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Music / Pendulum (Band)

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From left to right: Paul Harding, KJ Sawka, Rob Swire, Gareth McGrillen, Peredur ap Gwynedd.


Ladies and gentlemen, we understand that you have come tonight to bear witness to the sound of drum & bass. We regret to announce that this is not the case, as instead, we come tonight to bring you the sonic recreation of the end of the world. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to hold your color.

Okay, fuck it. I lied.
It's drum & bass. What you gonna do?
— The famous opening lyrics of "Blood Sugar"note 

Pendulum are an Australian-British Drum and Bass and electronic rock band founded in 2002 in Perth by Rob Swire, Gareth McGrillen, and Paul Harding.

At the time, Harding was a veteran DJ while Swire and McGrillen were members of the rock band known as Xygen. After hearing Konflict's "Messiah" at a rave, they were inspired to enter into the DnB genre. In 2003, the band relocated to the United Kingdom, where they put out their first official releases, culminating in their debut album, Hold Your Colour, which was a widespread critical hit and one of the biggest commercial successes a DnB album has ever seen, and is now said to have changed the face of the genre.

In Silico (2008) marked the beginning of their experimentation with their new formula, crossing DnB with conventional rock instrumentation to the tune of serious backlash from their fanbase. The further integration of styles on Immersion (2010) pacified most of this and offered greater crossover appeal than ever before.

While Pendulum are very popular in Britain and Australia, their chart success in the US hasn't extended much beyond "Propane Nightmares". Unlike most DnB acts, they're known to put on spectacular live shows, equally at home supporting Iron Maiden or playing DJ sets in underground clubs.

Swire announced the indefinite dissolution of Pendulum on his Twitter in June of 2012, claiming that it had become more work than fun. In the meantime, he and McGrillen began work on a dubstep and electro house project which you may know as Knife Party.

In 2013, Swire announced that Pendulum would "probably" release a new album in 2014, although he and McGrillen later admitted in a Reddit AMA that their disillusionment with the project still stood. Little talk of a new album surfaced in subsequent years, but the band reunited live at the 2016 Ultra Music Festival in a joint closing show with Knife Party. Over the following years, they would play a few more shows before Swire officially confirmed the return of Pendulum. Their first release back was a compilation of remixes of songs from their past discography, named The Reworks and released in 2018.

In September 2020, the band's Twitter teased a new album and eventually released two singles, their first new music in a decade. They released another single, "Come Alive", in April 2021.

Not to be confused with the 1970 CCR album of the same name.

Pendulum Members:
  • Rob Swire - vocals, synth, producer
  • Peredur ap Gwynedd - guitar
  • Gareth McGrillen - bass guitar, DJ
  • Kevin 'KJ' Sawka - drums
  • Paul 'El Hornet' Harding - DJ

Former members:

  • Paul Kodish - drums
  • Ben 'The Verse' Mount - MC


  • 2005 - Hold Your Colour
  • 2008 - In Silico
  • 2010 - Immersion
  • 2018 - The Reworks (remix album)
  • 2021 - Elemental (EP)

Pendulum have examples of:

