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Every The Prodigy album ranked from worst to best

The Prodigy's Keith Flint and Maxim live on stage
(Image credit: Getty)

When a teenaged Liam Howlett began putting together the first early demos that would eventually become The Prodigy from a house in Braintree, Essex, at the very end of the 80s, he can't have possibly envisioned the enduring impact that his music - and the band that he formed around it - would have. The Prodigy would emerge as a frontrunner in the nascent Essex rave scene, eventually becoming a household name and a force that'd change electronic music forever. 

Their early albums were era-defining, making history by breaking big both in the UK and the US (The Fat Of The Land hit number 1 on the Billboard 200 over a decade before dance music truly took over the States), and influencing generations of DJs, bands and artists right across the music spectrum. They were as iconic visually as they were musically, Keith Flint's terrifying form shuddering around a disused London tube station in the Firestarter video producing one of the enduring images of the 90s. Their incendiary live shows, led primarily by dancers/vocalists Keith and Maxim Reality, soon become the stuff of legend, putting many 'proper' rock and metal bands to shame as they tore stages apart at the likes of Glastonbury, Phoenix, Reading and, eventually, Download. 

With The Prodigy set to continue after some time off following the shocking death of Keith Flint in 2019, we thought we'd dissect their excellent discography so far. Here are all seven Prodigy albums ranked from worst to best.

7. Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (2004)

Undergoing numerous tweaks following the negative reception granted to 2002 standalone single Baby's Got A Temper and stacked with guest stars including the Gallagher brothers, Juliette Lewis, Kool Keith and Twista, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is most notable for having no direct involvement from Keith Flint or Maxim Reality whatsoever. 

While it's a very good EDM album in its own right and songs like Spitfire, Girls and Hotride still sound world class today, Keith and Maxim's absences rob the record of some vital energy and attitude. Add to that a production that is, on occasion, surprisingly soft, sounding at points closer to mid-00s contemporaries like Mylo than anything else The Prodigy had put its name to, and you have a record that ultimately sounds more like a decent Liam Howlett side project than a fully-fledged advert for his day job. Thankfully, after some relationship-mending within the ranks, Keith and Maxim were brought back all-guns-blazing for the follow-up.


6. The Day Is My Enemy (2015)

Following up a career renaissance-inducing Invaders Must Day was never going to be easy, and to its credit, The Day Is My Enemy is still a record that comfortably left most other offerings by veteran dance acts miles in the dust. The title track is a menacing, pounding, mechanised monster, Wild Frontier sounds like an Atari being fed through a grinder during an acid-induced frenzy and Destroy takes the beef of The Fat Of The Land and seasons it with some Experience-era hyper-rave. 

That said, at 14 songs, it's at least two or three tracks too long, and some of the album's biggest moments had been done more emphatically elsewhere (Nasty is great fun but effectively Modern Prodigy 101, while Rhythm Bomb is just Warrior's Dance with added sass). A great album? Sure. But a truly great album by The Prodigy's standards? Maybe not quite. 


5. No Tourists (2018)

Where The Day Is My Enemy suffered from being a little on the bloated side, No Tourists had no such issues: this is the tightest, most concise album of The Prodigy's career. Named as a middle-finger towards the also-rans clogging up the 2010s dance scene, at ten tracks and less than 38 minutes in length, it gets in, smashes the shit out of everything around it and disappears again before you've had a chance to take a breath. The likes of Light Up The Sky, Timebomb Zone, Champions Of London and a deliciously lairy Fight Fire With Fire - featuring scabrous punks Ho99o9 - are all full-throttle pit-starers, merging classic Prodigy trademarks with a modern crunch and groove. 

Of course, the legacy of No Tourists will always carry an extra emotional weight; it was the final Prodigy album released before we lost Keith Flint the following year. As unintended tributes go, it serves its purpose perfectly: the ultimate crystallisation of everything The Prodigy had built thus far. And with one track in particular, they also unintentionally created the perfect motto to remember Keith by: We Live Forever.


4. Experience

While the influences of the rave scene that bore them are splattered all over The Prodigy's debut album, it still ultimately sounds more like something turned in by a bunch of space travellers who accidentally got sucked through three parallel dimensions on their way home. Not only that, but there are moments on Experience that make for the most straight-up evil that The Prodigy ever sounded. Sure, they went 'heavier' after this point, but tracks like Jericho, all blaring horns and off-kilter keyboard-mashing, and the pure, psychotic rave-up of Music Reach (1,2,3,4), sound like tracks being played at a backyard rave at Satan's gaff. 

