Prong – “X – No Absolutes” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Tommy Victor is a busy man. With a legacy that has seen him involved with Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and currently dividing his time between Danzig and super group Teenage Time Killers, he has always reserved a special place for his own baby, Prong. Born in the mid 80s from NYC’s dark underbelly of the Lower East Side, coincidentally the spawning ground of many a new wave, punk, hardcore, metal and crossover band, Prong drew their strength from all these areas, fusing them into a sound of their own that also incorporated a fair measure of industrial metal. Lasting the course of three decades, Prong remain a power trio, albeit with Victor being the sole founder from those early days. “X – No Absolutes” has both Prong past and present stamped all over it, as well as a coupla tracks that will push the boundaries – not to mention some people’s buttons! Opener ‘Ultimate Authority’ is old school NYHC all the way, from the vicious neck snapping aggro riffs to the socially conscious lyrics while follow up ‘Sense Of Ease’ is even faster, attesting to the tightness of Victor’s new crew in Jason Christopher on bass and drummer Art Cruz, not to mention some wild guitar from the man himself in between some stomping Prong power grooves. Clearly learning from his luminaries, Victor has increased his guitar dexterity – not to mention extremity – like on ‘Cut And Dry’ and become more confident vocally too, actually singing on the neo goth rock of ‘Ice Runs Through My Veins’. ‘Do Nothing’ however, may be pushing things a tad too far with its modern pop rock harmonies a la Linkin Park although the pop rap of ‘With Dignity’ did fair better – it’s not that Victor has done a bad job, but more the case of why an underground pioneer would venture into commercial spheres like this without breaking any new ground. Still, (in)sanity thankfully returned in the slower, but ultra brutal noise of ‘Belief System’ and ‘Soul System’ all with their down tuned dervish riffs and chopping drum work, tastefully laced with Victor’s squeaking guitar melodies all confirming that it’s still all classic Prong. Again produced by Tommy Victor, this time with trusted collaborator Chris Collier as co-producer and engineer, “X – No Absolutes” reaffirms Prong’s status as a cutting edge band even in this day and age, unafraid to experiment while in Victor’s case not forgetting his roots. With over 55 gigs already scheduled for right after the album’s release, Prong seem to do everything except stand still!