Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Published 22 July, 2017
For me, one of the best albums of 2016 was Prong’s X – No Absolutes even with a couple of niggly tracks that didn’t sit well with me. In my review of that album, I pointed out the band’s impressive work ethic since 2012 which tallied up an average of one release per year via three studio albums, a covers album and a live album. Not too shabby for a band that’s been around for over three decades (including their brief hiatus from around 1998 to 2002). I was pleasantly surprised to see another brand new studio album from this powerful crossover- thrash trio arrive in my inbox for review. Niggles aside, there was little doubt that following up X – No Absolutes was going to be quite the challenge.
It’s fair to say any of my concerns are put at ease once “However It May End” kicks into gear. It’s an absolute belter of a track that sets a gritty tone for the remaining tracks that follow. It’s every bit Prong sounding thanks to jarring riffs, open choruses and thrash fused runs here and there and most importantly Tommy Victor’s vocals sound great as well. The band is possibly sounding better than ever from very early on. All of the great things that shone through on the band’s previous album are back again in spades.
Whilst “Off the Grid” is the first heavy track on offer, it’s the subsequent track “Divide and Conquer” that really shows Prong hitting their stride in a manner similar to the excellent tracks such as “Ultimate Authority”, “Without Words” and “No Absolutes” from their previous outing. It features ridiculously infectious hooks and great vocals melodies and at times, musically, it could almost be mistaken for early Papa Roach (think “Infest” era) but with Victor’s vocals throughout, the lines of demarcation between the two bands remains intact. In fact, it’s the latter stages of that song that it’s even clearer that this killer track is undoubtedly Prong.
The one thing that is notable on Zero Days is the level of consistency throughout the album’s thirteen tracks. At a little over three-quarters of an hour in length, there is enough opportunity for the album to lose its way and through up something that falls short of the mark or is a complete dud. However, as the album progresses, it becomes crystal clear that there is absolutely no sign of the consistency dropping in the slightest. There’s absolutely no sign of pedestrian, at times ho-hum material that popped up on the band’s previous long player. The songs average around that magic three and a half minute mark, which for Prong is just about bang on. Each of the songs packs a lot in to a short amount of time and comes out as this almost perfect blend of riffs, hooks and aggression.
Prong has returned much quicker than I thought they would and the best thing about it is that the end result is all killer, no filler. Prong absolutely perfected their craft this time around and the result is absolutely bloody brilliant.
Steamhammer SPV Records