Prong’s First-Ever Covers Record Is A Must For Long-Time Fans And The Metal Masses Alike

Courtesy:  Steamhammer Records/SPV

Courtesy: Steamhammer Records/SPV

Tommy Victor has spent the better part of his adult life in the music industry. For nearly thirty years, Victor has been releasing music under the moniker of hard rock/metal band Prong. Through all of the band’s ups and downs, Victor has pushed on releasing new material from Prong. He has released, over the course of that time nine full length studio albums, two live albums, one remix album, four EPs, and a number of singles and music videos. For all of those releases, there is still one item that until now Victor hasn’t handled under the Prong moniker. That item is the obligatory covers album. Next week, Victor will release Prong’s first ever covers album in the form of Songs From The Black Hole. The ten track album will be released via Steamhammer/SPV. This collection of covers is a great addition to any long-time Prong fan’s music collection. That is obvious right off the top with the band’s cover of Discharge’s ‘Doomsday. The high adrenaline song grabs listeners instantly and refuses to let go. Sisters of Mercy’s ‘Vision Thing’ follows ‘Doomsday’ and is one more example of what makes this album a must have for any long-time Prong fan. Those fans that are familiar with Prong’s body of work will hear the influence of SOM on Tommy Victor when listening to this song. And much the same can be said of Prong’s cover of Black Flag’s ‘The Bars.’ Stylistically speaking, it’s easy to hear Black Flag’s influence on Victor throughout Prong’s albums. It’s not the only obvious influence either. The inclusion of songs from the likes of Killing Joke, Bad Brains, ad Butthole Surfers shows Prong’s roots just as clearly. And much the same can be said of the compilation’s remaining four tracks. The entire record taken into consideration, it proves to be more than just another obligatory collection of songs flung together to fulfill a contractual obligation. Rather it is a record that celebrates some of rock’s greatest bands and at the same time one of the industry’s most important and influential yet least known bands. If not for the fact that it is indeed a covers album, it would have otherwise been justifiably named by this critic as one of the best new hard rock and metal albums of the year.

It’s incredible to think that roughly twenty-seven years after the release of its debut album Force Fed, Prong has not released even one covers album. In comparison to the countless covers albums released by Prong’s counterparts in both the mainstream and underground, it becomes even more incredible. For that reason alone, founder and sole original member Tommy Victor is to be commended for holding his ground. Audiences that pick up this record will agree in listening to Songs From The Black Hole that Victor is just as worthy of applause for the covers chosen for this record. Right off the top, the album grabs listeners and refuses to let go with its cover of Discharge’s ‘Doomsday.’ The song title sounds ominous, like a Soundgarden song or a piece from some black metal band. But the reality of the song is that it is actually a high-energy war protest piece that will have any metal purist wanting to get a circle pit started in their own home all while making audiences really think. Tommy [Victor] sings, “And now the end is near/The end is near/It’s time to say our last goodbyes…Is it a reality or just a nightmare…/Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide/No escape, no escape/Is it reality or just a nightmare?” The song’s seemingly politically charged lyrics coupled with the talents of Victor’s band mates–bassist Jason Christopher and drummer Art Cruz–make ‘Doomsday’ a great addition to this record regardless of regardless of its placement in the album’s sequencing. It isn’t the only song worth noting that makes this record so enjoyable for Prong’s fans and the metal masses, either. The album’s second song, Sisters of Mercy’s ‘Vision Thing’ is another solid addition to the record.

