Like many teenagers in the 90s my first exposure to the band Prong was their album Cleansing, their third effort for a major label. At the time the band was consistently defined as “industrial metal” in every article I read, which always seemed odd. Prong had a bit of a penchant for electronic backing tracks at the time, but it was a subtle addition, definitely not reminiscent of the synth-heavy beat-dominant industrial groups of the moment (or even today for that matter).
Perhaps what lead to that tag was founding member Tommy Victor’s use of what many would come to call the “cyber-riff”. A sharp repetitive style of riffing that influenced many bands who would go on to become far bigger headliners than Prong themselves. Currently the band is rocking a power-trio line-up that retains that trademark sound on their latest release Ruining Lives.
But the tone is far more in-tune with the band’s hardcore origins than their 90s commercial peak. I caught up with Victor on a Toronto tour-stop supporting thrash-metallers Overkill to talk about the industrial labelling, the anatomy of the cyber-riff, and how their cross-appeal can make it hard for Prong to find their place in modern music.
Prong’s upcoming covers album “Songs From The Black Hole” will be released on March 31st, and they’ll be hitting the road for a European tour in April.