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Tommy Victor: ‘X – No Absolutes’ Album ‘Shows Progress On All Fronts’

PRONG’s new album, “X – No Absolutes”, will be released on February 5, 2016 through SPV/Steamhammer as a digipak (including bonus track+poster), 2LP gatefold version (colored vinyl, CD in paper sleeve) and as a digital download.


“X – No Absolutes” track listing:


01. Ultimate Authority
02. Sense Of Ease
03. Without Words
04. Cut And Dry
05. No Absolutes
06. Do Nothing
07. Belief System
08. Soul Sickness
09. In Spite Of Hindrances
10. Ice Runs Through My Veins
11. Worth Pursuing
12. With Dignity
13. Universal Law (digipak bonus track)


Comments Tommy Victor: “PRONG is excited about the upcoming release of our tenth studio release of new material, ‘X – No Absolutes’. It seems as though our recent records keep getting better and this new recording definitely appears to be a testament to this.


“PRONG has maintained aggression while tackling the challenge of creating classic songs and anthems in the past, but we have gone even a step further with this mentality on ‘No Absolutes’. Here you will find a collection of riff-intensified crushers, furious barn burners, and fist pumping sing-a-longs. Also, this record exhibits even more technical proficiency, showing progress again on all fronts. We feel the listener needs to be excited about every lyric, performance, sound, etc. for the duration of the record. This record throws a powerful punch, yet we feel it to be memorable and in demand of future listens with its energy, strong production and overall catchiness.


“Our themes on this record will certainly inspire some thought. Whether it be a dose of self discovery, a dialogue of a personal challenge or a viscous finger pointing at what we believe to be a falsehood, those attentive to messages and lyrics in general will be supplied. And we feel they will be compelled to shout aloud with, mimic a riff, sing along or cry out in pain with ‘X – No Absolutes’!”


After a self-prescribed hiatus, 2012 saw PRONG blow the hinges off the door with the release of “Carved Into Stone”. Seemingly out of nowhere, Tommy Victor and company managed to combine all the previous elements of the band’s formula: thrash, hardcore, industrial metal, etc. with a new urgency and angst that struck a deep nerve with the band’s loyal fan-base and beyond.


The band marched onwards with 2014′s highly acclaimed “Ruining Lives”, which spawned a number of instant classics. “Turnover”, “The Barriers” and the title track became staples in their live set when embarking on a bone-breaking schedule of concerts around the world in support of the record. A video for “Remove, Separate Self” was released creating even more interest in this significant recording.


Recorded over the summer of 2014 and released in early 2015, PRONG’s covers album “Songs From The Black Hole” was loved by fans and critics alike. Always game to make the unexpected move, the album featured songs from artists as diverse as HÜSKER DÜ, BAD BRAINS, BLACK FLAG, THE SISTERS OF MERCY and Neil Young.


After yet another headline tour, it was straight back to the studio for another studio album. Just days after mixing was completed, PRONG went on the road with DANZIG and SUPERJOINT in North America and released the first single “Ultimate Authority” on the day the tour began.


“X – No Absolutes” is PRONG at their very best. The sheer intensity and ferocity of the albums opening triumvirate “Ultimate Authority”, “Sense Of Ease” and “Without Words” leaves the listener gasping for air. The title track is crunchy and catchy at the same time. “Do Nothing” may be as close as you will ever hear PRONG get to a ballad and shows the enormous progress and confidence Victor has made vocally. It is hard to find a weak spot here, notably Victor mentions that “sequencing the album was a difficult task; every song is so strong in its own way.”


Again produced by Tommy Victor, this time with trusted collaborator Chris Collier as co-producer and engineer, “X – No Absolutes” also broadens the horizon sonically.


With over 55 headline shows already announced for right after the album release, PRONG can seem to do everything but stand still.

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The End of an Era: Owner of Shake Rattle and Read To Retire, Close Store in 2016


CHICAGO – After 50 years in Uptown, Shake Rattle and Read will close next year, according to longtime owner Ric Addy.


“It’s time,” said Addy. “At age 64, and after 30 years in the same location, I’m looking for new adventures. I need to take time to go see the rest of the world and be with my family and friends in Michigan and Florida. I’ll miss all of my friends in Chicago, but I won’t miss the winters.”


In the 1980s, Addy took over the shop, which sits next to Uptown Theater at 4812 N. Broadway, from his brother who had called the store The Book Box when it opened in 1966. Addy renamed the store and began selling “everything from literary classics to vintage pulp novels, collectible LPs to now-vintage cassettes, to magazines and music memorabilia.”

Next year, he’ll be offering a series of deals leading up to his retirement and departure from Chicago planned for late summer. Paying homage to his yearly routine of offering discounted items according to how many years the store has been open, the sale will kick off with a 50 percent discount of all books, used records and magazines. New Vinyl LPs will be 25 percent off, according to a press release.

Addy has managed music stores such as Rose Records, Downtown Records and Record Exchange since 1971. He’s also one of the city’s first punk rock DJs, according to the press release.


“Just being an independent businessman and not working for anybody else, has been wonderful,” Addy said. “And it’s been terrific to turn on so many people to so many great books and music — these are just the things that a small store always should do.”

