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What a good way to warm up for another year full of more gigs than with a low key warm up Praying Mantis gig before they head off to Japan for gigs in Tokyo and Osaka.

praying mantis

Japan has been kind to Praying Mantis over the years. Whilst the rest of the world was getting drenched in a sludge of grunge in the early nineties, the Japanese market was lapping up a trio of albums; 'Predator In Disguise', 'A Cry For The New World' and 'To The Power Of Ten' which kept the band very much alive.

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Despite an ever changing line up, which at times have included former Iron Maiden members Dennis Stratton and Clive Burr and even Paul Di'Anno handling the vocals on tour, the Troy brothers Chris and Tino have seen a renewed worldwide interest in the band following rave reviews for their most recent album 'Sanctuary' which was released in 2009.

The Merton Manor Club is a cosy Working Men's Club just down the road from Wimbledon Centre Court and the fans who found out about this gig on the band's website were treated to club bar prices. £2.20 a pint and for myself a bottle of fine red wine at £8.00 and with advance tickets set at £6.00, the night was very kind to the wallet, butchered and emptied over the Christmas period.

Praying Mantis played a full two hour set without a solo in sight featuring tracks from their debut 'Time Tells No Lies' and many other tracks from their entire career, some of which have been re-recorded especially for the Japanese only on the 'Metalmorphosis' album which features new drummer Gary MacKenzie.

The gig certainly had a warm up feel to it as there was no fancy backdrop or stageshow but I don't think this venue had ever seen so many lights in action.

Singer Mike Freeland handles all the material with aplomb and the Troy brothers, along with Andy Burgess, have the very finest harmony backing vocals which are so smooth and creamy they really do belong on national radio.

'Time Slipping Away' from 'Predator In Disguise' and 'Running From Tomorrow', one of my favourites from the debut, get a rare outing live. The band were in jovial mood with Tino Troy surprised that Freeland correctly pronounced 'Metalmorphosis'. "It's normally Metal faeces", jests Tino.

'Turn The Tide (Lonely Way Home)' is a perfect slice of 'adult rock' and would be massive if written by an American band. The war themed 'Borderline' is performed live for the first time ever, which is a surprise as they originally shot a promo video for it and is one of the strongest numbers this evening.

With the encore cut short due to equipment trouble, luckily right at the end, 'Captured City' saw a lot air guitar shape throwing from the audience. Afterwards the whole band mingled and chatted with smiles all round.

It may be winter but Merton was the land of the rising sun tonight. The Japanese are in for a treat.

Set list:

Children Of The Earth
Panic In The Streets
Time Slipping Away
Running For Tomorrow
Turn The Tide (Lonely Way Home)
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
Can't See The Angels
Praying Mantis
Flirting With Suicide
Dream On
Turn The Tables
Letting Go

Captured City





Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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