This isn’t the kind of article I’d normally post at Epitome of Epic, but I feel like I need to say something, as this news has genuinely hit me hard. I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, but if you haven’t, it’s been confirmed that Keith Flint, of electronic pioneers, The Prodigy, has died.
Their music has had a massive impact on my life, and they’ve become one of my favourite bands, which is why I find this news so heart-wrenching. I remember after the legendary rock venue Edwards Number 8 in Birmingham relocated to Gough Street, as Eddies Rock Club, back in 2009. Downstairs in the Goth room (affectionately known as “The Dungeon”), DJ Presley would be spinning the decks every Saturday night. Over the course of the few years he DJ’d there, I pretty much heard Invaders Must Die in it’s entirety. It was this that cemented my love for them further. Don’t get me wrong, I’d become a big fan of their music long before then, but whenever I listen to Invaders Must Die, it gives me a warm nostalgic feeling. It reminds me of the amazing nights partying away until the early hours of the morning, as well as the many wonderful friendships I’ve gained. It was a massive turning point in my life I’ll never forget. It’s also why I regard the album, and the band, so highly, with the record even securing a spot in my top 10 favourite albums of all-time.
The band worked together as a solid unit, and each member brought their own personality to the table. This is how Keith Flint stood out. His persona within the music itself and on-stage was wild, aggressive and anarchic. He radiated with personality, his charisma and energy could be felt throughout an entire venue. The real turning-point of his prominence came with the release of the 1996 single off their third album, The Fat of the Land, “Firestarter.” This was slighty before my time (I got into music later than I should have), but the legacy it left still resonates throughout the music indsustry today. The music video first aired on Top of The Pops, and it was unlike anything else that had ever been seen before. It was a far cry from the glitzy, bright presentation and tame rythms that people were used to. Instead, it was dark, gritty and relentless. This was backed up with a video, presented completely in black-and-white, filmed in dank underground tunnels. There at the forefront of it all was Keith Flint, his eccentric personality and fierce vocal performance on clear display.
Needless to say, this took the industry by storm, propelling the Essex trio to new heights. It was in-your-face, rebellious and set the world alight. It changed the perception of what popular music could be, what it could do. Not only was this aparent in the sound, but in Flint’s presentation. His wild look and psyche showed people that they could be what they wanted to be, that they shouldn’t give a fuck about what others tought of them, and that they could just be themselves. His aesthetic and demeanor were very reminiscent of the punk scene, and his presence certainly amplified the harder side of the music.
I’d argue that it was his influence that helped draw in such a diverse crowd. They were always big on the rave/dance scene, but they transcended genres, pulling in fans from Rock, Metal and Goth backgrounds. It didn’t matter who you were, it brought people together, and the band have gone on to even headline festivals such as Donnington’s rock/metal giant, Download, and even the gothic M’era Luna in Germany.
I actually find myself thinking back to last year, when I managed to see them at M’era Luna in August, then on their headlining tour for thier latest album, No Tourists, in November. Little did I know the importance of these shows, or how special they would be, but for all the wrong reasons. These are the last times I ever got to see them as a full lineup, with Keith Flint. He was as prominent and lively as ever, making the fact that he’s no longer with us all the more devestating.
I’m not one to question the band’s future, or where they go from here, it’s not my place to do that. But whatever happens, it will never be the same. He was truly one-of-a-kind, and there will never be another frontman quite like him, his passing is a massive loss for the world of music. The firestarter may be gone but the flame will never burn out, his legend will live on with the huge legacy he’s left behind.