In the late 80s and early 90s crossover music sprang up all over the place and then died, at the time, once the bands realised that making actual thrash was better anyway or that true hardcore was a better way to go. However Prong is a band that has stuck it out since their inception about 1986, and released two storming albums in 1988 and 1990, namely “Force Fed” and “Beg To Differ” respectively and, interestingly enough, the latter is being played in its entirety on the bands upcoming shows later this year. Most bands adapt/wimp out/sell out (delete as applicable) just to stay on people’s tongues and keep releasing albums to maintain some sort of footing in the scene. Prong’s early crossover was second to none at the time but as time moves on bands have to change or plainly wallow in the sludge of mediocrity gaining no new fans over the years. It’s a business after all isn’t it, and whilst most of us like to think bands do it for the scene or to be true they still need to make a living.
Prong’s discography is dotted all over the place as Tommy Victor (only original member) put Prong on hold to take up a role in Danzig and Ministry for some time. A silly anecdote I read about Prong in the 80s was when Tommy was asked about why the band was called Prong. I remember his response being about him not wanting the band to be called Prongthrash, Deathprong etc so the band couldn’t be so easily pigeon holed at the time. This simple statement has held true for over 20 years now as Prong has made plenty of quality albums. Many people have often categorised Prong with an industrial tag which is limited to the repeating beats the band employs but it is safe to say the band has engraved its niche in the groove metal scene. The album opens with a blinding tune called “Eternal heat” a real foot stomping anthem to make you grab a beer and nod your head to. This brand of groove laden metal has that Mastodon like beat to it only for me this is far more enjoyable than that produced by the woolly American beasts. Another facet I enjoyed about this album was the vocal delivery which whilst clean has that angst edge to it that Anselmo had on early Pantera albums post glam.
A trio of solid tunes follows the opener starting with “Keep On Living In Pain” and ending with “Revenge Served Cold”, all of which are solid upbeat rockers that are packed with identifiable riffing and beats. “Put Myself To Sleep” could raise a few eyebrows with a highly clean style and commercial direction, though the song is firmly rooted in metal not the false pseudo MTV shite young people seem to have to endure and think really is actually metal. Prong’s music has always had a thrash heart and this album has it sitting there pumping in total unison with the groove of each riff. Indeed “List Of Greivances” is pure Pantera worship to these ears, whilst the riff break owes more than the odd nod to our very own Evile. The title track has a Black Label Society down-tuned riff about it and coupled to it is the enormous snare sound and double kick, the emphasis is in heavy and even stoner I guess, by my definition of stoner anyway. I did enjoy the riff that opens “Subtract” one which is not that dissimilar to what Helmet did on “Strap It On” or “Meantime” even though those albums came out a while ago; my memory is long when it concerns damn fine riffing. It would be amiss for me not to qualify my comparisons so that you realise that Prong has created something that securely belongs to them and no one else. This is an infectious album that is absolutely drenched in riffs and hooks. The way the band writes their songs makes this album so enjoyable to listen to either intensely or to just slap it on grab a beer, as I said earlier, and sit back to absorb the groove and be prepared to be carved by Prong.
8/10 (Martin Harris)