Prong – Ruining Lives


Review by Jason Guest


Release Date: 28 April 2014

Up until 2012’s Carved Into Stone, it had been a while since Prong had delivered anything of any real worth since Cleansing. 1996’s Rude Awakening was a good album but, unfairly, paled in the shadow of its predecessor and whose commercial failure prompted the band’s subsequent break up. It would be another seven years before Prong would appear again but 2003’s Scorpio Rising was far – very far – from what we knew Victor and co. were capable of. 2007 and Power Of The Damager saw Prong back on track, delivering an album that while not great, lived up to its title and rescued Prong from the realms of the forgotten. Other than 2009’s pointless but fairly entertaining remix album, Power of the Damn Mixxxer, it would be five years before a new album appeared, the interim leaving us wondering not just if it would be any good but if they would even bother. Fortunately for us all, with Carved Into Stone (reviewed here) Prong got their act together and delivered their best work since Cleansing, gaining all the acclaim it so rightfully deserved. Almost exactly two years later and Ruining Lives, the band’s ninth album, is upon us.

Thrash-meets-industrial-meets-post-punk, Prong are doing what they do best and throwing in a few modern touches without once compromising their own well-established, war-torn identity. An unbridled riff-assault, opener ‘Turnover’ is laced with hooks aplenty and a killer chorus and a crushing coda that quickly sets aside any fears that Carved Into Stone was a fluke with ‘The Barriers’, ‘Windows Shut’, and ‘Remove, Separate Self’ soon providing further evidence. While the title track and ‘The Book Of Change’ are both merciless blasts of industrial strength thrash – the former calling to mind the band’s thrash days circa Force Fed – ‘Absence of Light’ sounds like something from Cleansing. With elements – the best elements – from all eras of Prong’s on/off career fueling the album, this is like a “best of”, Victor and co. concentrating the best of themselves into eleven tracks that are pure Prong to their very core. Yes, it’s that good. All the way through. And not only is Tommy Victor an unsung master of the riff and a consummate songwriter (two reasons why Ministry and Danzig sought his services), he’s a master producer too.

Prong, once lost, are now most definitely found, the power of the damager is firmly in the fist of its rightful owners who are back to snap fingers and snap necks to once again prove any and all that ever doubted them wrong. Albums this good get played to death, but it’s going to be a very long time before Ruining Lives dies.

Prong - Ruining Lives9 out of 10

Prong have just released a 17-track official bootleg of classic Prong tracks recorded live in the studio, and you can take a listen and buy it here.

Track listing:

  1. Turnover
  2. The Barriers
  3. Windows Shut
  4. Remove, Separate Self
  5. Ruining Lives
  6. Absence Of Light
  7. The Book Of Change
  8. Self Will Run Riot
  9. Come To Realize
  10. Chamber Of Thought
  11. Limitations And Validations