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Invaders Must Die – Special Edition

3 disc set (2 x CD / 1 x DVD)

Take Me To The Hospital / Cooking Vinyl - November 9th

::: LIVE :::
Belfast - Odyssey Arena, Thursday 17 Dec 09
Dublin - The O2, Fri 18 Dec 09

There can be no doubt that this year belongs to the Prodigy. They’re back, getting in the world’s face and doing what they do best: they’ve proved themselves as the last gang in town all over again, selling over a million copies of new album ‘Invaders Must Die’ and playing a string of devastating live shows across the world that turn any gig into a festival and any festival into an snarling, pogoing orgy of full on rave power. Three men standing completely at the top of their game.

So with the world at their feet, the bar has been set pretty high to make this three disc special edition of ‘Invaders Must Die’ a memorable end to a very special year…

Featuring heavyweight underground rhythm tracks from Liam Howlett’s now scarce and much talked about Lost Beats EP, new mixes from Liam Howlett, Yuksek and Bang Gang as well as collecting the cream of the album’s remixes to date including radical dancefloor reworkings from Josh Homme, Sub Focus, Chase & Status, Benga, Herve and Rusko, as well as live versions of tracks, videos and live footage plus a 48 page tour booklet.

The album will also include Invaders Must Die (Liam H Re-amped version) and as a mark of respect to their fans this track will be available to download for free from www.theprodigy.com from Wednesday 21st October for 7 days and will then get a full release on November 30th. Full details to follow …

This is a collection that shows off both a band at the peak of their live powers and a collection of some of the most vital contemporary music being made by anyone today.

Disc 1 - Audio CD - original album plus …

The Big Gundown (from Lost Beats EP)?
Wild West (from Lost Beats EP)
Omen - Live - Rock am Ring

Disc 2 - Audio CD

1. Invaders Must Die - new Liam Howlett mix
2. Invaders Must Die - Chase & Status Remix
3 Omen - Noisia Remix
4. Omen - Herve Remix
5. Warriors Dance - Future Funk Squad Remix
6. Warriors Dance - Benga Remix
7 .Warriors Dance - South Central Remix
8. Take Me To The Hospital - Rusko Remix
9. Take Me To The Hospital - Subfocus Remix
10. Take Me To The Hospital - Josh Homme & Liam H's Wreckage Mix
11. Take Me To The Hospital - Loser 's Middlesex A & E Remix
12. Invaders Must Die - Yuksek Remix
13 .Thunder - Bang Gang Remix

DVD Disc

1. Invaders Must Die - video. directed by Paul Dugdale
2. Omen - video. directed by Paul Dugdale
3. Warriors Dance - video. directed by Corin Hardy
4. Take Me To The Hospital - video. directed by Paul Dugdale
5. Worlds on Fire - live. directed by Paul Dugdale
6. Warrior's Dance - live. directed by Paul Dugdale
7. Run - live. directed by Paul Dugdale
8. Take Me To The Hospital - Big Day Out - Australia 2009. directed by Paul Dugdale

 
 
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The claustrophobic confines of a west London attic hideaway. Walls, covered in heavyweight purple curtains seem to bring the dimly lit room's parameters collapsing in as a huge computer screen’s wallpaper radiates the green glow of long hot summer. Its pastoral image of feudal tranquility is the room’s only window on the world. Look closer and there's a twist in this Constable painting. In the middle of the painter's rustic overtures sits a stolen burnt out car. It's an urban blight on England's countryside, a twisted interruption on this green and pleasant land.

More than just a screen saver though, the image, one of Banksy's infamous reworkings of old masters, is the perfect visual accompaniment to the aural assault that is pounding from the room's speakers. Sweat soaked b-lines thunder with adrenalised breakcore attitude; rushing keyboard hooks come on like a futurebound flashback; guitars crack and vocals snap.

It's the sound of The Prodigy mixing up genres, contorting the past and rewiring the future. The Prodigy ramraiding through the tranquility of music's status quo like a blot on the landscape of England's dreaming. The Prodigy with a short, sharp and brutal declaration of intent. Still underground after all these years. Still true to the dream.

