An act like The Prodigy comes around once in a generation – an act that can have massive appeal in the disparate worlds of rock and dance without having to alter their sound to pander to either. That’s not even mentioning the fact that, two and a half decades into their career, they’re still able to headline rock and dance festivals, even with their 1997 song Smack My Bitch Up being voted the most controversial song of all time. This is all alongside influencing countless numbers of bands and artists, so it’s a testament to their legacy that they’re still making fine albums like The Day Is My Enemy.
Whereas their last album, 2009’s Invaders Must Die, was a welcome return to form after 2004’s disappointing Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, The Day Is My Enemy is more a continuation rather than anything drastically new. The title track kicks off with frequent Tricky collaborator Martina Topley-Bird’s mesmerising vocals before erupting into a torrent of abrasive industrial beats, while lead single Nasty is a volley of misanthropy and ire of Omen-ian proportions. Elsewhere, Roadblox melds skittish drum ‘n’ bass with atmospherics to great effect, and Ibiza, a collaboration with gobby electro-sorts Sleaford Mods borders on genius.
The latter track takes a swipe at the kind of superstar DJs who get by by doing very little and following whatever is in vogue, and its ethos could be seen as a microcosm of The Day Is My Enemy as a whole. The Prodigy are, and always have been, their own beast – trends don’t faze them, and they certainly won’t be a blueprint for their musical output. There’s little on this album (the possible exception being the gloriously brilliant, Flux Pavilion-produced Rhythm Bomb) that would seem at home in any club, or indeed party island, such is the blatant disregard for anything that’s currently popular. Even in the sole instance of dubstep on Destroy, conventions are beaten to within an inch of their life for something completely at odds with what proliferates the mainstream.
That being said, the only thing The Prodigy is comparable to is The Prodigy, and The Day Is My Enemy does appear guilty of rehashing past ideas at times. Rebel Radio could be an Invaders Must Die B-side, while the repetiveness and over-familiarity of Rok-Weiler means it’s more puppy than attack dog. There are also a couple of truly baffling inclusions in the mix; Beyond The Deathray is a painfully dull ‘cinematic’ instrumental that does its title zero justice, while penultimate track Invisible Sun is just a plodding, stodgy mess.
Nevertheless, The Day In My Enemy is still adequate proof that there’s still life in these old dogs yet. It may be repetitive in places, but criticising dance music for being repetitive is like criticising water for being wet. Instead, their sixth album should be celebrated, as should the fact that three men twenty-five years into their career with a combined age of over 145 can still produce an album with as much bite and vitality as this. It’s this that makes The Prodigy the legends they are today.
For fans of: The Chemical Brothers, Utah Saints, Pendulum
Words by Luke Nuttall