Skindred – “Volume” (Napalm Records)
Respect. If the US has the Bad Brains then Britain has Skindred. Formed out’ve the ashes of Dub War, Skindred come from Wales and play Ragga Punk Metal…wid a twist! Fronted by the talented and hugely animated Benji Webbe, Skindred have played an unbelievable number of live shows and are a global festival staple, such is their ability to appeal to an incredible cross section of people by instantaneously turning them into avid fans all doing the famed ‘Newport helicopter’! From the US to India to Turkey and back to the UK, their reputation live is fueled by their dangerously addictive, simply irresistible music that fuses electro-rap, dubstep and ragga with an array of alt rock styles to arrive at the lethal mix that has conquered the world. I personally believe that Skindred’s sound isn’t contrived and they are one of a few bands who encourage free expression along with an embrace all culture saying that if something sounds good then why not include it? No barriers man, just a bold desire to conquer them all! Now onto their sixth studio album just shortly after last year’s “Kill With Power”, Skindred have definitely stepped it up a gear – and why not, when you’re constantly selling tours and winning awards, then shouldn’t you get the love for it? Opening with the nu-ragga of ‘Under Attack’ expect an eclectic mix of reggae-rap with a metal background and an anthemic melodic singalong chorus completed by dub beats. On ‘Hit The Ground’ its a stomping beat backed by a huge metal sound contrasted with tender reggae vocals and drummer Arya Goggin providing some excellent technical work before crushing it to the max. It only gets louder on the aggro-ragga ‘Shut Ya Mouth’ with its in your face rap-reggae patois talk and a heavy beat with some crucially cool licks coming from guitarist Mikey Demus. With ‘Sound The Siren’ bringing in an electro sampled beat with plenty of hip hop scratching, Webbe then blows my mind when I least expect it by switching to straight rock vocals on the emo riff rock of ‘Saying It Now’, while for the socially conscious then ‘No Justice’ offers both hardcore and street reggae in one tumultuous rail against the system with its cries of ‘…there ain’t no justice, there’s only just us!!!…’. With a clear unite-and-fight message, Skindred continue to be as challenging musically as they are politically, disturbing those wanting to maintain the inequality of the status quo by continuing to win more of the masses with every one of their beats. Union Black all da way maaan.