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  PRONG
'Songs From The Black Hole'
(Steamhammer/SPV)
Release Date: 30th March 2015


Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland



prong

Three piece US post Metallers Prong rose out of the murky punk world of New York's CBGBs club in the 1980s as the band met while working there.

Despite making it into the Metal mainstream with 1994s 'Cleansing' album featuring their best known tune, 'Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck', it is no surprise that having decided to do a covers album of songs which influenced them the flavour is decidedly more post punk than post Metal.

The ten songs here vary in source from the angry punk stylings of Discharge to the gothic overtones of the Sisters Of Mercy and even something from the godfather of grunge Neil Young. All of these songs are played pretty straight but in a Prong style, almost as if the band had written them.

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The sound here then is exactly the post Metal/punk/grunge hybrid we've come to expect from this earnest unpretentious trio. There are no surprises and no taking any chances taking a song to a new place, this is just Prong showing what you would hear if they threw a cover into their live shows.

This approach can work very well. Fugazi's 'Give Me The Cure' is full of dirty groove and a good shouty chorus while the more measured, jagged edged melodies of The Adolescent's 'Kids Of The Black Hole' fits the natural power groove style of the band very well. Pick of the bunch for me is their take on Butthole Surfer's 'Goofy's Concern' which has some real bottom end power behind it's "I don't give a fuck" lyric lines.

Things go less well though on the best known songs here. The Sisters Of Mercy's 'Vision Thing' in its original form is a classic slice of groovy gothic genius but this classic power trio take on it just sounds less powerful than it should and pales in comparison.

prong

The album closer, 'Cortez The Killer', from Neil Young's most fertile period is a straight take on a classic in obviously heartfelt tribute. It is a great song with killer guitar hook lines and a lyric which tells a gut wrenching story of the rape and pillage of South America by European explorers and if you've never heard the original you will be impressed I have no doubt.

However no one can fill this song with the angst and sense of loss that Neil Young can so in the end I just found myself wondering what the point of listening to an inferior version was.

A disappointing end then to an album which is worthy and interesting but ultimately unspectacular and not totally satisfying. Prong's hardcore fan base will be happy with this for the most part I think and if you haven't come across them before it's a good introduction into who and what they are.

However I expected something better from them when I heard about this project. I hope they have some good original material to bring to the table next time.

Line up:
Tommy Victor – guitar, vocals
Jason Christopher – bass
Art Cruz - drums


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