“Invaders Must Die” the fifth album from English trio The Prodigy, suggests through its name alone that the reigning kings of British electronica are gunnin’ for a fight, like rulers ready to defend their territory.
They might not have much to worry about “" the album, which hits U.S. shelves March 3, debuted at number one this week on the UK album charts.
While the British music media has been drooling over The Prodigy (Keith Flint, Liam Howlett and Maxim Reality) since they burst onto the rave scene in the early 1990s, American fans got our first introduction with 1997’s “The Fat of the Land” their third studio album. (Anyone who even glanced at MTV in the late “Ëœ90s probably caught a glimpse of at least one video for the ubiquitous singles “Breathe” “Firestarter” and the controversial “Smack My Bitch Up.”) Fans of that album will be happy to hear that the manic-eyed, multi-pierced frontman Flint’s snarls and sneers are still intact, especially on the rave-friendly “Take Me to the Hospital” “" as are the group’s pyromaniacal tendencies (see: “World’s on Fire”).
Kicking off with the headbang-inducing title track, “Invaders Must Die” is a nonstop assault of spastic drums and frenetic keyboards. True to its name, first single “Omen” is anchored by a portentous high-pitched synthesizer riff. Final track “Stand Up” sounds like a battle between a high school marching band and a deejay on ecstasy. There’s not a sleeper song to be found.
To those who turn up their noses at electronica “" the tracks on “Invaders Must Die” can’t be thrown together by just anyone tooling around on GarageBand. Howlett, the songs’ primary engineer, plops down samples ranging from old-school dance and techno recordings to The Breeders. “Thunder” incorporates a sample of Trevor Joe’s “Ethiopian Peace Song” backed by swirling keyboards. Dave Grohl even puts in an appearance, playing live drums on two tracks, including the metal-tinged “Run With the Wolves.”
As they continue to embrace their roles as instigators, it’s as if The Prodigy are teasing any other performer who might seek to challenge them. “Invaders Must Die” might be their best line of defense.