There's also a lovely burst of early-90s house (Your Love), trippy drum 'n' bass (Charly), an ingenious inversion of a Max Romeo reggae classic (Out Of Space) and a progressive, eight-minute instrumental that sounds like a calculus robot having a breakdown on an abandoned planet (Weather Experience). It's all funnelled through a relentless record that barely lets up the pace for an hour of genre-altering chaos. Thirty years later, there's still nothing else that sounds quite like it. 


3. Invaders Must Die (2009)

"...We are The Prodigy." 

While it'd be remiss to claim that the Always Outgunned... era wasn't successful (Spitfire remains in the band's top ten most popular songs on Spotify), Liam Howlett's decision to dump his bandmates for the recording process was a controversial one, resulting in an album that didn't quite capture the spirit of what The Prodigy was all about. As the 00s progressed, electronic music found another wind, 'new rave' became A Thing and the success of bands like Pendulum meant that heavy dance acts drawing musically diverse crowds was becoming far less of a novelty. The Prodigy needed to make a statement. "[This album has] come out of, like, a really down time for us," Liam told The Guardian. "We feel like we've really had to fight." Enter: Invaders Must Die

Bringing Keith and Maxim back into the studio and updating the classic Prodigy sound with a contemporary shot of adrenaline resulted in the group's most vibrant album since the 90s. Anchored by two all-time great Prodigy singles in Invaders Must Die and Omen, the record was the perfect merger between the influences of the past (Warrior's Dance's sample of True Faith's 91 techno classic Take Me Away is wonderfully executed) and the vitality of the present (Colours takes more than a little influence from the bleepy dance-punk of Hadouken!). It gave The Prodigy a much-needed new lease of life, confirming them as dance music's most essential band to a whole new (jilted) generation.


2. The Fat Of The Land

In June 1995, The Prodigy decimated the NME stage at Glastonbury, stealing the weekend from a nation-conquering Oasis and announcing themselves as the most electrifying live band on Planet Earth. Beefing up their show with live guitarist Jim Davies and a heavy-as-hell new track titled Funky Shit, they stunned festivalgoers unfamiliar with their music and those who had previously doubted dance music's capacity to move people beyond the confines of a club or warehouse. With this in mind, work would soon begin on more material befitting their new status as live music's chief hellraisers. Two years later, The Prodigy returned to Glasto with a set dominated by tracks from their imminent new studio album: The Fat Of The Land.

Featuring more guitars, more distortion and heavier basslines, The Fat Of The Land also included more songwriting contributions from Keith and Maxim, resulting in the heaviest record The Prodigy had ever created. The album would come to define their career - Smack My Bitch Up, Breathe and Firestarter proving to be anthems as generational as anything else the 90s produced, while the likes of Funky Shit, Diesel Power and Narayan still sound as propulsive and powerful almost 25 years later as they did on release. Throw in some iconic (and, in the case of Smack My Bitch Up, controversial) videos and you have an era that took big beat - and perhaps even the rise of dance music itself - to its absolute apex. 

 


1. Music For The Jilted Generation (1994)

While The Fat Of The Land has come to define much of The Prodigy's career, it was arguably its predecessor which truly perfected their sound and produced Liam Howlett's most heartfelt artistic statement. A response to the 1994 Criminal Justice Bill seeking to clamp down on unlicensed raves and effectively kill off underground dance culture, Music For The Jilted Generation was an incendiary, sonic nail bomb thrown straight in the direction of the Powers That Be. The seething Their Law became the antiestablishment anthem for ravers everywhere; Poison's hypnotic beats made it an instant favourite; the magnificent Voodoo People was unlike anything dance had seen before, stitching together a Nirvana-aping guitar riff with flurries of tribal flutes and dark, pulsating techno.

The likes of Break And Enter and No Good provided the perfect meeting points between the psycho-rave of Experience and the big beat mayhem that would come to the fore on The Fat Of The Land, while the three-song, twenty-minute Narcotic Suite provided a gorgeous final arc, showing that, in the case of 3 Kilos and Skylined, Howlett was just as capable of writing pretty, meditative electronica as he was hard-and-heavy bangers. It was dance music's crowning achievement in an era where the scene was at its most fertile, and you'll be hard pushed to find anything that's surpassed it since. Electronic music doesn't get much better than this.

The Prodigy tour England in July. A new album is expected later this year.

The Prodigy Tour Dates 2022

Jul 08: O2 Academy, Sheffield
Jul 09: O2 Academy, Sheffield
Jul 14: Monford Hall, Liverpool
Jul 15: O2 Academy, Leeds
Jul 16: O2 Academy, Birmingham
Jul 18: O2 City Hall, Newcastle
Jul 19: O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
Jul 22: London O2 Academy, Brixton  
Jul 23: London O2 Academy, Brixton 

Merlin stepped into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.