Review Summary: Nuff ah dem have come an dem ah try dog we out...
After the disbandment of the quasi-legendary band Dub War, Benji Webbe formed a new group by the name of Skindred. The band quickly dubbed their sound as ‘’reggae metal’’ and with a powerhouse such as Benji fronting the band (don’t want to get to dramatic here…) they were destined for great things. And to a certain point they surely delivered, but there are several issues as well.
What Skindred fail to understand is that singing something with a Jamaican accent doesn’t necessarily make it reggae. Not that the reggae elements aren’t present elsewhere (there are some groovy reggae influenced drum licks found out throughout the record), but most often than not they aren’t any more in the forefront than some of the dancehall or hip-hop elements.
Now the metal part of ‘’reggae metal’’ pretty much stands for the oh so beloved genre of nu metal. Skindred reinvent nu metal in a new exciting and energetic way, but also in a way, that it brings to memory everything we hated about nu metal in the first place. This is especially apparent on the heavier and more straightforward tracks such as World Domination and Bruises that remind me just how pissed off everyone seemed to be in the late 90’s. Skindred have a lot of energy, but a lot of times it’s just not put to good use. They explore their sound much better on their follow-up record, where a lot of the nu metal is instead replaced with faster hardcore punk.
Lyrics on Babylon are simple or rather just simply generic; that is if you can understand them in the first place. The majority of time the lyrics seem to be there just so Benji has something to sing about. And for this I am grateful, as he truly is a great and diverse vocalist (so nothing to nag about here, damn…). "Make love, not war" lyrics are obviously here, as on Together (‘’Yer, I know we'll be together, yes I know we love each other’’), but not exclusively. On The Fear, the mellowest track on the record, which otherwise offers welcome change of pace, Benji discourages bullying. Never mind that the guy tried to beat me up on Bruises and could probably singlehandedly wrestle a bunch dinosaurs, if only he would find them to be worthy adversaries.
The truth is, Skindred perform best when they sing about rocking out and not giving a ***. That’s when they let loose and bring up the musical attack in full force. Pressure is the prime example, while it contains few metal elements, it’s one that arguably rocks the hardest, and is sure to make the crowd jump highest. After all, Skindred are all about the live shows (trust me on this one). Nevertheless this shouldn’t have been the reason for making a mediocre record.