PRONG – Scorpio Rising

PRONG was always an underrated band that always seemed to operate under the radar, coming close, but never quite breaking through the mainstream the way many of their peers did. From their humble beginnings in the late eighties hardcore scene at CBGB‘s through their development of experimental thrash, to their groundbreaking industrial crossover in the nineties, PRONG was always ahead of their time, re-inventing themselves and their sound with each new release. They also unintentionally becoming one of the founders of what would become nü-metal. Check out SLIPKNOT‘s “Left Behind,” KORN‘s “Got the Life,” and any number of WHITE ZOMBIE/ROB ZOMBIE songs for some prime examples of PRONG‘s influence. The band struggled through line-up changes (at one point the band boasted members of SWANS and KILLING JOKE) and after disappointing album sales of their last work, Rude Awakening, mainman Tommy Victor threw in the towel eight years ago. Flash forward to 2004, Victor has dusted off his guitar and is back with a new line-up and album. On the first few tracks it seems as if Victor‘s a little reluctant to step up to the mic, vocally coming across restrained and slightly rusty. Things pick up with the memorable hooks of “Embrace the Depth,” which is ably followed up with “Reactive Mind,” which has arguably some of PRONG‘s heaviest riffing to date. The band keeps the momentum flowing throughout the next several tracks with Victor‘s patented, crushing guitar riffs carrying most of the weight. But starting with “Siriusly Emerging,” the album’s fire seems to cool off with many of the songs coming across as somewhat bland and uninspired. But just when it seems that the band’s run out of gas, PRONG returns with gems such as “Entrance of the Eclipse” and “Hidden Agendas.” As such, Scorpio Rising is an inconsistent album filled with ups and downs that range from impressive to mediocre. Perhaps if Victor had weeded out some of the weaker tracks in favor of quality rather than quantity (there are fourteen songs here), the album might have had more of an impact. Despite its inconsistencies, Scorpio Rising still has more than enough strong material to keep faithful PRONG-heads happy until his next onslaught. (Locomotive Music)

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