I had no idea Prong was still putting out albums, but this album of cover songs caught my eye recently and I thought I’d give it a shot. The trio that I remember putting out punk- and hardcore-influenced metal albums in the early- and mid-90’s here brings together ten punk and hardcore (plus Neil Young) songs by ten different artists under one roof.
The artists are a diverse group, running from Hüsker Dü to Fugazi to Killing Joke to…well, Neil Young. The execution is great. The production and sound are fantastic, if a bit too compressed, and new drummer Art Cruz steals the show with his technical wizardry. The problem with the disc, though, is the concept. They’re halfway there, with this selection of diverse and excellent songs that inspired them. (In this golden age of streaming I was able to check out all the songs, none of which I was familiar with before now, by constructing a playlist of the originals.) However, by running them all through the Prong machine, they lose their variation and come out sounding like Prong songs, losing their original soul.
Furthermore, not much is added to the songs; there isn’t much in the way of interpretation beyond adding some muscle, intensity, and Tommy Victor’s growl. The already-too-long “Cortez The Killer,” from one of Neil Young’s most controversial albums, here becomes a seven minute exercise in “how many times can you hear this stanza at full volume?” Any one of the other tracks would have been great tacked on to a Prong originals album, but in this package it’s just too much same same.
Really Like: “Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely”
Like: “Vision Thing,” “Goofy’s Concern,” “Seeing Red”
Meh: “Doomsday,” “The Bars,” “Give Me The Cure,” “Banned In DC”
Dislike: “Kids Of The Black Hole,” “Cortez The Killer”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Doomsday – originally by Discharge
- Vision Thing – originally by Sisters Of Mercy
- Goofy’s Concern – originally by Butthole Surfers
- Kids Of The Black Hole – originally by The Adolescents – boring and 5:30
- The Bars – originally by Black Flag – how is this drumming humanly possible?
- Seeing Red – originally by Killing Joke – one of my faves, but can’t believe it’s 6:20
- Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely – originally by Hüsker Dü – my fave on the album and probably my fave of the originals.
- Give Me The Cure – originally by Fugazi
- Banned In DC – originally by Bad Brains
- Cortez The Killer – originally by Neil Young – 6:52