Sound — 8
When a rock or metal band decides to go down the remix route, it's safe to say that there are a good deal of fans who dread the result. Prong's latest studio release Way of the Damager underwent some remixing tweaks of it's own, which can be heard on the album's counterpart Power of the Damn Mixxxer. At the helm of the recreations are not just a team of club DJs, however, and that's one of the most intriguing aspects to the project. Artists such as Rob Caggiano of Anthrax, Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan, and John Bechdel of False Icons have taken Prong's music, and in many cases, morphed it into something much more fascinating.
If you're a rock purist, it's completely understandable if you can't wrap your arms around any remix or club album. Power of the Damn Mixxxer surprises more often than not, however, and there are quite a few tracks that elevate both the aggressive and ominous qualities of the original songs. Apparently the new record was inspired by the lack of publicity/airplay that Way of the Damager received. Prong vocalist/guitarist Tommy Victor referred to the album as being overlooked and in some cases ignored, so you can't blame him for wanting to give the music a second life.
Power of the Damn Mixxxer doesn't always feel like your traditional remix album, and instead it takes a stronger industrial feel. In the case of tracks like Power of the Damager and Messages Inside Of Me, you can hear hints of Nine Inch Nails or Ministry which ends up being highly effective. At times the tunes might be slightly more laid-back because of some new layered drum tracks, but they remain incredibly dark. No Justice, which was remixed by DJ? Acucrack, is one of the spookiest tracks on the new CD, and in many ways feels more aggressive than the original.
There are a handful of songs that do sound like your run-of-the-mill club remixes, and interestingly enough, it's Anthrax's Rob Caggiano that delivers one of the most dance-oriented tracks. Caggiano laid down The Banishment (there is also another version remixed by Clayton Worbeck of Revolting Cocks on the CD), which has more of a beat-driven aspect than a good number of the other remixes. Thankfully, Caggiano didn't try to erase the prominent riffs from the original track, and the lead work comes out beautifully in the chorus. The closing track Bad Fall (remixed by Greg Puciato) delivers by far the most distinct change, with it's cool, laid-back vibe in the beginning eventually transforming into a loud, metallic-sounding wall of sound. It is an all-out remix and features sampled vocals rather than leaving in the original full-length verses and choruses, but Puciato makes it sound adequately evil by the end of it all.
Lyrics — 8
Because Power of the Damn Mixxxer is a remix album, it features the same lyrical content heard on Way of the Damager. There is a cynicism that runs thought many of the songs, with Changing Ending Troubling Times being a perfect example. Victor sings, Changing ending troubling times a bomb left on your door; Causing great discomfort as your house has just exploded; The rivers overflowing and the dimming of the sun; The hazardous carcinogens, the poisons in your lungs. The tracks aren't the happiest, but they certainly are a good fit for the original music or the foreboding remixes.
Overall Impression — 8
Prong certainly did not go the way of Chris Cornell by making an all-out dance/club album with Power of the Damn Mixxxer. Instead, there is a heavy industrial vibe that usually sounds more like Ministry, particularly because the remixers allow the dark nature of Prong to always come through. There are some tracks that turn out better than others, and those are usually the ones that don't get too crazy experimenting with new computerized beats. Surprisingly, it's the times that the remixers slow things down (while keeping the demonic growls of Tommy Victor) when things get excessively creepy and satisfying.