When I’m thinking about Tommy Victor and Prong I can’t help to grin somewhat bitterly. In its heyday the band put out some killer records in the form of “Beg To Differ” (1990), “Prove You Wrong” (1991) and “Cleansing”(1994). 1996’s “Rude Awakening” had its moments, but the last two records are rather sad attempts to recapture the spirit of old. Out of the blue Tommy Victor and Prong return with a new record, entitled “Carved Into Stone”. I can’t say that my expectations are particularly high…
The last couple of years Tommy Victor played with Ministry and Danzig, with Prong being in suspended animation. Apparently, a change did him good, because there are some really killer songs on “Carved Into Stone”. Victor’s signature guitar riffs are back in fine form and the edition of Tony Campos (Soulfly, Ministry) and Alexei Rodriguez (3 inches Blood, Walls Of Jericho,) on bass and drums respectively, has given Prong the power and drive it was severely lacking on “Scorpio Rising” and “Power Of The Damager”.
The album gets right down to business with ‘Eternal Heat’, a thrash metal influenced song who’s relentless energy rivals any Slayer song. ‘List Of Grievances’ is another belter. ‘Keep On Living In Pain’, ‘Ammunition’ and the title track are wickedly groovy and could have easily been included on ‘Prove You Wrong’ and ‘Beg To Differ’. ‘Path Of Least Resistance’ and ‘Subtract’ are two other stand out tracks. Great hooks, memorable choruses and Victor’s trademark razor-sharp riffing make those two songs top potential live staples. There’s nothing to complain about on “Carved Into Stone”.
2012 seems to be the year that many great bands of old suddenly return with some of their finest works in years. This is certainly true for Soulfly, Ministry, Paradise Lost, Overkill and Prong. It’s heartening to see that Mr Victor hasn’t lost his chops or his sense for sharp lyrics and I sincerely hope that “Carved Into Stone” will be the first of many memorable Prong records in the future.