I was pretty sure that Prong was dead and gone. All
signs had pointed to such an event. Lo and behold, I walk
into a music store and find a copy of Scorpio Rising
staring me in the face. All that remains of the previous lineup
is frontman Tommy Victor (drummer Ted Parsons is onto other
projects as is bassist Paul Raven). Filling out the lineup
is Dan Laudo on drums and Monte Pittman as co-guitars/bass.
With the inclusion of the new blood, Prong's music
has taken a noticeable revision.
Streamlined sonically, this new Prong album presents
metal is a straightforward and raw format. The tracks are
powerful and thrashing without being overdone and heavy-handed
about it. Tommy's vocals are as potent as ever - ranging from
oddly melodic to rage-infected roars. His main vocals are
a constant state of disgruntled impatience, lashing out at
The album opens with a blistering one-two punch. Detached
is a harsh, thrashing trash with one hell of a groove that
lashes out like a wounded animal. This is followed by All
Knowing Force, a punishing song that shows hints of Zakk
Wylde in the higher notes, throw in like power spikes. Embrace
The Depth follows with a moody bass intro that flows into
a more Prong-like trash. The chorus is more laid back and
tempered, holding back on some of the passion that's exhibited
Not forgetting their roots, Scorpio Rising features
more than a few songs that borrow tones, riffs and familiar
arrangements that harken back to older efforts. Letter
To A "Friend", while a slower, more methodical effort
with brooding guitars and a tempered beat, feels like a more
polished take on the songs from Prong's early days.
Avoid Promises seems to be pulled from the Cleansing/Rude
Awakening era of Prong. It features a nice groove
with less of a blunt roar to it. More reserved than other
tracks, this is likely one of the more radio-friendly efforts.
Assurances feels like a Prove You Wrong era
track, opening with some clean bass and then throwing itself
into the harsh riff that proves a strong constant throughout.
Out of This Realm likewise hails from older albums,
feeling more like an updated take on something that might
not have made the final cut.
This is not to say that the fresh blood hasn't added something
new to Prong. Both Reactive Mind and Regal
are heavy as hell. Reactive Mind has moments where
it steps back from the thrash to give more passion to the
mix. Regal is as close to death metal as the band has
ever tried to come. Assurances is a bitter song, empowered
by a staccato beat and some punishing guitars.
My favorite track on the album is Entrance of the Eclipse,
which feels like a Prove You Wrong era track that's
modernized. It's slow to open but features some exceptionally
strong riffs and balances its power well.
Scorpio Rising is probably the best sounding album
the band has recorded. It's clean and powerful. The guitars
are crisp and drums provide a strong beat. Tommy Victor's
vocals land in a spot that the perfect tone and volume for
the music. For those looking for a no-BS form of metal, this
album is sure to please. Hardcore Prong fans might
find the more streamlined approach a little off-putting. But, for those who just wanted a new album, this is worth the years of patience.