Snap Judgment: the Prodigy's 'Invaders Must Die'
Just downloaded the Prodigy’s “Invaders Must Die,” the title track from the band's forthcoming fifth full-length, made available today as a freebie on the Grammy-nominated trio’s website. While I’ve listened to the track only a few times now, I’ve got to say I’m a little underwhelmed. You can check out the song -- which isn't officially a single, reps say -- for yourself here.
There has never been a better time for the Prodigy to reclaim their old-school techno throne. Aggressive-sounding dance music is once again in favor, thanks to electro artists such as Justice, who have made more inroads with American rock music fans this past year than any other outfit. But with "Invaders Must Die," the Prodigy don't reach the high bar they set for themselves with their stellar back catalog of hits such as “Firestarter,” “Jericho,” “Breathe,” "Fire," “Charly,” “Smack My Bitch Up,” "Poison" and others.
Tipped as a return to the band’s roots, “Invaders Must Die” definitely shows the promise that made the threesome -- Liam Howlett, Keith Flint and Maxim -- DJ favorites worldwide in the early 1990s (as well as chart-toppers in the late 1990s), but the distored-basslines and guitar samples on “Invaders Must Die” also hints that the band might have a more aggressive sound in store for 2009 (the disc bows next spring).
My first impression of the track was that it sounded a bit too much like Does It Offend You, Yeah? This is not a good sign. James Rushent from DIOYY actually appears on one of the forthcoming album’s tracks. But if you’re going to be mixing rock with techno, it’s a safe bet to call up a rock professional, which is what the Prodigy did for “Run (With the Wolves)." They tapped none other than Dave Grohl to hit some actual skins on “Wolves,” which made the cut for the album.
And while the debut track has some nice drum programming, I'm still not feeling the main hook. The Prodigy usually leave the listener wanting more; this track doesn't. I’m holding out hope that offerings such as “Omen” will give fans of early Prodigy a reason to get excited. In the meantime, I’ve just cued up “Everybody in the Place” in anticipation. As a full-on reaffirmation of the band, “Invaders Must Die," the song, falls short. As a teaser for “Invaders Must Die,” the album, it certainly will suffice.
UPDATE: Just got confirmation that James Rushent did indeed work with the Prodigy on "Invaders Must Die," the song.
-- Charlie Amter
Photo by Paul Dugdale