Junction>>PRAYING MANTIS - UK

Time Tells No Lies – 1981 – Arista
Live At Last – 1990 – Pony Canyon
Predator In Disguise – 1991 – Pony Canyon
A Cry For The New World – 1993 – Pony Canyon
To The Power Of Ten – 1995 – Pony Canyon
Captured Alive In Tokyo City – 1996 – Pony Canyon
Forever In Time – 1998 – Pony Canyon
Nowhere To Hide – 2000 – Pony Canyon
The Journey Goes On – 2003 – Pony Canyon
Sanctuary – 2009 - Frontiers
Legacy – 2015 – Frontiers
Gravity – 2018 - Frontiers
Keep It Alive! – 2019 - Frontiers
Katharsis – 2022 - Frontiers
Defiance - Frontiers - 2024

Praying Mantis image
  
 
Members
Vocals
Stratus>>TINO TROY [TINO NEOPHYTOU]>>Stratus – Stratus>>CHRIS TROY [CHRIS NEOPHYTOU]>>Stratus – Bird Of Prey, Iron Maiden>>Paul Di’Anno>>Lone Wolf, Solo, Nomad, Shanghai Tyger, Battlezone, Gogmagog, Killers, Paul Di’Anno & Dennis Stratton, Rockfellas, Iron Men, Ides Of March, The Almighty Inbredz, Architects Of Chaoz, Warhorse – Blackfoot Sue, Scarlet>>Colin Peel – Moses, Falkenhayn, Whiskey, Stormbringer, Foxey Lady, Fraser Nash, MSG>>Gary Barden>>Statetrooper, Silver, Solo, MSG – Torino, Onslaught, Before The Storm>>Tony O’Hora>>Horakane, The Sweet, Solo, Cream – Lone Star, Pulsar, Uriah Heep, John Sloman Badlands, Gary Moore, Souls Unknown, Balaam And The Angel, Beat Poets>>John Sloman>>Solo – La Paz, Midnight Blue>>Doogie White>>Pink Cream 69, Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tank, Cornerstone, Balance Of Power, Empire, La Paz, MSG, Alcatrazz – Freeloader, Jewel, Traitor, Axon IV, Sweet, The Sweetshop Boys, Hassle Factor, The Back Alley Blues Band, Reservoir Frogs, More, Nemesis, Dangerous Breed>>Mike Freeland>>King’s Call, More 2012 – Killing Man, Devils Rope, Parris, Red Pepper Bullwhip, Ayreon, Christian Tolle Project, Cooper Inc, Medea>>JOHN CUJIPERS>>Ayreon, Medea

Guitar
Stratus, Clive Burr’s Escape, Paddy Goes To Hollyhead>>TINO TROY [TINO NEOPHYTOU]>>Stratus, Clive Burr’s Escape, Paddy Goes To Hollyhead – Midus, Little Bo Bitch, The Lonely Boys>>Steve Carroll>>Nervous German – Remus Down Boulevard>>Dennis Stratton>>Paul Di’Anno & Dennis Stratton, Lionheart – Remus Down Boulevard>>Dennis Stratton>>Paul Di’Anno & Dennis Stratton, Lionheart – Paddy Goes To Hollyhead>>ANDY BURGESS>>Paddy Goes To Hollyhead


Bass
Clive Burr’s Escape, Stratus>>CHRIS TROY [CHRIS NEOPHYTOU]>>Clive Burr’s Escape, Stratus

Drum
Crying Shames, Skip Bifferty, Yes, Ten Years After, Ten Years Later, Love Affair, Ray Thomas, Barbie Benton>>Dave Potts – Weapon, Statetrooper, Wildfire, Paddy Goes To Hollyhead, The Sweet>>Bruce Bisland>>Wildfire, The Sweet, Wandering Crutchless – Samson, Iron Maiden, Alcatrazz, Escape, Trust, Stratus, Gogmagog, Elixir, Desperado>>Clive Burr – Paul Carrack, Connor Reeves, Alisha’s Attic, Andy Nye, Algy Ward, Story>>Martin Johnson>>Story, The Tarantinos, Urban Dwellers – Stone, Snow Dogs, Burn>>Benjy Reid>>Grand Slam – Steve Fisher Band, Chinawhite, Vengeance, Two Of A Kind, Steve Fister, Eric Gales Band, Bangalore Choir, Marcel Coenen, Piledriver, August Life>>HANS IN ‘T ZANDT>>Piledriver, August Life, Two Of A Kind





