"Carved Into Stone" is the best Prong release since "Cleansing," and maybe the band's finest record to date. In essence, the album's color collects an impressive smorgasbord of almost every era of the group's adventures, only now the kinks or minor complaints are tweaked and ready to roll. Tommy Victor quickly rejuvenated Prong with "Power of the Damager," which was a decent return to Prong's "classic" sound and thankfully a few universes away from the horribly arid and tiresome disgrace of a release that was "Scorpio Rising." With "Carved Into Stone," Victor has made Prong a relevant force in the world of groove/thrash metal again, mainly because the record stays true to itself and cherishes its roots and previous endeavors; it is a superb representation of everything Prong is, was, and should've been.
Prong's style always transgressed to and from different mediums; at first the trio was immersed in crossover/thrash, then they entered the groove sound and eventually applied industrial overtones at the height of the group's popularity. The direction here stings like an amalgamation of everything released under the Prong banner, not including the industrial themes. It's overall a very impressive feat, featuring the finest riffs Victor has ever penned along with some exceptionally great examples of prime songwriting. First and foremost, "Carved Into Stone" is a Prong album. Nothing out of the ordinary as expected. Only now, the songs are smooth and mighty, chopping between a plethora of entertaining riffs and song structures with really no filler to boot. If anything, "Carved Into Stone" sounds like a band reborn.
As I said, there's nothing totally out of the blue here, but the passion and sense of wellbeing make a noteworthy impression that most of Prong's last few albums did not. Songs like "Eternal Heat" or "Revenge...Best Served Cold" are among some of the finest Prong slices one will ever find; too many great moments to mention, really. There are maybe one or two numbers which fall beneath the weight of the record, but nothing remarkably bad exists, so I really can't complain. Also worth mentioning that the production is easily one of the finest facets of the album as well. The overall mix here slams every note and idea right in your face in a balanced yet professional manner, and it really brings a lot of the leftover energy outwards.
I thought Prong's stint of glory was discarded somewhere back in the 1990s. After "Cleansing," the band's musical route went into a total nosedive, cumulating in the mediocre "Rude Awakening" and finally meeting the bottom of the barrel during the seven years it took to create "Scorpio Rising." The glimmers of fire sprouting throughout "Power of the Damager" became full-on infernos of energy and force, completely eclipsing the mundane slump that plagued this band for years. "Carved Into Stone" restores every bit of credibility lost within the faction's brief hibernation and experimental phase, and it makes for an appealing experience on pretty much every level. Thanks for kicking my butt Tommy Victor; I wasn't using it for anything anyway.