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WLM Reviews: Prong – Zero Days

August 12, 2017

Five years since a self-imposed hiatus. Five albums (one was a covers album). Prong is simply churning out the Metal at a pace unseen in a long time. With Zero Days on SPV/Steamhammer, I think the band has taken yet another step back toward the excellence of Carved Into Stone.

Prong’s penchant for kluging together a number of styles (thrash, hardcore, industrial metal) continues to define what their sound is. Now with a new album so soon Tommy Victor and his mates have submitted to us an album worthy of a listen, although there are some slight failings that just don’t measure up to what I expect from Prong.

The first three tracks blast out of speakers with an urgency and level of intensity that I want and usually get from Prong. However It May End grooves pretty hard with typical Prong melodies as well as some instances of thrashiness and excellent syncopated riffing. The title track features another example of the syncopation as well as a nicely done chorus and some quality leads from Victor. The riff, though, is the attraction here. Off the Grid comes hard, especially during the breakdown section. Digging it.

Divide and Conquer is the first place Prong loses me. The verses are decent enough. I just don’t care much for the chorus. Undoubtedly, Victor’s singing has improved quite a lot over the years, as on exhibit here. The chorus just feels a bit forced and doesn’t fit with the rest of the song. Prong brings back the aggression on Forced Into Tolerance. I really enjoy the lyrical content here, as well. Musically, we are up-tempo and Victor spits out the words a bit more maniacally than anything preceding the song on Zero Days. Interbeing might not be quite as aggressive, but the riff is fantastic and I think Victor’s monotone delivery works really well. Next is the second downfall of Zero Days. Blood Out of Stone is far too “modern” sounding for me. Lyrically I think it’s fine, but I’m just not liking the song. Skip.

Operation of the Moral Law comes back nicely. The chorus might be too much in a groove feel for some, but the in-your-face verses should make up for that. The Whispers is borderline for me, but not a terrible song. Certainly the bass heavy verse is reminiscent of older Prong. The chorus is an ear-wormy melody, maybe a bit too melodic. Otherwise, a pretty good track, I suppose. Self-Righteous Indignation is as heavy as anything on Zero Days, however it sort of plods along with actually not much memorable about it. Rulers of the Collective is an improvement, more melodic and memorable than the previous track. Probably not quite as good as some earlier tracks, but good nonetheless.

The couple of tracks that wrap up Zero Days are Compulsive Future Projection and Wasting of the Dawn. Compulsive Future Projection has a very good verse, but the chorus – once again – is a bit soft compared to the rest of the song. The short, syncopated instrumental breakdowns are cool and could have gone longer, but prove to be effective. Closer Wasting of the Dawn sounds like a tribal attack, and is also somewhat in the vein of older Prong. Again, the syncopation evokes a level of heaviness, particularly when all of the instruments participate simultaneously. Good way to close it out.

From Victor: It’s a solid outing. We have the anthems, the bangers, the thrashers, the grooves, everything that makes up a PRONG record. It’s definitely a record to listen to start to finish!!”

Check out However It May End:

Altogether, Zero Days is a strong album with some stellar highlights. There are also flaws and two or three songs that I probably wouldn’t have included – and I end up skipping when I play it. That said, Prong is worth the time and money and Zero Days should satisfy fans of both Beg to Differ and X-No Absolutes. Tommy Victor continues to improve with age.

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