Since the reformation of Prong back in the early 2000’s, the band have put the work in on the road, but struggled to match the form of their early studio releases that made the name Prong a force to be reckoned with in the first place. Thankfully, ‘Carved into Stone’ goes somewhere towards putting this right. It is certainly the finest work to be released since Prong was officially put back together by Tommy Victor. This is good for fans like me, who were too young to be bothered about them first time round, but have since realised their brilliance through ploughing through the Prong back catalogue. We finally have something that resembles the legend.
Prong boasts a varied back catalogue with regards to sound. From early east-coast hardcore beginnings they soon developed a more Thrash orientated sound for their major label debut, ‘Beg to Differ’. They continued to evolve by incorporating Industrial sounds and even Dance influences through the nineties, but have always been a metal band when it really comes down to it.
On ‘Carved into Stone’ Prong sound stripped back to the bare elements of metal and hardcore. There are no beats or any sign of grimy industrial influences. Yet Prong sound as urgent and disgruntled as ever.
Tommy Victor was quoted as saying that this album is the hardest he has ever worked in the studio. His work hasn’t been a waste of time. From the thumping beginning to ‘Eternal Heat’, right through an album packed with crunching riffs and classic Prong chorus lines, the feeling is that they are back good and strong. ‘Keep on Living in Pain’ and ‘Path of Least Resistance’ have great sing-along choruses that’ll work great live. Songs like the suitably named ‘Ammunition’ and ‘List of Grievances’ pack a heavy arsenal of Thrash riffs which see the band at their fastest and heaviest. They stay pretty heavy on the slow ones, the snail pace title track starts off doomy as hell but still retains the typical catchy and memorable Prong song qualities.
It may seem a little curious that the band embark on a tour that revisits their fan favourite ‘Beg to Differ’ album just as they release a brand new album. Mainly because this album is more than strong enough to tour off alone. Don’t expect them to forget these songs completely though, we should see the best of both worlds on tour.
While ‘Carved into Stone’ may just fall slightly short of the ‘classic’ tag that can be applied to quite a few of their earlier releases, it’s a pretty good stab at it. Prong is alive and well for sure and look set to be around for a while yet on this evidence.