Prong / OutCryFire
9 January 2008
Camden Underworld / London

I had been looking forward to checking out October File whose latest album Holy Armour From The Jaws Of God has received heavy play on my ipod. However, due to bassist Steve Beatty contracting an ear infection, they had been forced into a late withdrawal from the whole tour.

“We’re not October File. October File are poorly”, announced OutCryFire frontman Matt Hayday before continuing, “Best wishes to them, but we’ll rock on shall we?” …and rock on they did!

OutCryFire list Lamb Of God and Megadeth amongst their influences and you can certainly hear that. The thrash mixed with beatdowns and harsh vocals draw Lamb Of God comparisons, such as opener The Curse. Yet, OutCryFire also include flourishes of melody, as seen in Slaves, and particularly in Mike Aldridge’s guitar solos.

Frontman Matt Hayday’s jovial between song banter is slightly at odds to his aggressive vocal approach, though it added amusement to the performance. It would be interesting to know if anyone took Hayday up on his suggestion to call their boss the following morning and tell him you were squirting from both ends to get the day off!

The caustic approach can be a bit samey on fresh ears, however OutCryFire certainly made new friends beyond their faithful at the front and are well worth checking out.

OutCryFire set list:
The Curse / Year Of The Dragon / Impending Fate / Slaves / OutCryFire / 123 Dead / Dawn Of Forgiveness / Dietbomb

Whilst comeback album Scorpio Rising was a bit underwhelming, Tommy Victor has put Prong firmly back on track with last year’s Power Of The Damager, which turned out to be one of my favourites of the year. Victor must also have great faith in it, including seven songs from it in tonight’s nineteen song setlist.

Prong’s line-up is now back as a three-piece, with Monte Pittman on bass and Aaron Rossi on drums fleshing out the line-up. This certainly suits them better than the expanded line-up I last saw and whilst Prong is clearly Victor’s vehicle, there seemed to be a camaraderie on stage tonight that harked back to the original line-up. Pittman, sporting a wildman beard that makes it curious to think he used to be part of Madonna’s band, shared banter with Victor and held down the filthy bass groove. Drummer Aaron Rossi meanwhile, is the drummer Prong have deserved since the departure of Ted Parsons. His playing was simply immense and it was easy to get lost watching him rattle around his small kit through the likes of No Justice and Third Option.

As a three piece Prong bond tightly, though for a sound which can appear regimented there’s a great deal of fluidness in their playing. Broken Peace was a case in point, where all three are absolutely on the ball whilst holding a groove that get’s the crowd bobbing and shouting along.

Having seen the setlist on the stage, it was difficult to imagine how Prong would fit everything in before the venue curfew. However, there was no messing about with the first six songs fired out with barely a pause and no between song banter. Finally, before The Banishment, Victor thanked the crowd and noted Prong have a new record out. The economical nature of the sound meant those who had not yet picked up Power Of The Damager could enjoy those new songs and should surely pick the disc up. The Banishment itself was one of the high points of the set and the quality of the new albums songwriting certainly justified Prong’s decision to air a good portion of it.

Cleansing was a landmark album for Prong and it’s no surprise that songs from it set off the most movement in the crowd which spilled onto the stage frequently. Indeed, Victor and Pittman’s mic stands went flying on more than one occasion, though neither seemed to stress about. In fact Prong were clearly enjoying themselves and following the intensity of the early part of the set, there was more banter and grins. After a well received Beg To Differ, Pittman introduced Victor to cheers from the crowd with Victor comically blowing kisses. Victor showed why he’s regarded as one of the best rhythm players around with the speedy picking of Cut Rate, then played his solo with one hand, whilst giving high-fives to the crowd at the front.

Of course things go a bit nuts for Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck, with the stage a constant turnover of divers and people singing the chorus into Pittman’s mic. The muscular Power Of The Damager and Prove You Wrong favourite Unconditional are left to wrap things up in style. Victor has stated that he intends for the next Prong album to be in a similar vein to Power Of The Damager and with that and this line-up solidified these are good times for Prong fans.

Prong set list:
Bad Fall / No Justice / Rude Awakening / Looking For Them / Another Worldly Device / 3rd Option / The Banishment / Broken Peace / All Knowing Force / For Dear Life / Freezer Burn / Beg To Differ / Drum solo / Irrelevant Thoughts / Cut Rate / Worst Of It / Whose Fist Is This Anyway? / Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck / Power Of The Damager / Unconditional