Prong – State of Emergency (Steamhammer/SPV)

Friday, 6th October 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Moving back into New York after spending time in California, Tommy Victor with Prong has been very steadfast in his level of quality control for this crossover / heavy outfit. Always content to incorporate a fusion of groove, industrial, hardcore, and thrash styles, his unique ability to keep the band’s sound relevant from their mid-80’s start through today in this 13th studio album for State of Emergency is admirable as well as commendable. Four years after their last EP Age of Defiance – and six years beyond the last full-length Zero Days – expect another sonic blitzkrieg chock full of rhythmically pounding arrangements, walls of crunchy, jackhammer guitars/bass, and the unmistakable militant voice Tommy delivers as he tackles the oppression of the common man, state of political upheaval, and the need to push through even in hard times.

Veteran producer Steve Evetts twists the sound into this tight juggernaut that jumps out of your speakers – the snappy snare hits of drummer Griffin McCarthy and thunderous bottom end girth from bassist Jason Christopher tremendous to allow Victor’s monstrous tandem guitar/vocal attack to fire all the right hooks in ideal places for “The Descent” and anthemic “Non-Existence”. The crossover hardcore/thrash elements from the early 90’s records like Beg to Differ and Prove You Wrong appear again in a cut like “Who Told Me”, while there’s a commercial pop/punk-ish meets The Cult edge to specific vocal melodies/main chord progressions in “Disconnected” that would have been a possible rock radio staple had this been released in the mid to late 90’s. You can feel the grit, grim, and underground edge to “Back (NYC)” – an urgent second half track where Tommy relates common thoughts about the city he spent so many years absorbing life, while Griffin shifts between some speedier, double kick metal action and thoughtful groove-oriented jumpy tempo parts. The closing Rush cover “Working Man” gets the royal Prong transformation – a bit doomier in the verse/chorus sections, while broader in the instrumental sections for Tommy and his band mates to rock out.

Legacy bands don’t necessarily have to keep putting out new studio records – but when you have the skill sets that Prong delivers time and again, it’s a welcome sight for all senses to enjoy. State of Emergency incorporates the best facets of the band’s sound and should continue to fuel those into primal crossover metal with punk, hardcore, and industrial aspects at the helm.

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