Mantis and the Prayer weaves sacred and profane themes into their tunes and stage

Ever since bluesman Robert Johnson struck a deal with the devil there’s been a link between esoterica and rock’n’roll. Now we’ve got Mantis and the Prayer, a four-piece Melbourne-based band, lifting the veil between our world and whatever the hell else is out there. Mantis is the band’s frontman and songwriter. He’s also the nexus of the goth-blues outfit. 

Hailing from Long Island NY, he’s had incarnations of the band in the US, London and now here. Wherever he goes, he summons a band shortly thereafter. “The Mantis and the Prayer – the essence of it – has always been my brainchild,” he says. “It’s always been something that I’ve taken with me, I’ve been able to reassemble different versions of it.”

Singing about transcendence, spirituality, magic, sex and death, the band weaves sacred and profane themes into their tunes and stage shows. For instance, the shows debuting the band’s first full length album, the forthcoming Butterflies and Demons, involved the kind of theatricality usually reserved for cock-rock and metal – one of the singers burst the chrysalis and grew wings and at some point Mantis doused himself in blood (albeit fake). “Like the album, its a mix of blood and butterflies, light and dark,” Mantis says.   

He feels that the band meets a need for quirk and eccentricity. “There doesn’t seem to be a band around at the moment that exudes that sort of quality. At essence that’s what we’re about – especially in the subject matter we sing about, with supernatural or fantasy themes. It’s a form of escapism.”

Mantis has a low rumble of a voice – sitting somewhere in the register of Jack Ladder and Nick Cave. Mantis has drawn more influence from troubled troubadours like Jim Morrison, the Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson and Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd’s original frontman). “Most of the stuff I listen to was being produced before I was born,” he says. “There’s something in me that’s drawn to these artists who are a bit tragic – all these people who have fought personal and psychological problems. I don’t know what that says about me.”   

Mantis means prophet in Greek and ancient societies revered the bug as a necromancer, a soothsayer and minor god that would ferry lost souls to the underworld. Mantis doesn’t object to those associations – after all, it was a semi-mystical experience that led him to the name. “I was home, looking into the mirror a bit too long and it was like my face had changed into a praying mantis face,” he says. Was he high at the time? “I don’t think so – I don’t recall that being part of it, but I can’t totally discount it.”

Though the band was featured in recently released Lifoti's September 2019 issue 09, you can check it from below link's for your country:

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