This Skindred article was written by Viktor Balchikliev, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Adam Barrett
Two years after their previous release Skindred are back with their brand new record. ‘Volume’ is the sixth studio album of the Welsh raga metal act, led by the tribal warlord Benji Webbe. Their new work doesn’t bring anything new but an improved dose of the already familiar mixture of metal, raga and endless an party.
‘Volume’ is delivered by the same line-up that produced ‘Union Black’ (2011) and ‘Kill The Power’ (2014). Benji remains that brilliant leader with his unrivalled energy, and again reveals his full arsenal of singing, growling and rapping. Drummer Arya Goggin has always been perfect and should get big credit for the overall charge of the album. Guitarrist Michael Fry and bassist Dan Pugsley maintain the high quality throughout the full 43 minutes, while all electronics and samples are done by Dan Sturges, whose addition to the band in 2011 kind of invigorated Skindred and sent them into more interesting and successful direction.
The debut single ‘Under Attack’ is arguably the weakest spot of the record and its lack of creativity left mixed feelings during the initial promotion of the album. The second single ‘Volume’ came to the rescue bringing that highly anticipated signature Skindred sound only to prove once again that the band remains the best (if not the only) raga metal band in the world. Without putting anything new on the table, ‘Volume’ reinforces the band’s fame and contribution to the scene.
All of the 11 tracks and 3 interludes are easy to listen and make you want to play the record again and again. There still seems to be a lack of promising hits and surprising compositions, but more importantly, there are no weak or average tracks and ‘Volume’ maintains high quality and perfect mastering from the first second to the very last. The record develops gradually and builds up speed with each track. ‘Hit The Ground’ hits with fast pace and solid chorus, while ‘Shut Ya Mouth’ slows down with rock sound and angry lyrics. ‘The Healing’ is reminiscent of Skindred’s older work and in fact, if you are already a fan of the band, the majority of this album will definitely leave you pleased.
‘Sound The Siren’ is the brightest gem in the collection which best comprises Skindred’s emblematic sound and the complexity of their music, and will very likely be the next single of ‘Volume’ with the potential to become a breaking hit. Another powerful track is ‘Straight Jacket’ (along intro ‘II’) which surprises with a heavy breakdown. After ‘III’ the final three songs are the perfect finale of the album. ‘No Justice’ stands out with its energetic punk, ‘Stand Up’ adds the expected socio-political comment, and ‘Three Words’ unfolds slowly as the fitting emotional ending of a quality album.
Already praised as one of UK’s best live acts, ‘Volume’ will certainly add flavour to the band’s arsenal of festival anthems. The records stands proudly in their rich discography and with another perfect blend of reggae positivism, raga party, punk charge and nu metal energy, Skindred remain Europe’s colourful favourites.
‘Volume’ is out now via Napalm Records.