Review Summary: A too often overlooked album that borders on classic
Prong basically came together in the mid-eighties because a bunch of people that worked at CBGB’s wanted to start a hardcore band. After releasing a couple of independent albums they were noticed by Epic. They released a few albums under Epic, the third of which being Cleansing
, which saw Prong playing with samples and some industrial influences. Cleansing
was the closest Prong ever came to commercial success, and also the closest they ever came to a classic album. Prong will go down in history as one of those bands that will forever be an influence to more popular bands, which is too bad, because they put out some amazing records, with this one standing at the top.
Tommy Victor has always been Prong. Band members came and went, yet Tommy was always there. Prong was his baby. Their albums were always in his vision, incorporating the many genres he enjoyed into the songs. Some songs would be based in thrash (“Cut-Rate”), some in Groove (“No Question” and “One Outnumbered”), and sometimes even a reggae feel (The intro to “Broken Peace”). The ability to meld these genres is what set Prong apart from other bands with multiple influences. The one thing Tommy Victor has been always able to do, however, is write heavy songs with catchiness.
The songs on Cleansing
are continually interesting, and has its share of stand-outs. “Whose Fist is this Anyway?” is strong headbanger with a mesmerizing guitar line to anchor the song. “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” is the one song from Prong that most people have heard and for good reason; the bassline behind the song is undeniably catchy and the chorus explodes. “Home Rule” is a song that starts off almost like a track off an old school rap album, with bass and a man just talking, but very quickly picks up into a fantastic metal song.
What is make or break with most people is Tommy Victor’s vocals. He doesn’t sing songs, it is more less he angrily says things, which can turn many people off. If you don’t mind his vocals, or can at least get past them, then this album should be easy to digest. The production is definitely dated, with the cheap early nineties metal sound. One last thing that can detract from the album is the fact that, due to the mixing and production, the guitars start to sound monotonous.
Overall, this is a prime example of early alternative metal. The album contains a catchiness that makes the album very easy to listen to and very fun. Songs like “Cut-Rate” and “Whose Fist is This Anyway?” show off the heavier side of Prong and makes for a unique listen. No band has ever been able to sound like Prong and, if you can get into them, Prong will reward you with a very enjoyable listen.