Prong Power of the Damager

After 2003’s sub par Scorpio Rising practically sounded the death knell for Prong, bandleader Tommy Victor claws his way back to the top with Power of the Damager, the band’s debut for the label owned by Al Jourgensen of Ministry (with whom Victor served for swan song Last Sucker). "Looking for Them” and "No Justice” sling invectives unheard since 1994’s Cleansing, and the speed-metal "3rd Option” and the utterly throbbing title track are über-welcome departures for them in overall heaviness. New drummer Aaron Rossi’s unique hi-hat/tom tom interplay raises "The Banishment” to one of Prong’s best, while "Worst of It” combines Slayer-esque riffage with the band’s signature industrial accoutrements. The Godflesh-like intro of "Spirit Guide” gives way to the album’s catchiest choruses, and "Messages Inside of Me” hides a hardcore soul spanning back to Beg to Differ, with a Fear Factory outro. "Bad Fall” is another winner due the strength of Rossi’s manic beats, while he switches tempos multiple times in "Changing Ending Troubling Times” for maximum diversity. Prong save their popularity in the nick of time with the superior Power of the Damager. (13th Planet/Megaforce)