'Legacy' Album Launch
The Borderline, London
Sunday 30th August 2015
Liz Medhurst: Photos by Sean Cameron
It's a good time to be alive when Praying Mantis are continuing to produce the goods as well as this.
Tonight's gig was a launch event for the new album, 'Legacy', which is the first full length to feature the current line up which was established in 2013.
And what a show it was – musically, energetically and atmospherically golden. An added bonus was the presence of the great artist Rodney Matthews who designed the 'Legacy' album cover.
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As the lights went out and a long sustained chord played, the band exploded into 'Children Of The Earth'. I do like a good entrance, it's very important, and this one delivered.
As this gave way to 'Panic In The Streets', the appreciative crowd already in good voice, the band responded and the chemistry in the room raised the atmosphere a few notches more.
The first track from the new album was 'Fight For Your Honour', a flying rocker that sits well with the classic output – anyone new to the band would have a hard time telling old from new, which is a mark of the band's incredibly high consistency and quality.
And that is the essence of Praying Mantis – quality hard rock songs with - oh thank god - buckets of melody, harmony and texture wrapped up in a heavy coating.
The band made it look so easy tonight – vocalist Jaycee Cuijpers was assured and looked like he had occupied the front slot for years and the rhythm section of drummer Hans in't Zandt and Chris Troy underpinning with the most solid of foundations. The twin guitars of Tino Troy and Andy Burgess were completely on point all night, providing driving power and fluidity equally.
The tracks performed which saw a slight dip in tempo brought us a couple of belters – 'Better Man' from the new album (where Jaycee improvised having no megaphone with an innovative use of holding his nose for the bridge) and 'Dream On' which was utterly stunning.
And what a climax to the set with 'Turn The Tables', which built and built to a perfect pinnacle of sound. Four tracks from 'Legacy' – which contains many more of equally high quality – and a great mix of the back catalogue. No complaints from me whatsoever.
The band returned and we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Chris Troy before being treated to a faultless 'Captured City', sending us all off into the night with a warm glow.
What a way to spend a rainy Bank Holiday Sunday. Legacy for Praying Mantis? It's alive, active and assured.
Children Of The Earth
Panic In The Streets
Fight For Your Honour
Turn The Tables