27 April 2012
It’s been four years now since Ministry hit Bulgaria for your favourite radio’s then birthday and for some of us that gig was kind of two in one experience because of Tommy Victor’s presence in the line-up. Tommy, you see, is the guitar player, vocalist and general mastermind behind Prong.
I remember him as a very friendly and down to earth person. He would take a walk among the people in the crowd signing copies of Prong’s "Power Of The Damager" (2007), which they sold at the merch stand along with Ministry CDs and tees. Ministry is not his only side activity. He used to help Danzig too thus often leaving his own project inactive for years much to our disappointment.
Now Carved Into Stone proves that Prong were never built for commercial success= Bravery and experiments, yes, but world fame- no. Even with the right geographical credentials (New York), the impeccable CV (Tommy used to work as a soundman at the legendary punk and hardcore club CBGB's) and at least two stone-cold classic albums ("Beg To Differ" and "Cleansing"), Tommy and Prong remain one of the musician influencing bands.
They have immense influence over other acts such as White Zombie, Korn, Six Feet Under and Dry Kill Logic but very limited range of impact on the ordinary, pedestrian metalhead.
There was time when they used to be a band you could set your watch by but it’s been questionable with their recent releases. "Carved Into Stone" follows the aggressive and heavier tendency that seems to be very popular these days, especially with the recent Soulfly album.
This time it’s very straightforward from the beginning ("Eternal Heat") and they struggle to reconcile that dynamics and energy throughout the first half of the record executing one of the most classic sounding tracks since "Cleansing" ("Ammunition") along the way and then seamlessly switch to a more moderate tempo with well hidden sludge elements.
The end ("Reinvestigate") brings back the attack again, only this time it’s more industrial tinged.
Thrash metal purists left Prong in the early 90’s, because they could not bear neither the crossover direction nor The Stranglers cover. Those who still hope for another "Cleansing", will be disappointed too.
Only people who kept loving Prong unconditionally after "Prove You Wrong" (1991) will fall in love with "Carved Into Stone". We might be few, but this album is for us.
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