Sunday School #5: Pendulum

By: Forward Musiq

This Sunday School we revisit the gods of Drum & Bass, Pendulum.

Since their beginning, Pendulum promised to be something unique, innovating and impacting in the Drum & Bass scene. And they did not let down, at the moment the mere mention of their name brings to mind legendary productions, some of the most unique and original sounds, mind smashing live shows and maybe the most important, pushing the limits of Drum & Bass farther with each song they make. They perfectly fuse elements from Rock, Metal, Punk, Electro and Dubstep into their unique sounds, making those who listen to them drop their jaws to the floor in awe.

Pendulum was born in 2002 in Perth, Australia when Rob Swire, Gareth McGrillena nd Paul Harding united to work on Drum & Bass after hearing Messiah by Konflict in a club. In 2003 they move to England where they launched their first production along with A-side.

Vault was launched as part of the EP, Kingz of the Rollers, and is widely re-known by Pendulum’s fan-base as their most loyal production of Drum & Bass. Valt became known in the international scene with great ease, and marked what would become the future signature sound of Pendulum: Soft melodies that rapidly changed into intense rifts and heavy bass sounds. Soon they launched their first single, Spiral/ Ulterior Motive (it was launched while they where still in Perth, but was made public in March 1, 2004.)

This firs EP is on of Pendulum’s most important, not only for being launched directly into the EDM scene, as well as for the quality of their songs.Spiral, the principal song of the EP was described as a perfect club destroyer thanks to the vocals done by Rob Swire (It was his first song in which he sung.) and for its catchy rhythms. Ulterior Motive represented a more fun song that Spiral but not as catchy when it came to be playing in the clubs. After the success of the EP, Pendulum soon launched their second single which brought them great international attention. The name of the single was Another Planet/ Voyager.

Another Planet/ Voyager was the first EP to be written in its entirety by every member of the band. It was launched on February 23, 2004, and reached # 46 in the UK Singles Chart and #1 in the UK Dance Chart. Voyager was described as an excellent Drum & Bass production while Another Planet received mixed reviews but that at the same time favored Pendulum’s style. Finally before launching their first album, Pendulum  released their third single, Back 2 You/ Still Grey.

Back 2 You/ Still Grey can be considered as the forgotten EP of Pendulum. It received almost no reviews and media attention, and was later on added as part of the album to be removed in the special version of the album. It was launched through the record label Timeless Recordings on March 22, 2004. Back 2 You was created by every member of the band and had vocals done by Lisa Lindt. Still Grey counted with the participation of Evan Short during the guitar segments and is widely recognized through the fans as one of  Pendulum‘s best songs and one of the most rhythmically relaxing productions. This single cleared the way for Pendulum to finally launch their first album, Hold Your Colour.

Hold Your Colour, The album that began it all. The original version contained 14 songs, being the last two Another Planet and Still Grey, but they where later on removed in exchange for the colossal Blood Sugar and its counterpart Axle Grinder. Hold Your Colour reached #40 in the ARIA Chart and #29 in the UK Albums Charts. It was launched on July 25, 2005 and had 6 singles, from these the most popular are Hold Your Colour/ Stream Line which contained vocals done by Rob Swire himself and is a favorite among many fans. Among others included are Slam, Girl In The Fire, Tarantula, The Terminal and Fasten Your Seatbelt. On 2007 a re-issue for the album was done with new cover art and Blood Suga and Axle Grinder where included.

Blood Sugar/ Axle Grinder. This two song single was the reason Pendulum became such an international hit. It can all be narrowed down to the song Blood Sugar. And what it is? Nothing more than pure sugar in your bloodstream. Pure intensity blasting into your ears nonstop, from the incredible and world known main rhythm, to the amazing guitar rift that rips though our brains in the middle of the song. It’s nothing more than the sonic recreation of the end of the world, fuck it we lied, it’s pure Drum & Bass what are you going to do? It wouldn’t be until 2008 that Pendulum released new material int he for of their second album as well as a new style, In Silico.

In Silico marked the arrival of a new experimental sound for Pendulum. The Punk and Rock influences slowly merged themselves as a great factor in the production of the album to present a sound never before heard. And the result did not disappoint. In Silico debuted in the Australian Albums Chart on #9 and in the UK Albums Chart on #2. More members where introduced into the band, Peredur ap Gwynedd on the guitar, Paul Kodish in the percussion and Ben Mout as the MC and for DJ sets Pauk Harding while  Rob Swire remained in his position of Keyboard/ Synths/ Vocalist and Gareth McGrillen on the bass. The album produced 4 singles: Granite, Propane Nightmares, The Other Side and Showdown. Yet out of the 10 songs that compose the album, the ones that stand out the most as perfectly produced are Propane Nightmares for it’s punk influenced style, The Other Side for its otherworldly rhythms and vocals, 9,000 Miles for its chill and mellow sounds and finally the epic Juggernaut of the album, The Tempest.