Invaders Must Die is the fifth album from a band long synonymous with bringing urban disruption to the countryside. Like uninvited guests dirtying up the landscape they've long trodden paths supposedly to them.

On debut album Experience, their rough-around-the-edges, renegade-break psychosis soundtracked rave's free party antics at a time when dance artists weren't supposed to release albums. The follow up Music for the Jilted Generation dragged guitars from rock's bloated grasp, fused metal to dysfunctional beat alchemy and stormed the heartland of rock music's venues at a time when dance acts were only supposed to play raves.

With 1998's The Fat of the Land and it's brace of radio and MTV hogging singles ('Firestarter', 'Breathe', 'Smack My Bitch Up') The Prodigy stormed the world's festivals, headlined stages usually reserved for rock's establishment and walked like Gods where other press-friendly artists failed to tread - and dance artists were previously uninvited.

With 2004's Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned the vibe turned its back on live shows and arena exposure and took the music back to an underground that had tried to turn its back on them. Gatecrashers once more, The Prodigy answered nay sayers with an astounding set of dumb ass electro punk classics. A DJ beats album that couldn't be played out live, from an act that had taken the live gig by the scruff of its neck, redefined it and made it its own. This wasn’t what The Prodigy were meant to do.

Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned acted as much as a catharsis for Liam Howlett as it was a chance to reset the Prodigy programme. The following year's greatest hits package Their Law not only came as a timely reminder as to just how epoch defining the band were, but also reintroduced the world to the greatest live show on earth. In the arena tour that followed Their Law the band played voodoo with their rave classics, reworked and rewired their smoldering best and reminded old ravers and young rockers alike just how potent a force they actually are. And if that wasn't all, it reminded The Prodigy how important it is to rock it live.

The tour provided some of the greatest performances of their career and gave the inspiration for their next set - an album designed to play live, an album of short, succinct tracks with none of the over indulgent frills normally associated with electronic dance music. A set of tracks that arrive like an unwanted carbuncle on the over designed veneer of contemporary culture and go out like glorious victors in a war against the negativity of outsiders. Once again The Prodigy aren't playing to the script others have written for them.

The first thing you notice about Invaders Must Die is how complete it sounds. Previous albums have always had weak moments, tracks that don't quite fit, or even the feeling that the set was a couple of tracks short of its goal. Invaders Must Die though is all there, a consistent collection of bangers firing from the same canon.

The next thing you notice about Invaders Must Die is just how melodic it is. Not just melody in the vocal sense (although both Keith and Maxim both turn in their finest vocal performances to date), but in the heyday-of-hardcore keyboard-hookline sense. Oh yes, if The Prodigy had learned anything from the Their Law tour it was that those old skool rave anthems still rock hard - and are every bit as iconic to their generation as punk was to the nation's forty-somethings.

So Invaders Must Die then is awash with references to the free party generation. It thunders like the mother of all E-rushes, all hairs tingling, spine jumping and lips buzzing. But it ain't no retroactive arms-in-the-air, water-sharing nostalgia trip. This set is fuelled by the dog-thunder of punk's saliva-dripping rabid snarl. In fact its canines are so thoroughly bared that it's more likely to snap at your jugular and steal your water. Laughing all the while. In fact, the often overlooked dumb-assed humour that has always been at the heart of the band is has a full force presence here.

Take 'Colours', the first tune The Prodigy recorded for this set with its 1992 polysynth riffing that sounds like The Stranglers' 'No More Heroes' parachuted into the middle of a Perception rave. Or 'Thunder', the bastard child of the Devilish threesome of 'Out of Space', Studio 1's finest roots rockers and switchblade ambience.

