Tommy Victor Is In His Prime On His Latest Prong Recording

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV Records

Later this month, Prong will release its latest album to the masses, and the record, Zero Days, is one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal offerings.  The record, the 12th full-length studio recording from Tommy Victor and his ever-rotating roster of fellow musicians, is everything that audiences have come to expect from Prong – heavy yet infectious riffs and grooves, and equally hard-hitting lyrical content. That is evidenced early in the album’s run in the form of ‘Divide and Conquer,’ which will be discussed shortly.  The full-on thrash riffs and social commentary of ‘Forced Into Tolerance’ shows just as much as ‘Divide and Conquer’ what makes this record another enjoyable offering from Prong.  It will be discussed later.  ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ also serves, with its musical arrangement and lyrical content, why this record represents everything that Prong’s fans have come to expect from the band.  It is hardly the last of the songs included in this record that serves that purpose, too.  The record boasts 10 other songs that could just as easily be used to show why Prong has crafted another solid offering in Zero Days and why it is.  The whole of the album’s 13 songs shows the album to be, again, one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Veteran hard rock outfit Prong’s latest album Zero Days is everything that Prong’s fans have come to expect from the band and then some.  The album, Tommy Victor’s 12th album under the Prong moniker, utilizes a solid mix of musical arrangements and hard-hitting lyrical content to make it one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

That is evidenced early on in the driving composition ‘Divide And Conquer.’  The melodic hard rock arrangement at the song’s center harkens back to some of the best songs included in the band’s 1996 album Rude Awakening and its forebear, Cleansing (1994).  That is evidenced through the song’s straight forward guitar arrangement and Victor’s own vocal delivery style.  Drummer Art Cruz’s own work behind the kit adds to that feel even more as does that of bassist Mike Longworth.  The whole of those parts makes this arrangement one of the album’s best musical compositions.  The songs’ lyrical content builds on the foundation created by the arrangement and strengthens the song even more.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Divide and Conquer’ strengthens the foundation created through the song’s musical arrangement because it hits just as hard as the arrangement with its commentary. Victor sings in the song’s lead verse, “There’s no relief/There’s just regret/Want to forget/Just can’t believe/Really don’t want any part of that/Just another bad experience/For what’s positive or negative/Maybe it’s all just relative.”  He and his band mates go on to sing in the song’s chorus, “You can’t go through life without these conditions/Divide and conquer/You can always rely on opposition/Face the sorrow/You can’t go through life without some division/Divide and conquer…”  This comes across as a message about accepting the good and bad in life rather than just the good.  This is of course only this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  That interpretation is made just as much as Victor sings in the song’s second verse, “You only see what you gotta get/You cannot get what you cannot see/Always forced into compromise/Always have to make the sacrifice/Things are not what they seem to be/Living in a false reality.”  From here the song returns to its chorus before making its way to its end, reminding listeners that negative will always come with positive, and that people should expect both sides in life; that only seeing one side is close-minded.  Again, this is only this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the ballpark of being right.  Regardless, it can be agreed by everyone that whatever the message, it definitely is hard-hitting.  When that message is coupled with the song’s driving musical arrangement, the urgency of understanding the message is driven home even more, making this song both musically and lyrically a work that so many people (especially in today’s world) should hear, proving why it is such an important addition to Zero Days.  It is not the album’s only stand out song.  ‘Forced Into Tolerance’ is another of the songs that serves to show why Zero Days is another solid offering from Prong, despite what some critics might have people believe.

