Alternative metal bands are a rare species; Prong is still a hungry beast that makes music to rip your ears off with its deafening riffs. The New York City outfit are known for melting music genres as their creative formula, they’ve been making innovative and cutting edge metal for the last 31 years and there’s no sign of them stopping now as a brand new album entitled ‘Zero Days’ is about to be unleashed upon their loyal and dedicated fan base.
Prong’s audience is still growing even in 2017 as a new generation of rock and metal fans are discovering the hidden gems of the industrial, hardcore and thrash metal era of the early 90’s. The band started at a time when metal musicians use to experiment and there’s no other album in their discography that exemplified this drive better than their breakthrough 1994 release ‘Cleansing’. As Prong’s best selling album to date it catapulted them into mainstream success with groove metal anthems like “Snap your fingers, Snap your Neck” and got them touring alongside their better known contemporaries Pantera and White Zombie.[metalwani_content_ad]
The band’s influence is also evident in many of the acts that came after them, Even Australian band Grinspoon did a cover of “Snap your fingers, Snap your Neck” back in 98. Throughout the years Prong has gone through various line-up changes but has always remained a 3 piece with front man and lead guitarist Tommy Victor being the founder and only permanent member. ‘Zero Days’ will be Tommy’s 12th studio album but after all these years does Prong still have the artistic ammunition in their creative arsenal?
From the very opening song “However It May End” ‘Zero Days’ starts with an aggressive thrash riff and Tommy Victor’s screaming vocals sounding very much like Max Cavalera. The title song is straight hardcore chaos with the occasional off-beat rhythm before returning to a thrash metal shredding extravaganza. “Off the Grid” is a speeding train that’s out of control but the chorus does slow the engine down a little. On “Divide and Conquer” Tommy Victor sings with mighty conviction about the hard times we all face in life, the lyrics in the chorus say: “you can’t go through life without some division, you’re going through time in your own prison, you can’t go through life without these conditions, you can always rely upon opposition” is food for thought.
“Forced Into Tolerance” is again pure thrash and this seems to be an occurring trend on ‘Zero Days’. “Interbeing” is hard hitting from the get go and plays on the aggressive tendencies of Prong but isn’t particularly memorable. “Blood out of Stone” has its roots in the band’s early 90’s alternative metal sound that defined nu-metal a few years later. “Operation of the Moral Law” opens with a mighty groove guitar riff and transitions into a thrash metal opus 20 seconds into the song. “The Whispers” is a much more subdued composition and sprinkles a little bit of Prog in the chorus. “Self Righteous Indignation” has a killer groove and shows Prong’s willingness to be diverse and reject the sub categories of metal; it’s also a trademark that many bands such as Korn and Slipknot used in their songs considerably. “Rulers of the Collective” is a conventional composition with fuzzy guitar distortion and electronics creeping into the piece. “Compulsive Future Projection” starts with an impending doom introduction and is probably the best riff on the album exemplary of what long time Prong fans would come to expect. “Wasting of the Dawn” is the only song on the album clearly waving the industrial metal flag that Prong was and still should be defined by. It is a solid song to close the album.
In conclusion ‘Zero Days’ isn’t really an improvement or evolution of the Prong of old however it is reinstating their roots and the foundations that they cemented in their early days carving the alternative sound of metal and what eventually became the new wave of mainstream metal bands. ‘Zero Days’ gives the listener a short glimpse into Prong’s history but for the most part the album really only focuses on the band’s thrash and hardcore roots and only towards the end does it really highlight their totality, holistic approach to songwriting and composition. I was hoping for something more ambitions! The end result is neither disappointing nor terrific; only time will tell how their fans will rate ‘Zero Days’ in Prong’s musical cannon.