'Take Me to the Hospital' finds Keith and Maxim flexing over a vintage Prodigy riff. Suitably rusted, distorted and in need of urgent medication it bites like the soundtrack to Dante's Inferno. While the live favourite (and band website download) 'World’s on Fire' resurrects a 'flaming' theme and applies it to a groove straight out second album 'Music for the Jilted Generation' and slices it down the middle with a sample of R&S classic rave tune 'Vamp' by Outlander. It's the kind of fucked up twist that you quickly come to expect on this album. 'Omen' is beamed straight into the moshpit from rave central, while 'Piranha' rips the threads from the back of 60's garage and pussy whips it into the scumbag guttercrawl of modern urban life.

Any old skool bon homie floating around the riffs of this album are quickly slaughtered by 'Run with the Wolves' where The Prodigy's self assured, gang-minded campaign turns into a maniacal, nose bleeding, heads-against-the-wall warzone. Added pounding energy here supplied by Dave Grohl.

“There's no collaborations on this album as such.” says Liam “But toward the end of recording Dave Grohl called me and said he was thinking about laying down some drums for me to use. Soon after this hard drive arrived with loads of drum tracks. I hadn't asked him for them, it was his idea, but when I put his drums on this track and used a Keith vocal that we'd done it seemed to give the album a focus. Nothing about this album was planned in terms of what I wanted it to sound like. We just recorded stuff and then looked at it at the end. I really wanted to have fun with it.”

After 40 minutes of having your head battered by future nostalgia, serotonin levels twisted by feel-good horrorcore and your synapses snapped by whiplash attitude, Invaders Must Die delivers its final, brilliant twist - a horn drenched sunrise anthem that aches with the positivity of a new dawn. That track, 'Stand Up' laughs aloud like a victor, spreads its arms around its comrades (the unit, the family) and walks the line of a burning horizon with the swaggering look of satisfaction that only comes when you instinctively know you've achieved what you set out to do.

Cocky? Sure - but wouldn't you be if you'd seen off all of the invaders with your most complete album yet, the first for your own record label?

Invaders Must Die is the unique sound of The Prodigy, still trespassing after all these years, walking the path they've created for themselves. And with that free party attitude still breaking and entering where other's can only dream of following.

We represent all that is great about Britain, and we should be protected like a national heritage,” laughs Liam as 'Stand Up' fades into the distance. He may well be right! The question is, are the established overlords of our green and pleasant land ready for this particular juggernaut to be jettisoned into the middle of Constable’s finest.

© Martin James, November 2008

Track by Track

THE FIFTH ALBUM FROM THE PRODIGY
Released Monday 23rd February

Invaders Must Die is the sound of The Prodigy mixing up genres, contorting the past and rewiring the future. It’s the sound of The Prodigy ram-raiding through the tranquillity of music's status quo like a blot on the landscape of England's dreaming. Still underground after all these years, still true to their vision, the album thunders like the mother of all E-rushes, hairs tingling, spine jumping and lips buzzing. Guitars crack, vocals snap and sweat soaked b-lines attack with adrenalized breakcore attitude while rushing keyboard hooks come on like a future bound arms-in-the-air flashback. But it ain't no retroactive water-sharing nostalgia trip. This set is fuelled by the saliva-dripping rabid snarl of the here and now.

Liam: “Three years ago we decided the band was in a good place and wanted to make the record. There had been quite a bit of paranoia then, people were starting to infiltrate our unit, starting to bleed into what we were and we needed to re-establish ourselves as a unit. Can’t remember whether it was Keith or Maxim that said it, but one of them went, ‘fuck it, invaders must die!’ I was like that’s the album, title right there. It stayed with us. It’s about protecting what’s yours. We’re not fucking around man. We are The Prodigy…!”

TRACK BY TRACK

INVADERS MUST DIE
“In-vader-vader-vader… we are the Prodigy”
A roughed up statement of defiant intent, the band’s first ever album title track is a blistering war cry where a shuddering, pulsating bass explodes through serrated edged beats and celebratory synth hooks.
Liam: “The first tune on any Prodigy album has to be got to be something that just tears and smacks you round the head really. ‘Spitfire’ was like that on the last album, ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ on the one before. This does it in a different way. It’s a very abrasive sounding electronic track, kind of different to anything we’ve done before. I wrote the riff about a year ago on my laptop when I was on a plane. It sounds like the kind of thing I would have written in 1992, sort of has that rave melodic feel with tearing track underneath, I had the track 60% there and hooked up with James from Does it Offend You Yeah and he pulled the missing links out of the bag. A good hook up and a different sounding Prodigy record.”