Prong’s cover of ‘Vision Thing’ is just as solid an addition to SFTBH as the record’s opener, Discharge’s ‘Doomsday.’ Sisters of Mercy’s original take on ‘Vision Thing’ has a decidedly 80s rock sound. Yet despite this, it still manages to stand out from all of the songs churned out by the hair metal bands of its age. Its sound is more similar to that of Billy Idol than say Poison stylistically speaking. Victor and compay somehow managed to keep the song’s original style all while mixing it with the band’s own updated sound to make for yet another solid addition to this surprisingly enjoyable collection of covers. As with SFTBH’s opener, this song is just as apt to leave audiences thinking as deeply as rocking out. Victor sings about what sounds like a drug addict in a hotel room getting high in the song’s first verse, singing, “Two thousand hamburg four/And colours I ain’t seen before/It’s a small world and it smells funny/I’d buy another if it wasn’t for the money.” This definitely comes across as a commentary of sorts about someone getting high on something. The seeming reference to JFK’s assassination that follows will generate just as much discussion as the verse’s opening lines if not more. The song’s closing lines say plenty, though seeming to clear up any questions that might have been left. Victor sings in the song’s closing lines, “What do we need to make our world come alive/What does it take to make us sing/While we’re waiting for the next one to arrive/One million points of light/One billion dollar vision thing.” These lines come across as a statement concerning the need for things to change considering the state of the world (I.E. drug users everywhere, murderers, etc.). Again, this song’s mix of musical and lyrical substance makes this piece another solid addition to a record that is surprisingly enjoyable for Prong’s first-ever covers LP.

Both Prong’s cover of ‘Doomsday’ and of ‘Vision Thing’ are solid additions to SFTBH. By themselves, both songs present their own element of enjoyment. When taken into consideration with the record’s other covers, both songs combine with those covers to show why for a first-time effort, Prong’s new covers record is a must have for any of its long-time fans. ‘Doomsday’ and ‘Vision Thing’ aren’t proof enough of this argument, then the band’s cover of Black Flag’s ‘The Bars’ is sure to convince audiences. PRong’s cover of this hardcore classic is a near spot on re-working. What’s more, there’s a certain element to it that harkens back to the days of Prong’s 1994 album Cleansing. Lyrically speaking, ‘The Bars’ is a rather dark song. It seems to focus on a figure with some rather troubling inner turmoil. As Victor sings, “Everytime I see I got my hands wrapped around the bars/I can’t shut off my mind/And now I’ve waited/My hands are wrapped around the bars/The bars, the lies, the lies, lies, lies/Are trapped behind the bars/My mind hates my body/My body hates my soul/I close my eyes and fight/Inside my own black hole.” The figure’s own torn feelings apparently seem to center around a young woman that took her own life by jumping out of a window. It is hardly the most positive lyrical content. But it is deep and deeply moving. Prong’s take on the song, musically speaking is a perfect match for those lyrics. The combination of both elements exhibit exactly why ‘The Bars’ is one more great addition to SFTBH.

‘The Bars,’ ‘Doomsday,’ and ‘Vision Thing’ are all positive additions to SFTBH. They are just a small glimpse into what makes this first-ever covers collection from Prong a must have for the band’s long-time fans. The record’s other seven covers each offer their own enjoyment for fans, too. All ten of the compilation’s songs taken into consideration, SFTBH proves in the end to be a record that was well worth the wait whether listeners are fans of Prong or the band’s covered by Prong here. SFTBH will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, March 31st. Beginning April 17th, Prong will hit the road in support of SFTBH with a sixteen-date European tour that runs through May 3rd. After wrapping the European leg of its tour Prong will take off the rest of the summer to charge up for a U.S. tour that kicks off October 23rd in Ramona, California. The 41-date North American tour will take the band across America and Canada throughout the summer and into the winter, wrapping up December 7th at the famed Whiskey a Go Go in West Hollywood, California. The band’s full tour schedule is available online along with all of the latest updates from the band at:




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Motor Sister’s Debut Has A Big First Week On The Charts

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Rock super group Motor Sister’s debut album Ride has made a big impact on Billboard’s latest charts.

