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Prong: State of Emergency

Prong have been around forever it seems, although I most associate them with their 90's output, which was fairly innovative while simultaneously being a culprit of many of the annoying aspects of heavy music trying to ride out the decade of alt rock and grunge. You know the drill; stompy annoying guitar riffs, industrial overtones, and plenty of angst to go around. It's not exactly the stuff I cut my teeth on, but with their newest album State of Emergency, it seems the band stripped their sound down quite a bit, relying on some heavy ass guitar riffs and varied songwriting to deliver a pretty solid little record.

Tommy Victor is the man behind the Prong, and I feel like he wasn't kidding when he said this album would be a guitar-driven one. While the riffs are largely very stompy, aggro, and hardcore punk derived, there is a decent amount of variety to be had in the songwriting department. There's some moshy stuff (the title track), some headbanging stuff (album opener "The Descent"), and even a few more experimental moments ( "Obeisance"), all of which are superior to what I remember the band sounding like in my early teens when they were at their height of popularity. State of Emergency kind of comes off like a more intelligent, more interesting Biohazard record.

Speaking of Biohazard, Tommy's vocals sound a LOT like Evan Seinfield most of the time. Shouty, rhythmically delivered vocal lines full of piss and vinegar are the flavor du jour here, and it's admittedly one of my least favorite things about the record. Largely one note and monotone, I feel as though the vocals really could have benefitted from a similar approach that Prong took with the songwriting on "State of Emergency". A fairly diverse set of songs such as this are screaming for some dynamics of some kind. "Disconnected" is about as close as you are gonna get to that on here, but even then there's plenty of monotone shouting to put a damper on the party.

I'd still say that State of Emergency is a pretty solid record overall. The songs are well written and there's some undeniable risks that pay off pretty well throughout the album. I'll probably never fully warm up to the neanderthal riffs and NYC hardcore shouting, but Tommy Victor's songwriting prowess and the crystal clear production elevate State of Emergency into something that less experienced and seasoned bands in this genre could only dream of.

1. The Descent
2. State of Emergency
3. Breaking Point
4. Non-Existence
5. Light Turns Black
6. Who Told Me
7. Obeisance
8. Disconnected 0
9. Compliant
10. Back (NYC)
11. Working Man (Rush cover)

Added: March 30th 2024
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 284
Language: english

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