Review | Praying Mantis – Defiance

Frontiers Music srl

Being one of the longest lasting NWOBHM bands around these days, the lads of Praying Mantis surely are not ready for retirement yet. Ever since the two Dutch rockers Hans In‘t Zand (drums) and power house vocalist John ‘Jaycee’ Cuijpers joined the two remaining band founders Chris (bass/vocals) and Tino Troy (guitar) plus lead guitarist Andy Burgess close to ten years ago, things have been going along real steady for the group. The strange thing is that ever since that debut album ‘Time Tells No Lies’ (1981) the Troy brothers have not really changed the style of their group or made big adjustments to what they wanted their band to sound like.

Praying Mantis has always been a guarantee for good melodic heavy rock with the emphasis on inventive singing, melodic guitars, and great choruses. The attention the band gave to their singing arrangements made Praying Mantis stood out from the bulk of other British rockers from that era and they made it through some five decades just following their own musical lead. It is something to be proud of if you ask me.


With John and Hans in the band since 2015 (if I am not mistaken) the band has enjoyed a certain form of stability and per album (‘Gravity’, ‘Legacy’ and ‘Katharsis’) managed to improve in details as song writing, production and individual performances. Without wanting to put too much attention on him, it is clear that the presence of singer John ‘Jaycee’ Cuijpers has done the group a world of good. It is not without reason that a certain Arjen Lucassen has involved John with several of his latest projects. Still, their latest outing called ‘Defiance’ puts another milestone towards the catalogue of the group. And as always it is a group effort where each member plays an important role, it is not just about the singer.


On ‘Defiance’ the group, as we are used from them, has found a perfect balance between exciting rock songs and some real genuine rock ballads. Especially the title-track is for me the perfect example of what this band is about. Big vocals and tasty choirs bedded in a strong rhythm and some real cool guitar exploits. This band always had a certain sound but with John and Hans the three UK rockers have managed to refine and slightly reshape their music to a solid piece of work that might sound familiar for the fanatic Praying Mantis adept but also has so much detail, precision, and direction when you really listen closely.

Each and every time this band makes some more progress while not giving in to being hip or fancy. Praying Mantis has carefully carved out their position in today’s rock scene and with ‘Defiance’ they have added another impressive chapter to their legacy. If you are into melodic rock with all the trimmings there is no way that you can go past ‘Defiance’! Now how about that for a conclusion!

Release date: 19 April 2024



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