Billboard reported this week that Ride debuted at #12 on Billboard’s Hard Music Albums Chart in just its first week of release. It also came in at #40 on Billboard’s Rock Albums Chart and at #27 on the Billboard Independent Albums Chart. The album impressed even more in its first week out by cracking Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart, coming in at #163 in its debut.  It also came in at #9 on Billboard’s New Artist (Heatseeker) Chart. The album, the brainchild of Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, is a collection of classic Mother Superior sons re-worked by Ian and Mother Superior front man Jim Wilson. Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint) and John Tempesta (Prong, White Zombie, The Cult, Exodus) joined Ian and Wilson on bass and drums respectively for the recording. Ian’s wife Pearl Aday, who is also the daughter of rock superstar Meatloaf, added backing vocals to the album, too.

Motor Sister has already made available for streaming Ride’s lead single ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ and debuted the video for its new single ‘A-Hole.’ ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ can be streamed online via Metal Blade Records’ website at The brand new video for ‘A-Hole’ can be viewed online via YouTube at

All of the latest news and updates from Motor Sister are available online now at:




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Motor Sister’s Ride Is A “Superior” Covers Album

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Covers albums in the music industry’s current age are not what they used to be. At one point many years ago, cover albums were something significant. That’s because they were not churned out as quickly and as effortlessly as they are today. They have today become little more than obligatory space fillers used to fill out contractual agreements for one act or another. It’s very rare in the music industry’s current era to find a covers albums that actually stands out and really catches any listener’s attention. Enter Ride, the debut album from rock super group Motor Sister. The band–Scott Ian (Anthrax), John Tempesta (Prong, White Zombie, The Cult, Exodus), Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint), Jim Wilson (Mother Superior)– took on twelve classic Mother Superior tunes on this album. And it wasn’t because of any contractual obligation. It was because of a single, simple birthday wish from Scott Ian for his 50th birthday. Yes, Scott Ian is really that old. Though, he doesn’t look that old. He got his wish and then some as this compilation proves. And in turn, rock purists around the world have gotten a covers album that actually stands out, grabs audiences from its outset and keeps them engaged throughout the entire course of the album’s twelve tracks and forty-four minutes. This is obvious right from the album’s opener ‘A-Hole.’ Ths song is a straight forward, old school rock song both musically and lyrically. The punk style sound of ‘Fork in the Road’ will impress just as much. And the addition of the slower, bluesy ‘Fool Around’ serves to show the influence of Mother Superior on the band’s members as well as the members’ level of respect for Mother Superior. All three songs noted here are but part of the whole that is Ride. The remaining nine tracks that make up this “superior” covers record make this a record that every rock purist should hear at least once despite being a handful of covers instead of new, original material.

Motor Sister’s debut LP Ride may not be a collection of new, original material. That aside it still proves over the course of its twelve tracks and forty-four minutes to be a covers album unlike so many others. It isn’t just another space filler recording put out to fulfill contractual obligations. It was just a dream project for Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. Because it was just a simple dream, it led to the album having an overall feeling that feels completely unlike almost every other obligatory space filler covers record currently cluttering store shelves and online retailers. There is a certain energy present throughout the album that doesn’t exist on those other covers albums. And it makes the album one that every rock purist should hear at least once. That is clear right from the album’s opener ‘A-Hole.’ On its musical side, ‘A-Hole’s’ pure, old school rock sound instantly grabs audiences by the ear thanks to [John] Tempesta’s timekeeping and Scott Ian’s guitar work. Its full-on driving energy is sure to have every listener on his or her feet dancing along. Lyrically, Jim Wilson adds to that energy in his delivery, singing “The venom of a rattlesnake ratting through my veins like a curse/If I live or die/Well I don’t know which one’s worse/Well I’m diggin’ a hole they can bury me in/Waste of a lifetime living in sin/Red lights flash as I ride right past.” The rebellious vibe of the song’s lyrics coupled with its full-on old-school rock and roll sound make the song the perfect choice with which to open the album. It is just one of the many positive additions to the album, too. The inclusion of the decidedly punk rock style song ‘Fork in the Road’ is another positive that every rock purist will appreciate about this compilation. Audiences can check out the song online now via Youtube at as the band recently debuted the video for the song.

