Skindred - Roots Rock Riot
Record Label: Bieler Bros. Records
Release Date: October 23, 2007
"ROOTS ROCK! RIOT!"
I guess Skindred is back. There's no mistaking that trademark scream that opens the band's sophomore full-length release, Roots Rock Riot. The scream is backed by thick, low-tuned guitars and tight drumming (which is something the band has always been famous for). Webbe spits out ragga-tinged lyrics through the verse ("Ah we no want no badness bout ya/And everyone push up your lighta/Let me see ya bouncing in the area"), and the band builds up to a huge, booming chorus.
About forty seconds into the opening title track, I was assured that the album would be just as good as Babylon. Webbe continues to amaze me, as he is such a versatile vocalist. Guitarist Mikey Demus still delivers that driving, full-sounding guitar, and the whole band brings so much energy to the table, which is, to me, the most important quality in a band.
Up next is "Trouble," the album's lead single and another hard-rocker (reminds me of "Nobody"). Webbe chats through the verse, explodes into screaming for the pre-chorus ("EXPLOSIVE EXIBITION OF BRUTALITY!!!"), and then breaks into a melodic chorus backed by huge power chords and booming bass. "Ratrace" and "State of Emergency" build on the hard rock formula with melodic choruses. Following "State of Emergency" is "Alright," three minutes of nicely put together melody with a beautiful pre-chorus two minutes in (which is definately the highlight of the album).
The rest of the album is a lot the same: ragga chatting overtop low power chords and a big sounding bass. It reminds me of Babylon, only a lot better. The melodies are catchier; the band rocks harder; and most importantly, I can feel the energy oozing out of every track on the album. It's the kind of album that you haven't heard until you've heard it live.
And they don't even include those stupid interludes like on the last album.
This is an improvement over their last album in many ways. The production is stellar. The lyrics are improved, and I can take Webbe seriously now. And the band manages to keep their straightforward rock/ragga/metal attack along with some new twists.
No, I don't know anything about reggae or particularly care, I was trying to say Skindred's not a gimmick by pointing out a well-respected band that, I guess to an untrained reggae ear, does something similar conceptually.
But I guess I was wrong to do that. Again, last time I try to be helpful.
I really enjoyed Babylon, and had no idea that they put this album out in 2007. I'll have to check it out, especially since it's supposed to be better than their last effort.
By the way, when I tell people about Skindred, I usually mention that Skindred are to Jamaican culture what System of a Down is to Armenian culture. The "ethnic" influences are definitely there but it's an "American" form.