR/melodic rock of the highest order, with just enough hard rock muscle, adventurous prog, and heavy metal might thrown into the mix to snag any listener who is somewhat on the fence with the whole 'melodic rock' tag. Praying Mantis have returned in a big, big way, and their glorious 'legacy' continues.
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01.Fight for Your Honour
06.All I See
07.Eyes of a Child
09.Against the World
11.Second Time Around