Review Summary: The Prong album which helped bridge them into industrial metal and remains one of their finest.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the New York metal scene was presenting a somewhat diametrically polarized output in terms of style and tone. In one hand you had the lyrically moody and gargantuan based riffs of bands such as Life Of Agony and Type O Negative whereas in the other hand, bands such as Helmet, Unsane and Prong were delivering tight, muscular, rhythm-orientated offerings of alternative metal. You also had Cannibal Corpse – just for good measure. Prong’s PROVE YOU WRONG was their second major label album and their third overall.
Prong’s previous release, 1990’s BEG TO DIFFER, is a succinct and rigid thrash metal classic that is both influential and yet perhaps even a little underrated. Prong’s most commercially successful album, CLEANSING was released in 1994. PROVE YOU WRONG was released in between these two which just about makes it one of the bands most overlooked releases and also marked the bands first personnel shuffle with Troy Gregory replacing Mike Kirkland on bass.
PROVE YOU WRONG is what could be described as a transitional album as it shows the band focus less on the thrash tendencies which dominated previous material and more with a new direction akin to industrial metal but still retaining their urbanistic beats and slamming riffs. The end product is a slightly underdeveloped sound which would later fully form and become CLEANSING AND RUDE AWAKENING. Even so, PROVE YOU WRONG is still a damn fine release and still remains more interesting than subsequent albums.
A notable change is within the aforementioned bass department which is given a more audible presence through the boosted production; the opening twangs of the punchy ‘Positively Blind’ and the rattling opener ‘Irrelevant Thought’ are among the examples which showcase this best. What could be perceived as familiar territory are the usual echoed vocals and layered guitars which make the whole album sound like it was recorded in a subway station, also the ever credible Ted Parson’s creative and sometimes even tribal influenced drumming which holds everything together.Tracks such as ‘Contradictions’ and the instrumental ‘Territorial Rites’ give way to a slower and more atmospheric approach, the latter begins similar to what would be expected of Parson’s previous band, Swans, with its utterly crawling pace before returning to the usual pulsating tempo. It also includes brief sampling which would foreshadow the industrial direction. Towards the later stages of the album we have one of the albums best moments and something of a curio as it enables the band to sound a little upbeat with a rendition of The Stranglers 'Get A Grip (On Yourself)', even if they have more or less Pronged the original up with a straightforward cover.
Other highlights include the loose title track with what could be sworn to have a country music influence in it somewhere and the straight-up groove metal exercise in ‘Pointless’ which could have easily felt in place on BEG TO DIFFER. One of the only problems with PROVE YOU WRONG though is that it does lack that killer application track, that one song which defines the album. Not necessarily a single, perhaps just one or two songs which stand head and shoulders above the rest; BEG TO DIFFER had its title track and CLEANSING has ‘Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck’. Instead, the album becomes a merge of tracks that are at a consistently high level but never spike beyond that which ultimately leaves you wanting more. Nonetheless, this is still one of Prong’s finest.