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Praying Mantis - 'Time Tells No Lies' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/77/84/a1/2190_PrayingMantisTimeTellsNoLies_1337097253.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 15, 2012    
 
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Great to see this much ignored tome get to bask in the limelight once again.

A band who like Grand Prix (click here to read the album review) weren’t necessarily the best fit in terms of the standard NWOBHM business model, Praying Mantis were one of a handful of hopefuls trailing in the wake of Iron Maiden and Def Leppard who really should have gone on to achieve far more success than they actually did. Built around the backbone of the Troy brothers (Tino on guitar, Chris on bass/vocals), Praying Mantis had roots that went back to the early 70’s; years of fine tuning the band line up and schlepping around the same gig circuit as Iron Maiden turning them into a real force to reckoned with by the time the NWOBHM began to break through to the mainstream in ’79. Yet whilst they had plenty of the same invigorating post punk spirit that epitomised much of the movement in those early days, theirs was a far more subtle and refined attack drawing its influences from the likes of Thin Lizzy and Wishbone Ash.

Courted by many of the majors before signing with Arista (who to be honest had little experience of and even less of a clue what to do with a rock act), their Tim Friese-Green (of Touch fame) produced debut ‘Time Tells No Lies’ made a respectable showing on the charts and garnered generally positive reviews from a press increasingly receptive to a scene which crackled with youthful energy.

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As a fan avidly scouring the racks for anything new back then, Praying Mantis stood out for a couple of reasons. Firstly the Rodney Matthews designed cover stood out a country mile over anything else at the time (even Maiden), and still ranks as one of the best the genre has ever produced. Secondly, once you got it home and stuck the needle in the groove, their music had a sophistication and sheen most contemporaries would never emulate. Aside from The Kinks’ cover ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ (completely unnecessary and arguably the dullest song Ray Davies ever wrote in my opinion), tracks such as the urgent ‘Flirting With Suicide’, strutting opener ‘Cheated’, haunting ‘Children Of The Earth’ or smouldering ‘Lovers To The Grave’ showcased a band with the potential to transcend rigid genre boundaries and take their message to a huge audience (America especially looked a formality). Characterised by plenty of layered vocal harmonies (a Friese-Green trademark) and intricate riffs, ‘Time Tells No Lies’ still stands out as one that got away.

Fully remastered and presented with five additional bonus cuts (not to mention Malcolm Dome’s informative sleeve notes), it’s great to see this much ignored tome get to bask in the limelight once again.

Dave Cockett

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