Prong


Prove You Wrong

Prong - Prove You Wrong ©1991 Epic
1. Irrelevant Thoughts
2. Unconditional
3. Positively Blind
4. Prove You Wrong
5. Hell If I Could
6. Pointless
7. Contradictions
8. Torn Between
9. Brainwave
10. Territorial Rites
11. Get A Grip (on Yourself)
12. Shouldn't Have Bothered
13. No Way To Deny It

Having found themselves a new bassist (at least long enough to get Prove You Wrong recorded, since the guy vanished immediately afterwards), Prong resurfaced in 1991 with a much more honed attack and their best album up to that point. Unlike the densely packed Beg to Differ, which was quite difficult to ever warm up to, Prove You Wrong opens up the sound for a larger sound with much more dynamics. Troy Gregory, the ephemeral bassist in question, was brought in to replace original bassists Mike Kirkland (who apparently was not keeping up with the development of Tommy Victor and Ted Parsons, according to interviews at the time). His style fit this album well, though it's hard to say if he fit the band's style.

Prove You Wrong does benefit from a better sense of songwriting. While the guitars are still underproduced, the album's ringing, open sound is conducive to the band's aggressive and acidic bite. The title track provided some call and response vocals as well as the band's video. "Unconditional" is a great, straight forward song that allows Parsons to groove as a drummer. This album certainly highlights this former Swans' member's ability. "Contradictions" is a slower number, with less abrasive but more contemplative vocals from Victor. The cover of "Get a Grip (On Yourself)" is another album highlight that allows the band to just blast forward and groove.

Although Prove You Wrong has some fairly tepid songs here and there, it is ultimately one of Prong's better releases. The band displayed a good sense of complexity in all phases without allowing pretention to overshadow their natually aggressive approach.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2000

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Cleansing

Prong - Cleansing ©1994 Epic
1. Another Worldly Device
2. Whose Fist Is This Anyway?
3. Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck
4. Cut-rate
5. Broken Peace
6. One Outnumbered
7. Out Of This Misery
8. No Question
9. Not Of This Earth
10. Home Rule
11. Sublime
12. Test

Prong finally enjoyed a certain amount of mainstream notice with the release of Cleansing and particularly "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck", whose video spent some time in rotation on MTV for awhile. The album was a step up, at least production-wise, from previous releases, as Tommy Victor's guitar tone is one of the finest and thickest laid to tape. Moreover, some of these songs are among the best the band has ever written. Although Prong had employed yet another bassist, former Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven (proving once and for all that Prong, at heart, wanted to be Killing Joke), Cleansing retained a lot of consistency in their work. The album is hands down more "metal" than their hybrid earlier albums, but Victor's tough snarl and the core of the band's sound remains intact.

After a fairly plain opening track, the album really kicks into gear with two of the catchiest songs Prong has ever written: "Whose Fist is This Anyway?" and the aforementioned "Snap Your Fingers". The one thing Prong has always had in their favor is Tommy Victor's impressive ability to write riffs that stick to your ribs. "Whose Fist" has such an infectious riff that you truly do not want the song to end. Other impressive songs include "One Outnumbered", "Not of This Earth", "Home Rule" and "Sublime". These songs are unfortunately accompanied by some rather tepid ones, making Cleansing a somewhat imperfect listen. Those lesser songs are more filler than need be. However, on a whole Cleansing is a good, strong album for Prong and the excellent songs more than make up for the weaker ones.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2000

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Rude Awakening

Prong - Rude Awakening ©1996 Epic
1. Controller
2. Caprice
3. Rude Awakening
4. Unfortunately
5. Face Value
6. Avenue Of The Finest
7. Slicing
8. Without Hope
9. Mansruin
10. Innocence Gone
11. Dark Signs
12. Close The Door
13. Proud Division

On what turned out to be the band's final album, Prong finally gave into their influences and produced a very strong piece of work that echoes the Killing Joke sound that was always bubbling in the background. Metal purists naturally criticized the band for daring incorporate rhythm patterns that were had a "dance" or "trip hop" feel to them, but that mentality will inhibit one from actually enjoying a great album such as this. The bass lines and low end tones are quite stirring while the songwriting is exceptional throughout. There is still quite a bit of the stop/go guitar playing that has been a Prong trademark over the years but it also tempered with a smoother flow to the music. The title track is a great example of a goosebump raising guitar pattern that is both memorable and melodic. Tommy Victor's vocals are less barked than in the past, but work well with the music here. "Mansruin" is one of the few tracks that goes for the metal vein here, but the sampled sounds and throbbing bassline still tie it in with the newer Prong sound. It really is a shame that Prong threw in the towel after this release because they did seem to be onto something here.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2000

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100% Live

Prong - 100% Live ©2002 Locomotive Music
1. Rude Awakening
2. Initiation
3. Broken Peace
4. Controller
5. Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck
6. Beg To Differ
7. Dark Signs
8. Another Worldly Device
9. Prove You Wrong
10. Close The Door
11. Disbelief
12. Whose Fist Is This Anyway
13. Cut Rate
14. Unconditional

For a span of nearly six years, Prong was a broken up entity that occasionally entertained rumors of guitarist/vocalist Tommy Victor hiring a lineup to renew the life of the band. Apparently he has finally achieved that goal and to show off the fact that Prong exists, the band has released a live album with the incredibly clever title 100% Live. It should be noted that this new lineup of Prong does not include drummer Ted Parsons, who many feel was an intregal part of Prong's overall sound and music.

100% Live is a very efficient showcase for the new Prong, although the material is almost entirely "greatest hits" selections from the Victor's career with the band. Aside from a pretty groovy new number, "Initiation", all the tracks are taken from older records with minimal amounts of audience participation. For all intents and purposes, they could have recorded the same songs in a studio with the live engineer pretending to be a crowd. If the purpose of this album was to showcase the new lineup, it might have been helpful to actually list the new members' names in the liner notes. I get the feeling this CD was mostly intended to remind people that Prong existed once again and get some attention aimed towards the band before they attempt any sort of studio release. For the most part, the new lineup is competent at recreating the older Prong songs. Parsons' drumming is hard to top, so we'll just say the new drummer does an adequate job.

Those who have missed Prong will probably enjoy this CD like I have but could definitely remain suspicious on the viability of this new lineup. It suffices a need to hear some old classics but it doesn't satiate the need to hear some new Victor-riffage. With any luck, any upcoming studio album will be considerably more necessary than this live release.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2003

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