‘A-Hole’ is a great first impression for Motor Sister on its debut album. The raw, almost garage rock vibe exuded by the song both musically and lyrically shows clearly why it was chosen to open the album’s twelve-track run. It isn’t the only part of the whole that listeners will like about the record, either. The punk rock sound of ‘Fork in the Road’ is just as much a positive n its own right. One could even argue that while it is a cover of a Mother Superior song, there is even a hint of Motorhead in this song, too. Again, Tempesta leads the song with his solid 2/4 time keeping and wild fills. Ian’s guitar work on this cover is just as tight in the song’s verses as in its slower yet just as hard rocking bridge. And coupled with Wilson’s powerhouse vocals, the song proves just as solidly yet in a different fashion why Ride is an album that despite being a covers collection, is one that every rock purist should hear. Wilson sings in this song, “thanks to my losing streak/ I never feel too lucky/There’s lots of strangers on the dark side of town/And if you’re seein’ ghosts/But ever get a picture/It’s a fact that candles never burn and let you down/The truth is the truth/And a lie is just a lie/Fork in the road/which way to go.” The whole thing comes across as Wilson singing in metaphors. It seems to say that we have to make choices all the time in life and that for the outcome in each situation, there are more decisions that must be made along the way. This is of course just this critic’s own interpretation of these words. It could be a wholly incorrect interpretation. Interpretation aside, one thing on which every listener will agree is that being so different from the likes of the album’s opener and its other tracks, it is another prime example of why this is a record that every rock purist should add to his or her own music library.

Both ‘A-Hole’ and ‘Fork in the Road’ are both prime examples of why every rock purist should have Ride in his or her personal music collection. The full-on, old-school rock sound of the prior coupled with the decidedly punk vibe of ‘Fork in the Road’ alongside both songs’ lyrical content shows a certain amount of variety among the album’s track listing. It would have been simple for the members of Motor Sister to just take one specific song and run it through the course of the album’s dozen tracks. But they didn’t do that. The two songs by themselves show that the band set out to really give listeners something worth hearing. Again this is totally apart from all of the obligatory covers albums released by other acts over the years. ‘Fool Around’ proves this just as much with its more reserved, blues-infused feel and thoughtful lyrics. It isn’t just another classic, old-school ballad. Rather, it is a song that will move listeners without the sappy element of those over-the-top ballads from rock’s past. Wilson sings alongside his band mates, “Sorry/I’m confused/You said some things/While we were drinkin’/Don’t get me wrong/It doesn’t bother me/Actually/I’m quite flattered/But you’re blind…get that gun away from your head/Do you want a fool around/do you really want a fool around/Do you really want this fool around?” It’s not exactly the standard blues piece by any means. But it also isn’t the stereotypical ballad, either. And that’s a good thing. It maintains its own identity. And together with both the likes of ‘A-Hole’ and ‘Fork in the Road’–along with the songs not noted here–it is one more piece that proves Ride as a whole truly is an album that every rock purist should have in his or her own music library.

‘A-Hole,’ ‘Fork in the Road,’ and ‘Fool Around’ are all excellent examples of what makes Ride such an impressive recording even for a covers album. They’re just part of the whole that makes it such a musically rich recording. ‘Doghouse’ boasts its own bluesy yet heavier sound that is sure to impress any fan of both rock and the blues. ‘This Song Reminds Me Of You’ and ‘Beg, Borrow, Steal’ both offer their own equally enjoyable blues-infused rock sound that audiences will enjoy. And then there’s the infectious groove of ‘Get That Girl’ that will have listeners moving just as much as any of the album’s other tracks. Whether for these tracks, the pieces previously noted or the remaining six pieces not discussed, every track on this record plays its own part in making Ride a must have for any rock purist. It is available in stores and online now. More information on Ride and all of the latest updates from Motor Sister is available online now at:



