Written by: MAK on 26/10/2015 23:44:02

After releasing their album “Kill The Power” in early 2014, I can’t help thinking Skindred's new “Volume” has been unveiled too soon. This sixth studio release gives off a vibe as if it was slightly rushed, in a way of getting through your record label’s album quota quicker. Some bands can make a living from churning out album after album on a very regular basis though a lot of the time these albums do not stand out enough for people to take notice. “Kill The Power” has barely run its course and Skindred are already happy to move on. What does that signal about their own feelings for the album? “Kill The Power” wasn’t as well received as “Union Black” was, neither critically nor from fans, so maybe they had similar views and would rather just try again quickly with new material.

So what is different about “Volume”? Musically nothing. Skindred play their signature “ragga metal”, which in layman's terms is metal with reggae and dub influences. Added snippets of various EDM elements like drum & bass and dubstep have also been known to feature within the Welshmen’s songs. And “Volume” is as standard as Skindred get. Opening song “Under Attack” is everything you expect from the ragga metallers, as Benji Webbe mixes his distinctive high-pitched singing with aggressive shouts and raps, with added modulation on his voice. The riffs are punchy, the chorus is quite catchy as the words “we’re under attack” are designed to stand out in an almost robotic sounding voice. Expect a similar formula throughout “Volume”: Everything is signature Skindred and quite predictable. Webbe’s aggressive swagger is no different from usual either as he continues to call people “pussyoles” – UK slang for being a bit of a wimp. Even writing a song to tell someone to “Shut Ya Mouth” is clear insight that he likes to front his “badass” self. This characteristic works fairly well with the heavy side to Skindred most of the time.

The most noticeable difference is that there are no true anthems on this new album, even the disappointing album “Shark Bites and Dog Fights” had “Stand For Something”. If you look at all of the previous albums there is at least one or several outstanding song on them, and you could even list them, “Nobody” from the first album “Babylon”, “Roots Rock Riot” was a fantastic title track amongst four or five true anthems on that second album. Then there were more recent songs like “Doom Riff”, “Warning” and “Ninja” from “Union Black" and “Kill The Power”, which have become fan- and live favourites. It feels both shocking and a shame to say that none of the songs on “Volume” really stand out or feel as if they can reach the same heights to truly make an impact, though I would like to be proven wrong.

Without slagging off this album too much, “Volume" still isn’t bad on a whole – it is just disappointing compared to the standards the Welsh lads have set for themselves early on in their career. Without overthinking it and giving the chance to let the album grow on you, the songs can be enjoyable. The overall atmosphere that Skindred unleash is the same as ever, to party hard or at least rock your socks off, and “Volume” does succeed in that at least.


Download: Under Attack, Straight Jacket
For The Fans Of: (Hed) P.E, P.O.D, Dope

Release date 30.10.2015
Napalm Records

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