Prong Carved into Stone

ProngCarved into Stone
Eight full-lengths in, NYC crossover/thrash/industrial dudes Prong have managed to throw a few curveballs at their patient audience. First off, vocalist Tommy Victor's voice has, curiously, gone up a few registers. This isn't the gruff barking of days past – this is more like Page Hamilton doing his Ozzy thing. Really, it's not without reason that Helmet were mentioned, as this album feels a great deal like that Helmet record no one can remember the title of that came out a few years back. It feels energetic and youthful, but in a strange, off-putting sort of way. Combine that vibe with the Machine Head-light sounds on display here (opener "Eternal Heat" comes out thrash-y and almost grind-y, while "Path of Least Resistance" is an ultra-catchy groove metal anthem) and the end result is a slightly confusing and unsettling release. Carved into Stone is a bit hard to warm up to, but it finds the band reaching out and, in doing so, writing their catchiest material since they snapped our fingers and necks so many moons ago. (Long Beach)