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Ruining Lives Is Prong’s Best Album Yet

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV Records

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV Records

This is our best album yet. THIS is our best album yet. Who hasn’t heard these words uttered time and again by any number of artists, groups and bands? That phrase is tossed around far too much today. It seems like every artist, band and group feels their latest album is their best album yet. Yet it seems like so many albums from said artists, groups, and bands sound like their previous releases. However, in the case of Ruining Lives, the latest album from Prong, that line is more than proper. Prong founding member Tommy Victor has worked hard to get his band to where it is today, all the while staying just under the mainstream radar. Ruining Lives could potentially be the album that finally breaks Prong through that barrier. One of the reasons for this could be that Victor manned the boards himself on this album and invited Steve Evetts (Skinlab, Sepultura, The Dillinger Escape Plan) to lend his talents, too. The end result of their work is an album the more than deserves to be on any metal purist’s list of the year’s top ten best new hard rock and metal albums by year’s end.

Ruining Lives is an album that more than deserves to be called the best album by far from Prong. The main reason for that is that long-time fans will be able to pick out elements of so many of Prong’s previous records throughout the course of its eleven total tracks. Right from the album’s outset, long-time fans will be transported back to 1994 and Prong’s hit album Rude Awakening. The driving guitar line has obvious elements from that album. But there is also an obvious growth from that point, too. Victor’s vocals sound as strong as ever as he sings, “Great power/Great rage/So deafening/Turning it over/It’s oppressing/More power/More gain/There’s more for me.” The point of Victor’s guitar chops are just as strong. That’s especially evident as he breaks into the song’s old school style guitar solo. The speed and accuracy of Victor’s playing and his vocal power show that he is at the top of his game here. Alexei Rodriguez’s drumming and Tony Campos’ bass work are just as solid. They add their own touch to this song, making it all the more pummeling.

The energy exuded by ‘Turnover’ is just the beginning for Victor and his band mates on this album. That applies in every sense of the word. The trio barely gives listeners time to catch their breath before launching into the album’s second song ‘The Barriers.’ This speed/thrash metal style song is a full throttle song that is the purest of fodder for any mosh pit in a live setting. As with the album’s opener, Victor and company have never sounded better. This song makes Prong sound like a band reborn and Victor specifically a man reborn. Victor sings in this song, “This must be a dream/Can’t believe this is happening/This can’t be real/Now at their feet/Gonna have to kneel/Reach out for a remedy/Searching for transparency/Barriers of fear/All built up right through the years.” He sounds as strong as he did in his younger years. And this song is not the only one exhibiting this, either.

Fans of Prong’s older material will be just as impressed by the work of Victor and his current band mates on the likes of the album’s title track. Victor himself noted in an interview of this song that it has a feel and sound similar to that of Force Fed. The controlled chaos of Victor’s shredding combined with Campos’ full on low end and Rodriguez’s equally solid timekeeping will definitely make this song a favorite of both long-time fans and those that are less familiar with the band’s body of work. It serves as one more example of how much Victor has grown over the course of his career. Because of its link to Prong’s early days and its “cleaner” more focused sound, it shows just how much Prong has yet to offer. And with any luck, Tommy Victor and his current band mates will hear that too and release even more Prong albums in the years to come.

Ruining Lives will be available April 28th via Steamhammer/SPV Records. The band is currently in the midst of a European tour in support of the album. Its current schedule keeps it overseas through August. Audiences can find the band’s most current tour schedule online at and Audiences can check out both website s to keep up with the latest updates from the band, too. And the album itself can be ordered via Amazon at To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Heaven’s Cry Re-Issue Shows Band’s Versatility, Influences

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Canadian Prog-metal act Heaven’s Cry will issue two of its classic albums next Tuesday, January 8th.  The first of the pair is the band’s 2003 album, Primal Power AddictionPrimal Power Addiction opens solidly with a rather Prong style piece in the song, ‘Komma.’  Vocalist/guitarist Pierre St-Jean even sounds eerily like Prong front man Tommy Victor in this song as a result of the song’s mixing.  The song’s somewhat cryptic lyrics aside, what really stands out in this song is the precision of the band’s musicianship.  Drummer Rene Lacharite’s timing is spot on.  His ability to keep time while maintaining such polyrhythmic patterns more than shows his talent.  And the control of the guitars both during the heavier and more subdued sections of the song give it even more flare.

