| Prong


Rising out of the expansive early '90s thrash metal landscape, New York's Prong carved a niche all their own with their minimalist urban take on the genre. After years working as a soundman at New York's CBGB's Tommy Victor (vocals/guitars) drafted doorman Mike Kirkland (bass) and ex-Swans drummer Ted Parsons to form Prong in the mid 80s. The trio's early independent releases -- Primitive Origins and Force Fed -- were extremely raw and betrayed their hardcore roots. By the time the group signed with Epic for 1990's Beg to Differ though, Victor and company had transformed into a highly-technical thrash metal outfit, shelling out clinical staccato riffs and start-stop rhythms peppered with subtle melodies and occasional bursts of speed. The album's title track was a minor hit, helping to put the band on the map once it received regular exposure on MTV's Headbanger's Ball.

Ex-Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Troy Gregory replaced Kirkland for 1991's Prove You Wrong -- which featured another strong single in "Unconditional" -- but was essentially a creative holding pattern and lost some of the band's momentum. Gregory was soon ousted and supplanted by two ex-Killing Joke and Murder Inc. members in bassist Paul Raven and keyboard player John Bechdel for 1994's Cleansing. Containing arguably their best work, the album saw a slight change of direction towards a more industrial sound, with Victor's precise riffing making way for a greater sense of groove and melody. It did little to increase the group's commercial appeal, however. Prong would disband following 1996's less inspired Rude Awakening. Parsons then went on to join British industrialists Godflesh while Victor toured with goth-punks Danzig, but rumors persist of an eventual Prong reunion. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi