Praying Mantis


Praying Mantis (2003)

Praying Mantis: The Journey continues for one of the UK's longest running hard rock acts..

Chris Troy talks about the band's new singers, new songs and dealing with life in 2003.

Hi Chris…This album was recorded after the departure of vocalist Tony O'Hara. How did that originally come about? What were the circumstances leading up to his departure?
It is quite a long story but basically like all singers, they get too big for their boots and eventually start making excessive demands.
We really did try to salvage the band but I think when he moved from London to Birmingham the death knell was already sounding. Sometimes geography like that does make things very difficult.
On top of that there was talk from him for the requirement for big money and the band got sick and tired of it just was not worth the hassle.

You have used the band members and two guest vocalists for the album - how was the process behind selecting those sings undertaken?
Mainly because there is some history there. John worked with Dennis when he was in Lionheart a number of years ago and he told Tino and me what a great voice he had.
I certainly could not disagree with that view after hearing him sing.
Doogie White (more commonly associated with Yngwie) also shared some history with Mantis when he did a tour of Japan with us some 11 to 12 years ago.
We have often looked forward to getting his great voice an album.
I think the combination is great and it certainly gives a different feel.

And how did you select what songs would suit which singer?
Both of them have great ranges and in the end I don't think it was a case of matching the song to the singer, I think either could have sung any song on the album. In truth I don't think there is a favourite as each vocalist showed their merits on each of the songs and did an admirable job.

Did you consider replacing Tony with a new permanent lead singer?
Time will tell. As you may know we have had more singers than hot dinners and I often wonder if that trend will ever cease.
Contrary to what people might think, we are so easy to work with and I think this is just a case of extreme bad luck!!!!!. Future singers, I just don't know, we'll see what's drawn out the hat!!.

Will you do this for the next album, or continue with the guest singers policy?
That is a definite possibility as there are few complications and the result can be just as satisfying.
In some ways I think we have had our stint of awkward vocalists that have the world constantly spinning around them.

The last album was a big hit in Asia and Europe - critically acclaimed much pressure was on the band to try and top that effort?
There is always pressure to better any album you do. And it will go on in the same manner. I personally rate this album higher because of the pressure we were under in many respects and the pure emotion that is evident in a number of the songs.
They may take a few more times listening to get the full impact, but then I think it is the fact that when songs grow on you too quickly you can also tire of them equally as quickly.

I'll be honest with you (as you can always read my review if I lie to you) I prefer the last album - in fact, it's my favorite of all your albums. Are landmark albums impossible to follow up on?
No, because each of us are different and there are so many factors to consider. We have had as many people say they prefer this album to the last , but then again there a re a huge number that still prefer the original "Time Tells No Lies"!!!!

Who will you tour with if you play some shows this year?
It's still a little early to know at this stage as things like this are all about timing and of course finance!

What's next for Praying Mantis?
Well if I had a crystal ball I would try to answer this one....but I really don't know. We have been to hell and back and survived so if the going gets a little easier there may be a bit left in us yet. Wisdom is a virtue indeed!

The band has been going a long time now - they have a great history. What differences do you find between working in the music business in 2003 compared with 1993 and 1983?
In 2003 there is immense pressure now and truthfully it is that much harder. There is very little meat on the bone as far as record companies go and I feel sorry for the up and coming bands as to make it now is really a great deal harder now than it was in 1983.
Aspects such as CDR and MP3 are certainly killing the business and I cannot see what can now be introduced that can possibly stop the rot.
In the early 90's there was still a good vibe in the industry and really it gave us a second bite of the apple where we kicked off again in Japan.

Anything you would have done differently if you had the chance to go back?
Obviously every one wants the chance of being a really really big star; I think anyone that disputes that is a liar.
Even for a short space in time it must be good to feel that you are that little bit special even if it a simple thing like being in a band. We are on this planet for such a short period of time, it is not a crime to indulge and want to have such a feeling.
I suppose in some ways we got very close but it didn't quite happen just because of a few crucial things our management company (at the time ) didn't do. I wish we could go back and change those few little things.

Can you tell us a little about each song on the new album….
The Escape
- This about a man who lives a very mundane existence in both his job and life in general. However he manages to have very vivid dreams in which he becomes a main character, even a hero saving the world. The dreams gradually become more life like and absorbing , and here he dreams of a takeover of the world by alien beings. Each dream is accompanied by reality and he realises that real life is quickly slipping away.

Tonight - This is about a prophet who foresees many tragedies in the world and ultimately sees his own death.

The Journey Goes On - About the struggles of life , overcoming its many hurdles and looking for the ultimate goal that most will never find.

Silent War - This is about a country gradually losing its identity, nationalism and history by a gradual dilution of its race (immigration, etc )

Beast Within - Revolves around a murder that occurred in the UK a number of years ago. A young child was abducted ,tortured and murdered by two older children. They were later released and given new identities. The statement made in the song is that the extent of evil shown at that age cannot be removed through any is inherent to the way the are and will always be!.

Hold on for Love - When certain people in life can take away the pains and make life worth living.

