PRE-IMD · LIVE 2008: Unreleased tracks!

Exactly 15 years ago, on August 11, 2008, the track STAB was premiered – a mystery track that was played only once at a concert in Japan and never released. Along with it, several other unreleased tracks were played around the same period, which can also be rightfully considered as symbols of 2008 – the period of IMD album preparation. In this article, we will delve into the fate of the unreleased bangers from that period, as 2023 marks the 15th anniversary of these events!

In May 2008, during the midst and towards the end of the preparation for their album ‘Invaders Must Die’ (which at the time probably didn’t even have a finalized approved title), The Prodigy decided to perform a series of concerts in small English clubs for the audience they trust the most. The first concerts were held in Sheffield on May 16th, Birmingham on May 17th, and Brackley on May 24th, during which the band unveiled several new tracks: Unstoppable, Beat 55, World’s On Fire, and Warrior’s Dance.


Unstoppable — in essence, is a demo version of Mescaline, which was eventually released on the ‘Invaders Must Die’ single in November 2009. However, this early version differs significantly from the final ‘Mescaline’. For example, the track features a guitar riff that we have yet to identify, as well as numerous other samples that were either removed or heavily modified in the final version. One notable example is the driven synth, which was sampled from Time Zone’s ‘The Wildstyle’. It is easily recognizable in the original ‘Unstoppable’ but not so obvious in the final ‘Mescaline’.

    Sample: synth stab
    Sample source: Time Zone – Wildstyle (Special New Mix) [Wildstyle (Special New Mix), 1983]

Many fans still consider the initial version of the track more authentic and beloved compared to the one that was later completed with SDJ Zak and officially released.

Beat 55 — is nothing more than a classic jam track that was first played spontaneously during the band’s May 16 gig in Sheffield, and wasn’t even listed on the setlist. Contrary to popular opinion, the track did not have a clear structure typical of regular jam tracks and of course was played without the xylophone melody from ‘Omen’.

It wasn’t until a couple of gigs later that this jam became a regular feature of the show and was officially listed in the live setlists as ‘Beat 55’.

For years, fans have puzzled over what this title could mean, but we assume that this was the number that went with the main beat in one of the samples libraries from which it was taken.

We’re halfway through recreating ‘Beat 55’ in its entirety and are happy to share with you our demo!

We still can’t identify the guitar sample, so we temporarily used a similar. As soon as we find it, we’ll replace it and make a proper studio mix!

Stab — as mentioned at the beginning, is a track that was played only once in Tokyo on August 11, 2008, at Studio Coast. Whether it was a new tune or one that remained from the ‘Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’ era is unknown. It’s also quite curious, that one of the bridges in ‘Stab’, starting at about 1:15, is strikingly similar to the bridge from the ‘Omen’, which appears from time to time throughout the track.

It is also worth mentioning the unreleased Dead Ken Beats, which was played on the first 2 gigs of 2008, thereby leaving hopes for its promised release by b-side, on any of the new singles, but unfortunately it turned out to be only an echo of the departing “war”.


In addition to the fresh tunes that were introduced to the public, Liam also refreshed the sound of some old tracks. Among them, there were revamped versions of bangers like ‘Breathe’, ‘Voodoo People’, and a peculiar mash-up/remix of ‘Mindfields’, which was played only once.

Speaking of Breathe (dbstp), which was showcased on the same day as the peculiar Mindfields (New Mix), it’s worth mentioning that dubstep was rapidly gaining popularity in Britain. It was precisely because of this trend that Liam, in pursuit of staying current, created an updated arrangement.

The one-time performance of the new mix of ‘Mindfields’ had a peculiar and unusual sound for the band. It’s worth noting that the track took on a surprisingly upbeat and uncharacteristic vibe for Liam. The version of the track was not akin to a typical remix; rather, it resembled a lighthearted and straightforward mash-up with The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go for the home-party. While we were digging into it, it turned out to be a live-jam, i.e. the remix/mashup was actually played live by Liam.

We speculate that Liam was exploring a lighter and more playful sound for the upcoming performances as a departure from the restrained and sometimes dark sound that the band was known for during the period from ‘Jilted Generation‘ to ‘Always Outnumbered’ and ‘Their Law’ times.

We’re also halfway through recreating this live mix and happy to share with you our demo!


In general, the band didn’t publicly discuss any new tracks prior to the album’s release. Throughout 2008, there were only three major interviews in the press, and even those didn’t provide much information. But in their blog via MySpace, as well as in rare non-private conversations, the band had been teasing their fans with promises of new material since 2006. According to the established unofficial tradition, the long-awaited album was initially planned to be released in 2007. However, the release was first postponed to February 2008 and later to April-May 2008. As it turned out, there was no release in May, as Liam, with his characteristic perfectionism, was in no rush to release it.

Interestingly, a couple of months before the May concerts, in late March 2008, Liam uploaded a fresh sketch titled Who The Fuk Is Eddy Cochran to the band’s website.

In many ways, it was the first glimpse of the new album and perhaps one of the very few instances where the band’s fresh material was uploaded directly to the website without being tested in a concert or an official release. To be fair, the demo was rather weak for a standalone release, but the fans, hungry for new material, embraced it with great enthusiasm.

Towards the end of the year, apart from ‘Who The Fuk Is Eddy Cochran’, the band revealed some more studio demos, though not officially. Suddenly information appeared on the Internet about a certain promo CD with four demo versions of ‘Take Me To The Hospital’, ‘World’s On Fire’, ‘Piranha’ and ‘Warriors Dance’, which later made it to the album, but differed significantly from the final album mixes.