As impressive as ‘Komma’ is, it Primal Power Addiction offers plenty more for fans of Heaven’s Cry.  Fans will also appreciate and enjoy the band’s cover of the classic Midnight Oil tune, ‘Beds are Burning.’  Even turned into a prog-rock style piece, it still holds up to the original.  For that matter, it might even be a little better than Midnight Oil’s take on the song from its 1987 album, Dust and Diesel.  It has the same kick as the original.  But what it does here is it gives the song an extra little spice, updating it for a whole new generation.  For that, Heaven’s Cry should be proud of their cover of this rock classic.  And it makes for a fitting end to the musical journey on which listeners embark with this album.

The band’s cover of ‘Beds are Burning’ is impressive to say the least.  It shows just one of the band’s influences.  It also profiles for a moment, the band’s versatility.  Though by the time listeners get through this re-issue, they will have already seen just how versatile the band is.  Whereas the band started off with a rather Prong style work, other pieces such as ‘One of Twenty-Four’, ‘Divisions’, and ‘Waves’ seem to show influences the likes of Alice in Chains, Dream Theater, and even Nevermore.  St-Jean’s vocals greatly resemble that of Nevermore front man Warrel Dane in both ‘One of twenty-Four’ and ‘Waves.’  And the influences of the aforementioned bands are evident throughout each opus.  They, along with this album’s other tracks make for an album that any fan of the prog-metal genre will enjoy increasingly with each listen.  Primal Power Addiction will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, January 8th.  It can be ordered direct online via the Prosthetic Records store,

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Knotfest Performance Times Announced

Organizers behind the first annual Knotfest concert festival have announced the performance times for the two day festival.  Slipknot will headline the festival both days.  The band will take the stage at 9:30pm this Friday and play until 11pm.  Saturday night, the band will take to the stage at 10:20 and will play until midnight.  Lamb of God headlines the second stage both nights.  The band, who was previously uncertain for the festival until very recently, will start its performance Friday night at 8:25pm.  It will take the second stage at 9:15pm Saturday night.

Prong and Dillinger Escape Plan will share main stage duties, with Prong opening the main stage Friday afternoon at 3:55pm.  Dillinger Escape Plan opens the main stage Saturday afternoon at 4:30. 

Machine Head, Deftones, Serj Tankian, Gojira, Cannibal Corpse and others will also be on hand.  To get a full rundown of performance times, fans can go online to  Fans can also get all the latest from Slipknot online at  Tickets and VIP packages are still available.  They can be purchased online at and  Hotel accommodations can be made at  More information on camping options is available at

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LOG Frontman Blythe Freed, Band To Perform At Knotfest

The news has already spread throughout the music world.  Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe has been released from a jail in the Czech Republic.  As a result of Blythe’s release, Lamb of God has been confirmed for the upcoming Knotfest August 17th and 18th. 

Knotfest will perform Council Bluffs, IA on the 17th and Somerset, WI/Minneapolis, MN on the 18th.  Organizers of the Knotfest commented on this breaking news saying, “We are honored to present Lamb of God and thrilled to learn that Randy will be onstage for what is sure to be an amazing moment at Knotfest.” 

Also scheduled to perform at Knotfest are:  Deftones, Machine Head, Serj Tankian, Cannibal Corpse, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Urge, Prong, Gojira, and a whole lot more.

Information on tickets for Knotfest is available online at  and for information on VIP packages for Knotfest, go to  For more information on Knotfest, go to

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