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December 2, 2023

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100% Live (Locomotive Music)

By: Vinnie Apicella

Prong was one of the few bands that surfaced during the declining Metal years to incite a fresh riot within a stale scene fast replaced by flannel wearing flop mops. They were heavier than I think most people realize, a fact that shouldn't be lost on the band actually starting out back in the '87 when the Power Metal/Thrash movement was in full swing. Out they came with titles like "Primitive Origins," and "Force Fed," their pre-major arrivals that picked up the pace from the previous pit veterans before entering into the experimental phase that would subsequently land them on the same page as many thought after Prog-Core and Industrial types. The Tommy Victor led three and then foursome finally emerged out of the underground with their '94 breakthrough, "Cleansing," a forced entry of a record that cohesively blended Heavy Metal riffing with technological prowess to later lead the way to countless others like Static-X, The Disturbed, and Drowning Pool types. Prong's future is yet again to be determined as current and former leader Tommy Victor resurrects the name that's stood strongly, if not synonymous with today's worthy successors, and assembles yet another version of backing aimed to settle unfinished scores left to swing six years ago. "100% Live" covers all bets in reestablishing the power and prestige that Prong represented in the day by showcasing the new bands' handling of the many old faves and one new one -- "Initiation" -- a "Snap Your Fingers--" sound alike with the same shredding guitar riff and ominous beat pattern -- probably a session leftover that needed an extra push. All the classics and time tested anthems are in place, where they belong, and with the possible exception of the opening "Rude Awakening" that seems to smother Victor's speech from the earliest seconds, the sound's not bad in displaying all the subtle nuances of sound within the outlying wall of sonic density that's always defined the Prong song. "Broken Peace," "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck," the smash it up standard from their 1990 Epic-sized debut "Beg To Differ," to the kinder, gentler "Prove You Wrong" follow up, all jump straight at ya with both feet in the air, elbows flying. Dan Laudo's no slouch behind the kit either; an impressive factor that helps carry the dead weight of Victor's layered rhythm section with timely quick triggered bursts of double bass and pre-choral attacks, noticeably evident on the extreme "Dark Signs" and ol' school shred of "Disbelief." It's a solid reintroduction to the band that many would agree called it a day too early. The contents feature song lyrics and image collage centerfold highlighted by an actual Thomas' English Muffins shirt by one of the band member photos! They might've included the chronological album list for the latecomer listener who hopped aboard during the days of "Cleansing" or "Rude Awakening" and wouldn't know what possibly to make of the 60% remaining, or thrown a bit of Victor hype in the opening entry, but instead, they bombard you with song lyrics with no indication of what, where, and how. After hearing this, there's no denying the strength of their legacy, which apparently still has room to grow, and it appears Victor and Co. are fully woken and ready to come out banging.
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