Prong: Ruining Lives

Crushing ninth album from New York vets

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Prong telegraph their intentions on Ruining Lives early on. 'Great power, great rage... so deafening,' Tommy Victor sings on opener Turnover, a lyric that might sound like an internet meme haiku, but neatly conveys the New Yorkers’ modus operandi across a distinguished career fast approaching its 30th anniversary.

Wholly untroubled by prevailing musical trends, Ruining Lives could fit convincingly alongside the trio’s classic early 90s releases Beg To Differ and Prove You Wrong, exhibiting the same focus on minimalist, blunt riffs and propulsive grooves, with Tommy’s trademark barked drill-sergeant vocals conveying stark tales of urban psychosis.

In a classy, engaging and pleasingly intense set, highlights include the punchy Remove, Separate Self, which comes on like Therapy? jamming with Voivod, the Killing Joke-style paranoia of Absence Of Light and the speed-metal rumble of The Book Of Change, but really there are few weak spots here.

‘It’s getting very hard to change,’ Victor laments on the spacey, atmospheric Windows Shut, but Prong’s trademark serrated sound requires little in the way of upgrades when they still sound this forceful, this urgent. Great power, great rage, fine album.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.