WHATEVER Prong are drinking we want several pints of it! Over the last five years they have released a series of albums that has had everyone sitting up and, well snapping their necks.
How they could follow up 'X-No Absolute' would have daunted many bands, but Tommy Victor rallied his troops and has unleashed on an unsuspecting world what is a contender for album of the year.
'Zero Days' is a belter of intense metal, delivered with powerful panache, measured fury and a collection of songs that harness ferociousness into a potent package.
The title track alone is enough to blow the hinges off the doors and raise the roof of the Voodoo in Belfast when they play on 19th July.
But it is also an album with subtlety, such as on 'Blood Out Of Stone' a tune that will have many hitting the repeat button. However, as a complete album this one deserves to be played over and over.
Victor's vocals sound as visceral as always, his playing locked into Mike Longworth's bass as if linked by a tractor beam, while Art Cruz balances solid playing with enough flourishes to punctuate each track.
For Victor it was a labour of love...
“I must say a lot of effort was put into this new 'Zero Days' recording," he said. "From the minute I would get off tour, I would consolidate ideas from the road and form new ones.
"Again the focus was on creating good songs. We wanted this record to be modern as well as holding justice to all the previous releases. Again and maybe even more than normally I went crazy meticulous with the lyrics. I had built up a lot to say and I wanted to articulate them in the most intelligent way possible. I firmly believe the mission was accomplished all around."
His reflective views on societal issues permeate the album, with tracks like 'The Whispers' and 'Ruler of the Collective' layered and powerful. Together with challenges such as on the awesome 'Forced Into Tolerance' this is thoughtful anger.
It is also a collection of tracks that refuse to be forced into one style - in typical Prong style they vary from thrash to groove, to almost doom (e.g. on 'Self Righteous Indignation') in a contrary and almost curmudgeonly defiance to be boxed in. And, that's exactly what makes Victor and co such a great band.
Potent Prong prove once again they are leading not following, bucking trends and critical bents to produce another special album!
Review by Jonathan Traynor
Zero Days is released on July 28th
Tickets for Prong's Belfast show at the Voodoo on July 19th are still available.