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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Praying Mantis - 2003 The Journey Goes On
Praying Mantis - 2003 The Journey Goes On

ARTIST: Praying Mantis
ALBUM: The Journey Goes On
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2003


LINEUP: Tino Troy - guitars, vocals, keyboards * Dennis Stratton - guitars, vocals * Chris Troy - vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guests: John Sloman - vocals * Doogie White - vocals * Martin Johnson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tonight * 02 The Escape * 03 The Journey Goes On * 04 Silent War * 05 Beast Within * 06 Hold On For Love * 07 If Tomorrow Never Comes * 08 Lost World * 09 The Voice * 10 Naked (new version)


Since the 2001 departure of vocalist Tony O'Hora and drummer Bruce Bisland, Praying Mantis have been reduced to the trio of the Troy brothers (both founding members) plus Dennis Stratton, a member since 1990. Their last album, 2000's 'Nowhere To Hide' was released to some acclaim, Mantis adapting their previous NWOBHM sound to a more melodic metal variety, an approach which takes precedent on 'The Journey Goes On'. Instead of using one lead vocalist Mantis hired seasoned pro's John Sloman (Lone Star, Uriah Heep) and Doogie White (Rainbow, Brazen Abbot, Cornerstone) to contribute their talents to seven of the ten tracks. Sloman features on three and White five, a better pair you couldn't find. At nearly sixty minutes it's a lengthy listen, but there's sufficient melody to maintain interest, although any old timer expecting another 'Captured City' might find little to savour here, Mantis abandoning that style back in the 80's.

The Songs
In many respects 'The Journey Goes On' mirrors Uriah Heep's 1998 'Sonic Origami', with long compositions heading in an often pompish direction, with an abundance of keyboard use and quieter acoustic moments on occasion. Sloman appears on opener 'Tonight', as well as 'Beast Within' and 'The Voice'. 'Tonight' is a subtle mixture of synth-guitar interplay, with classy harmonies. It's near AOR with a heavy edge with Tino Troy's production being crystal clear. Stunning pomp keyboards greet the listener at the onset of 'Beast Within', remaining constant throughout, shades of progressive metal indeed. Stratton's distinctive guitar harmonics are displayed prominently on 'The Voice', a nice counterpart to some brazen keyboard work. Doogie White takes part in the most accessible track, the blazing AOR of 'Hold On For Love', a direction which unfortunately is not explored further. Typically British in execution, it's not too far off from Heartland's 2002 effort 'Communication Down'. Three of White's contributions, 'The Escape', 'Silent War' and 'Lost World' go the same way as the Sloman's cuts.. epic, with winding tangents, 'Lost World' in particular delivering some searing duelling guitar passages. White's 'Naked' is uncredited on the album sleeve, a basic hard rock affair, with some harder riffing and thrilling chord exchanges. The Troys and Stratton all assume vocals for the title track, while Chris Troy coughs up for 'If Tomorrow Never Comes', a slower, half acoustic ballad, with a passable chorus.

In Summary
The album requires some effort to decipher, with most songs running over five minutes. The end result is a professionally handled example of modern melodic metal, which fortunately doesn't sound dated. The implementation of different vocalists adds a diverse touch to the sound, but the AOR factor should have been touched on more throroughly perhaps, as Mantis sounds right at home during the brief moments it's hinted at. A worthwhile album though, with a touch of everything for any fan of melodic rock/metal in general. Due for release at the end of April, this should see Mantis continue their recent run of success.

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