Category: Metal / Industrial
Album: Ruining Lives
Blurb: The hybrid metal trio hits hard and fast with an album that is perhaps the most accomplished and musically varied the band has unleashed.
Ever the independent spirit, Tommy Victor has never allowed himself or his music to adhere to strict categorization. Having been the commanding presence in Prong for over two-and-a-half decades, the band has touched on elements of thrash, industrial, post-punk. Through the changes in sound and lineup, Victor’s music has been set to a distinctive sense of rhythm and attitude that is undeniably Prong. With Ruining Lives, the trio reinvents itself with a new lineup including bassist Jason Christopher and drummer Art Cruz, culminating in an album that is among the most diverse and all-encompassing in Prong’s oeuvre.
A barrage of squealing riffs and machine gun percussion begins, leading into a familiar groove that could only be Prong, Victor’s intensely melodic yet aggressive vocals kicking in as “Turnover” begins the album with an absolute bang. Virtually every musical direction ever explored by the band is present on Ruining Lives, from the powerful beats and breakneck riffs of “The Barriers” and “The Book of Change” speeding by like the thrash metal monsters they are, to the staccato arrangements and thrumming bass of “Absence of Light” evoking memories of past hits like “Rude Awakening” or “Whose Fist Is This Anyway?” in particular. The same could be said of “Self Will Run Riot” as Cruz’s proficiency on the drums is especially highlighted, at once demonstrating mechanical precision and tribal abandon while the lushly harmonic guitars and vocals make for one of the album’s catchiest tracks. Not to be ignored is Christopher’s guttural and acerbic bass delivering a marvelously understated but forceful low end that easily stands up to the late great Paul Raven. This is especially so on the shuffling rhythmic assault of “Come to Realize” and the ominous, almost gothic chill of “Windows Shut.”
For someone who has been making music for as long as he has, Victor seems to be at his most inspired; both his voice and his guitar tone are sharp-as-a-knife, a skillset that has landed him gigs with heavy hitters like MINISTRY, Danzig, and Rob Zombie. The solos he displays on such songs as “Chamber of Thought” and especially the title track are perhaps the tightest and most impressive he’s ever unleashed. Even the cover art is evocative of the best moments of the band’s past without succumbing to the traps of nostalgia or stylistic monotony, preferring simply to play on strengths and while Prong has rarely fallen short of delivering the goods, Ruining Lives is undoubtedly the most accomplished album the band has produced. In short, no filler, all killer!
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)