In the early 1990’s, grunge was the most popular genre. Bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden dominated the charts. But Prong were one of the bands that (along with groups like Biohazard and Pantera) kept releasing heavy metal albums (like “Cleansing,” which was released in 1994).
And even though they helped to keep heavy music alive in the Nineties, Prong are (and always have been) still a very underrated band. Even in their heyday, they didn’t fully get the attention they deserved. But, quite frankly, it’s inexplicable why their albums didn’t sell as many copies as other bands, because Prong are equally as talented, catchy, and original. Tommy Victor’s vocals may not be completely innovative, but saying “Cleansing” is a rip off of Metallica’s “Kill `Em All” is ridiculous. This album is industrial metal, and “Kill `Em All” was a much faster thrash record.
It’s also very confusing how any metal fan can give this album less than five stars, because, simply put…”Cleansing” rocks! It’s full of buzzsaw riffs, beeping bass lines, catchy, snarly vocals (and a few catchy grunts), and even an occasional guitar solo. Solos are very rare for industrial metal, but on some of these songs, like the first track, frontman Tommy Victor does rip one out.
All metalheads are–or at least definitely should be–familiar with this record’s third track. The staccato, rusty-sounding riff at the beginning of “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” is almost world renowned for being so irresistibly catchy. This song is doubtlessly Prong’s most well-known song, and it probably is the best and catchiest song on “Cleansing,” but there are many other good songs here, too, and even some great ones. The first two tracks, “Another Worldy Device” and “Whose Fist Is This Anyway,” are both very catchy; and, with rhythmic riffs, and the album closers (“Sublime” and “Test”) both have excellent, heavy hooks. Elsewhere, “Broken Piece” begins with wah-wah guitars before turning to a fast, churning rhythm and concluding with a wild solo. “One Out Numbered” has a Helmet-esque stop-start rhythm, and, even though “Not of This Earth” is slower, things pick back up for track ten, “Home Rule,” which has thunderous riffs and grumbling bass notes.
Even though it’s worth buying just for “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck,” all of “Cleansing” is completely solid, with not one bad song. You’re just not metal unless you own some Prong, and if you’re new to the band, start here (because this is probably their best work). And even if you don’t own it (for some odd reason), at least give Prong props for helping to keep metal alive in the Nineties.