If Tomorrow Never Comes - Dedicated to my father. Its about returning to the place you were born and going through the various childhood memories knowing that life is nearing its conclusion.

Lost World - This song is about the future when man has found a way to travel in time though the earth was eventually destroyed through a series of catastrophic events. A craft has gone back in time in an attempt to change the events of history.

The Voice - About a young girl that is born into a life of drugs and hard living and desperately tries to escape, however eventually the roots that she was brought up in are too powerful and eventually take control of her life and her final demise.

Naked - (Dedicated to Tinos daughter who has lost at birth ) . This is a powerful song and lyrics of how a family comes to terms with such a loss and the extreme traumas created by such a tragedy.

Thanks for your time Chris!


PRAYING MANTIS Live Album 'Keep It Alive' Out December 6

Friday, December 6, 2019
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Recorded live at Frontiers Rock Festival V in Milan, Italy on April 28, 2018, this brand new live release shows PRAYING MANTIS offering the crowd a setlist of new songs and several classic tracks, including selected cuts from the now legendary debut album, “Time Tells No Lies". An awesome release, showcasing the repertoire of one of the most consistent British hard rock bands around.
Originally formed in 1973 by the Troy brothers, Tino and Chris, Praying Mantis became one of the most influential bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). The band is also one of a very small number of bands from that era to have remained an ongoing concern over the intervening years, and to still record and appear live regularly. The debut Praying Mantis album, “Time Tells No Lies” (Arista) was released in 1981 to critical acclaim, and it remains a significant milestone in the history of NWOBHM. Following a short-lived reformation of most of the original line-up of Praying Mantis in 1987, the band went back on hiatus until offered the chance to play in Japan with ex-Iron Maiden members Paul Di’Anno and Dennis Stratton in 1990. This experience injected new life into the band, and also marked the beginning of a productive 15 year partnership with Dennis Stratton. 
The band’s second official studio album, “Predator in Disguise” was released in 1991, and the band have continued to write and release new material every two to three years ever since, with a shifting line-up which has featured the likes of Doogie White, Gary Barden, Bernie Shaw, Bruce Bisland, Mike Freeland, Gary Mackenzie, and many other figures from the cream of Britain’s rock fraternity. Following another major change in line-up (including the departure of Dennis Stratton), Praying Mantis signed with Frontiers in 2007 and recorded the album “Sanctuary”, which was released in 2009. The album, considered to be one of the finest of their career, has received consistently positive reviews, as have the follow-ups, "Legacy" and "Gravity”.
Whether gigging in support of their latest releases, writing new material, or re-visiting other songs from their extensive back-catalogue, the Troy brothers, along with guitarist Andy Burgess and newest recruits, John 'Jaycee' Cuijpers on vocals and Hans In T' Zandt on drums and vocals, remain committed to the blend of melody and power in their music that has become a trademark of the Praying Mantis sound, and, some three decades after forming, the band is still completely dedicated to entertaining a seemingly ever-growing army of fans across the globe.
Check out Praying Mantis live on tour:
Wed 6th November - The Cavern Freehouse, London
Thurs 7th November - The Brickies, Norwich
Fri 8th November - Hard Rock Hell XIII
Sat 9th November - Classic Rock Weekender, London
Sat 30th November - WinterStorm XiX, Troon, Scotland
1. Captured City 
2. Panic In The Streets
3. Highway 
4. Believable 
5. Keep It Alive 
6. Mantis Anthem
7. Dream On
8. Fight For Your Honour
9. Time Slipping Away
10. Children Of The Earth
John 'Jaycee’ Cuijpers - lead vocals
Andy Burgess - guitars
Tino Troy - guitars and vocals
Chris Troy - bass guitar and vocals
Hans In T’ Zandt - drums

PRAYING MANTIS Back With New 'Gravity' May 11

Friday, May 11, 2018
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Praying Mantis are pleased to announce their 11th studio album, ‘Gravity’. After the positive reception afforded to the band's last studio release, ’Legacy' (2015), the new record sees the band return with another inspired, take-no-prisoners set. Out May 11.
The album also sees Mantis retain the same line-up, with John Cuijpers (vocals) and Hans in’t Zandt (drums) again contributing to the songwriting process. Alongside founder members Tino Troy, Chris Troy and Andy Burgess, they have not only helped in the writing of the songs, but also in providing a new dimension in terms of sound engineering and overall production. 
One of the most influential and well known sleeve artists in the rock field, Rodney Matthews (Magnum, Diamond Head, Allen/Lande), has been commissioned to design the artwork for ‘Gravity’ in the same style and stunning quality that so many fans loved on Mantis albums such as ‘Time Tells No Lies’, ‘Predator In Disguise’ and the aforementioned ‘Legacy’.
Praying Mantis are a well established band of melodic hard rockers. They were formed by brothers Tino and Chris Troy in 1973 and, together with bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon, they spearheaded the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement of the late ’70’s. While they did not attain the same dizzying heights of success as some of their contemporaries, they nonetheless became one of the most influential bands in the genre. The band has remained active over the years and still record and play live regularly.
Praying Mantis will perform at the annual Frontiers Rock Festival in Milan, Italy on 28th April. 

