Shark Bites & Dog Fights

Written by: PP on 03/02/2010 02:57:03

I've got a few more 2009 reviews up my sleeve before I close the chapter and move permanently onto 2010 releases. One of them in particular passed by relatively unnoticed despite the underground hype that the band is enjoying for their imaginative 'ragga metal' live shows. I'm of course talking about the new Skindred album "Shark Bites & Dog Fights", their third full length overall, and one that's been much anticipated because of the success the Welsh group enjoyed with 2007's "Roots Rock Riot". So how come only a few people seem to have noticed it even came out?

Well, the answer's actually quite simple: The record's not awful, but it's painfully average. By now most of us will have heard the band's unique mix of reggae, punk, metal, rap and alternative rock, so it doesn't have the same shock-and-awe value of its two predecessors anymore. But more importantly than that, it's lacking the songs that'll induce you to dance, rock out, and to change your citizenship into Jamaican. Anyone who's been to a Skindred show before will confirm the latter is certainly the case during their best songs. "Stand For Something" opens the record strong, and "Electric Avenue" shows hints of the greatness Skindred is capable of, bringing into mind Whole Wheat Bread as well, but especially the post-hardcoreish second half of the record ("Corrupt" for instance) just sounds plain wrong coming from Skindred. Not only are there a thousand bands more capable than them in that area, but the fun-factor of the band's music disappears entirely and they blend into the gray mass of that genre.

Finally, Skindred is also very much a band to be experienced live instead. There's a special vibe to each and every one of their shows, a chilled out but at the same time insane party vibe brought by the reggae element and their frontman's eccentric performance, and unfortunately for them, none of this translates into a studio recording very well - at least on this album. Remember how Gallows struggled with capturing their explosive live show in a studio environment for their debut album? That's exactly the problem here. Well, that, and the fact that "Shark Bites & Dog Fights" only has about three good songs out of eight - and only one of these is a track with any chance of wearing down your repeat button.

Download: Stand For Something, Electric Avenue
For the fans of: Hed Planet Earth, Whole Wheat Bread
Listen: Myspace

Release date 21.09.2009
Bieler Bros. Records

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