This is the exhilarating sixth studio album from the almighty dance kings The Prodigy. Once again cementing their position as best electronic dance act in the world. As with “Invaders Must Die” this album was released on The Prodigy’s own vanity label Take Me To The Hospital. It took six years to record and complete this album in true Prodigy fashion; being the extreme perfectionists that they are, and what a result it has yielded. This is undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year 2015, as is being confirmed by its Number 1 position on the UK Album Charts, which incidentally is where it debuted.
The album title is a reference to the Cole Porter song “All Through the Night.” This inspired the creation of the opening cut “The Day Is My Enemy”, which features the silken vocals of Ella Fitzgerald, proclaiming that the day is her enemy, and the night is her friend. Very apt indeed for this ferocious, sledge hammer of an album. One gets the feeling that The Prodigy have packed this album full of killer tracks, with gargantuan hooks and as always a drum sound that rivals everyone in the music business today. This album has taken the Prodigy sound a step further creating a brutal sonic assault of synths, bass, drums and vocals. Each track pounds the listeners ears with humungous bass drums that appear to crush all the sounds in the most pleasing musical fashion, as well as combining classic 90s style Prodigy hooks with cutting edge modern synth sounds, currently being employed by a host of dance producers. The Prodigy’s sound is certainly unique and undefinable, which is more than one can say of the vast majority of dance acts across the world. There was a heavy amount of guitars through the album compared to the other albums they have released.
The band created the new album together as a three piece, rather than letting Liam Howlett take the helm. They insisted they wanted a “band” feeling and vibe to the record and thus achieved it with outstanding results, on this their 25th anniversary.
The album commences with “The Day Is My Enemy” with huge guitar sliding hooks combined with suitably grimy synths and Jilted Generation – era lead style synths. Also featured on this track are the top Secret Drum Corps from Switzerland, which supply the unusual marching style percussion, over the wobbling bass synth. These combine very well to produce a hyper aggressive sound which this reviewer has come to love from The Prodigy. As mentioned already the famous Ella Fitzgerald supplies the delicate female vocals providing a juxtaposition between the aggression of the track, which is very unique.
The next track is the first single released from the album: “Nasty”. As the name suggests the track is certainly not pleasant, with the punk spectacle of Keith Flint providing main vocals. Telling the listeners to get down and get nasty! The track is built around a dangerous breakbeat style drum groove which of course punches the listener in the face as to be expected. The breakdown is very reminiscent of early 90s Prodigy again with excellent ragga style vocal sampling and air horn rising sounds; which were common place on their debut album.
The third cut “Rebel Radio” was the working title of the album until it was changed at a later point. This combines ultra modern plucky synth leads with rave style claps and a breakbeat that harks to the Firestarter fame. Again complimented with the beautifully filthy bass synth and the Eastern influenced samples. This certainly got this reviewer up and dancing! It features MC Maxim spitting furiously over the track alongside melodic blips and beeps which heighten the tension during the whole song. Once again this delivers on the darker sound that Liam Howlett had been promising since 2012.
“Ibiza” is the next track, which features the insanely unusual Sleaford Mods, who just sound like they are The Prodigy as they are. Certainly without The Prodigy, the Sleaford Mods would not exist, as they sound identical to Keith Flint. The track was written during a visit to Ibiza by the band, and was created as a jab at the current culture of DJ superstars, who simply press play on their laptops. One would never catch The Prodigy performing in such a manner, preferring to perform live to add an extra dimension of depth to the sound. The track is more classic Prodigy with gigantic drums and filthy dirty bass synths driving the main grooves.
The next track “Destroy” is hard to categorize (which is an excellent thing!), as it constantly moves between extremely modern lead synth sounds and “No Good” 90s style synths which are blended together in the most intriguing way. All of course, floating over ten-tonne-hammer bass riffs, utilizing wobbly sounds to a highly enjoyable degree. This gives the listener of being at an underground rave happening today but playing music of the 90s to transport the dancers back in time.
The sixth track “Wild Frontier” is the third single to be taken from the album before the release of the full album. It is this reviewers favorite track on the album, combining the classic heavy Prodigy sound (of course highly 90s influenced) and the new modern sounds they are embracing. It is a perfectly crafted song with enormous drum grooves supplemented with beyond-EDM style lead synths, and the barking vocals of Keith Flint, in addition to Liam Howlett’s sampling genius. These include the solo style riffs and lovely panning synths at the beginning, and the screeching sound effects sprinkled all over the track, using the delays and reverbs we are accustomed to from the Prodigy albums that have come before. This is the pinnacle of the album as far as I am concerned, and many dance producers could learn a thing or to from this amazing song. Upon first listening of this song, my neighbors were certainly woken up over and over again, as I could not contain my excitement of how good it is!!
