On the heels of their recent announcementof their co-headline tour with fellow legends Helmet, Prong has announced another run of tour dates. The “Zero Days Tour” will see the long-running metal innovators joined by supergroup Powerflo, which features members of Cypress Hill, Biohazard and Fear Factory in their ranks, and special guests at each date. Prong continues to tour in support of their killer 2017 album, Zero Days, released last summer on the Steamhammer label. Continue reading →
It’s been almost forty years and we’re still reviewing Anvil albums. Would you like to know why? Because, Anvil are like your comfy, furry, winter slippers. Anvil is your grandmother’s meatloaf [I’m assuming this isn’t a euphemism…! ed] Anvil is always there in a comforting, supportive way. You don’t have to dig deep or get all metaphysical about an Anvil album. It’s just Rock n’ Roll. It’s straight-forward, undeviating, good old-fashioned Heavy Metal. Pounding The Pavement (Steamhammer/SPV) is forty-six minutes of throwback tunes from a more simple time in Metal. Continue reading →
For a band that’s been around longer than I’ve been uselessly kicking around this earth, Prong still has plenty of juice. I enjoyed both Songs from the Black Hole and X – No Absolutes (both SPV/Steamhammer) just fine, but the vibe is different on album twelve(!), Zero Days (Steamhammer). Seems like Tommy Victor has been busy putting together a late career resurgence, not unlike the lads in Machine Head. Continue reading →
Invidia (the brainchild of In This Moment’s Travis Johnson and former Skinlab guitarist Brian Jackson) aims to be the sonic version of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, and makes no bones about it. The track ‘Step Up’ from their début As the Sun Sleeps (Steamhammer/Oblivion/SPV) spells this out quite literally, even lifting a line from the film that encompasses everything the band stands for: “It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Continue reading →
If Armored Saint’s new album, Win Hands Down (Metal Blade) taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel or ignore your legacy to make a good album. Despite having been going since the mid-seventies, British NWOBHM crew Raven still know how to crank out an energetic slab of rock.
ExtermiNation (SPV/Steamhammer) is the 80s speed metal veterans’ 13th album and one they funded through Kickstarter late last year. The band, consisting of Gallagher brothers John and Mark [Bass/vocals and guitar respectively] plus drummer Joe Hasselvander do a good job of defying their years and combine plenty of energy with “shove in as many riffs as possible” approach to song writing.
On their Kickstarter page, the band billed ExtermiNation as “the best Raven album yet.” That might be a stretch for any band with such a lengthy legacy, but it’s definitely a raucous ride. There’s plenty of pounding drums, squealing guitars and crowd-pleasing sing along moments. Raven’s ability to mesh those Megadeth-esque speed metal moments with the more mid-paced NWOBHM chugging and even borderline AOR melody is probably their strongest asset. Not of it is particularly aggressive – it’s more fists in the air than fist to the face – but they know how to craft a few good tunes.
‘Thunder Down Under’ mixes AC/DC groove with beefed up rock, while the likes of ‘No Surrender’ and ‘Battle March/Tank Treads (The Blood Runs Red)’ and have a classic Iron Maiden style regard to squealing guitar leads. Gallagher’s vocals range from a simple shout right through to the kind of falsetto more suited to (now defunct) 3 Inches of Blood – and might be the strongest but suit the band’s rough around the edges sound. The more ballad/melody-oriented songs drag on and there are times when it all gets a bit too hackneyed, but the whole it’s a surprisingly enjoyable listen.
As many imitators as the whole NWOBHM scene as, there’s a reason the original acts are still seen as the best. Few bands can combine that energy, catchiness and ability to make you smile. It’s not big, clever, or anything we haven’t heard a thousand times elsewhere, but ExtermiNation is a simple and enjoyable slice of good time rock that harks back to metal’s heyday.
Tommy Victor (Danzig/Ministry) is at it again with his industrial/thrash outfit known as Prong. The newest release from the 3-piece is entitled Ruining Lives (Steamhammer/SPV), but I wouldn’t say my life is ruined since listening to this album. I have never had the opportunity to listen to Prong up until this point, but I was pleasantly surprised at all of the elements that Prong attack their listeners with. Industrial guitar tones, punk/thrash drum beats, the occasional break down, and the uniqueness behind Tommy’s voice were all present on this album and jive really well together.
For my first time listening to Prong I would say overall it was a positive experience and I will be digging for more as soon as I can. Having said that, I felt like the first four tracks were missing something that make them memorable to me. Maybe it was because the songs were not as aggressive as I had hoped. Perhaps the breakdowns seemed a little too forced and just put in to kill time. My philosophy, however, is to keep moving forward with the album and stay engaged with it. This time, I would say it worked out. From the album title track on through to the closing seconds of ‘Limitations and Validations’ I was head banging more and really digging the grooves that were being presented. The breakdowns, when they did occur, felt right. The aggression factor certainly increased exponentially as well where the guitars seemed to come alive and take a stranglehold on each track. Most importantly, these tracks became memorable, which is arguably the most important characteristic a song can have in this day in age where you can purchase single songs off of applications such as iTunes. Personally, I will buy and listen to a full album and listen to it front to back as intended so I can get the full feeling from the artists who wrote and recorded it. In other words, I buy a whole painting with a frame, not just a chunk of the painting that has some happy trees in it and ignore the beautiful mountains in the background. So to shift gears back to Prong, I would say my favorites off of this album were ‘Ruining Lives’, ‘Absence of Light’ , ‘Self Will Run Riot’, and ‘Limitations and Validations.’
The best part of finally getting to listen to Prong, was to listen to all the little bits and pieces that reminded me of other bands/artists who cite Tommy as an influence. Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory, Jonathan Davis from Korn, and even Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails all seem to utilize small pieces of Tommy’s work and it is even clearly seen off of Ruining Lives today. It is safe to say that Prong is not only a very important piece of the extreme musical world of today, but Tommy and company can still hang with the best as they have proved here on their latest.