Category: Alt. / Metal / Industrial
Album: X – No Absolutes
Blurb: Once again going for a “no filler, all killer” approach, this tenth full-length release from the hybrid thrash/metal trio is worth every hard rocking second.
PRONG has never been a band to stick to any convention other than those set by its own self; spearheaded for nearly three decades by Tommy Victor, the band has incorporated elements of virtually all styles to create a singular metal identity. The 2014 album Ruining Lives was perhaps the most musically accomplished record PRONG had released up to that point, touching on everything from post-punk to industrial to the band’s signature thrash/metal sound, melodic and aggressive all at once. Since then, the band has enjoyed a period of near constant activity, touring and releasing the Unleashed in the West – Live in Berlin and Songs from the Black Hole covers albums, not to mention Victor’s collaborations with Primitive Race and Danzig. Now, with X – No Absolutes, the power trio sets out to deliver a pure and uncompromising assault of thrash/metal as only PRONG can achieve.
The band wastes no time as “Ultimate Authority” kicks listeners into high gear from the onset with a grooving rhythm and pummeling guitars, hitting hard and fast with all of the urgency of a punk rock anthem, guided by Victor’s acerbic and guttural voice. Tracks like “Sense of Ease,” “Cut and Dry,” and “Worth Pursuing” unleash an unrelenting assault of Art Cruz’s speedy percussive rhythms and Jason Christopher’s thunderous bass, Victor’s melodic squeals on the guitar and carefully arranged vocal harmonies keeping each song grounded in musicality amid the thrashing mayhem. The same can be said of “In Spite of Hindrances,” the descending riffs bearing some resemblance to early Metallica, while “Universal Law” is a classic rock & roller that might not have been out of place on a Motörhead album, the main guitar riff and wah guitar solo being downright catchy. Other songs like “Without Words” and “Soul Sickness” go for a slightly slower, though no less energetic groovy approach, the mechanical precision of the rhythm section being especially notable, with the brief but powerful guitar solo amid Victor’s crooning melodies being a high point in the latter track. And then there are moments on X – No Absolutes where PRONG takes a stab at more emotional territory, with Victor’s soaring vocals bearing a resemblance to Stabbing Westward’s Christopher Hall on songs like “With Dignity” and “Do Nothing,” songs that could easily qualify as power ballads with their mournful atmospheres and anthemic choruses.
In many regards, X – No Absolutes is the quintessential PRONG record, with each song adhering to the band’s sense of tonal consistency and stylistic adventure; it bears a cohesively thrashing metal quality overall, but isn’t afraid to take chances and tread on territories not common to the genre. Each song flows seamlessly into the next without sounding too much alike, all the while, Victor, Christopher, and Cruz showcasing a tight unity that it’s hard to imagine this isn’t the same lineup that has carried the PRONG name since its inception. Although it hardly deviates from what we’ve heard from PRONG before, especially after the excellent “no filler, all killer” approach of Ruining Lives, this only goes to prove the point that this is a band that knows what it is doing and does it quite well!
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Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
Storming the Base CD
Storming the Base Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)