Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Hard to Wake up After the Cleansing - 82%

bayern, January 10th, 2019

Hard, hard, hard… in fact, I doubt if Prong had actually scheduled any more work time in the studio after the exquisite “Cleansing”. After such a climactic affair a band is bound to take a well-deserved break, but I guess Tommy Victor and Co. were sensing the coming of the future tides, and that the time wouldn’t always be right for their modern metal frivolities.

In other words, they had to make haste if they wanted to leave a more memorable trace in the fans’ minds, and pull themselves together for at least one more effort during this very propitious and profitable for them decade. Sure thing; how about “Cleansing II” as a possible sequel? No, no… seriously, have you ever heard/see Prong repeating themselves? Are you nuts!?

Not an option, and here we have the album here, a curious oddity in the band’s discography, one that many Prong lovers can’t seem to come to terms with. Well, to begin with, Prong have always been a visionary, experimental outfit their valiant vistas dating back from their early hardcore/thrash days even, the groovy/industrial 90’s only too nicely accommodating their not very classic-friendly ideas. Their effective thrash-boosted, moderately abrasive “Killing Joke meets Helmet” blend worked great on a string of albums but the modification process, invariably applied to various degrees throughout, has never been as prominent as here.

To put it long, the band have voted to remove the thrash from the equation completely by notching up both the industrial and the groove. As a result, the carefree optimistic atmosphere of “Cleansing” can be seldom felt the claustrophobic, nearly suffocating miasma stirred on “Controller” serving as an early warning to the listener that this will be a different “animal”, one that will stretch his/her nerves with slow-burning mechanized soundscapes (the psychotic noiser “Caprice” the ultimate example) some of which will sit just as fine on a Godflesh or a Pitchshifter album. However, instead of an anti-music industrial showdown the band prefer to preserve the influences of the other two mentioned acts, and this is exactly what the slightly more optimistic title-track delivers, psychedelic rockish goodness that could sit very well on Killing Joke’s “Pandemonium”, for instance; a catchy infectious material which gets translated in a stiffer, more sterile way on a string of cuts those recalling the more rigid, less flexible approach on “Prove You Wrong”, Victor’s distorted synthesized vocals indelibly helping the dispassionate machinistic cause. The more vivid jumpiness of “Mansruin” may be considered the actual rude awakening, a boisterous proto-thrashy number which doesn’t quite instigate a headbanging rebellion afterwards, but spearheads an intriguing change of mood with the memorable atmospheric roller-coaster “Innocence Gone” and the jarring erratic groover “Dark Signs”.

Yeah, not much left from the exuberant all-out moshing spirit of the preceding epic, no raised fists, worldly devices and snapped fingers here; this is both a calmer and a noisier offering in a very curious intermingling way which again comes the closest to “Prove You Wrong” from the band’s older works, having a very similar dirgy listless, even plain soulless if you like, veneer that doesn’t wear thin but lures the listener with its hypnotic, not very frequently-changing soundscapes. I’ve heard some people trying to compare this transformation to the one experienced by Ministry on “Filth Pig” released the same year, but I don’t think these two recordings served the same purpose; for the Al Jurgensen gang the “Pig” was just a way to vent out their passion for early Sabbath by giving those primordial doomy sounds a boosted vociferous industrial edge, an isolated decision that wasn’t surprising having in mind Jurgensen’s chronic unpredictability; in the Prong case this effort is a near-natural evolution towards a more abstract, less metal-prone delivery, not exactly a totally unexpected turn of events for those who were sagacious enough to see which direction all this industrial/groovy parade was heading with one of its founders and champions leading the way…

This album also closed the first chapter from the guys’ career in a somewhat minimalistic, but still dignified manner the band eventually reaching this not really mythical Abstracto-Industrial Land without spacing out to the point of losing it like their brothers-in-arms Ministry again with “Dark Side of the Spoon”, and Skrew with “Angel Seed”. Mission accomplished supposedly, and a new chapter open with “Scorpio Rising” seven years later. A very inauspicious beginning, though, this “scorpion”, a sloppy stripped-down hardcore charade that went way beyond the band’s roots even. Fortunately, Victor and his constantly-rotating comrades found the right way to mosh again later even if that came at the cost of wholesome repetitions (“Power of the Damager” from ”Cleansing”) of motifs and nuances from past exploits, and more or less relevant all-cover compilations (“Songs from the Black Hole”). The truth is that the kings of New York are still a relevant force on the contemporary scene some thirty years after their inception, and their days don’t seem to be numbered… neither hibernations nor gentle or rude awakenings scheduled yet.