For many people, if you mention the Prodigy then you will get a very positive response; this is for good reason as they are one of the biggest ever band to come from the UK dance scene and they are also one of those rare beasts who are genre crossing and people who love reggae, metal and indie also seem to love the Prodigy. At one point, it could be argued they were the biggest act in the world; not just dance, or the UK, or Europe – the whole globe was Prodigy crazy when ‘The Fat of The Land’ (cleverly linked here) was released. But (if we are all honest), since they the music has been incredibly mixed at best; their last album ‘Invaders Must Die’ was a big disappointment to me, it seemed as if the band were resting for too long between records and when they did come back, they had ran out of things to say and they did not bringing anything new to the table. However, sometimes a break is needed to get away from the world (and their own shadow) to see if they still have something else to say, according to reports this has been an album were the whole band have had an input and not just kingpin Mr Howlett. This sounds promising from the beginning, but it has been six years since their last record – is there anything else? So, lets see what this album is all about?
Starting this album is the title track obviously called “The Day Is My Enemy” and this brings a massive injection of energy to the proceedings from the opening blasts from the speakers. Sounding like a bomb from the get go, it bring to mind classic Prodigy from years ago; it sounds like a ban that has found out what it was about after years in the wilderness. However, I am also hearing a slab of sound the made the Chemical Brothers such a huge act over the years. But it is a small slab in the mix of noise that comes from Essex way and it starts the album with a fantastic opener and one of their best songs for many years; it is darker than anything else out there (but that is not really hard if we are honest). The second track is called “Nasty” which could be the evil little brother of “Voodoo People” off ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’, it continues the dark opening of this album and you know that the night is truly their friend by the time you are finished on this number. It has been a long while since these guys sounded so aggressive and dark, it feels so good to have them back in this form (so far – got to remember, we are only two tracks in). The song is followed on with “Rebel Radio” which was the working track for this album when it was being put together; I would be lying if I said it was a good as the opening two tracks, but it is still a strong number which will be good on their new set lists (also the band were right to drop it as the title of the album). It is another piece of dark dance music which continues to bring on the best out of the band, it seems much more focused and to the point – brilliant. Track four is the one I have been wanting to listen to so much – “Ibiza” which has help from the band of the moment, Sleaford Mods. I was very scared that this could have been a dire mess, but it is clever by both acts and a damning condemnation of the current state of the superstar DJ who turns up at the island and plugs in the memory stick whilst everyone is just there to be seen. It is a marriage of bile and evil – I love this tune and it is already heading to the top of the list for this year’s song of the year. The fifth track is called “Destroyer” which has an incredibly old school feeling to the number, in many ways it reminds me of their first album and the sound that I first heard all those years ago. It is a mostly instrumental track that is designed to get the masses dancing and it sounds epic once again, so for the first third of this album the band have not really set a foot wrong.
The sixth track is “Wild Frontier” comes across a bit like an out-take from the 80’s arcade machine game called Out-run; in that game, you drove a Ferrari and tried to get to check point’s whilst you had a blonde hair girl at your side and there was this music going along with it. This sounds like the makers were doing an impression of what that soundtrack would have sound like at midnight when it was not safe to drive. It is a decent number that keeps bouncing along at a decent rate, but the punch is not as instant as the first five tracks. “Rok-Weiler” though is a sledge hammer to this album, it rocks and moves like a metal song and has all the power of dance number; it is an adrenaline fuelled number stands head and shoulders above a lot of the Prodigy’s output from any era, it is that good of a track. The venom being spat by Keith Flint is so corrosive that it can burn holes through metal and cause wood to combust – I love this tune so much, it is really awesome in ways that I have not heard from these guys in far too long. Afterwards we have the howling opening of “Beyond the Deathray” which takes things back to a post-apocalyptic sound that would not be out of place in a Terminator movie. It does knock the wind out of the sails for this album, but as it has been full tilt for the last seven songs, I can understand why that a break might have been needed. The ninth track is the second collaboration of the album, “Rhythm Bomb” which features Flux Pavillion (who appeared on the song ‘Gold Teeth’ with Dan Le Sac & Scroobius Pip). This song brings out the breaking beats, loud clashes and sound good, but I am not totally falling for it as I did the beginning of the album. It is not giving the same excitement of the other tracks and feels a little disconnected in some ways. The tenth track is called “Roadblox” and this is much more interesting; it has the break beats, natural bridges along the way and a killer sequence that sticks in your head long after the song has finished. Along with “The Day Is My Enemy” and “Rok-Weiler”, it is one of the best tracks I have heard for a long time.
“Get Your Fight On” starts with a riff that could be mistaken for the beginning of “The Man Who Sold The World”, but that is beside the point. The music is once again really explosive and takes the audience on another massive nitro filled journey, however I am beginning to wonder at this point is a point where they should stop the album; there is still three tracks to go and it is an incredibly long record to have another song that could have been used for an EP maybe? It is another good number, but why add it when it has been done before? “Medicine” feels a little bit the same as “Get Your Fight On” at this point. It is another good song, but it is not bring anything new to the table once again. The Arabic moments at the beginning are too brief and the song goes into standard Prodigy far too soon and does not have it mixed in as much as it could have – an opportunity missed at the junction. The penultimate song is called “Invisible Sun” and slows things down a notch just before the end; now this is a song that is definitely one of the more interesting numbers of the record – the slow burning chill out nature of the song and the similarity to the earlier Terminator-esque “Beyond the Deathray” are really striking and it certainly helps regain some of the interest in the album. It is up there as one of the tracks of the album, it also shows another facet to their sound which is not often shown and that is a nice surprise to have after all these years. Ending track is called “Wall of Death” which ends the album as I would have expect; full of venom, swagger and taking everyone down with them. It is another song which could have been replaced with one of the other songs, but it is still a decent ending to the album. On some other versions of this album there is more tracks, but we will look at the normal version of the record.
This album is a good album, it is certainly their best album since ‘Fat of the Land’ (which I still hold is better than ‘Music for the Jilted Generation” (which Jerm is still to do)). The songs “Ibiza” (which has my current favourite band Sleaford Mods), “The Day Is My Enemy”, “Invisible Sun” and the all-conquering “Rok-Weiler” are out of the top draw stuff from the Prodigy. The problem is the same as that sometimes happens with band who have been away for too long, they is far too much material towards the end which (whilst not being bad) could have been released as a teaser EP before or another one afterwards. Sometimes the phrase ‘leave them wanting more’ is appropriate, never more so than here. It really takes what could have been a killer return and makes it a good return; you cannot deny you cannot deny the power behind the record and it would have been a contender for album of the year, but it could have been so much better with a little bit of a clip and now it is just up for being one of the good albums of the year. Never has something so good being let down by not knowing when to stop.
8 out ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Top track – Rok-Weiler
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the Prodigy website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
For our Deezer users, here is a link for you