Creating the perfect covers album, much like remix albums to an extent, can be a tricky business at times. It takes the right kind of artist and the right collection of songs for one to really stand out. That said, it fills me with an immense amount of pride to report that Prong is definitely the right kind of band and Songs From The Black Hole is definitely the right collection of songs.
Probably the most surprising thing on Songs From The Black Hole is not the diversity of artists here (From Neil Young and Sisters Of Mercy to Black Flag and Bad Brains) but the choice of which song to represent those artists on the album. Like Prong’s Killing Joke pick, for example.
Of all the Killing Joke classics that have been covered over the years, Prong go with “Seeing Red” off of their 2003 “comeback” album (Killing Joke never really went anywhere) and it’s glorious. Main man Tommy Victor’s voice channels the unhinged madness of Jaz Coleman offering a compelling case as to who should lead KJ should Coleman ever retire. The only thing that would make this track more perfect is if former KJ/Prong bassist Paul Raven were still breathing and able to contribute (RIP Raven).
Then there’s the choice of “Goofy’s Concern”, off of Butthole Surfers’ major label debut Independent Worm Saloon, over singles like “Who Was In My Room Last Night?”, “Pepper” or any number of wacky tracks from their earlier work. But listening to the intensity Prong bring to the song, especially with Art Cruz on drums, and it’s as if the song was tailor made for Prong.
Elsewhere, Prong go straight for the throat with their visceral take on Discharge’s “Doomsday Doomsday” and amp up an already intense “Vision Thing”, originally by Sisters Of Mercy. But whether it’s bassist Jason Christopher leading the charge on Black Flag’s “The Bars” or Victor crooning like Bob Mould during Husker Du’s “Don’t Wanna Know If You Are Lonely”, Songs From The Black Hole, despite being a covers album, is undeniably Prong. If you want to hear where every album from Force Fed through Ruining Lives and beyond came from, then Songs From The Black Hole is essential Prong listening.