FDF Volume 3 Issue 230: Prong - Rude Awakening
Album – Rude Awakening
Artist - Prong
Key Players - Paul Raven – bass. Ted Parsons – drums. Tommy Victor – vocals and guitar.
Produced By – Terry Date and Tommy Victor
Release Date – May 1996
What caused me to blow off the dust? - I have been heavy on one “genre” the last few weeks it seems, so decided to go a little heavier. Gotta keep that broad appeal, and not get bored with what I am listening to.
Overview – This is the fifth studio album from New York based band “Prong”. Blending metal with punk and industrial the band would blend well with similar noisemakers in the early 1990's. The album would peak at #74 on the Billboard top 200 charts. Sadly this was also the beginning of the end for the band (at least in this form).
FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The opening track “Controller” opens with a big, but basic sounding drum beat. It feels a little on the “techno” side dare one say. The vocals from Victor are hushed and the bass from Raven is a little low in the mix with the focus on the screeching guitar and then buzzy bottom of it all. There is a short guitar solo that is overdubbed as the screeching continues while the buzz of the guitar remains. Parsons keeps the pace and is on task adding more of a big bottom than anything. Buzzy will be used a lot as “Caprice” follows suit with Victors guitar. Parsons keeps the drums focused and on task before Raven swirls under with the bass. Its a little slow as the vocals are sung and it is guttural howls from Victor splashed throughout. The track “Rude Awakening” has a guitar that will wake you up quickly. The heavily compressed guitar run followed with machine gun drumming from Raven is a strong opening. Once the vocals start it seems to slow down a little too much but come the chorus it gets good and rocking once more. We are deep and heavy on the bass of Raven at the start of “Unfortunately”. Victor follows suit and crunches down the guitar. Parsons really has yet to break the mode out of the standard rock tempo. There is not a lot of fills even tossed in during his drumming. The vocals are a little more rough and aggressive and the guitar riffs fell extra big on this track. “Face Value” sounds a little more towards the industrial/metal side of things. The guitar continues to crunch, the drums pummel and the bass drop bombs in from time to time. The guitar riffs are a lot more “choppy” on this track, but come around to big chords from time to time. “Avenue of the Finest” continues with the same feel. After the intro everyone slows down before Victor starts to sing. They band is big on coming back in over the top and hunkering down with big riffs and drum beats. “Slicing” feels a little more mechanic before Victor steps on the overdrive and the band hunkers down. The song has a quicker feel, but still is very much on par with the rest of the record. The vocals are a little tripped out some, but you still know this is a Prong record. “Without Hope” has the vocals start right away and Parsons and Raven join in for the big clamp down. The term “groove metal” makes sense on this track. An intro riff that would set off Beavis and Butthead comes in “Mansruin”. As soon as it started even I said “YES”. This song has a strong and tight focus on the riffs and really moves along. Parsons seems to hit them real hard, and for the first time seems to show off a little. “Innocence Gone” continues with Parsons flashier drumming which is a nice change of pace actually. Parsons and Raven shine at the start of “Dark Signs” before Parsons sets the marching tempo and Victor gives the big wall of guitar riffs that blast you right in the face. We get a little funked up at the start of “Close the Door”. It has some bigger tempo swings it seems, with some heavier “bottom” to it without being out of sorts. The album closes out with “Proud Division”. This track focuses in with the bass and drums at the start before the grinding guitar starts. Victor seems to be pushing is vocal range, but it is limited. It is still gruff and sounds like Prong. It has a bit more of the groove metal twist to it as well. A pretty solid album closer.
Where are they now? - This album was released and sold 10,000 copies during the first week. The label felt the band was not selling as well as it should and 3 weeks later the label dropped the band. This proved to be too much and the band call it quits just prior to a tour for the album. Tommy Victor would work as the guitarist for Glen Danzig with Ted Parsons and Paul Raven would join the band “Godflesh”. Since then Victor re-formed Prong with new players. Raven and Parsons would join Ministry for a bit. Sadly Raven died of an apparent heart attack in his sleep on October 20, 2007 at the age of 46. As far as Prong, they are said to be working on new material.
FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have never seen the band live.
FDF Overall Take – Sure it has big guitars, real big and they sound very good for a trio, but wow it feels VERY much the same, over and over. I am not overly familiar with their other work so I can't say if this goes one way vs. the other for their musical style. If you like the heaviness, you will probably really like it. Check a sample, if you don't like it..well then, you probably won't like the record.
The band official site here
Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
Controller, Audio only w/lyrics on YouTube here.
The song that got me in to the band.
The album is out of print but easy enought to still find here on amazon.com