The music world may be in a permanent state of panic and flux, but one basic principle of rock’n’roll remains true: the key to longevity is to always deliver the goods. No band has better encapsulated this ethos of integrity and determination over the last decade than Skindred. Widely acknowledged as one of the most devastating and enthralling live bands on the planet, the Newport destroyers have been a perennial force for musical invention and remorseless positivity since emerging from the ashes of frontman Benji Webbe’s former band Dub War back in 1998. Over the course of four universally praised studio albums – Babylon (2002), Roots Rock Riot (2007), Shark Bites And Dog Fights (2009) and Union Black (2011) – Skindred’s reputation for producing the ultimate spark-spraying state-of-the-art soundclash, combining all manner of seemingly disparate musical elements into an irresistibly exhilarating explosion of energy and cross-pollinated cultural fervour has rightly earned them a reputation as a band capable of uniting people from all corners of the globe and making every last one of them tear up the dancefloor with a giant shit-eating grin plastered across their faces. With the toughest and most infectious metal riffs colliding with the biggest, phattest hip hop and reggae grooves, cutting edge electronics and a razor-sharp pop sensibility guaranteed to encourage even the most curmudgeonly music fans bellow along with rabid enthusiasm, Skindred are both the ultimate thinking man’s party band. With the release of their fifth studio album Kill The Power, Benji Webbe and his loyal henchmen – bassist Dan Pugsley, guitarist Mikey Demus , drummer Arya Goggins and new addition Dan Sturgess the bands DJ/Keys & Electronics took the band into the UK album chart for the first time into the bands history peaking at number 28..
In keeping with their tradition of making people move while singing about universal issues and spreading a message of positive action and social unity, Kill The Power is an album bulging with fury at the state of the modern world. Never afraid to tackle important topics head on, while never forgetting his band’s mission to entertain and leave the world in a sweaty, sated heap, Benji’s notoriously insane energy levels seem to be creeping up with every album and Kill The Power showcases his most furious and impactful performances to date.
“The world’s getting worse so how can I get more mellow?” he laughs. “Of course I’m getting angrier! People normally stay in a bag when it comes to lyrics. Stephen King stays with horror and he’s brilliant at it, you know? With Skindred, it’s always about encouraging an uplift. It’s about a sense of unity. Lyrics can change people’s lives, you know? You can be going down one road and hear a song and have a Road To Damascus experience and become someone else.”
From the huge beats and stuttering samples of the opening title track Kill the Power and the laudably demented Ninja through to the insistent melodies and rampaging choruses of The Kids Are Right Now on to the thunderous, metallic throwdowns of Proceed With Caution and Ruling Force and the cool acoustic breeze of the closing More Fire, Kill The Power is Skindred cranked up to full throttle and revelling in their own febrile creativity like never before.
Anyone that has ever seen the band live before will confirm that it is impossible not to get fired up and drawn into the joyous abandon of a Skindred show and with a new album in the pipeline set for release later this year primed and ready to explode, the best live band on the planet simply cannot fail to conquer the entire world this time round. Wherever and whoever you are, Skindred are coming. Open your ears and get your dancing feet ready…
“We’re a global band. We’ve played in Colombia and India and everywhere and it’s the same energy,” Benji concludes. “I get letters from people in Hawaii and people in Turkey. It’s all the same. We resonate globally and it’s the greatest thing ever. It seems funny to us sometimes because we’re always kicking each other’s heads in and saying ‘You’re a wanker!’ to each other before we go on stage, but as soon as it’s time to play the show the oneness this band creates together and the unity we bring is unique. I’ve never experienced anything like it and we can’t wait to get back on the road and do it all again.”
Dom Lawson (Metal Hammer)