• 7.3/10
    PRAYING MANTIS - Katharsis - 7.3/10


Label: Frontier
Release date: January 28, 2022

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Everyone who digs Metal knows what the NWOBHM abbreviation stands for. It stands for such bands as Saxon, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Tank – to name a few. Those who happen to like the early incarnations of Iron Maiden, before they became the almighty lords of Metal they have been for about four decades… they are likely to have heard of another NWOBHM band, though not quite as famous one… a band called Praying Mantis. They have been through multiple lineup changes; listing all the members who came and went would be a tough task for sure… but such a list would include Dennis Stratton, Paul Di’Anno and Clive Burr – three former members of Maiden from back when they were about the bad ass East London look and pure Hard Rock crudeness. There are even quite a few people who prefer the early 80s Maiden to anything that came after The Number of the Beast. Back to the point, today’s Praying Mantis does not feature any of the aforementioned ex-Maiden members. But they don’t need big names in order to deliver quality stuff. Their freshly released record Katharsis should be enough of an evidence.

It will be good to start off with a warning that those who expect the typical NWOBHM sound will not get what they want… but that does not have to mean that they will be disappointed. What Katharsis has to offer is almost an hour of solid Metal. It’s quite fascinating how there doesn’t seem to be anything there that makes the music stand out from the crowd. It’s all just average Metal music, one might think, but… there is something to it. Something that makes listening to it feel really good. Some might say it’s thanks to the production – which is absolutely spot-on – but there is a lot of soul that music has to it. The singer may not be Freddie Mercury, the guitarists may not be Jeff Loomis and Paul Gilbert… and yet the contents of Katharsis beat that of many albums by bands that try really hard, way too hard. Here’s a shout-out to those bands: “Don’t try so hard”, like said in one of the final songs by Queen.

Another interesting fact is that despite almost all of the songs have a very melancholic feel to them, they are not repetitive. They mostly sound like Classic or Power Metal from the Nordic countries rather than typical NWOBHM. This is something fans of Iced Earth might dig: heaviness combined with the tender melancholy. There are also some fairly joyful songs there, like the 5th track titled “Long Time Coming”, which may some of the listeners remind of Queen’s “Hammer to Fall”. One of the instruments that really deserve some words of approval here is the bass, especially in the previous track “Non Omnis Moriar” – yes, a bass line like that will likely live forever.

This album is very much getting better with every song; it gets interesting when the 8th track titled “Masquerade” kicks in – the singer sounds very Ronnie James Dio there, which is an interesting combination considering the overall Iced Earth sound. It is however the penultimate track “Don’t Call Us Now” that may be the best one on Katharsis. Finally a song with a proper kick to it, and not just that: there’s also a fairly Far-Eastern sounding breakdown there, interspersed with a soul-touching solo… if there are any people working in the industry who check Metal Express Radio, they need to make sure that song gets heard by everyone on the planet. The final track “The Devil Never Changes” is another great one, probably the most dynamic song here; looks like Praying Mantis like to leave the best stuff for the very end.

To sum things up, Katharsis is definitely worth giving a listen. Top quality bass lines, deep solos and solid rhythm section… no unnecessarily complex synths and ultra immaculate production… like said before, music can only sound like that when the band pour their heart and soul into it. And it looks like Metal totally does not need to be all about fury and aggression in order to kick – because some of the tracks off Katharsis will have some bodies move to its groove for sure.


  • Miłosz Mikołaj Nizioł

    Miłosz is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born somewhere in Europe and now lives elsewhere in Europe. Miłosz is a writer and it has always been his passion. Aside from that, Miłosz is also a bass player - back in his UK days he played in various bands, some of which made it to have their place in the history of Metal; this includes an English high speed Thrash Metal act Rager that got mentioned in Contract in Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal (Glasper, I., 2018).   When enjoying live music as a member of the audience, Milosz never says no to circle pits and a good wall of death. Besides Metal, Milosz has a very wide range of interests that don't need to be specified here since they're not about Metal. One of them can be, actually: Milosz LOVES coming up with parodies of various songs lyrics.   Milosz's Top 25 bands (in the following order) are: The Beatles Deep Purple & Black Sabbath Queen ]v[ E G A D E T ]-[ (until 24.05.2021, but still) Judas Priest Iron Maiden (first three albums mostly) Twisted Sister Mötley Crüe KISS (preferably with Ace and Peter) Exodus Overkill Pantera Rainbow (and DIO of course) Savatage Running Wild Testament Pink Floyd ABBA Red Hot Chili Peppers Death Dire Straits Alestorm Motörhead

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