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Danzig “Skeletons” Nuclear Blast out on Nov 27th, 2015

You know it’s Danzig the moment you hear him.

It’s not just that inimitable voice either. It’s the thick airy guitars, bluesy swagger, and “come hither” evil that placed him at the forefront of a number of musical revolutions. Due to his ingenuity, horror and punk formally collided with The Misfits’ genesis in the seventies. Anytime you see that iconic Misfits skull, you’ll immediately think of his howl fueling punk classics like 1982’s Walk Among Us or 1983’s Wolf’s Blood/Earth A.D. His vision for Samhain and albums such as Initium and November-Coming-Fire, to name a few, indelibly impacted the landscape of extreme music, fortifying the crossroads between heavy riffs and occult imagery so prevalent these days. Then, there’s his eponymous band—Danzig. 1988’s self-titled debut would go platinum and yield classics including “Mother,” “Twist of Cain,” and “She Rides,” while overall sales across his catalog exceed 10 million worldwide to date.

Moreover, you can consistently feel his presence throughout pop culture, whether it’s his music soundtracking moments in The Hangover film series, at the personal request of director Todd Phillips, or Artists ranging from Johnny Cash & Roy Orbison to Guns & Roses, Metallica, My Chemical Romance & many more recording his songs. That imprint expands further with his successful Verotik Comics and forthcoming feature film directorial debut. However, Danzig wants to show you where it started with his tenth full-length album and first since 2010’s Deth Red Saboath—Skeletons [Evilive Records].

A labor of love that dates back to 1979, he pulls back the curtain behind his influences with a collection of ten covers spanning artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, ZZ Top, and Aerosmith to Black Sabbath, The Troggs, The Everly Brothers, and more. Recording intermittently between 2012 and 2015 in Los Angeles, he quite literally reveals the bone structure for his own style.

“These are my skeletons,” he affirms. “You may or may not know that I dig these songs. You could say that some of this music is the actual basis and skeleton of what I listened to growing up—ultimately informing the kind of music I like. It’s the foundation. If you took Elvis and Sabbath out of my life, I probably wouldn’t be the Glenn Danzig you know! I’m glad both sides are represented on this record.”

Among the tracks, he takes Presley’s “Let Yourself Go” from the film Speedway and transforms it with a swinging distorted stomp and bluesy vocal crescendo. “I thought it was a song I could do something really cool with,” he goes on. “It’s also something that I didn’t think anyone would necessarily expect. When you tell them you’re going to do an Elvis cover, they expect something they know. Not a lot of people know this one. It’s actually on The ’68 Comeback Special, and it’s worth going back to.”

He also “Danzig-ized” Sabbath’s “N.I.B.”, beginning with just guitar, vocals, and half-beat drums bolstered by ominous church bells. Meanwhile, Aerosmith’s “Lord of Your Thighs” grows exponentially heavier in his hands with a swell of pinch harmonics and robust riffing.

“People might be surprised I like that second Aerosmith record, Get Your Wings. There are tracks on there, especially ‘Lord of Your Thighs,’ that stand out to me. However, if you hear theirs and then you hear ours, ours is much heavier,” he grins.

A rousing cover of The Litter’s “Action Woman” opens a window into his pre-punk and garage roots, while Danzig brings a blast of intensity to ZZ Top’s “Rough Boy,” turning it into a metallic freight train. “I always thought it was such a great song,” he continues. “I wanted to make it more linear and run all the way through.”

The Troggs “A Girl Like You” becomes a punkified juggernaut in his hands with its fuzzed-out guitars, pounding drums and the trademark Danzig sing-a-long choruses.

He captures the rebellious spirit of the sixties outlaw biker films with a punked-out take on “Devil’s Angels” from the Devil’s Angels Soundtrack complete with his old school Misfits Dallas Arbiter Jumbo-Fuzz Pedal. Then, Danzig adds a countrified spark to “Satan” from Satan’s Sadists, which he assures, “You might be surprised, but I didn’t change any of the lyrics. I didn’t have to!”

Danzig’s interpretation of “Crying in the Rain” from The Everly Brothers instantly captivates. Accompanied only by piano, guitar, and tympani, he accomplishes the mission of making it more “ethereal, sparse, dark, and haunting.”

Ultimately, Skeletons sparks the next phase for Danzig. Helping catalyze his next full-length offering and 2015 tour plans, it’s yet another revolution. “I hope people dig it,” he leaves off. “I also hope it gives everybody a little bit of insight into the music I listen to and maybe an insight into how I did the songs. If you enjoy it, that’s great.”

No matter what, you’ll know it’s undeniably him the moment you press play…

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Ghost Celebrate Meliora Album Being Certified Gold

Ghost have earned a gold record in the Swedish homeland for their third album, “Meliora.” The project sees the debut of vocalist Papa Emeritus III alongside the Nameless Ghouls.


“We wish to inform you that Meliora is now certified as a gold album in Sweden,” says the band. Released in August, the follow-up to 2013′s “Infestissumam” was produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace.


The Swedish group recently wrapped up the Black To The Future North American tour – which included a US television debut performance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert – and are now playing dates across Europe to the end of the year.

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