Prong
Zero Days


3.0
good

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (250 Reviews)
July 30th, 2017 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist


It feels strange to think that Prong have been going for over three decades now, but perhaps a further insight into the band's known penchant for exploring different musical territories will justify the fairly lengthy career period. After all, Prong are repeatedly referred to by their devotees as one of the more interesting underground metal acts. Having gone from the gritty, hardcore punk-inspired leanings of the band's early days to a more exciting proposition of fusing industrial, thrash and groove metal, Prong certainly deserve all the credit they've achieved over the years. Lately however, the band haven't really gained momentum so much as lost it. The last few years have seen Prong unveil quite a few releases (one of which is entirely compiled of covers), but none of those have quite surpassed the band's heyday, back when the likes of Cleansing and Rude Awakening propelled the band to a brief stint in the mainstream. Comparing these two records to, say, last year's rather forgettable X-No Absolutes, and you can quickly understand the difference in quality.

This year sees the release of Prong's latest effort, Zero Days, which unfortunately is very top-heavy and ends on some of the most uninspired material the band have come up with since forming in 1986. The first half is essentially the band laying out the groundwork for what was so successful for Prong in the 1990s, when the likes of "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" was sworn by some to be the anthem of an era. "However It May End" and the title track are speedy ragers, unveiling Victor's gritty snarl and the choppy albeit menacing riff work for which the band have become well-known over the years. As run-of-the-mill as these two tracks may be, they deem Prong as a band that haven't lost their touch. Lighter, more mainstream-reaching tunes such as forthcoming preview song "Divide and Conquer" and closer "Wasting of the Dawn" at times threaten to turn away those who prefer the band's grittier musical side, but they're written well enough to ensure that the balance between heaviness and restraint is just right.

However, as strong as the first half may be, quality swiftly goes downhill when "Interbeing" begins playing. At first glance it feels like a half-baked attempt at trying to sound atmospheric and, well, epic, but to absolutely no avail. The chorus is inconsistently bland and why Tommy Victor chose to feature the most nasally-sounding aspect of his vocal delivery is beyond anyone's comprehension. Similarly, "Self Righteous Indignation", whilst it does attempt to regain the band's heavier approach, falls flat because of its bland linearity, and "Compulsive Future Projection" loses all inspiration merely from the way in which Victor choose to repeat the title over and over again. That said, there are some golden moments to find in the album's second half. "The Whispers" seems to follow the same path as "Interbeing" with its atmospheric nuances, but this time working a little better in displaying such a deviation from the usual Prong-led path. With its harmonic guitar work and Victor's clean vocal delivery, it manages to dodge the cheese and instead becomes one of the better examples of when Prong decide to go fully light in their delivery. As mentioned before, "Wasting of the Dawn" demonstrates a clearly capable balance of the light and the heavy, and although it doesn't seem to be placed right in the tracklisting, the bittersweet moods presented do go a long way into regaining interest from the listener.

Zero Days could well be a clone of every other Prong album released after 2007's Power of the Damager, but it does confidently sidestep mediocrity thanks to Tommy Victor's inescapable presence and the band's general well-balanced approach towards songwriting. Unfortunately, it reaches a barely above average quality in general because of the first half's dominance and the second half's mostly tame delivery (with the exception of "The Whispers" and the closer). That said, this latest effort should be delectable for the already baying fanbase, but certainly not those looking to find the best of what Prong have had to offer over the last few decades.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2017


2417 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

c/c welcome as always.

Digging: The Black Dahlia Murder - Nightbringers

LaughingSkull
July 30th 2017


526 Comments


this band has always been so meh...

TrephineArtist
July 30th 2017


241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love Prong, especially their 90's output such as Beg to differ, Cleansing and Rude Awakening. Far from meh imo!



However I'm not so bowled over by the recent stuff, some songs are good though. One of the few bands of which I still buy the physical releases.







Tomstein
July 30th 2017


87 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

While I like the songs on here and fond them catchy, I sure hope they don't burn themselves out.

Digging: Samael - Hegemony

Davil667
July 31st 2017


2751 Comments


Very good review man, just giving this the first spin.

Even though I really can feel some of your points when listening to this I'm pretty sure it'll end up a bit higher than a 3 for me. Some crushing riffs and plenty of energy on here, just as usual. Tommy's still a beast for sure.

teamster
July 31st 2017


1927 Comments


Tommy Victor is the master , the head-honcho, the man who created THE perfect guitar textures. And for that I will always check and enjoy every Prong record. Excellent review and thanks.

Digging: Foscor - Les Irreals Visions

TrephineArtist
August 1st 2017


241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As with the previous two Prong albums I'm starting to like this more after repeated listens.



So far the highlights for me are However it may end, Self righteous indignation, Blood out of stone, Rulers of the collective and Wasting of the dawn.

ChaoticVortex
August 1st 2017


484 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Big Prog fan here, and unfortunately I have to agree this was pretty run-of-the-mill for them. Songwriting is decent but nothing as crushing like anything Carved. They need to slow down.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
August 1st 2017


2417 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They need to slow down.



This. I admire Tommy Victor's willingness to pump out material on a consistent basis, but that material should be of consisten quality too. anyone can rush albums out once a year.

Aiwaz
August 1st 2017


3694 Comments


agreed teamster

Dewinged
August 10th 2017


5859 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Jamming it now, and for a band 30 years running, this is pretty ok.

Digging: Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper

TrephineArtist
September 1st 2017


241 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm going to push my rating up to a 3.5 (as it's better than a 3 for me, probably more a 3.3) mainly due to the songs I mentioned previously. Some songs are very catchy, especially Divide and conquer (even though it's not one of my faves) and Rulers of the collective which is great. Another track that's growing on me is Interbeing, which has a nice Killing Joke flavour to it.









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