Pointless exercises in lazy self-indulgence, desperate attempts to enliven the creatively moribund or hastily dashed off contractual obligations, covers albums tend to be, by their very nature, lightweight, throwaway affairs.
But while Songs From The Black Hole may suggest that Prong are guilty of some or all of the above, the furious elation that oozes from the New Yorkers’ 10-song tribute to their musical heroes somehow rescues it from stopgap limbo.
Tommy Victor’s impeccable taste certainly helps, with classic songs by Discharge, Fugazi, Butthole Surfers, Killing Joke, Black Flag and Bad Brains all receiving the hard-as-nails Prong treatment, but the clincher is the way this band make every one of their choices sound like one of their own songs, replete with the trademark driving riffs and pinpoint-precise grooves that have long informed their sound.
Predominantly rooted in punk rock territory, but equally at ease while demolishing Neil Young’s Cortez The Killer or hijacking the gothic hulk of Sisters Of Mercy’s Vision Thing for more brutish, gutter-friendly ends, Prong have defied convention by making a covers album that justifies itself tenfold, while also providing more fun than MDMA-fuelled sex on a rollercoaster. You may enter this Black Hole with confidence./o:p