CARVED INTO STONE
Tommy Victor once told me that Prong was “the cockroach of Rock N’ Roll”. As he put it, there wasn’t really anything that could truly cause Prong to go away. Not poor sales. Not changes in the industry. Not even changes in the band itself. He has proven that statement right for years now. While Prong is more of a part time thing for Victor at this point with other obligations to everyone from Glenn Danzig to Ministry, it’s still always a good thing when Prong reconvenes for a new album.
CARVED INTO STONE is, really, the most straightforward effort of the band’s career. It’s still moody, and the songs are stereotypically Prong, but the normal twists and turns are not showing like in the past. This material would never be mistaken for albums like WHOSE FIST IS IT ANYWAY or RUDE AWAKENING. That said though, if you like straight up metal with a dark undertone, CARVED INTO STONE will more than satisfy you. Songs like “Revenge Served Cold” are the closest thing on the new release to sounding like the classic era stuff. Specifically on the riff to that song, it’s clear that it was written and recorded by Victor as it possesses the exact signatures that have defined Prong (for me, that’s the transitions between riffs in the guitar lines). As the leader of Prong, Victor sounds about as solid as he ever had. His voice is still strong, and his guitar playing has a pretty recognizable sound. He plays well throughout as do bassist Tony Campos (Static-X, Soulfly) and Alexei Rodriguez (3 Inches Of Blood).
The thing about CARVED INTO STONE though is that the music is fairly unidimensional. That’s not to say that Prong has ever been an uber-creative, artsy type of band, but there were always some elements that stretched things away from the standard sound other bands were doing. CARVED INTO STONE doesn’t possess that. The odd rhythms and any thought of electronics are not present here. It’s almost like Victor and company made a purposeful decision to do a stripped down, no frills version of Prong for CARVED INTO STONE. It’s solid enough, but a bit dulled down by comparison to the rest of the catalog.
PITRIFF RATING - 76/100 - Like it...don’t love it. CARVED INTO STONE is a solid effort, although there’s not a whole lot of anything that separates it from the past catalog. It is what it is - a decent effort from the cockroaches of Rock N’ Roll.