  • Alien Invasion: "Granite" appears to be about one, but denied by Rob on twitter, stating that "abduction is a metaphor".
  • Animated Music Video: The music videos for "Nothing for Free" and "Louder Than Words" are both at least in-part animated; the former focuses on a civilisation of rabbits dealing with a myxomatosis plague - which parallels the COVID-19 Pandemic; the latter focuses on Bob and Gary, a cat and mouse duo a la Tom and Jerry and their careers between their breakup and their reunion.
  • Awesome Aussie: Although some of the bandmates now reside in the UK, they were all born and raised in Perth.
  • Badass Bookworm: Rob Swire. As well as providing all the vocals and synths on their two most recent albums, he also produced and wrote them, and this interview shows just how complex a task that was. The band's live shows run their instruments through 13 computers, giving a sound very close to that on their records, but with nothing pre-recorded.
  • Break the Cutie: "Witchcraft" is about a man coming home to find his girlfriend brutally maimed.
  • Call-Back: "Driver" begins where "Encoder" left off: with water splashing and the drowning vocals coming up for air.
  • Careful with That Axe: "Self vs Self" ends with guest vocalist Anders Friden letting out a tremendous scream.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Constantly invoked with the band's official photos.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In contrast to their music's leaning toward Precision F-Strike, everyone curses like crazy in interviews or on social media. Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen in particular are walking Cluster FBombs online.
  • Creator Cameo: Rob and Gareth show up momentarily in the music video for "Slam", back when Pendulum was just a production duo instead of a band.
  • Cult: The subject of Propane Nightmares. The cult in the music video is based on Heaven's Gate.
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: The video for "Slam" has a man in a suit dancing to the song on the sidewalk...with his shirt off, and his tie wrapped around his head.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Peredur ap Gwynedd appears on the track "Girl in the Fire" from Hold Your Colour, a year before he joined the band as their guitarist.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Hold Your Colour is far more traditionally-produced as an electronic album with a sound leaning towards "electronic that happens to have guitars", while In Silico and Immersion were recorded and produced as ensemble albums and lean more towards electrorock. Rob Swire also only appears on a couple of songs on "Hold Your Colour", with most of the singing coming from guest artists.
  • Easter Egg: This video of famed music producer deadmau5; if you look closely at 26 seconds... Yes, that guy peeking in the crowd near deadmau5... That's Rob Swire. It helps the fact that he made the vocals for the vocal edit of "Ghosts n' Stuff".
  • Epic Rocking: A surprising number of their tracks clock in at over 5 minutes. On Hold Your Colour, only one track is under this, and by only 7 seconds.
    • Special mention must be made of the album closers: "Still Grey", "The Tempest", and "Encoder", which tend to feature false endings and synth-heavy codas.
  • Fading into the Next Song:
    • "Prelude" into "Slam" on Hold Your Colour.
    • In live performances, their cover of "Master of Puppets" is used to segue into "Slam".
  • He's Back!: After four years of performing as Knife Party, Rob and Gareth came back to perform as Pendulum at a festival. Paul's photo of Rob DJing very much invokes this trope. In 2020 they eventually dropped Driver/Nothing For Free, their first single since 2011.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rob and Gareth, majorly. To the point of Gareth misconstruing a question about the two of them being married as being married to each other.
  • Incredibly Long Note: A few times. "Propane Nightmares", for example, ends with a ten-second one.
  • Kubrick Stare: Rob is doing a pretty impressive one in this press pic.
  • Large Ham: Ben "Verse" Mount and Gareth in particular, but everyone (except Rob) is hamming it up during live performances.
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • On Hold Your Colour, "Slam" ends with its bombastic breakbeat corroding and devolving into a wall of distorted noise.
    • They seem to love ending their albums with this.
      • "Still Grey" from Hold Your Colour ends with a creepy synth-heavy fade out.
      • "The Tempest" from In Silico ends with fifteen seconds of guitar feedback.
      • "Encoder" from Immersion ends with water splashing and a wham fading in before abruptly cutting.
  • Lead Bassist: Gareth McGrillen, of the "co-creator" type.
  • Metal Scream: Used quite a lot in In Silico, especially in "Showdown".
  • Mind Control: "The Other Side" is about breaking from this, complete with verses intoned from a Voice of the Legion alternating with a very distraught verses about "they're in my head, they're in my soul".
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Rob's vocals in earlier songs like "Hold Your Colour" and "Streamline", before he officially became the lead singer of the band for In Silico onwards, when he switched to his ridiculously powerful vocal style. Completely averted live even when singing songs like "Hold Your Colour", however, in favor of his signature strong voice.
  • Precision F-Strike: Several examples. Naturally, all these songs are on In Silico.
    • One that initially went unnoticed by the censors in "Visions":
    "I'm gonna be a fucking superstar."
    • Two in "The Tempest":
    "I know that I can help you, I just don't fucking want to."

