Prong @ The Garage
13th May 2012
Reviewer & Photography by Graham Hilling
Prong have been kicking the proverbial metal arse for the best part of 26 years now.
From their early beginnings on the awesomely heavy and uncompromising “Force Fed” through to the first stirrings of their groove metal offerings, right through to the latest album “Carved Into Stone”.
They have always been highly influential and danced to their own tune while many other bands ended up towing the line of the music industry.
This has sometimes left them a little out on a limb but there can be no doubt that 2012 and the latest album, has put them right back in the frame.
With a sound that is unmistakable, Prong are one of the true originals left in the metal scene and an opportunity to catch them live was not to be missed!
Sunday night at The Garage in London is probably not the best day for a gig to be honest but while the crowd starts the evening in modest fashion, it builds fairly quickly once Nemhain take to the stage.
They play standard, sleazy, rock and roll with songs covering the usual topics of sex, drink, drugs etc. with pretty straight forward arrangements.
Formed by notable drummer Adrian Erlandsson, who pounds the skins mercilessly, and fronted by his wife, fiery redhead Morrigan Hel.
They have a drive but not too challenging or complex sound that is all the more enjoyable because of its’ simplicity.
A short set sees them barely on the stage for 30 minutes but there’s little here to not be impressed with!
If you’re in the right mood, Nemhain can certainly deliver the goods.
Next up are October File who have matured into a tight unit with a pretty uncompromising sound that is reminiscent of Killing Joke at times (especially some of the vocal lines of singer Ben Hollyer).
Tonight they steam roller through a short set of songs taken mainly from the 2010 album “Our Souls To You”. The small stage at the Garage with the drums pulled to the fore leaves very little room for stage craft and the normally energetic performance is slightly curtailed in this respect.
No problem with the music though, these guys just sound heavier every time I see them live. Opener “Crawl” sets the tone for a full on bludgeoning half hour!
Bulldozed along by a very dirty, driving bass it’s not long before we arrive at “Isolation” and the show is over.
Weighty stuff indeed although the sound system hasn’t really done them any favours tonight, wringing out any subtleties in the songs.
And so to Prong…. With a blinding album just released (“Carved into Stone”) which has had pretty much universally positive reviews I was surprised to see that this UK/European tour would see Prong playing “Beg To Differ” in its’ entirety plus a few other classics.
I can only assume that the tour was booked with this in mind, shame though – maybe a bit of a missed opportunity.
So that’s what we got – the full “Beg to Differ” track listing, in the order of the album, complete with a Beg to Differ backdrop. All very 1990 but this is an absolute classic of an album so there can be few grounds for complaint (especially when the gig was advertised as such!).
Tommy Victor remains an enigma, only staying still on the stage to sing into his microphone. Once vocal duties are done, he darts around like a man on a mission. Tony Campos is sadly missing from this tour because of visa issues so bass duties are handled by Matthew Brunson (from Crowbar) and Dave Pybus (from Cradle). Classic songs like “Beg to Differ” and “Take it in Hand” remind us what a great album this is and how Victor is king of the pinched string riff. Both stand in bassists do an admirable job although neither really looks completely at home playing tonight – I would guess they have had very little time to learn the material and with it being around for so long and so well loved, most people here tonight will know what it is “supposed” to sound like!
The only song from “Carved into Stone” to make it out this evening is the single that has just been released – “Revenge…Best Served Cold”.
This has all the trapping of classic Prong and will no doubt take its’ place in any future setlists. The set closes with the obligatory “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck”, eagerly anticipated and unleashes the expected reaction from the crowd!
This can only leave the punters wanting more and confirm that Prong are very much alive and kicking. Time to sit up and take notice – bit of a cliché but Prong are very much back following a period of mediocrity and I can’t wait to see them live again playing newer material from “Carved Into Stone” and 2007s “Power of the Damager” with a few other “classic” tracks thrown in for good measure!!