CD Review: Prong – Songs From The Black Hole

CD Review: Prong – Songs From The Black Hole
eOne Music
All Access Rating: A-

Prong - Songs From The
Black Hole 2015
Question Tommy Victor's punk credentials at your own risk. It may lead to a "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck" type of situation.

Once a sound man at New York City's legendary CBGBs in the late 1980s, Victor, the linchpin for the always incendiary alternative-metal device Prong, was practically embedded in what was a wildly combustible and intensely creative scene.

With a blistering new album of covers entitled Songs From The Black Hole, out via eOne Music, Victor and Prong revisit their punk roots, offering their own taut, high-speed renditions of songs from underground rabble-rousers Black Flag, Husker Du, Killing Joke, The Adolescents, Bad Brains and Fugazi, among others.

By turning the screws on these blasts of barely harnessed fury, Prong magnifies the propulsion and raging energy of Discharge's "Doomsday," Husker Du's "Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely" and Bad Brains' "Banned in D.C.," while the pulse of Fugazi's slow-burning meditation on dying "Give Me The Cure" quickens, as Prong elevates its heart rate in a vigorous workout.

It's impossible not to notice the spotless production of Songs From the Black Hole, suggesting that Prong is somehow indulging in a sonic ritual purification of what is a surprisingly wide-ranging set of choice selections. The Morse-code guitars and chilly echo of Killing Joke's "Seeing Red" create an almost antiseptic environment, but in a remake of Black Flag's "The Bars," Prong takes great pains to restore all of the grit and unbearable tension of the original.

And although the disjointed version of the Butthole Surfers' "Goofy's Concern" is a slight misstep and their lukewarm rehashing of Neil Young's classic "Cortez The Killer" seems out of place, the mean grooves and tight riffs of Sisters of Mercy's "Vision Thing" – devoid of gothic blackness – are ruthlessly compelling. As is Songs From the Black Hole as a whole.
– Peter Lindblad

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