Welsh ragga metallers Skindred are now 7 albums deep into their career and with each release there has been an injection of craziness. Their style of music is so frenetic and with the ragga style vocals of front man Benji Webbe they sound so different from most bands out there today. So here we are with album number 7 and I’m expecting an explosion of something I’ve never heard before. Each time I go in thinking I know what they’re going to do, Skindred always manage to throw me a curve ball. So pack a lunch, bring a gas mask and welding goggles because you never know whats around the corner.
We kick off with the title track “Big Tings” and it’s funky and electronic but that sweet vocal is still there. There’s a catchy chorus that’s just itching to get into the pop charts. A siren wails and a crunching guitar ring out and we’re into “That’s My Jam” which is on another planet. There’s the chorus and a chorus of ladies that sing out the title that remind me of the ladies on Marilyn Manson‘s track “Mobscene”. The ragga vocals kick this into overdrive with the disco beat pounding out behind.
Gary Stringer, front-man of Brit rock surfer band Reef, plays special guest on “Machine” and this track rocks out. If your toes are not tapping and you’re not singing along to the chorus on this one then you’re probably dead. “Last Chance” is about as upbeat as you can be from the start. That drumbeat pounds away rolling over and over and the riff is the perfect fit. The chorus reminds me a little of Muse but with better vocals. Could this be a ballad? As “Tell Me” floats out of the speakers in a haze it sounds chilled as do the vocals. Kaboom!!!!! And there’s the chorus… wow guys, great song, and if this doesn’t break the charts then I don’t know what will.
A rumbling bass and distant guitar kick off “Loud and Clear” and with the addition of Benji Webbe‘s vocals push it over the top. It has a good strong chorus and my head has been involuntarily bobbing for four minutes solid so it must be good. “Alive” has that dance feel to it but it’s not a surprise as we’ve heard it before from these boys. It’s not a bad song but not my thing. A good headbanging riff breaks out the start to “All This Time” and the vocals keep it that way. The chorus is a good strong melodic jaunt with some nice hooks.
“Broken Glass” has a very modern rock sound to it with a bit of electronica thrown in. The drumbeat really drives this track throughout but it’s a bit throwaway, to be honest. An acoustic guitar rings out on “Saying It Now” and I really like the vocals on this. It reminds me a little of Guns ‘n’ Roses track “Patience” but with considerably better vocals. It really breaks out when the song builds and builds with orchestral power and the lead guitar slashes across the underlying riff.
Final thoughts on Big Tings
I’d like to be dishonest about my hometown boys from South Wales but I just can’t. I really liked this album but it could have been so much better. They kind of gave you what you expected and something you didn’t but that something was a bit too dance or commercial pop for me. One thing I do like about Skindred though is they stick to their guns and the do whatever the hell they feel like at the time of doing it. The vocals are strong throughout and I like the ragga style Benji Webbe lays over the tracks, the production is good, the musicianship is amazing and if you ever get the chance to see these boys live then I suggest strongly that you do it. 10 points for the album cover alone.
Big Tings is available now via Napalm Records.