REVIEW: PRONG – “X-No Absolutes”
Ever since their inception in 1986, American metal band Prong have delivered superlative music incorporating significant elements of old school thrash and hardcore punk, thus creating a one-of-its-kind sound which continues to inspire newer generations of metal. Despite putting out twelve albums already, the band remains quite unheard of. Prong’s latest and thirteenth release ‘X- No Absolutes’ speaks volumes of the band’s massive musical prowess.
The album is a power-packed and versatile record which assertively makes a statement. It opens with “Ultimate Authority” which showcases the approach Prong is best known for, with crunchy guitars, heavy grooves and a significant hardcore punk influence oozing especially from the unique classical punk vocals of Tommy Victor. “Sense of Ease” is an up-tempo track which demonstrates Prong’s rich crossover roots. The song opens with aggressive drumming. The fast and fierce vocals and assertive basslines as opposed to the subtle ones in the previous song render it quite thrashy. Following this is “Without Words”, a great song with memorable thrashy riffs and awe-inspiring vocals. “Cut and Dry” follows next with in-your-face riffing, pummelling grooves and prominent basslines which provide an industrial edge to the song. The industrial approach is embellished with some electronic samples. It doesn’t sound abrupt at all and is pretty refreshing. The beautiful guitar lead towards the end of the song makes it memorable. “No Absolutes” is probably the most catchy song on the album while “Do Nothing” demonstrates Victor’s experience as a vocalist in his execution of a style quite different from the rest of his work as it shifts between a subtle and ballady essence and ferocity.
Prong goes on to explore new possibilities with “Belief System” comprising of significant elements of doom and djent. The song sounds unique and interesting in its synchronized guitars and vocals and the modern essence blended with a bit of melancholy. “Soul System” and “In Spite of Hindrances” put forth great signature Prong elements with the latter oozing punk-thrash influences. Next comes a refreshing change in the subtle and laid-back mood in “Ice Runs Through My Veins” which despite not being at par with the other songs on the album, creates quite a memorable thought process in the listener.
The fierce energy is brought back in “Worth Pursuing” which is a perfect headbanger with some great hardcore punk drumming! Amazing guitar work stands out in “With Dignity” which starts rather mellow and then builds up to a hard-hitting song. Probably the best song on the album is the last track- the thrashy “Universal Law” which showcases a great balance of musical elements and will definitely go on to be a listener’s favourite.
In ‘X-No Absolutes’, Prong has pushed its boundaries and evolved to the fullest by incorporating a plethora of elements from sub-genres such as thrash, hardcore punk, industrial, doom and goth. The good production ensures clarity as well as blending of the instrumentations and keeps up the heaviness in the sound. The album speaks volumes of the ability of the band to explore new musical dimensions while remaining true to their roots.