‘Divide and Conquer’ is one of the best examples of how much Tommy Victor and company have to offer audiences on its latest album Zero Days.  Its driving musical arrangement and equally hard-hitting lyrical content couple to make the song a work that will entertain audiences while also leaving them thinking quite a bit.  The impact from the song’s musical and lyrical content makes it only one of the album’s best additions.  ‘Forced Into Tolerance’ hits just as hard as ‘Divide and Conquer.’  Just as with the aforementioned work, that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement, which instantly conjures thoughts of Slayer, Hatebreed and others of that ilk.  That speaks for itself.  Considering that, the next step here is to examine the song’s lyrical content, which at least to this critic seems to be a commentary about the bigotry and racism that has become far too prevalent across the nation ever since the rise to power of the nation’s current “leader.”  That is inferred right off the top as Victor sings, “Forced into tolerance of what we disdain/Being irrational is how we exist/Someone goes around and it makes no sense/They are labeled and then disgraced/Caught in the ignorance and try to explain.”  He goes on to bring out the foolishness of the hateful views that are being expressed by singing, “I don’t care if you exist…Don’t f****** tell me it is what it is.”  He goes on in similar fashion from here with the same musical and lyrical fire, indicting those close-minded masses of the nation (and the world possibly) pointing out the dangers of their views, and the foolishness of those views.  It is a powerful statement both musically and lyrically that will be timely as long as such people and views exist in the world.  Considering this, it is clearly evident why this song is so important to the overall presentation of Prong’s new album. It is not the last of the record’s key compositions either.  ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ is yet another of the album’s most important songs.

‘Divide and Conquer’ and ‘Forced Into Tolerance’ are both key additions to Prong’s 12th full-length studio recording.  That is thanks to the songs’ powerhouse musical arrangements and the equally hard-hitting commentaries contained within each song.  The whole of those elements within each song makes each song a clear example of what makes Zero Days such a strong new effort from Prong.  They are not the album’s only key works, though.  ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ is yet another of the album’s most important works.  As with the previously discussed songs, that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement, which can easily be compared to works from the likes of Fear Factory, White Chapel and other similar acts with its heavy, crunching, down-tuned guitars, pounding drums and equally heavy bass line.  Keeping this in mind, it is only one part of what makes the song stand out so distinctly from the record’s other tracks.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note here as its musical arrangement.

The lyrical content presented in ‘Self Righteous Indignation’ seems to this critic at least as a commentary about those people who think themselves so much better than everyone else.  That is inferred as Victor sings in the song’s lead verse, “A victim/Of the system/Who gives a damn about your needs/Won’t listen/To criticism/Disgust for everyone who cheats/My heart is cold/I cannot pray/I can’t look way/What may unfold/Your dismay/Just total disdain/Self/Righteous/Indignation.”  That seeming commentary continues in the song’s second verse as Victor sings, “No wisdom/So distant/A great sense of psychic grief/existence/Of symptoms/distaste for everything that’s cheap/It’s always known/All the demands/The helping hands/have no control/What you don’t have/Gets way out of hand.”  Once again, this is all just this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  It only seems to this critic that this song, lyrically, addresses those people who have that unnecessary God complex of sorts.  Sadly, there are far too many people of this sort around the world, and if that is indeed what Victor is addressing here, he does quite the job of addressing the matter.  Keeping that in mind, the song’s musical arrangement expertly couples with the power in the song’s lyrics and Victor’s own powerhouse vocal delivery.  It delivers a message of pure anger aimed at those people in question; a message that, again if that is the intended message, definitely hits home in a big way, showing once more why this song is such a key addition to Zero Days.  It is hardly the last of the songs that could be examined to show what makes Zero Days such a strong new effort from Prong.  Any of the other 10 songs that fill out the rest of the album could be examined just as easily as this work and the previously discussed works.  Considering this, the whole of this record shows Prong at its prime; a work that will definitely impress any of the band’s fans new or old.  They make the record a work that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Prong’s latest full-length studio recording Zero Days shows Tommy Victor at his prime along with the band that he founded so many years ago.  It is a record that shows despite all of the band’s lineup and label changes, is still as relevant and powerful today as it was in its infancy.  That is exhibited from start to finish through the album’s powerhouse musical arrangements and its equally hard-hitting lyrical content.  The two elements together make the album in whole one of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It will be available Friday, July 28 via Steamhammer/SPV Records.  More information on Zero Days is available online now along with all of Prong’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.prongmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/prongmusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/prongmusic

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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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 http://www.facebook.com/prongmusic and http://prongmusic.com. 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 http://www.amazon.com/Ruining-Lives-incl-bonus-poster/dp/B00INXSIG4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1397036396&sr=1-1&keywords=prong+ruining+lives. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Atlanta Based Hard Rock Band As Raucous And Irreverent As Ever On Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV Records

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV Records

Nashville Pussy front man Blaine Cartwright and his wife Ruyter Suys (pronounced Rider Sighs) have spent nearly two decades making hard rock for the masses.  While the husband and wife duo have largely stayed just under the radar that whole time.  That hasn’t deterred them, either.  The pair (with their latest band mates) is set to release the band’s sixth full length studio release later this month. Up The Dosage is scheduled to be released Tuesday, January 21st via Steamhammer/SPV Records.  And it goes without saying that this new record shows Cartwright and company have not lost any steam over the course of their careers.

