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Prong: X - No Absolutes

NYC groove lords put a twist in their precision

If you stop and listen closely, you just might hear it: the crackle of Hell’s fiery lakes freezing over, because Prong have just released a ballad.

More on that later. Since those halcyon days of metal’s post-thrash evolution, the NYC crossover metallers have oozed with unbending old-school authoritarianism, even on their 1990 breakthrough, Beg To Differ. On Prong’s 11th original studio outing, the band return with another clutch of coarse, grooving, frenzied tempos and fretboard heroics. Though conjuring a distinct sonic amalgam that has drawn from groove, thrash and hardcore, prior releases have occasionally stalled from a distracting pattern of alternating styles throughout the album.

From the cavernous roar of opener Ultimate Authority through four pummelling tracks (including the iceberg-melting Sense Of Ease), it’s clear that X – No Absolutes is their most balanced and focused outing yet, unified by breakneck tempos, thrashy riffage and steroidal production.

Prong have never shied away from risk and Do Nothing is a sweeping ballad that, against all odds, works incredibly well, distinct from, yet melodically linked to, the pugnacity of the other 11 tracks. Certain to leave your relationship with your neighbours in tatters.

Joe Daly

Camped out in Southern California, Joe pens features, reviews albums and covers live shows for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock. When he’s not bothering his neighbours with Rammstein, Joe’s typically off playing ice hockey, fumbling around on a bass or letting his dogs guilt him into a nice long walk.