For those of us of a certain age, Prong are icons. There was the heavy rotation of their videos on MTV Europe and the weight which came with having a video the Beavis & Butthead liked enough to dance to, which in turn lead to rock clubs around the world latching onto songs like ‘Prove You Wrong’ and the legendary ‘Snap Your Fingers…Snap Your Neck’ (which was also used as a theme tune for an ECW wrestler). Unfortunately they seemed to drop off the radar before disbanding in 1997, but after a brief hiatus, and frontman Tommy Victor working with Al Jourgensen and Ministry, they were back. Four albums into their comeback, can this new revitalised Prong live up to the standards they keep setting?
The album starts with the excellent ‘Turnover’, a song that will be familiar to anyone who was lucky enough to catch one of their storming UK shows recently. A song driven along by machine gun drums and classic chuggy Prong style riffs. The song fit in well with a set full of classics at those shows, so that’s a pretty good starting point to go from, and generally, the album carries on at the high level. Everything that made Prong vital first time round is still there, maybe they don’t get as much coverage anymore, but that’s down to the way that the music media works rather than any dip in quality from the NYC veterans.
There are a couple of other tracks which could easily find themselves becoming big club hits (if such a thing exists anymore, I can just about afford gigs nowadays, let alone the expense of a club afterwards) . ‘Remove, Separate Self’ and the thrashing ‘The Book Of Change’ both have that classic Prong vibe. One of the main things that is evident on this, their ninth studio album, is that even after all these years, they can still write a killer riff. The band have had numerous line up changes since they came back, but this current incarnation seems to be a solid unit, both on record and live and this album is the proof of that.
A good album, it might not quite live up to the material of the past, but that is not saying it is bad. A band with a catalogue as consistent as Prong, anything other that a spectacular release might seem a bit of a disappointment, but this is still up there with any of the other bigger metal albums released so far this year. The good thing about Prong is you know where you stand with them. Consistently producing quality music after all these years, regardless of scene or fashion, they seem to be there, stubbornly fighting the corner for things old school. They were credited for being highly influential in the early nu metal scene, but that seems a tad unfair as their sound can be found throughout most metal scenes that have flourished since then. Worth checking for fans old and new.