Prong - The Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit) 1990
Recorded in 1989 and features four tracks from their first two albums with Primitive Origins and Force Fed. The session was recorded "live in the studio" and broadcast by the BBC on the John Peel Show on BBC Radio 1. The sound quality is good, but stripped down and raw, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Early on Prong were pretty much a thrash band with some hardcore leanings. There are no hints of the industrial sound that they would become known for. This EP acts as a sample of the band's early years.
1. "For Dear Life"
Early Prong are quite different from the more popular, industrial tinged alterna-metal of "Cleansing" and "Rude Awakening". "Beg to Differ" is basically 1990's heavy metal album with some melodic leanings and thrash influences. For the most part there is nothing ultra-fast on "Beg to Differ". Prong's musical approach is more simplistic and groove based. The songs are mostly of the mid-paced variety, with the exception of the opening track "For Dear Life". This song is an uptempo, raging thrash song, with a NYC attitude that reminds me of Nuclear Assault and Overkill. Unfortunately this is the only song like this. However, the rest of the material here offers enough variety to keep it from getting boring. Tommy Victor's guitar playing on this album is melodic yet still heavy. Unlike many more modern bands attempting this style, Prong don't rely on down tuning to sound heavy. While they may be tuned down a half step (E flat?) to get a beefy guitar tone, they instead rely on writing heavy riffs and the combination of a crunchy guitar tone and crushing bass to achieve a heavy sound. Standout tracks are "Lost and Found" and the aforementioned "For Dear Life".
The last track "Third From The Sun" is a Crome cover that was recorded live in 1989 at CBGB's in New York.
It's also interesting to note that the album cover was done by Pushead, who did the cover art for Metallica's 'One' single, among others.
Prong - Prove You Wrong (Epic) 1991
1. "Irrelevant Thoughts"
Prong are hard to pigeonhole. Their sound is uniquely theirs, but for some reason, I just can't seem to really get into them. On "Prove You Wrong" their sound is a mixture of industrial, thrash, groove metal, hardcore and some odd experimentation. Several songs use electronic samples and have a slight techno feel to them, although this is far from being any sort of dance music. The title track even seems to have some Led Zeppelin influence. The guitar riffs are mostly heavy and off-the-wall, which gives me an idea why so many people seem to adore this band. However, the songs just don't grab me by the jugular. I have read good things about the follow-up to this album and have a feeling it would be more up my alley. As it stands "Prove You Wrong" is a decent album with some interesting ideas, but not something I would listen to with any frequency.
"Prove You Wrong" is the only album with Troy Gregory on bass. All songs were written by Prong, except "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)", originally written by The Stranglers
1. Another Worldly Device (3:23)
"Cleansing" was Prong's third album on Epic and their only flirtation with mainstream success. The album features ex-Killing Joke members Paul Raven on bass guitar and John Bechdel on keyboards/programming. "Cleansing" saw Prong blending styles moreso than ever before. Though they are generally classified as alternative metal, they were playing with samples and industrial elements on "Cleansing". Some songs recall the band's thrash/hardcore past ("Cut-Rate"), others are more along the lines of industrial-tinged metal ("Whose Fist Is This Anyway?). "Whose Fist Is This Anyway?" reminds me of White Zombie. However, the majority are more groove oriented ("No Question" and "One Outnumbered"). Opening track "Another Worldly Device" is even a precursor to what would become nu-metal, combining heavy stop-/start guitar riffs with rap-like vocals. "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" is Prong's most popular number. The song has an undeniable hook, especially the funky bass line and groove based guitar riff. The song has been covered by numerous bands over the decades including Six Feet Under, Demon Hunter and others. With "Cleansing" Tommy Victor and Prong succeeded in creating an album that was heavy and pummeling but commercially viable as well.