Throughout their initial run from 1986 to 1997, Prong repeatedly re-defined the parameters of metal and, over the course of six landmark albums, subverted the limits of the genre in a perpetual search for fresh hybrids that sound remarkably cohesive and vital today. Originally formed by two CBGB’s employees and a former Swans member, Prong’s earliest material came off as little more than a quick and dirty amalgamation of thrash and hardcore. But the band’s ultimate strength lay in its ability to radically reconfigure the thrash template yet still retain a definable thrash essence. Moreover, guitarist/bandleader Tommy Victor underlined nuances in the expression of angst that few headbangers have revisited since. For all their vitriol, unlike the majority of their peers, Prong never came from a place of sheer aggression. Victor’s frustrations seemed driven by powerlessness instead, and the band’s claustrophobic, cowed and – by Victor’s own description – vulnerable music paradoxically captured the anxiety and danger of urban life without explicitly referencing the gritty environment it was borne from. Victor revived the band with all new players in 2000 and now, with a stable lineup more or less intact, verges on recapturing the fiercely enterprising spirit of the classic catalog. With Soulfly, Cattle Decapitation, Mutiny Within. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Wed., Oct. 7, 6:30 p.m., 2009

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