Are my eyes deceiving me? Is this really a new Prong album? Guess I kind of lost track of them as Tommy Victor continued his work alongside Al Jourgensen and Glenn Danzig. It probably didn’t help that their post-reformation output (2003’s Scorpio Rising and 2007’s Power of the Damager) had been largely forgettable, which meant that whenever I’ve needed a Prong fix, it has always been Cleansing or Rude Awakening to the rescue. To me, the piss-and-vinegar energy and middle-finger attitude of those albums was the definition of Prong. Victor had a bone to pick with the world, and pulled no punches in doing so, something which seemed to be lacking recently. That has all changed with Carved Into Stone, which picks up right where Rude Awakening left off.
So deep is my relationship with those aforementioned albums that I can’t even seem to find words to describe it. It’s like being reunited with an old friend after years of separation; perhaps one of you moved away to have a new life experience, only to find yourself returning to your point of origin. The two of you don’t even take time to discuss what you’ve done during that time — you just get right to drinking, tempering reminiscing on your past adventures with current and future goings-on.
Although album opener “Eternal Heat” hints at a more straightforward thrash album — one that would have been welcomed just as warmly — “Keep On Living In Pain” takes you right back to 1996, and in that regard, sets the tone for the rest of the album. The only thing missing is the programming/keyboards, but you’re likely to find yourself not really missing it, Bob. So if you heard the single “Revenge . . . Best Served Cold” and made the assumption that the classic sound was back, you’d be right. Hey, sometimes singles can be misleading. In this case, though, the band marches on with the crushing “List of Grievances” and potential future classic “Subtract” before wrapping things up with the understated duo of “Path of Least Resistance” and “Reinvestigate.”
I’m not sure that I’ve done Carved Into Stone the justice that it deserves. I didn’t have as much of a critical mind back then, so it’s difficult to describe what made the albums of that era so great, and in turn, what makes this album so great. However, I am confident in saying that if you liked those albums, you will find a lot to enjoy here.