I cannot repeat enough how highly I regard Tommy Victor as a musician. Since I first saw the Beg to Differ video on Sky Channel some time in 1990, Victor and Prong have had a big place in my metal heart.
Especially ‘Beg to Differ’ (1990), ‘Prove You Wrong’ (1991), ‘Cleansing’ (1994) and ‘Rude Awakening’ (1996) were big for me. The debut album, ‘Force Fed’ (1988) naturally also deserves a mention, although the band’s sound wasn’t fully defined yet.
The 2003 comeback album ‘Scorpio Rising’ wasn’t quite there in terms of quality. and 2007’s ‘Power of the Damager’ was better, but still not exactly the cream of the crop.
That changed dramatically with the second comeback wave, the wave we’re in right now: ‘Carved Into Stone’ (2012) was a phenomenal album and blew me away completely. ‘Ruining Lives’ from 2014 followed up nicely, although not quite as strong as it predecessor. Last year’s cover album, ‘Songs from the Black Hole’, was in my view somewhat superfluous and more than anything a release most Prong fans would have preferred to be a proper, new album.
Here it is, then, finally; the proper, new album. ‘X – No Absolutes’ will be on the streets in a few days, and the band’s tenth album proper is no disappointment.
The chugging riffs that are so characteristic for Viktor is the first thing that meets you when the disc starts to spin. The thrash tune Ultimate Authority shows everyone what’s what so we don’t have to wonder if there’s still metal in Prong, here almost 30 years after their debut.
Now, the beautiful thing about Prong is that it’s not just all the same. The chugging riffing is a dominant element, yes, but there is also the industrial inspired title tune and the big, the-cloud-is-endless kind of song-writing of Do Nothing, the almost psychedelic riffing of Soul Sickness, as well as the slightly alternative rocker Ice Runs Through My Veins, which reminds me of another trio, namely Ireland’s Therapy?.
When listening to the hard ballad With Dignity, I can’t help thinking that a band like Linkin Park must have listened to Prong in their youth and learned something from Viktor and his goons. What Linkin Park and their copy cats have done for some time now, Prong was able to do and did when these younger bands were still shitting their diapers.
‘X – No Absolutes’ doesn’t have the magic of positive surprise that ‘Carved Into Stone’ enjoyed, but it is a strong album, which will please most Prong fans. It has the trademark tightness and Tommy Viktor’s unmistakable sound, and those two elements in themselves are enough for me to reach a considerable level of joy. Buy by the thousands.
1.Ultimate Authority 2:54
2.Sense Of Ease 4:05
3.Without Words 3:18
4.Cut And Dry 3:51
5.No Absolutes 3:17
6.Do Nothing 3:40
7.Belief System 3.21
8.Soul Sickness 3:05
9.In Spite Of Hindrances 2:45
10.Ice Runs Through My Veins 4:04
11.Worth Pursuing 3:12
12.With Dignity 3:14
13.Universal Law (bonus track)
Playing time: 44 minutes
Release date: 5th of February, 2016