OMEN
Beamed straight into the moshpit from rave central via a contorted fucked up take on the skanking synth hooks of ‘Your Love’, thundering breaks and a one finger salute of a vocal line.
Liam: “It’s a tune we love. Very anthemic, more melodic than our usual stuff and kind of like ‘Breathe’, with its seething energy. ‘Omen’ is typical of how we worked on this album. It came together a bit at the time. We didn’t finish one track completely at a time. We’d do something and then come back to it a few months later. We had this vocal hook originally on a much slower piece of music. As the rest of the record came together, it became easier to see what it needed to be. James popped up with a few sounds and it was finished near the end.”

THUNDER
The bastard child of the Devilish threesome of 'Out of Space', Studio 1's finest roots rockers and switchblade ambience.
Maxim: “The vocal came from a time we were looking for ideas and samples and I gave Liam a CD of pure Studio 1 and he found this vocal by the Brentford Allstars. He took it and got a vocalist called Brother Culture to record it with a new melody and different words.”
Liam: “Yeah, we ripped the vocal off from the original, cos that’s our business, that’s what we do, we’re pirates, we steal things and make them our own.”

COLOURS
Four tracks in and it’s time to show your colours and nail them to the floor. The rabble rousing battle-cry of ‘Colours’ features 1991 polysynth riffing that sounds like The Stranglers' 'No More Heroes' dipped in lysergicly enhanced psychotic 60s garage and dropped into the middle of Castlemorten.
Keith: ”One of the first tracks that we felt started to get the sound we were looking for. Up until then we’d been writing complete songs in our lyrics first, music second kind of way, but we realised that wasn’t the way of the band. The energy comes from the music first and danger of the beats and the bass line, and the energy from that. ‘Colours was written in an unorthodox way for the band. It’s one of the biggest songs on the album.”
Liam: “Yeah, it’s written in a trad way. It has a Stranglers ‘No More Heroes’ feel. One of the earliest tunes to be finished.”

TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL
Keith and Maxim flexing over a venomous but vintage Prodigy riff. Suitably rusted, distorted and in need of urgent medication it bites like the soundtrack to Dante's Inferno. Welcome to the scene of the crash.
Liam: "Straight up buck wild! Taking inspiration from early Prodigy but spitting out in a 2009 style. This tune is a car crash of all 3 of our personalities and inspirations. Keef’s unhinged vocal, Maxim’s ’91 East London warehouse ragga shit and my bomb squad inspired production.”

WARRIOR’S DANCE
A jabbing, adrenalized octave-snarling b-line wraps its coils around a lamenting Eastern refrain before erupting into an anthemic, hands in the air, e-rushing epic, and a vocal hook that’s guaranteed to bring a gurning flashback to faces of the rave generation.
Liam: “This was the turning point of the record. Probably about the fourth or fifth track to get written. I was having problems with the album about half way through and we just decided to write this song to play live at one gig, just to take the pressure off the album. We were thinking that maybe the track would never be played again live and maybe not even get on the album. It’s a total look back to 1990-91 rave era. I thin it surprised us how fresh it sounded.”

