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appears on Forever In Time (1998)
The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal could have easily been one of the more forgotten periods of time in the genre, which seems more than a little strange to say now. Back in its early 1970’s infancy, it was an almost completely underground scene and but for the efforts of two DJs, Neal Kay and Tommy Vance, it likely would have stayed that way. This means we might have been bereft of Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Def Leppard, Jaguar, Tokyo Blade – the list goes on. And I don’t think there’s any self-respecting NWOBHM best of that doesn’t feature this week’s band, Praying Mantis. Shame on you if your list excludes them! Shame!
Formed in 1973, the band is now nearly 50 years old and are not only still putting out music, but they’re still touring; albeit they’ve had 29 different band members since they started out. The Troy brothers, Chris and Tino, are the only mainstays but they’ve maintained a remarkably consistent sound the entire time, which is even more impressive given that neither of them are lead vocalists. They differentiated themselves from the start with a more melodic heavy metal twist on the traditional formula and that remains, with all the heavy metal hallmarks that you’re looking for thrown in. So expect “whoah-ohs” and “ahhhh-ahs” up to your eyeballs alongside guitar solos that last for about three days, in the best possible way.
The song I’ve picked this week, Changes, is a little bit of everything. It’s a little bit of Iron Maiden, it’s a little bit of Styx, it’s a little bit of Queen and it’s a little bit brilliant. It’s rooted in that classic 70’s/80’s sound and it was almost released at the turn of the millennium, showing that long-running consistency I was talking about that still exists over twenty years later as well. I highly recommend the whole album, Forever In Time, as even so far out of the heavy metal heyday it stands up as one of their better ones. So, throw the horns up, grow your hair out and rock on!
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