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X – No Absolutes

Ah, the mid 90’s - Grunge was fading away with the death of Kurt Cobain and something terrifyingly known as Britpop was clogging the airwaves with bands like Oasis and Pulp. Plus the aptly titled Post-Grunge genre gave us albums by Alanis Morissette and Silverchair. I’m not saying metal wasn’t around, it just wasn’t as accessible.

Without the Internet to guide us, if metal wasn’t being given much airtime on radio and TV, how were we to know about new bands? Sure we had White Zombie, Type O Negative and Pantera waving the metal flag, while the rumblings of Nu Metal were starting but far from blowing up the airwaves. The Antichrist Superstar had only just begun sowing his seeds of shock rock in the mainstream and most 80’s metal were either taking a break or trying to rebrand themselves.

However this was a great time for Metal’s brother, “Industrial” to hit mainstream thanks to Trent Reznor and his album “The Downward Spiral.” Nine Inch Nail’s success allowed for Heavy Metal – Industrial Hybrid group Prong to land it’s biggest hit with the track, “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” from the 1994 album “Cleansing.” The band had been around for nearly a decade but after their video made it on Beavis & Butt-head, Tommy Victor and company exploded onto the scene.

But just as quickly as they exploded onto the scene, they faded away. They didn’t quit, mind you, they just seemed to thrive (and prefer being) in the underground scene. In fact earlier this year, they released their newest album “X – No Absolutes.” Perhaps they would prefer the level of success they found in the mid 90’s, but I think their style fits better out of the mainstream light. Prong is a band that plays by their own rules, creating a style that mixes punk, thrash and industrial with seamless precision.

X – No Absolutes
(SPV GmbH)
Written by: Ryan M. Andrews
7 out of 10

“X – No Absolutes” reminds me of classic Fear Factory, mixed with hardcore punk. So if you’re a fan of Cliff Burton and company, you might want to check out Prong’s current sound. The album opens with the track “Ultimate Authority” and while this song doesn’t reinvent the wheel, the fact is, it doesn’t need to. It gives metal heads a chance to head bang and mosh to a hard-hitting metal sound.

Showing diversity, the next song on the album is “Sense of Ease” which allows a hardcore punk sound to bleed through the thrash metal track. And they switch it up again with “Ice Runs through My Veins” which has a more harmonizing radio-friendly feel to it.

Like I said, they didn’t reinvent the wheel, so while their fan base may not grow extensively, Prong fans will be happy with this album. In fact, as a fan of Prong, this is their best work in over a decade. If you’re not familiar with Prong, then this is a great album to dive in with.

7 out of 10

Album Highlights: “Sense Of Ease” and “Ultimate Authority.”

Ryan M. Andrews, HMS

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