Next up is the “Rok Weiler” which Keith Flint has had a heavy hand in the creation of. This is the part of the new strong and ultra confident Prodigy sound, which other reviewers compared to the power of Fat of the Land. I personally feel that this album is at least twice as powerful as that album. It is just a spectacle of sound, reaffirming The Prodigy’s place as the best electronic act in the history of the music industry. Other reviewers also stated that this album was not pleasing enough for the EDM going crowd, and as Liam Howlett claimed last year, he has made an album to wipe the floor with their generic music. Fortunately they have succeed with excellent results, particularly in this song with the modern cutting synth wobbles married with classic breakbeat grooves and Theremin style synth riffs peppered all over the song. Not to mention the filtered synth breaks and almost heavy metal style choruses. These greatly uplift the song from the standard formula of Verses and Choruses. The emotional impact of the song is carefully thought out here, leaning heavily on Keith Flint’s puck rock vocals, proclaiming “watch yourself!”
“Beyond the Deathray” sounds like The Prodigy embracing the current EDM-style synth sounds with an almost volcanic build of of sounds, which leaves the listener wondering if we are going to hear filthy bass or EDM. This is a great sense of foreboding, and as the title suggests this song is beyond categorization. I particularly like the harmonizing opening synths and spicy sounds which lead to the inevitable “smack in the face” when the drums commence. Another excellent track from the album.
The ninth song on the album features the very cool Flux Pavillion, who lends his production acumen to the track. This is evident in the almost moombahton style drum groove used through out the track. And of course yet again combining vocal samples which should be at home on early 90s rave vinyls. Liam Howiett‘s productions get better with each album and this is no exception, where he effortlessly moves between full grooves, 90s rave synth sounds, filthy wobbly basses and heavenly female pitch shifted vocals, in addition to stopping the grooves in unexpected places. This is very pleasing to my ears, as are the subtle variations, that happen throughout this song.
The next track is “Roadblox” again featuring ultra-modern glissando synths juxtaposed with 90s synth samples. This track has one of the fastest drums grooves on the album intended to paint the idea of these road blocks. Also here the drums have a Dancehall groove feel in the build up sections. In addition to the very cool bell synth riffs between the wobbly bass sections. Is this the perfect marriage of 90s rave and EDM? I think so, in fact the whole album is!
As the album suggests, the next song “Get Your Fight On” seems to be the theme running throughout this musical journey. It’s infectious drum groove reminds me of their hit “Take Me To The Hospital” and certainly channels the same energy as that song. With both Keith Flint and Maxim enticing the listeners to get their fight on. Again accompanied by suitably hooky synth leads sliding from note to note.
“Medicine” certainly delivers the cure I have been searching for, featuring a sample from Babaka & His Ensemble. And once again melting huge drums grooves with grimy bass synths, and sufficiently quirky vocal samples. All of this is held together with the Eastern samples placed perfectly over the drum grooves. This track has an almost 80s feel to it because if the vocal samples, reminding this reviewer of the Dirt Chamber sessions Liam Howlett produced in 2000: with a flavor of old school funky hip-hop.
The thirteenth song “Invisible Sun” sounds like it is directly from the 90s, with an infectious fat drum groove which belongs firmly in the hip-hop genre. This idea is quickly put to bed when the Skrillex style lead synths hit, bringing the track back to 2015. This feeling is fantastic, as The Prodigy seem to have created a new sound combining these different eras of music. This is the softest song by comparison to the rest of the album, not to say that is is in itself soft at all. It is more like a chill out song, or trip-hop groove, compared to the full on assault of the rest of the album.
The final album cut “Wall Of Death” is exactly as the song title describes: one of The Prodigy’s finest most exhilarating moments. A super heavy wall of sound only designed to put a smile on faces and crush your ear drums into the next dimension. This song has so much power and seems to be inspired by a Dave Grohl style guitar riff, which perfectly blends with the aggressive grimy synth backing it. As Liam Howlett said himself, he wanted to create a sound which the listener was thinking: is it a guitar, or it is a synth? The answer is both, combined in such a way that they are integral to each other, creating a majestic wall of sound which no doubt lead to the title of the song. Keith Flint once again here is barking in his finest punk voice about the state of cash and other aspects of life, asking the listeners to let them go, and all the while the enormous bass synths glide with wobbly perfection between notes. This is another highlight of the album, and was released at the fourth single before the full album.
Overall this album is exactly what has been promised: jaw dropping gargantuan hooks, riifs and grooves that we have come to love from the band. All perfectly composed into very catchy and memorable songs. There is only one thing left to do: go and witness it all live. Long live the dance music kings known as The Prodigy!