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Babylon

Skindred

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Album Review

By the early 2000s, crossing rap and rock's respective DNA strands was no longer a bold experiment. From Faith No More and Shootyz Groove to Korn and 311, hip-hop had been hailing hardcore and metal and funk, and everything else, on an open radio frequency for a decade or more. But what about it? Sure, the sound was familiar to kids raised on equal parts Yo! MTV Raps and Headbangers Ball. But by 2003, homogeneousness was floating bad checks neither genre could cash. Into this big blasé world comes Babylon, the venom-spitting, pit-baiting debut from Skindred. Emerging from the ashes of Dub War, Benji Webbe and company eschew that band's fetish for freely shifting sounds, in favor of a more focused ragga-rap-metal attack. It's not merely a facsimile of last year's money-making metal model. No, what little repetition does exist here comes from the dancehall influence, the harping and chatting over a nonstop groove. "Pressure" and "Nobody" rock ragged, near-atonal guitar riffs over percussion, emulating both the stop-start hesitation of drum'n'bass and metal's monolithic pound. As the guitars whine, Benji becomes a one-man vocal force, his flow twisting between trippy ragga phraseology and a grating thrash scream. Scratchy drum programming and some non-intrusive synths set up the silky, chatty verses of "Selector," before a skuzzy power slide breakdown energizes its air-raid marathon chorus. With all these stylistic tongues tittering at once, Babylon often threatens to topple over. What's amazing — especially in the complacent rap-metal landscape it finds itself rampaging over — is that it never does. Skindred doesn't seem to consciously want the reinvention tag; it has simply tapped into the same lack of pretension that fueled Korn and Living Colour's Vivid — records that were made visionary by an unadulterated honesty in both delivery and craft. When the band does suggest the work of its peers, it's in the tense, Deftones-style interplay of mood and mayhem on "Falling Down" (where Benji unveils a soulful singing voice between the screams). Babylon has made a considerable dent in Europe, where the memories of Dub War might run deeper than they do stateside. Even so, Skindred's debut is highly recommended for fans of literate genre jumpers like Soulfly and System of a Down, or any heshers looking for some heavy-hitting firepower that hasn't fallen victim to the anvil of corporate assimilation. [Lava's 2004 edition included bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews

Simply Brilliant

Despite being around for many years skindred have only recently seen success. Recently touring with Soulfly and Pitchshifter as a support band. There album is simply fantastic. It has a huge jamacian feel to it and covered in punk metal overtones. Excellent stand out songs are Bruises , Pressure and Nobody.Buy the album then go see them live - you wont be dissapointed.

Brilliant Band, good value for money

i first heard skindred on the need for speed soundtrack. since then i haven't stopped listening to them they are wicked. i would definatly recommend this album to anyone it is excellent value for money 18 songs for 7.99 and not one song is bad there are all superb. some of the best ones are Pressure, Nobody, Set It off and The Fear. skindred also have a very unique style which works GREAT!! BUY IT NOW you won't be dissapointed

A fresh and appealing sound

I had only heard about these guys from Metal Hammer Magazine and when I had a listen I was very impressed, it is like something from my favorite heavy metal bands like Killswitch Engage and Disturbed but it had very old school reggae feel to it. Which is risky but they have pulled it off. I'd suggest this to people whole like a lot of Metal but are looking to expand their library and possibly a good steping stone into reggae.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in Newport, Wales

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Skindred blend reggae and dancehall with searing thrash and punk influences for a striking take on heavy metal hybridism. The group emerged from Wales in 1998, after the dissolution of vocalist Benji Webbe's previous band, Dub War. Rehearsals for a new project featuring other Dub War veterans didn't work out, but soon Webbe had hooked up with bassist Daniel Pugsley, guitarist Mikey Dee, and drummer Dirty Arya, and Skindred were officially born. The debut LP, Babylon, first appeared in 2002 and 2003,...
Full bio
Babylon, Skindred
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  • £10.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Alternative, Hard Rock, Metal
  • Released: 31 August 2004

Customer Ratings

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