Ten albums in and Prong have recorded their very own Master of Puppets or Reign in Blood, as this collection is a stone cold classic, mixing up every metal genre and busting down the walls with X-No Absolutes. This could be the record that re-ignites the power of Prong, like the days of The Cleansing and the whole collection sounds classy, clear, aggressive and (gulp) thoughtful. This seems to align to Tommy‘s comments about themes for this set of tunes – “a dose of self-discovery, a dialogue of a personal challenge or a viscous finger pointing at what we believe to be a falsehood.” A new fire appears to have been ignited and the band is engulfed by flames!
The current Prong line up is Tommy Victor (vocals/guitar), Jason Christopher (bass) and monster Art Cruz (drums). This is a fearsome group of musicians, who completely crush it, without leaving out melody or song structure.
From the start of “Ultimate Authority” to the final song, “With Dignity“, the band are relentless in pushing the boundaries of metal music. There is a mashup of Thrash, Hardcore, Classic, Industrial and Progressive genres of metal, all mixed to perfection to give that Prong sound that is instantly recognizable.
The opener “Ultimate Authority” hits out HAAARDD and is a nod in the direction of bands such as Hatebreed (although Prong pre-date those hardcore heroes).
The tempo goes up a few notches on the second track, “Sense of Ease“, which rips across Slayer land, echoing “Piece By Piece” from Reign in Blood. The band is tighter than a screw that is rusted into board and the solos slice aural pieces of raw nastiness from the air.
The following track, “Without Words” grinds its gears out into space with the guitar tones being unbelievable. The song would have sat happily next to any tracks from Ruining Lives and I love the vocals, with the trademark melodies and gang-led chorus. This is one of my favourite tracks on the collection. A word also for the drumming of Art Cruz, who is an absolute master on the whole of the record.
Tommy Victor has mentioned that the record echoes his feeling of questioning everything and “Cut and Dry” echoes this with its resolve that nothing is what it seems. The harmony guitars in the break down superbly add to the feel of the track.
My favourite track on this masterpiece is the title track, with a groove that would make John Travolta slip a disc in his Night Fever daze. The chorus is absolute killer with an infectious feel that stays around long after the bar has closed. “What can you do…There’s no absolutes!” Not sure about this statement, as this tune is an absolute classic!
The tempo picks up for “Soul Sickness” with its rubbery bassline and pounding drums. This one has a grunge-like vibe, calling bands like Alice in Chains to mind and has an epic Jerry Cantrell type solo.
“In Spite of Hindrances” flashes along, with Cruz kicking giving his skins a good pounding. Just the energy of this tune makes you want to put the pedal to the metal and get those speeding tickets…Naughty! This high adrenaline rush is also shown on “Worth Pursuing” with its wah wah solo and bullet sharp vocals.
Other favourites of mine are “Ice Runs Through My Veins” and “With Dignity“, both of which show a real maturity of approach and provide highlights of melody and song structure.
This collection is the real deal from a band that gets better with age and having an agenda of saying something more than the usual rock cliches. Take a listen and you’ll understand…And some.