    "You caused this shit to happen and now you want out?"
    • "Showdown":
    "I know you thought I'd sold my soul, but never told me to my face; I just had to leave you cold, blow this shit away!"
  • Protest Song: "The Vulture".
  • Rap Rock: "The Vulture".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • "Encoder" is essentially one big long lyrical one of these. Rob Swire tweeted that it was about leaving unworthy friends behind.
    • "The Tempest" is also a very, very angry one. Oddly enough, both "The Tempest" and "Encoder" are the closers for their respective albums.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Rob Swire has a very vocal love for cooking, and Rob, Gareth, and Paul all love to post pics of their adorable cats.
  • Renaissance Man: Among being credited for writing and production on all songs and vocals on most, Rob can be found credited on various songs on all three albums in roles such as guitar, bass guitar, and percussion. He also happened to help produce Rihanna's song Rude Boy.
  • Sampling:
    • "Through the Loop" samples from the tunnel scene of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
    • "Fasten Your Seatbelt" derives its name from a sampled Doctor Octopus line in Spider-Man 2 ("Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts") which plays before the drops, and also opens with the sounds of Ock's reactor turning on.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist:
    • Rob sings all of the harmonies and countermelodies as well as the lead melody; sometimes it's mixed as such that it's barely noticeable. Averted live, however - Gareth and Ben provide backing vocals instead.
    • "Visions" deserves a special mention - during the bridge before the chorus ("Just leave this place..."), Rob is actually self-backing his vocoded vocals without vocoder. It's barely audible, but becomes obvious if, say, your headphones happen to be partially unplugged.
  • Shrinking Violet: Rob's eternal stoic expression during press photos and concerts is greatly contrasted by just how completely quiet and shy he seems in interviews. Unless he's the sole subject, Gareth is generally the one doing the talking for him.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: The first two tracks on Hold Your Colour, "Prelude" and "Slam". "Prelude" transitions into "Slam" perfectly, and "Slam" reuses bits of the main sample of The Twilight Zone (1959) utilized in "Prelude".
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Rob will occasionally try to make an effort to seem pleasant in interviews and fan photos, but it often comes off as this instead.
    • Special mention to this interview, in which it's fairly obvious that Rob is smiling while wanting to throttle (or perhaps brutally murder) the host.
    Commenter: "That's rob wishing he owned a gun during the acapella"
  • Soprano and Gravel: Used in "Self vs Self", which features Melodic Death Metal band In Flames. The vocalist Anders Friden uses his traditional Harsh Vocals in the song, highly contrasting with Rob Swire's melodic croons. Notably one of the few examples where the "Soprano" voice is male instead of female as listed in the trope's description.
  • Spoken Word in Music: All over the place, especially in their older songs (such as "Slam" and "Masochist"). Seems to be a favorite trope of Rob and Gareth, as it shows up often in their Knife Party tracks, too.
  • Stage Names: Ben "Verse" Mount, and Rob Swire... The latter's actual name is Rob Swire Thompson, which makes it an inversion of an Embarrassing Middle Name.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: "The Vulture" features Ben Mount on vocals instead of Swire.
  • The Stoic: Everyone tends to be this in press shots, but Rob really takes it up to eleven, looking the scariest out of all of them and having a nearly unchanging (and/or seemingly angry) stoic expression while performing.
  • Subliminal Seduction: The main melody of "Granite" is consistent through the song until near the end, when a different melody is played for the last 52 seconds. Playing the song backwards reveals that the ending melody is the main melody in reverse.
  • Take That!: "Showdown", which is an attack at the "fans" who labeled them sell-outs for dropping their traditional drum-and-bass sound in favour of a more sophisticated electro-rock one.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Rob Swire is an odd case. For someone who always looks so grave and intimidating, he has a relatively gentle voice and is a straight singer as opposed to, say, a death metal screamer or growler. But on the other hand, it's also incredibly powerful live, which contrasts greatly with his very quiet speaking voice and presence in interviews.