Prong ‘Ruining Lives’ Review: Tommy Victor returns with guns blazing for Prong’s latest release.
When I interviewed Prong frontman Tommy Victor last year, he mentioned the next Prong album would draw upon the alternative industrial metal sound of albums like ‘Cleansing’ and underrated follow-up ‘Rude Awakening.’
And true to his word, the sound has resurfaced on new release ‘Ruining Lives’, while retaining the thrash element of earlier releases. This makes it very much a companion piece with previous album ‘Carved Into Stone.’
‘Absence Of Light’ is a standout track, with staccato switch-blade riff verses leads into a anthemic major chord chorus. It’s a catchy-headbanger ear-worm.
‘Remove, Separate Self’ has the disco metal stomp of the band’s biggest hit ‘Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.’ And ‘The Barriers’ is a pulverizing juggernaut, featuring some of Victor’s most lightning fast fretwork to date. And his scalpel sharp guitar tone still packs a wallop.
Victor does get out of his comfort zone of a few tracks, such as the Mastodon style intro of ‘Chamber Of Thoughts.’
Lyrically Victor still draws upon his conflicting inner voices of doubt and wilfulness. This comes to the fore on the epic ‘Windows Shut’; ‘It’s getting so hard to try, It’s getting very dark inside, To live in a definitive way, To strive for the everyday, Light shut out!’
As on ‘Carved Into Stone’, Victor’s soloing chops see him at the top of his game, with Slayer-worthy solos on tracks like ‘The Books Of Change.’ ‘Ruining Lives’ is another track of shifting dynamics going from sludgy Sabbath to trad-thrash.
As has been the case post-‘Rude Awakening’, Victor remains the only constant member in the band. This time around bass and drums duties go to Jason Christopher and Art Cruz. They’re perfectly serviceable, but I still miss the avant-garde styling of drummer Ted Parsons and late bassist Paul Raven.
Victor’s vocals are high in the mix, and his melodic phrasing often lies in stark contrast to the heavy riffage. Producer Steve Evetts’ crisp production gives the album a contemporary feel.
I’d still like to hear the 90’s electronic elements return to their sound, but this remains a stripped-down affair. This makes sense given the lack of industrial presence in modern metal.
Want to own Prong’s ‘Ruining Lives’? Buy it on Amazon or iTunes below:
[amazon_image id=”B00IOCRPPY” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Ruining Lives (2LP+CD)[/amazon_image]