The Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land (1997)

The Prodigy was a big name in the 1990s in the world of music. After the release of their first two albums, Experience and Music For The Jilted Generation, they were in the process of fine honing their own musical craft and were becoming more and more popular along the way.

This album represented the peak of the fame of The Prodigy. They had moved on from the sell-out UK Hardcore nature of Experience and the pseudo-political rants of Music For The Jilted Generation. This album went mega, selling millions of copies worldwide, and gave the group attention internationally.

We begin with the notoriously politically incorrect piece Smack My Bitch Up. It’s actually the product of a multitude of samples and just sounds still amazing over 20 years later. The explicit nature of this song, in particular, ensured that the group was seen as a neo-punk movement, but the intention musically is somewhat different.

The follow-up Breathe is a great piece featuring their vocalist Keith Flint. “Breathe the pressure, come play my game, I’ll test ya! Psychosomatic, addict, insane!” It’s a rather nonsensical rant but this song oozes cool.

Diesel Power is a rap piece. In fact, it’s wonderfully fresh and features one of the many guests on this album rapper Kool Keith. It’s a perfect combination of the Big Beat sound and rap music that fans were dying to hear. It’s good fun.

Funky Shit sounds like a warped acid house music sounding attack. It’s so catchy you will have it stuck in your head for days. It’s a sonic montage, yet just done so effectively.

The next track is weaker. Serial Thrilla doesn’t really do much that is great to listen to, but still, it’s passable. It could have been rethought, but it’s okay on this record.

The next track was notably played in the film The Matrix. Mindfields is a trip for the 1990s and has some wicked guitar feedback style samples in it. It shows the genius of Liam Howlett and his ability to craft sonic pieces that were fantastic.

Narayan is a good song, and you may think it is Richard Ashcroft singing? But no, it’s Crispian Mills instead. Still, he puts in a mega performance here, despite the fact he sounds a lot like Ashcroft. This song goes through several transitions and many interesting electronic experiences before it explodes into the next piece on the album.

Firestarter is a very overrated tune. It’s about being punk, but aside from that, falls flat musically. Some of the sounds here are really dated indeed, and this whole song needs a rethink, at least in its original form.

The next piece, the instrumental Climbatize is really very good. It’s a mega trip which takes you to a musical place that one cannot find on planet Earth otherwise. Music sometimes has that effect on people.

The last song is the worst on the album and easily should have been junked. Fuel My Fire does not fuel a fire for listening to that song, and fortunately only goes on for a short time. The album ends swiftly after that piece.

The Prodigy broke into the mainstream with this album. Afterwards, it took the group nearly a decade to make another record, which was nowhere near as good as their 90s work. But if you like the sound of mega beats, interesting textures and punk like attitude, look no further. A good album to listen to now and again, and the first track is bound to disturb some listeners too, adding shock value to the recording. Indeed, there are Nazi quotes in the album booklet as well, for your pleasure.

7/10

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