RUN WITH THE WOLVES
Where The Prodigy's self-assured, gang-minded campaign turns into a maniacal, nose bleeding, heads-against-the-wall warzone with body blowing beats courtesy of Dave Grohl set firmly to ultraviolence.
Keith: “A track that Dave Grohl got involved with. All started with an email to Liam saying ‘listen man I’ve finished touring and I’m bang up for doing something’. Liam said he was just finishing the album but Dave said listen, ‘I’m just going to go in the studio and put down some drums’, which he did. A hard drive arrived at our studio and out of that come the process of writing this. We had the vocal on another track already but they just weren’t working. They had too much venom for the track. But we still enjoyed the excitement of it and what it was saying and this was the ideal opportunity to make it work. Liam redid the track, then we redid the vocals and we sent it over to Dave who was like ‘yeah I was really hoping it was going to be something like this’. He was really excited and worked some more on it.”
Liam: “I think you were angry the day you wrote this weren’t you?”
Keith: “Yeah I was”
Liam: “Yeah it was definitely written about a certain someone, who we don’t know who it is but Keith does.”
Maxim: “Was it about me?’
Liam: “Nah, don’t get para. Hah, when I listen to this tune I just want to smash my head against the wall. It kind of like when the riff drops in it’s just violent you know?”

OMEN REPRISE
Menacing, stalking, watching; the dark raiders wait in the shadows, hearts beating like analogue thunder, wired into the future mainline of Bladerunner. The darkest hour before the final battle.
Liam: “It’s the only breather on the album. It’s an orchestrated version of ‘Omen’ but it really reminds me of the music from Scarface. It’s got this 80s Vangelis sound.”
Keith: “It’s like a dark Bladerunner. When I listen to it I hear rain and … yeah definitely a Vangelis vibe.”
Liam: “Not that Vangelis are cool.”
Maxim: “But it was definitely needed on the album. So much of this album is an in your face onslaught.  You get a breather, then it starts again, slapping you in the face.”


WORLD’S ON FIRE
Already a fan’s favourite, this resurrects a 'flaming' theme and applies it to a groove straight out second album 'Music for the Jilted Generation' and slices it down the middle with a sample of R&S classic rave tune 'Vamp' by Outlander. It's the kind of fucked up twist that you quickly come to expect on this album.
Maxim: “Liam had some ideas that he’d been working on and I heard this and said ‘man that’s bad, you’ve got to work on that’. We started working on it … about 8 years ago! It’s had about 30 versions now, none of them seemed to work, but we kept going back to it. I was always on Liam’s case about it. We threw loads of ideas at it, you know lyrical ideas, but nothing would stick until we moved into a small studio.” Liam: “Some of the old ravers out there might recognise the sample in it. It’s Outlander’s ‘Vamp’ on R&S records, which was a huge influence on me. I still remember where I first heard that tune. It was in Raindance in East London and …”
Maxim: “We play this tune live and when that riff comes in it just goes off.”
Liam: “Maxim was the real push behind this and I eventually found a happy mix. I love this tune now.”

PIRANHA
‘Get Up Get Off’ from the last album meets old skool classic ‘Everybody in the Place’, ‘Piranha’ rips the threads from the back of 60's garage and pussy whips it into the scumbag guttercrawl of modern urban life.
Liam: “Piranha is a metaphor for something living off of you, you know, chewing off you. That was the concept of the track. We wanted to have 1960s B-movies vibe to it, garage punk 1960s sound.”
Maxim: “For me it was a chance to do different vocal ideas rather than monotone. I tried injecting more melody into the vocals. This track, like the rest of my vocals on the album is a real step up for me.”

STAND UP
After 45 minutes of having your head battered by future nostalgia, serotonin levels twisted by feel-good horror core and your synapses snapped by whiplash attitude, Invaders Must Die delivers its final, brilliant twist - a Manfred Mann horn-drenched anthem that aches with the positivity of a new dawn and swaggers like Shaolin victors strolling through the carnage created by their own weaponry. Heads held high, wry smiles on their faces and a look that says “We are The Prodigy … no- one else comes close.”
Liam: “It’s like when you’ve been getting battered with a baseball bat and then this comes in … like when you went out and the DJ would tease you with one last tune, something warm and uplifting. It’s a really good way to end the record, uplifting and victorious. This is the real wild card on the album. I think people will go ‘is that the Prodigy or isn’t it?’ but its got this real victorious feel. It’s a tune I really love and it’s like being wrapped up in a warm blanket before you fuck off home.”

© Martin James, January 2009


 
 
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