Prong – “Zero Days” (Album Review)
Breaks in Tommy Victor’s career, which includes a position in Danzig's band, are a rarity, especially for his main project Prong. With genre-defining albums dating back over two decades, including their 1994 album Cleansing, Prong's distinctive groove have made them a household name. Now on their twelfth full-length, Zero Days marks the fourth consecutive year in a row in which the band has released an album; a testament to their ability to deliver consistently.
Zero Days follows what is now known as the typical Prong sound -- a mixture of industrial metal, thrash, hardcore, and a distinctly nineties penchant for groove (see the album's eponymous track). Of the more recent material that Victor’s collective has released, this album seems about on par consistency-wise with 2014’s Ruining Lives as opposed to the relatively forgettable X -- No Absolutes. Back to front, Zero Days has total consistency -- no unfitting tracks like the odd “Belief System” from X -- No Absolutes which sounds like the wrong kind of Sepultura song gone deathcore.
Adding certain textural elements to the fray, we now hear harsh, throaty screams behind Victor's signature yell -- something even weathered fans would not have expected ten years ago. Now over a quarter century old, Beg to Differ seems so long ago, but Zero Days makes Prong's thrash roots clear. Victor certainly keeps up the intensity, resulting in the band's heaviest album in quite some time.
Ironically, the album cover showcases an American flag of sorts, in line with Victor's clearly defined political opinions. With tracks like "Forced Into Intolerance" and "Operation of Moral Law,” the album's concentration on moral ideology is abundantly clear. It is Victor’s belief that Donald Trump is metal too, via a recent interview on Blabbermouth; at least in a sense of counterculture and going against the general grain.
Will Prong put out a new album in 2018? It’s likely, yes, but that is ultimately up to Victor and the whims of his writing process. For fans of Prong, Zero Days is another in a long line of solid releases for the band. Zero Days is Prong in 2017: a solid thrash-heavy album with tendencies leaning toward the band’s salad days of industrial music. Victor shows no signs of slowing down, and if the release pattern and quality are any sign of his intent, then fans should continue to be excited.