Seminal New York metal trio Prong return with its newest proper album in six years. State of Emergency shifts from the thrash attack of the band’s two previous albums, 2017’s Zero Days and 2016’s X-No Absolutes, in favor of the groove laden rhythms and industrial sound from Prong’s output in the 1990s. “The Descent” opens the record with Tommy Victor’s cutting, chunky, unorthodox riffs over a mid-paced tempo. Drummer Griffin McCarthy keeps listeners on their toes with multiple rhythm changes and drum fills. The title track is a pulverizing, grooving track with riffs that could break pavement. The band play tight with a cocky swagger that would put a smile on Dimebag Darrell’s face.
“Breaking Point” is a chunky, tight, synchronized number that sounds like robot plodding through a city. It is followed by “Non-Existence”, which is my favorite track on the album. It’s centered around a dissonant riff and manic drumming that creates a sense of hopelessness and urgency. It is a track that would fit perfectly on the band’s 1996 record, Rude Awakening, and invokes a nostalgic feeling for longtime fans of the band. “Who Told Me” is a short hardcore stomp that with some post-punk elements that offset the jackhammer riffs. The album delves deeper into experimental territory during the second half. “Disconnected” is clearly inspired by Killing Joke albeit slightly heavier. “Compliant” is mixture of groove metal and noise rock as the band builds a wall of sound during the chorus. Back (NYC) is best described as Motorhead meets hardcore due to the nasty riffs and breakdown as Tommy sings of going back home to the Big Apple. The album concludes with a cover of “Working Man” by Rush. It’s a good rendition and the most fitting Rush song Prong could cover due to its heaviness.
State of Emergency is a focused record, with a heavy groove and a nod to to Prong’s earlier years, particularly Beg To Differ (1990), Cleansing (1993) and the aforementioned Rude Awakening. One sore spot is the lack of a straight thrash tune on this record. Prong definitely hang with best thrash bands and one fast song would add greater variety to this record. However, it is a minor setback as the songwriting on this record is strong and textured. Producer Steve Evetts provided a full sound on this record, particularly with the guitars.
Prong fans will enjoy State of Emergency as it showcases the slower, industrial side of the band. The songs are great and will fit alongside classics like “Snap Your Fingers…Snap Your Neck” and “Power of the Damager” at Prong’s live shows. I just hope Prong does not wait another six years to release another album as that would create a state of emergency.
Check out the band’s official web page here: https://prongmusic.com/