To say I’ve been waiting for this CD for a year is a bit of an understatement. While technically it’s only been a year since Prong released 100% Live, it’s been over six years since 1997’s Rude Awakening, Prong’s last studio effort. And after waiting six years, my biggest concern was that a lot can go wrong in six years time.
Fortunately for both the band and its fans, most of Scorpio Rising goes right. With six years to evolve, not to mention the departure of original members Ted Parsons and Paul Raven, it would be naive not to expect the band’s sound to have changed. And while they have, it’s not in a bad direction.
A few songs on Scorpio Rising are recognizable radio fodder. “Avoid Promises”, “Assurances” and “Out of this Realm” all stick out as “less heavy” tracks, probably destined for radio play. What’s left can be pretty easily divided up into two categories: heavy new stuff, and stuff that sounds similar to classic Prong. Track two, “All Knowing Force,” combines Victor’s pinch harmonics and a classic riff with new, forceful drums — any fear that the band has gone soft is quickly alleviated.
Tommy Victor, original guitarist and vocalist of Prong, proves that he can still write Prong-worthy riffs song after song. New additions Brian Perry (bass) and Dan Laudo (drums) prove they can run with the big dogs as well, although Perry’s bass sound lacks the punch of (original bassist) Paul Raven’s.
The exception to all musical generalizations about the album is “Letter to a ‘Friend'”, a power ballad in the vein of Pantera’s “You Keep This Love” or Megadeth’s “Forclosure of a Dream”. At five minutes even it’s probably a bit long for a radio single, but everything else about the song screams top 40.
While Prong has certainly grown and expanded their horizons over the past fifteen years, they’ve never let go of their roots. On Scorpio Rising, Prong is able to avoid the “nu-metal trap” so many bands as of late have fallen into, and instead delivers an album that shows the band has one foot in the past and one in the future.
While Scorpio Rising is unlikely to produce a “Snap Your Fingers” or “Whose Fist Is This Anyway”, its good enough to stand on its own and let the world know that Prong is back.