Tommy Victor has to be one of the hardest working men in modern metal.
On top of near endless touring in the latter years and almost doubling Prong‘s back catalogue since their reformation in 2007, ‘Zero Days‘ is the band’s 12th full-length release and the fifth since the comeback album ‘Carved Into Stone‘. Despite the endless workload, the quality of music has not let up, in fact, ‘Zero Days’ has just raised the stakes once again for energy and anger.
The album works on the strengths of the current lineup, which has been sending the band’s sound into hardcore territory while keeping in familiar territory and can almost kinetically power whatever device is playing it by the sheer electric energy it eschews alone.
Unfortunately, some trademark expectations are lost in this performance, the catchiness of toned down overall as sheer menace overrides the framework of ‘Zero Days’ and the satisfying groove that saturated Prong of days passed is merely hinted at.
That said, thankfully the positive aspect of this album outweighs what feels to be missing, there is still a lot to take in. ‘Simple’ is not a way to describe this album for a start, it can be surprisingly technical at times without seeming like it, opting to keep it in pockets around riffs and changes, dozens of flourishes to keep the ear busy with the details of each song with the interplay of Tommy Victor‘s guitar work and Art Cruz‘s ever-improving drumming.
For the most part, the album feels relentless at heart, it barely slows down from the get-go as opener ‘However It May End‘ explodes into life with a new found anger and presenting the overall feel of the album. The pummeling riffage and disdain dominate the first half of the album, like an unstoppable angry beast, songs like ‘Zero Days‘, ‘Off The Grid‘ and ‘Forced Into Tolerance‘ are tight and well-crafted slices of vitriol that push an intensity needed in heavy music these days.
While the first half of ‘Zero Days’ is about pushing limits somewhat, the second half comes off as a little more familiar to old devotees, the turning point of ‘Blood Out Of Stone‘ signals a tonal shift towards a more relaxed use of the type of melody that you would expect from Prong. Out of this, we get the closest thing on the album to a catchy single with ‘The Whispers‘ which swings happily between heavy as hell and deliciously melodic.
‘Zero Days’ then slides effortlessly into the band’s trademark heavy rock sound with the notable and mid-paced darkness of ‘Self-Righteous Indignation‘ and caps off well with ‘Rulers of the Collective‘, ‘Compulsive Future Projection‘ and ‘Wasting of the Dawn‘.
Unfortunately, it feels like there are a few things you want or expect from a Prong album that there is not enough of here, but for what it lacks, it does make up for elsewhere.Nothing here feels half-arsed or forced, it is still a genuine album after all.
This is still a band with a lot to say, they play real music and write real songs and don’t bother with bullshit. It’s pure, angry and occasionally uncomfortable, confronting and punishing.
In a music scene full of bandwagoners and scenesters, derivative acts copying other more successful ones, fake personalities and acts, remember that there are always bands like Prong to remind us that things are still real.
‘Zero Days’ exudes a careful craft, a true effort of writing and skill with no compromise.
Get your copy of Zero Days here!