It goes without saying that Up The Dosage is a fitting title for the latest release from Blaine Cartwright and company.  The band has continued on this record, its long-standing tradition of crafting some of the most raucous and irreverent rock songs that the music world has ever heard.  The album’s opener, ‘Everybody’s Fault But Mine’ is a prime example of this.  Musically speaking, its sound is similar to bands the likes of Fireball Ministry, Black Stone Cherry and others of that ilk.  Its lyrical side makes it even more enjoyable.  It comes across lyrically as a proverbial middle finger to all those that would want to blame others for their problems.  Imagine Hatebreed’s ‘Defeatist’ only aimed in a different musical direction.  Audiences will hear that for themselves as Cartwright sings, “If you see me coming/You’d best get out of my way/Cause I don’t wanna know you/You’ll just lead me astray/If the world comes crashing down/I’ve left it far behind/If I don’t make it to the top/It’s everybody’s fault but mine.”  If indeed Cartwright and company were intending a certain sharp commentary with this song, then message well received.  There are people everywhere like the individual portrayed in this song.  They are the typical “oh-woe-is-me” type that refuses to stand up and take responsibility for their own actions and the results of said actions.  Considering the history of Nashville Pussy, this is the perfect re-introduction for fans of the band that are more familiar with its material.  On the other hand, it is just as welcome an introduction for anyone that might be less familiar with the band’s catalogue.  And it’s only one of so many stand out songs that the band shares on this record.

If ‘Everybody’s Fault But Mine’ doesn’t grab audiences right off the bat, then the adrenaline-fueled song that follows definitely will prove the band’s reputation.  That song is ‘Rub it to Death.’  Musically speaking, this is a song that bears quite the Motorhead style influence.  Lyrically, it is everything that has made certain groups hate rock and roll since its early days. There is mention of both sex and drugs throughout the song that comes in at just under three minutes.  Of course so much of said material is so explicit that it can’t be reprinted here.  That content aside, ‘Rub it to Death’ is still another great addition to this record when one puts the song’s high-energy musical side next to the more adult lyrical themes.  Simply put, it’s a good fit for anyone that is a fan of Hank III.

The energy and themes established early on in Up The Dosage barely lets up as the band makes its way through the course of the thirteen tracks that comprise the album’s standard edition.  On a side note, the album will also be available in an extended edition that includes two bonus tracks.  The one time when things take a different direction–albeit a slight one at best–is on the album’s shortest song, ‘Taking It Easy.’  The song comes in at just under a single minute.  To be more precise, it clocks in at just forty-seven seconds long.  Things take a different turn here primarily in that Cartwright’s wife takes over vocal duties.  And instead of singing about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, she sings about taking a break from said topics.  She sings, “What are y’all doing on a Saturday night/I’d rather be sleeping than getting in a fight…you rock it all over like a heavy metal beast/You know you got’s to/takin’ it/takin’ it easy.”  The real irony of the song is that for a song that is about…well…taking it easy, it is quite the adrenaline-fueled anthem.  That juxtaposition alone makes it well worth the listen.  Add in the fact that it is able to say so much and make such a hard-hitting impact in such a short span of time, and audiences get a song that is far less simple than it seems on the surface.  It’s one more of so many songs that audiences new and old will appreciate on this album.

Fans overseas will get to hear even more of the band’s music beginning at the end of the month when it kicks off its European tour.  The first date on that tour is Thursday, January 30th at Le Forum in Vauxreal, France.  The latest list of the band’s tour dates is available on the band’s official website, http://www.nashvillepussy.com.  Fans can also keep up with the band via Facebook and Twitter at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nashville-Pussy/13091707669 and http://twitter.com/bashfulpuppy.