Praying Mantis (1977-1984): a NWOBHM band from London, UK.
ormed in London, England in 1977 Praying Mantis was at the forefront of the NWOBHM format. The original line-up consisted of Tino "Troy" Neophytou (guitar/vocals), Robert Angelo (guitar), Tino's brother Chris "Troy" Neophytou (bass/vocals) and Mick Ransome (drums).
Through early demo recordings they caught the attention of heavy metal DJ Neal Kay who helped them release an independent three track EP The Soundhouse Tapes Vol. 2, modeled after the recent release of Iron Maiden's similarly titled EP. In fact Iron Maiden and Praying Mantis had a closer relationship than most realized at the time as their two careers paralleled each other's at the start with both releasing similarly titled debuts, both appearing on the Metal For Muthas compilation and both touring England together. The career paths separated when Praying Mantis signed to 'Arista' then dropped both Robert Angelo and Mick Ransome with Steve Carroll, and ex-Ten Years After drummer Dave Potts respectively. The band's debut album Time Tells No Lies (1981) arrived shortly later but lackluster production and its basic melodic rock sound left much to be desired with the purchasers.
Another line-up change was conducted with Carroll being replaced with ex-Grand Prix vocalist Bernie Shaw with keyboard player Jon Bavin joining to produce only a single track for a mid 1980s compilation album, after which the band slowly metamorphosized into Stratus, an act who specialized in melodic rock and featured ex-Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr amongst its membership for a period.
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To celebrate the 10th anniversary of NWOBHM, the act reformed in 1990 to tour Japan as part of "The British All Stars" featuring the line-up of Chris Troy, Paul Di'Anno (ex-Iron Maiden; vocals), Dennis Stratton (ex-Iron Maiden; guitar) and Bruce Bisland (ex-Weapon UK; drums) and releasing a live set Live At Last in 1990 and Predator In Disguise (1991). A Cry For The New World (1993) sawColin Peel step in to take up a full-time dedicated vocal duties, Only The Children Cry EP later that same year saw Mark Thompson-Smith assisted in the same role with To The Power Of Ten witnessing Gary Barden assuming the same position, while the next live effort, Captured Alive In Tokyo (1996), saw another change with Tony O'Hora on vocals and guitar and another ex-Iron Maiden man Clive Burr join on drums, but Bruce Bisland took over the position soon after with the next release of Forever In Time (1998) and their demo compilation of Demorabilia (1999), along with Nowhere To Hide (2000) and The Journey Goes On (2003).
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