Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PRONG: "Songs From The Black Hole"

Rating: N/A
Label: SPV/Steamhammer 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

[Chorus] 'What could possibly go wrong, a cover album by Prong, there's no original song? Hell no - motherf**ker' [x2]. Sing it again. Sorry. I couldn't resist coming up with the Prong song or refrain in this matter. Darn catchy little tune. Anyhow. Back to the U.S. power trio and their "Songs From The Black Hole", a new album full of undeniable cover versions originally recorded by the mostly eighties indie, punk, hardcore, original goth, and rock artists.

They're off to a rather dodgy start with "Doomsday" (Discharge). Tommy Victor says and I quote, 'back when Prong started out, we used to listen to Discharge a lot. Ted Parsons would shout it's a doomsday, it's a doomsday, in this ridiculously exaggerated British punk accent and we both would laugh', end quote. Yeah. But there's a certain charm to that accent and I miss the pure and innocent vibe of the original. Sisters Of Mercy, one of those cool acts of the eighties that started the first and original "Goth" wave (alongside The Cure, etc.) way before every daft suburban kid decided to jump on the bandwagon in the late 90's/early 00's. Prong's version of "Vision Thing" may not sound quite as cool and it's not one of their best and earliest songs for that matter. "Goofy's Concern" (Butthole Surfers), power riffing and vicious vocals by Victor, this is more like it and it's been nicely Prongalized. Next up, an anthem of lost generation, "Kids From The Black Hole" (Adolescents) such a great song in the first place and difficult to f**k up. It speaks about the outcast and the homeless of America..

"The Bars" (Black Flag) and "Seeing Red" (Killing Joke) are right up there with the sound of Prong. Especially the latter kicks like a mule to the head. Jaz Coleman is Victor's biggest vocal influence and Geordie Walker also a huge influence on his guitar playing. "Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely" (HÜSKER DÜ), "Give Me The Cure" (Fugazi), Banned In D.C. (Bad Brains), are all hardcore acts that we expected to find on the cover album by Prong. "Cortez The Killer" (Neil Young) on the other hand, something different and therefore darn interesting. Melancholia kicks in after the first note and it would have been fun to have more of these unexpected numbers on the record.

Final verdict: Decent enough to keep you going til' their next effort? I don't know to be honest. Perhaps they should have recorded the new original studio album and released this as the bonus second disc? Yeah... that would make sense...

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