John Cuijpers : lead vocals
Tino Troy : guitars & vocals
Chris Troy : bass & vocals
Andy Burgess : guitars & vocals
Hans in ’t Zandt : drums

R.I.P STEVE CARROLL (Former Praying Mantis Guitarist)

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It is with great sadness that we have to relay the tragic news regarding the passing of Steve Carroll, former guitarist with Praying Mantis (latter Little Bo Bitch) whose tasteful licks, melodic tones and fine voice graced the highly acclaimed album, ‘TIME TELLS NO LIES’. This statement was released by his sister Amanda Gilby:
“My brother Steve Carroll Sadly died on the 2nd of August 2015 after a long battle with ill health.he enjoyed life and partied hard sadly just a little too hard and it took its toll. He had lots of good stories to tell of good times playing in the band and will be sadly missed by all his family and friends x”
Time indeed tells no lies Steve and your legacy will continue to live through your tremendous contribution to the band. Thank you for everything. Our hearts go out to your family, friends and fans and may you Rest In Peace
You can read the comprehensive interview with Steve in 1999 here
R.I.P Steve.

PRAYING MANTIS - Legacy (Review)

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Fight For Your Honor
The One
Better Man
All I See
The Runner
Against The World
Produced By: 
Tino Troy & Andy Burgess
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Musical Style: 
Melodic Hard Rock
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There’s nothing better than seeing heritage acts such as Praying Mantis, delivering brilliant albums after all these years. Active since the 70s, this is the band’s 10th studio record and first since 2009.
There’s been many a lineup change over the years; the band now features the quite unbelievable vocalist Jaycee Cuijpers, who channels Jorn Lande and Ronnie James Dio in his powerhouse performance.
I’m all about the vocals, so this effort has blown me away. Jaycee is here to stay and it’s no surprise to see within his past credits, a stint in a Dio tribute band.
The band are calling this one of their ever albums and I can’t find a reason to disagree.
The songs are thoroughly enjoyable, suitably heavy, but also quite commercial.
The excellent opening track Fight For Your Honor is classic NWOBHM; but immediately following is a beautiful melodic, almost AOR number in The One. The vocals here are especially enjoyable. I can see a solo AOR album in Jaycee’s future.
The ghost of Ronnie James Dio is back for the rocker Believable; while Tokyo is surprisingly melodic once again before turning ultra-moody for Better Man.
All I See is another wonderfully melodic mid-tempo anthem with a commercial chorus you’d more often see on a Magnum album.
The Runner is a great fast moving melodic rocker with some shredding guitar soloing towards the end of the track.
Against The World is again more catchy than you’d expect while the album closes out with the double time stomper Second Time Around.

Old or new to the world of British rockers Praying Mantis, this is worth checking out folks. They look heavier than they sound – especially on this record – crossing over from hard rock into melodic rock with ease and back into rock mode.
It’s a very fine album featuring a very fine new singer.

PRAYING MANTIS Add To Their 'Legacy' August 21

Friday, August 21, 2015
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PRAYING MANTIS are finally ready to unleash their tenth studio album, “Legacy” via Frontiers Records on August 21 in Europe and North America.
The early reactions to the new songs have been outstanding and there is a real buzz beginning to emerge that this could arguably be the best album that Mantis have ever made! Bold words to be sure, but this is more than mere record label hyperbole.....
“Legacy” is the first recording to feature the two new members, Jaycee Cuijpers and Hans in’t Zandt (vocals and drums respectively), who have truly provided a new dimension to the writing process and musical performances. Together with guitarists Tino Troy and Andy Burgess, they have been instrumental not only in the writing of the new songs, but in providing a new vision in terms of the sound engineering and production. The recording of the album was carried out in various recording studios in Belgium, Netherlands and UK.
As per the previous record, “Sanctuary”, the mixing of the new album was done by Andrew Riley in his studio in Atlanta. The first single, “Fight For Your Honour” will be accompanied by a video shot while the band performed the song for the first time at their acclaimed performance at the Frontiers Rock Festival II in Milan, Italy.
One of the most influential and famous artists in the rock field, Rodney Matthews (Magnum, Diamond Head, Allen/Lande) has been commissioned to do the artwork for the album in the same style and stunning quality that so many fans loved on the original Mantis albums like “Time Tells No Lies” and the later album “Predator In Disguise”.
Praying Mantis are a well-established band of melodic hard rockers. They were formed by brothers Tino and Chris Troy in 1973 and together with bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, and others they spearheaded the NWOBHM movement. While they did not see the same dizzying heights of success as some of their contemporaries, Praying Mantis nonetheless became one of THE most influential bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). The band has remained active over the years and still record and play live regularly.
Praying Mantis are: John Cuijpers – Lead Vocals, Tino Troy – Guitars & Vocals, Chris Troy – Bass & Vocals, Andy Burgess – Guitars + Vocals, Hans in ‘t Zandt – Drums
Check out an EPK of the album here:
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