|Prong - ‘X-No Absolutes’ (Steamhammer / SPV)|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Tuesday, 19 January 2016 03:00|
If Scott Sorry has already set the bar at seemingly unreachable heights for punk rock releases in 2016 with his ‘When We Were Kings’ album, then Prong are just about to do the same for metal with their latest studio record ‘X-No Absolutes’. However with this being a Prong album we are talking about here it isn’t ever going to be one of those run of the mill metal releases their contemporaries get lauded for making, of that we can always be totally guaranteed.
Following hot on the heels of last year’s excellent ‘Songs From The Black Hole’ set, that featured the bands reinterpretations of many of their favourite songs, along with their awesome 2014 studio record ‘Ruining Lives’, ‘X-No Absolutes’ elaborates further on the thrash tinged influences of the ‘…Lives’ album whilst managing to deliver one of the bands most instant and melodic records to date, something that getting beneath the skin of songs by the likes of Neil Young, The Sisters Of Mercy and Hüsker Dü must have played a huge part in nurturing. As I’ve already said though with this being a Prong release it isn’t ever going to be run of the mill record whatever the bloody genre, because when it comes to Tommy Victor, Jason Christopher and Art Cruz rock music really doesn’t have any boundaries.
With Victor handling the production side of things once again it is the sound dynamic that first impresses upon me just how immense ‘X-No Absolutes’ really is in the context of what is being passed off as genre defining metal in 2016. This record is intense, punchy, and tight as fuck, yet the melodies swirl and allow the songs to live and breathe, and that folks is the art of writing and producing an essential piece of music. Take the opening salvo of ‘Ultimate Authority’, ‘Sense Of Ease’ and ‘Without Words’ for example, these tracks literally tear at the senses compelling you to throw yourself around the room yet there is also this underlying knack that Prong possess to make the brutality of what they write and play memorable, and just like the wise old sage of extreme music Darrel Sutton says “that is where so many lesser bands ultimately fail”. I guess it also helps that Prong pull from such a diverse melting pot of influences that they can slip with the ultimate of ease from out and out thrash (like the aforementioned musical warfare that is ‘Sense Of Ease’) to epic stadium soundscapes (like ‘No Dignity’ and ‘Do Nothing’) without dropping a single beat, or in fact sounding like anything other than 100% Prong.
There are of course points where I can pinpoint specific influences, but when the songs are as strong as say ‘In Spite Of Hindrance’ (which contains the best Metallica riff since ‘Disposable Heroes’) or ‘Worth Pursuing’ (you know I’m pretty sure Scott Ian used to write riffs this good once upon a time too), it really doesn’t matter, and what if that sounds like Jaz Coleman singing the opening verses of ‘Ice Runs Through My Veins’, it’s an epic tune that ultimately transcends any comparisons, and that again is the secret of what makes Prong such a compelling musical proposition.
Just like with the sensational ‘Ruining Lives’ there really isn’t a weak track on ‘X-No Absolutes’, and trust me you will not find a better 44 minutes of rock/metal anywhere else right now.
Go and bag yourself a copy of ‘X-No Absolutes’, it’s meatier than a (mad) butchers cleaver.