After Prong’s 1988 debut Force Fed, the band really hit their stride with 1990’s Beg To Differ, followed by Prove You Wrong and Cleansing. Starting with 1996’s Rude Awakening, interest in the band started to wane and their label, Epic, dropped them.
Victor then joined Danzig. Prong reformed in 2000 and in 2003, Scorpio Rising was met with mixed reviews. In 2005, Victor joined Ministry for the Rio Grande Blood album and tour while releasing the last Prong album Power of the Damager in 2007.
With Carved Into Stone, Victor wrote an abundance of songs — 25 to be exact — then whittled down to 11. The songs have that familiar, classic Prong sound with a modern brutality. Victor seems to be revitalized and I’m sure his tenure in Danzig and Ministry has strengthened his chops and creative juices.
Producer Steve Evetts captured a solid sound on Carved Into Stone. Prong is now bolstered by some great players as well. Bassist Tony Campos (Ministry, Soulfly) and drummer Alexi Rodriguez (3 Inches of Blood) have joined the fold. Although the trio have been together for three years now, Carved Into Stone is the first recorded effort.
There are different styles displayed on Carved Into Stone, but that crusty, hardcore punk underbelly that was prominent in the beginning of Prong’s existence is still exposed.
“Revenge Served Cold” is a scorcher. It boasts that signature Prong guitar tone and lyrical slant. “List of Grievances” is a pissed-off, somewhat political song about liberal/social flag-waving. “I Put Myself To Sleep” is a quest for numbness. It has a simple punk-laden riff with layers of melody and an upbeat bass line. The whole packaging and structure of the songs really holds up well. The riffs are there, the melody is there and the vocals are there as well.
Songs such as “Ammunition” and “Put Myself To Sleep” have some pretty killer guitar solos. I think a lot of people don’t realize that Victor is very capable of some cool leads. Prong has never been known for flashy guitar solos anyway. He won’t win any “Best Guitarist” awards, but he serves the songs well with his lead playing.
This is a great “back to their roots” album full of angst and melody, cool riffs and that distinctive Tommy Victor vocal swagger. Plus, the newly-added rhythm section that is tight and punchy. Long-time Prong fans have been waiting for this type of return for years, and Carved Into Stone doesn’t disappoint.
(released April 24, 2012 on Long Branch)