Prong – ‘Zero Days’ (Steamhammer SPV) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Thursday, 06 July 2017 04:00

Prong - Zero DaysRight, I’m going to be brutally honest (as every reviewer should always be, of course) and hold hands up, as I have to say that Prong are one band that have never really been front and centre of my musical radar. Yes, they’ve been on the periphery (ironically, I was more aware of frontman Tommy Victor through his work with Danzig and Ministry) and I have been conscious of their presence but, our paths hadn’t crossed until their performance at Bloodstock a couple of years back. In fact, I hadn’t actually sat down and listened to one of their albums all the way through. That situation, of course, has now been rectified – otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this here review, would you now?

 

Having corrected my earlier mistakes, I have to be equally honest and say that I really, really like ‘Zero Days’: for someone who has not paid that much attention to the band before, it is a truly eye-opening (or should that be ear-opening?) experience, and shows what a massive musical force Prong truly are.

 

Right from the opening punishment beating of ‘However It May End’ I was hooked: it does exactly what a good – no, a great – album should do, and that is hit right in the gullet, and between the eyes, with immediate effect. A beautiful, inglorious mixture of thrash, nu-metal and industrial, it thumps and growls, twisting and turning as it moves between the aforementioned styles with a gracious ease which epitomizes the rest of the album. Impactful stuff right from the off!

 

The title track speeds things up, if that is possible, and is a lot thrashier, with a solid metal mentality. The staccato riff is underpinned by some superb drumming from Art Cruz, while Mike Longsworth’s bass just rumbles along with a dense groove. Victor’s snarl can be visualized as he delivers his vocal with venomous intent. ‘Off The Grid’ is in severe danger of being just that: it’s the sort of song that, if they play it live on their upcoming tour, will open up the most ferocious of pits, and is delivered with a taut energy and excitement that oozes from its grooves.

 

Victor gets political with the back-to-back indictments of ‘Divide And Conquer’ and ‘Forced Into Tolerance’, the latter as angry a slice of rap/thrash crossover as you are gonna hear, fierce and blistering, especially in Victor’s damning delivery on the chorus, and played at completely breakneck speed. Another gem which should get the moshers circling. The pace doesn’t relent for ‘Interbeing’, which sees the band combine a nu-metal melody with an old school thrash riff to terrific effect and features another vicious vocal from Victor.

 

The album reaches its midpoint with huge ‘Blood Out Of Stone’, which emerges from the speakers like a supertanker out of the night mist, with its fuzzed riff easing in behind the album’s most nu-metal offering, with Victor at his cleanest, yet still with that underlying hint of venom about to be spat in your face: if you want a comparator, listen to the most recent Papa Roach album and you’re halfway there. ‘Operation Of The Moral Law’ sees them pummelling their back into thrash territory – I told you, these guys could switch gears easier than Richard Hammond can crash a sports car – with another beat and riff combination that throws it down to great effect: it also features Victor’s first “proper” solo (i.e. one more than a few notes long) of the album.

 

‘The Whispers’ sees the trio once again melding different styles and grooves into one song, with a hint of metalcore thrown into the guitar stabs for good measure, while ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ spits and snarls with an angry sense of complementary irony, Victor almost evoking Randy Blythe in his chest-beating delivery. We then move into the album’s final quarter with the industrial, almost EDM-fused ‘Rulers Of The Collective’, which is brash and arrogant with a punky undertow (well, it is the shortest track, at just two seconds over the three-minute mark), and more than enough going on musically to have the listener skip it back to the beginning to see what subtle little touch they have missed.

 

‘Compulsive Future Projection’ initially fails to grab as instantly as much of what has gone before, but then the gang vocal and bass rumble kick in, before its industrial tone moulds itself around the thrashy main riff, as the song becomes another which injects different moods into its bloodstream to ultimately rewarding effect. Closer ‘Wasting Of The Dawn’ is the album’s longest track, like its immediate predecessor taking a while to find its feet; but, when it does the result is another pulsating slice of industrial-meets-nu-metal-meets thrash delivered in the way which Prong have developed the reputation for doing best.

 

So, has Tommy Victor won over a new convert to the church of Prong? Put it this way: after this, I think my debit card is going to take a bit of a battering as I explore Prong’s back catalogue ahead of their forthcoming visit to my home town in a couple of weeks.

 

‘Zero Days’ is released on 28 July.

 

Prong play the following dates in the UK and Ireland later this month:

 

Tuesday 18 – Glasgow, Audio

Wednesday 19 – Belfast, Voodoo

Thursday 20 – Dublin, Voodoo Lounge

Friday 21 – Manchester, Rebellion

Saturday 22 – London, Underworld

 

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