History & Biography
Praying Mantis was actually founded as Junction as early as 1973, but owing to the timing of the release of its albums and heyday is often considered a NWOBHM band. The band owes some of its sound to AOR. The early days were spent playing cover versions. The band was founded by Chris Troy, Tino Troy, guitarist Pete Moore and drummer Chris Hudson. The brothers were of Spanish origin. The line-up changed when former Bastille drummer Mick Ransome and guitarist Bob Angelo joined. Very much like Iron Maiden, the band’s independent recording, with the songs Lovers To The Grave, Johnny Cool and Captured City, was pressed and sold as the Soundhouse Tapes 2” by London DJ Neal Kay. The group issued a demo of these songs on its own Ripper Records. This was a 12” release. The act supported Iron Maiden (as the Metal For Muthas tour) and Montrose in 1980 and, like Iron Maiden, appeared on the Metal For Muthas compilation. Mick Ransome and Bob Angelo quit. Ransome would band together Electra Macleod and the band Rich Bitch. Subsequently, Dave Potts was found both through an acquaintance and an advertisement in Melody Maker. Also in was bassist Jon Bavin. Guitarist Steve Carroll joined as his management also worked with Praying Mantis. The band was signed by Arista (a unit of Ariola) in August of 1980 having just appeared at the Reading festival and issued its debut in 1981. Praying Mantis supported Gamma and Triumph. The album was reviewed well, but the label dropped the band amidst legal proceedings between band and management. Jet Records picked the band up, which now featured Canadian singer Bernie Shaw, but the subsequent songs (Turn The Tables and A Question Of Time) did not resonate immediately and Praying Mantis folded. Shaw had replaced former Turbo and S.O.S. singer Tom Jackson whose few concerts were considered a disappointment. Praying Mantis threw in the towel. The brothers and former Iron Maiden man Clive Burr were in Escape, which was re-named Stratus. This didn’t last – except for a one-off show in 1987 – as Burr joined Trust. Potts went on to manage Wishbone Ash.

Like all bands Praying Mantis reformed – in this case first in 1987 for a Marquee show in London and then in 1990 and with the Troys only remaining from the earlier line-up - but adding Dennis Stratton and Paul Di’Anno (both of Iron Maiden) and toured. Bob Angelo, who was in Iron Maiden early on, drummer Clive Burr and singer Paul Di’Anno both formerly of Iron Maiden had also joined Praying Mantis at different times. This led to a full-blown return and the Live At Last record. This was billed as Praying Mantis With Paul Di'Anno, Dennis Stratton. The North American version of this album featured a praying mantis subduing Iron Maiden’s monicker Eddie. Live At Last was recorded during a tour dubbed as The Tenth Anniversary Of NWOBHM. Predator In Disguise followed. It was produced by Japanese industry insider Itoh Masa. The group decided having a frontman would help and future Rainbow singer Doogie White was in. He toured with the band for the Predator album and appeared on Japanese television. Mark Thompson-Smith (ex-Idol Rich, After Hours and Touche) was the singer for a subsequent tour of Japan. Gary Barden, known for MSG, was the next singer. He recorded To The Power Of Ten, which was a melodic rock album. Clive Burr would join his old band-mates again and was heard on Captured Alive In Tokyo. It was recorded at Club Citta, Kawasaki, Japan in November 1995. The story was that drummer Bruce Bisland had had a drunkard bike accident, broke his arm and was unavailable. The next several albums and tours focused on Japan. Forever In Time featured a returning Bisland and singer Tony O’Hara. Demorabilia was a Japanese CD of Stratus and Praying Mantis material and was issued in 1999. Old singer Tom Jackson (later in Nightmare), who was in the band right after the debut, was heard here. The band’s 1980 line-up, including Potts and Carroll, performed in London, UK and Japan. O’Hara and Bisland departed in 2001. The Journey Goes On again featured Stratton. The group also had the occasion to play in Greece and perform at Headbanger’s Open Air in 2006. Sanctuary, featuring yet newer members, was issued by Frontiers in Europe in 2009. The singer was Mike Freeland. Benjy Reid was the drummer. Praying Mantis and Tank had a joint concert. Metalmorphosis was a 2011 EP billed as a 30th anniversary record. It featured several older tracks re-recorded in 2010. The band appeared at the Hard Rock Hell festival in 2011. Several shows in 2013 came and went. Several shows were cancelled when Praying Mantis fired singer Mike Freeland and drummer Gary Mackenzie. Legacy was issued in the summer of 2015. Former guitarist Steve Carroll from Time Tell No Lies died in 2015. The band played in Germany and Japan in that year. Praying Mantis was booked for WinterStorm In Troon in Scotland in 2017. Keep It Alive was recorded at Frontiers Rock Festival V in Italy in 2018. Andy Burgess produced Katharsis whose early edition at least came with a defective pressing in 2022.

Praying Mantis had an album called Defiance through Frontiers Music in April 2024. It arrived on the band’s fiftieth anniversary. The band was booked for Silja Rock Cruise in Sweden in April. A 50th anniversary concert was planned for Dorsten in Germany for May. There was also Rock Imperium Festival 2024 in Spain alongside Accept, Yngwie Malmsteen, Judas Priest, Saxon and Warlock.

Mantis is an insect whose common posture of being upright and having folded arms has given rise to the ‘praying mantis’ description. Praying Mantis is a stance in martial arts as well.


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