Should I even bother covering this? It’s not like Liam needs my help. His 5th studio album, Invaders Must Die, barely hit the streets, and already all of the notable publications have lauded this long awaited album with more than favorable reviews. It’s not like Liam needs my words to boost his career, although it’s been five years since his last album, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (XL, 2004). And I do mean – his. Besides what you may hear or believe, the man… the only man… the musical genius, The Prodigy, is Liam Howlett.
Yet while the words pour in, the shouts and murmurs accelerate in frequency, and a stack of promos from independent labels and unknown artists grows on my desk, here I am… writing about the album. I think the reason behind it is simple. And my woofers can attest. Invaders Must Die is a slam dunk. Period. No, it’s not the anticlimactic return of the artist who blew out the speakers of my first owned car with Experience (XL, 1992). It’s not the attempt of reinvention of the incredibly powerful and unprecedented underground sound of Music For The Jilted Generation (XL, 1994). It’s not even the post-script of the pop-rising and slightly weathered return of The Fat of the Land (XL, 1997). While the rest adapt, remix, rinse, spit and swallow, Howlett bursts our comfort membranes with his own masterful style. Pop!
Invaders Must Die opens up with a title track slamming into your face with saw toothed synths, distorted guitars, and extreme precision rhythmic programming of the genre that was invented by the man himself. Oh please, please, please let the album be as good as the first track! And so it goes! A collection of eleven songs [I’ll call’em songs since some have the lyrics in that famous Prodigy style], pushes and jolts your brain as if strapped to a hot electrode until the very end. Acoustic drums are compressed and mashed up into pounding big beats, with deep riding bass lines, occasionally cut with a flashback to The Prodigy’s older tracks. My favorite, of course, are the re-sampled old-skool rave stabs, which are implanted in my memory and in the history of Electronic Music. Here, Howlett skillfully wraps all the elements into a radio hit format, which no doubt will top the UK charts.
Quick nod to Take Me to the Hospital, a sub-label of London based Cooking Vinyl, specifically created to put out this, and possibly other upcoming releases by The Prodigy. Although, as I said, all of the music is all Liam, the two original members of the act, Keith Flint and Maxim Reality, return, no doubt to wreak havoc on the upcoming UK arena tour with some support from Dizzee Rascal and Fight Like Apes. If you are a collector of all EPs, offshoots, and limited goodies, you absolutely must get the Omen EP where Noisia contributes a sick breakbeat remix. Play it loud!