PRONG       Power Of The Damager
13th Planet Records (release: October 5th, 2007)

Tommy Victor left us in mourning in 1996, after the release of the astounding Rude Awakening. Powerful, dark and groovy all the same, the album was the diamond at the top of a ten years career and quite a couple of great LPs (hey, didn't have a CD player in the eighties !).
Anyway, Tommy was quite busy for the next years, playing with such talented personalities as Rob Zombie, Glenn Danzig and MINISTRY's Al Jourgensen. One could have worse as a CV !
Tommy Victor reactivated PRONG in 2002 with Scorpio Rising, a studio album that I've never heard because it's really hard to find round here… so I have nothing to say about that one.
Now, about Power Of The Damager… well, I've played it quite a couple of times, still I remain in a state of confusion. No doubt, PRONG's trademark is here, which means the album will rise above the traditional bunch of dozens of good productions with no personality. But Power Of The Damager sometimes sounds like it's been recorded in a hurry, the worst thing being the vocals that turn now and then into some kind of approximate growls, screams or exasperating yellings which sound totally inappropriate (No Justice, Messages Inside Of Me). Sounds like anger has gone out of control there. Too bad, as those songs are not bad as a whole.
Still, most tracks are really worth the trip in a way or another, like The Banishment, Worst Of It, Pure Ether, Looking For Them and the title track Power Of The Damager.
Power Of The Damager will not replace Rude Awakening in my favorite albums catalogue, still PRONG remains one of the most authentic and original bands in America nowadays.David

LOFOFORA       Mémoire de singes
At(h)ome (release: October 8th, 2007)

LOFOFORA’s Mémoire de singes is French (and French-speaking) Metal veterans’ sixth studio album. Reuno and his band have built the reputation of one of the most genuine independent French Rock act through fifteen years of writing protest songs, recording powerful albums and intensive touring the country of cheese and wine. This particular regime has not reduced their energy and their commitment to wake the conscience of our sick, cupid and cynical society. In both those particular respects, Mémoire de singes stands as another incendiary bomb thrown at the face of the sick motherf***ers that have taken control of the world. For you guys abroad, let’s say that LOFOFORA might be the French breed of MINISTRY and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: beginning with, let’s say, some kind of Nu-Metal (that can still be traced in the Rap sonorities of Torture) with Punk Rock roots, the band has now turned to a fast, ruthless and radical Hardcore act. Still, their music shows a certain subtlety in the long run.
Reuno’s voice and rabid singing remain as LOFOFORA’s personal touch that makes the band impossible to confuse, while the guys on guitars and drums are hammering at Big Brother like the guns of the allied fleet at Omaha Beach on D-Day.
From the forthcoming suicide of our consumers’ civilization (Mémoire de singes) to the stinking revival of nationalism and some kind of colonial pride in France (Tricolore), through the disquieting renewal of religious fundamentalism worldwide (Dernier jugement) and the slavery of mankind through the Blessed Laws of the Holy Market and its propaganda (Employé du mois, Tous les mêmes, Comme des bêtes)… Mémoire de singes stands as the wild, desperate and furious soundtrack of the 21st century. In this country where the exodus of capital of a multimillionaire ex-youth idol is regarded as the ultimate Rock ’n Roll attitude, LOFOFORA is getting things straight and offering us a tonic puff of fresh air through the putrefied atmosphere of the New World Order.
You guys abroad, this album is the one good reason to learn French, but if you’re really hopeless with foreign languages, you will appreciate the music for itself anyway: sometimes, words are unnecessary to make the message clear: No future !David

IMPALED NAZARENE       Manifest
Osmose Productions (release: October 19th, 2007)

Tenth studio album for the "troops from hell" and a 15 years partnership with French label Osmose Productions for which our Finn signed the contract with their own blood (well... that's what they say). A real proof of loyalty anyway. And they didn't get into a rut on Manifest, their most varied offering to Satan ever: wild Punk Rock on You Don't Rock Hard, a Power Metal intro on The Calling, bloody heavy Funeral For Despicable Pigs ending with an organ part or unhealthy Dead Return with "possessed to the core" vocalist Mika Luttinen. But don't be scared: the other tracks are in the vein of those which made a name to their nuclear Metal 'til now, with many tempo changes however. And not to forget their usual mascot on Goat Justice !
With this more accessible Manifest (watch out: I didn't say "commercial" ! Don't talk rubbish !) and despite some troubles with German censorship, IMPALED NAZARENE is full of life again, ready to sign for ten more albums !...Laurent

Richie KOTZEN       Return Of The Mother Head's Family Reunion
Frontiers Records (release: October 19th, 2007)

As you may guess from the review in these very pages, I was rather disappointed by Richie's Into The Black last year. Seems like he's taken the advice: Return... is much more lively, therefore more convincing. The MOTHER HEAD'S FAMILY REUNION has gathered quite a bunch of talented guys with various influences, and the result is that very particular kind of... let me see... Groove Metal ? Hard 'n Blues ? Soul Rock ? S..t, listen to the album and make your own opinion. Return... opens with a pair of good groovy tunes: Go Faster and You Know That. Then comes Fooled Again which sounds like Stevie Wonder meets Jimi Hendrix, with this final four minutes guitar solo (nooooo, don't run away, it's really great !). You also have cooler and more classical tunes like Faith and Chase It, and bluesy or boogie songs like Bad Things and Can You Feel It, which recalls of Richie's time in MR. BIG.
Return... is not a brutal turning point in Richie Kotzen's musical journey, but it sounds like he's back to business after a good nap that lasted a little too long. Go on, Richie, the audience is listening !David

FLOWING TEARS       Invanity - Live In Berlin
Ascendance Records (release: October 29th, 2007)

To celebrate their tenth anniversary, German FLOWING TEARS recorded a semi-acoustic live album during the 2004 tour, with rearranged older songs taken from their three previous releases and obviously even less powerful than the studio versions. So, no stage-diving here, especially as the event takes place in a big church of Berlin. The response of the audience is polite, according to the place. However, it might be painful to hold on an entire gig, despite the grace of their atmospheric music, but for the least brave (and most narrow-minded) people, there are only eight tracks on the CD ! The process is quite similar to THE GATHERING's Sleepy Buildings (2004), with whom they'd toured many times in the past. The show amazingly ends with SLAYER's Dead Skin Mask they usually play and that their fans were craving for a record version, with the bewitched voice of Helen Vogt, who replaced Stefanie Duchêne since previous Razorbliss. But in a church… what a sacrilege ! As a bonus track, you'll find another studio cover song: Nick Cave's The Weeping Song, featuring Johan Edlund from TIAMAT in a duet with lovely Helen. Thus, Invanity is a good interlude to be ready for action again after this long break…Laurent