Sound — 7
Prong has gone through many changes throughout the years. Starting with crossover thrash and finally ending up with this groove metal album. Prong are an influential band for people like Trent Reznor (NIN) and Jonathan Davis (Korn). The album shows a very different Prong after the reunion of the band. The sound is typical of thrash/groove metal, but the production is above that typical of thrash bands. The drum intros are different from other bands and the guitars come in with a kick. The riffs aren't anything inspiring, yet not lacklustre. The hardcore influences can be heard on the sometimes simple riffs and the vocals in songs like 'Spirit Guide'. Technically, however there's nothing to shout about as the drums are kept simple and the guitars adding pinch harmonics every now and then to spice things up. However the simplicity makes the album as a whole as an easy album to listen to. Some songs just lack any catchiness, like '3rd Option' while others are just infectious, like 'Pure Ether'. Well worth listening to for the gems on this album.
Lyrics — 8
The vocals seem to be washed out by the music in some places on this album. The guitar seems to take over making some of the lyrics hard to listen to. However the lyrics aren't lacking in any way and after a few listens some songs seem stuck irreversibly in my head. The shouts of 'Spirit Guide Calling!' and the simple choruses add to the effect of the album. The lyrics are politically charged, like the album ender 'Changing Ending Troubling Times' and much more subtle in the way of songs like 'Messages Inside of Me'. You won't find any completely over the top lyrics about smoking weed and drinking whisky but it also doesn't become completely indecipherable. Tommy Victor is vocally skilled enough to cover a wide range on the album, going from deep and aggressive to a much higher melody in the chorus, which is typical of the groove metal genre to which this album belongs. His voice is not normally suited to this type of music, which makes the music, if anything, more interesting.
Overall Impression — 8
The album certainly was a big change in direction after their reunion. Look out for songs like 'Pure Ether', 'Messages Inside of Me' and 'Can't stop the Bleeding'. I like the different take on the groove metal vocals on this album, however most of the instruments aren't awe inspiring but the layout of the songs are conventional and the music is flowing. The album is full of peaks and troffs. Some songs can fade into the background, while others will have your feet tapping along to the drums and you singing along to the choruses.