The Tempest has become one of the best songs ever made by Pendulum for it’s innovative fusion of Rock and Electronic Dance Music. The intense vocals with heavy guitar rifts accompanied by melodic synths make The Tempest a colossally epic work of art that to this day many consider it to be the best production the band has ever made. And its no surprise, since each time they play the song on their live shows, the public goes mad with Ecstasy. Finally on June 2009, Pendulum‘s only live album to date, Live At Brixton Academy was released. That same year while they did they’re tour in Europe, the third album was announced, Immersion.

Without a doubt, the best album, Immersion is Pendulum’s hard work and dedication all forged into one giant ass kicking production. Launched on May 21, 2012 it held its place fairly well with the critics and reached #3 on the Australian Albums Chart as well on the New Zealand Albums Chart and in the UK Albums Chart for their first time they achieved the coveted #1 spot. The album has a total of 15 songs and 4 singles ( Watercolour, Witchcraft, The Island y Crush.) though the songs Set Me On Fire and Salt in the Wounds are of great interest since they began fusing elements of Dubstep. The album pushed In Silico’s experimentation with Punk and Rock to another level, bringing forth a more polished and mature sound. It was also an album with a lot of collaborations, mainly the most important being Immunize in which Liam Howlett of  The Prodigy and Self Vs Self in which they collaborated with the progressive metal band In Flames.

The first single of  Immersion was  Watercolour. The production is one of the examples of the polished and mature sound that came as a result of In Silico. The perfect fusion of metal and punk elements make up an intense and emotionally epic production, which obtained #69 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 from 2010 and #4 in the UK Singles. The single also brings remixes done by Emalkay and Deadmau5.

Witchcraft, the second single, has become one of Pendulum‘s most inspiring, beautiful and intense productions ever made. Many have it as their favorite song in their iPods, and it’s no surprise. Rob Swire’s hauntingly magic voice mixed with the array of beautiful synths make up a work of art unlike any other. The single reached #62 on UK Singles Chart to later on rise up to #29. It counts with 4 remixes done by  Rob Swire, ChuckieJohn B and Netsky. Though Rob Swire’s Drumstep Remix is the hailed by many to be just as good as the original for being able to draw the same feeling the song invokes and adding a heavy dose of bass to the formula.

The third single is The Island. The original production divdes itself in two Acts: Dawn and Dusk and includes remixes done by Lenzman and by Tiesto. It’s one of the albums most favored song and it’s no surprise since it coutns with diverse rythms. In the UK Singles it obatained #14 while in BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge it recieved an amazing reception.

Finally the last single from the album, Crush. Though it did not count with any remixes, the single did obtain good reviews, reaching #92 on UK Singles. This song is another example of the perfect fusion of Punk and EDM that  Pendulum has created thanks to the rebelliousness of the vocals and the heavy use of guitar rifts and intense rythms.

Pendulum without a doubt has been an incredible force in the growth and development of the Drum & Bass genre, having expanded their frontiers and limits beyond what was imagined. The legacy that the Australian band has established is already astounding and incredible, and there is still so much to come from them. There is no EDM lover that has not heard of them, and those who have seen them live know of the intensity and magic that make their shows one of the best in the world. Thanks to the genius of  both Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen, Pendulum has prospered as a band and will continue doing so, pushing further the limits of music. They are one of the gods of Electronic Dance Music, some say right next to Daft Punk or Armin Van Buuren. Without a doubt their hard work and sucess in the world of Drum & Bass have earned them the right to be called gods.


Spiral- Pendulum
Another Planet- Pendulum
Still Grey- Pendulum
Voodo People (Pendulum Remix)- The Prodigy
Slam- Pendulum
Tarantula- Pendulum
Hold Your Colour- Pendulum
Blood Sugar- Pendulum
Propane Nightmares- Pendulum
The Other Side- Pendulum
9,000 Miles- Pendulum
The Tempest- Pendulum
Salt In The Wounds- Pendulum
Watercolour- Pendulum
Set Me On Fire- Pendulum
The Island Part 1- Dawn- Pendulum
Witchcraft- Pendulum
Encoder- Pendulum
Witchcraft Rob Swire Drumstep Remix- Pendulum
Ransom- Pendulum

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