Very little is known about these CDs: they were distributed to music journalists, and the recordings themselves had unique audio watermarks, making it easy to trace who leaked them. At first, in the fall of 2008, a single mix of the four short fragments of the aforementioned tracks surfaced, and then the full tracks started to appear one way or another. Any other information about this release is unknown, as well as the exact order of the tracks.


Continuing the discussion about unreleased demos, it’s worth recalling that in the Japanese issue of ‘Invaders Must Die’ booklet, a photo of the working tracklist for the 2008 album was captured. Among the tracks listed were Let The Good Times Roll, Reverse Brass and Writing on the Wall.

Let The Good Times Roll — is none other than the demo that was played on one-hour Zane Lowe’s ‘The Story of The Prodigy’ show on BBC Radio 1 in 2010 — it was aired on Monday, 6th September at 9PM (UK time).

The track is based on a sample from the American rockers’ Grand Funk Railroad song Got This Thing on the Move, released in 1969, contains lyrics like:

“Ain’t no way to deny it, if it’s in your soul
You don’t know ’till you try it, baby, let the good time roll”

Whether the second demo played in the same broadcast is indeed the mentioned Reverse Brass from the working tracklist is unknown. However, it is based on a sample from 1972 song called Show Stopper by Iron Knowledge.

When it comes to Writing on the Wall from the aforementioned rough tracklist, one might initially assume that it’s simply the same as ‘Omen’, but it’s not quite that straightforward. This very ‘Writing on the Wall’ was registered separately in many music licensing databases as early as 2006, with only two individuals listed as co-authors: Tim Hutton and Liam Howlett, without Maxim, unlike ‘Omen’.

Our friend managed to clarify a few details about this track from Tim Hutton himself a few years ago. According to Tim, he and Liam started working on the very first version of ‘Omen’ back in 2005, and it was in a completely different direction. The song would have been forgotten and never heard if Hutton hadn’t reminded Liam about it. They then resumed working on the track.

Incidentally, Howlett himself said in an interview that it was a completely different mood track, despite the fact that it ended up being the basis for ‘Omen’.

Neko: “And you said earlier something about two versions of Omen?”
Liam: “Yeah, basically, the way I was writing this album, it wasn’t like I did for Fat of The Land, where it was like, wrote a tune, finished it, next. With this record, I wrote something, got a bit bored of it, wrote something else. And, that was the way a lot of the tracks were recorded, I had these different ideas.”
“And originally, Omen was on a completely different piece of music. It was on a – it would be interesting actually to put that old version up, because it is completely different. It’s got the same vocal in it, but it’s got a different key to the music. But we really liked the vocal. When we got towards the end, sort of three quarters through the record, I was like ‘I really like this vocal and I could see what the actual tune had to sound like’.”

We believe that only the chorus line from that very ‘Writing on the Wall’ made its way into ‘Omen’:

*a mystical official dub mix of Omen. Second mix of ‘reprise version’ from same promo can be found in hidden section!

Apart from ‘Writing on the Wall’, there are a couple of other unreleased works from that period that can be found in licensing databases: Jukebox Fury and The Day Is My Enemy. In addition to Tim Hutton and Liam Howlett, Keith Flint is also listed as a co-author of ‘Jukebox Fury’. It seems that this track featured Flint on vocals, and at the time, we even speculated that it could have been an early demo of ‘Rebel Radio’. However, we later clarified this with Liam in an interview, and here’s what he had to say…

Gordy: “Tell something about the track ‘Jukebox Fury’. Was it the initial version of the ‘Rebel Radio’?”

As for The Day Is My Enemy, it is not the same as the one released in 2015. In the musical license databases, grime artist Wiley is listed as a co-author of this demo from the ‘Invaders Must Die’ era.

Rumor has it that it was also a completely different sketch that was being developed for the ‘Invaders Must Die’ album but didn’t make the final cut and was eventually scrapped. More details about this demo tune can be found in our previous article:

Nevertheless, in rare blog posts or fragmented mentions in the press during the year, each band member somehow spoke about the album being in its final stages of production. For instance, on August 18th, in a video interview posted on the NME website (currently unavailable), Liam claimed that the album was nearly ready, with only two or three tracks remaining to be completed.

Liam: “We’re looking, sort of like, if it gets too late towards the end of the year, we’ll probably go January. But like, at the moment, it’s kind of like this year. Erm, we’ve got about 2 or 3 more songs to write then we’re just gonna mix it, and then I guess the record company will decide when it comes out. We’ve done our bit nearly.”
By the way, the ‘Invaders Must Die’ title itself began to appear on the band’s merch already in the summer of 2008, and around the same time the band also announced a upcoming tour called the ‘Invaders Tour’. The highlight of the year was the release of the track ‘Invaders Must Die’, which was available for free on the band’s website. We will tell you about it in the next article about the ‘Invaders Must Die’ single. Stay tuned for more exclusive insights!

By the way, the ‘Invaders Must Die’ title itself began to appear on the band’s merch already in the summer of 2008, and around the same time the band also announced a upcoming tour called the ‘Invaders Tour’. The highlight of the year was the release of the track ‘Invaders Must Die’, which was available for free on the band’s website. We will tell you about it in the next article about the ‘Invaders Must Die’ single. Stay tuned for more exclusive insights!

Headmasters: SIXSHOT
Additional thanks to: Split, Faust, Canyon Hill


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