Skindred- ‘Smile’ review
The South Wales reggae metal band are a joy to listen to- and they are back with flare and style in abundance
The summer might have been disappointing so far in terms of weather, but everyone’s favourite welsh reggae stars Skindred have given us all a reason to smile- quite literally. Their new album, conveniently called ‘Smile’, is out now and frankly- it’s wonderful.
The band’s first album in five years is a perfect blend of metal, rock, reggae, and much more. A huge stand out from the album is ‘L.O.V.E (Smile Please) which was dropped as a single back in May- just in time for a fun packed few months for Skindred.
The boys from Newport South Wales are a quartet which metal fans have fallen for many times over the years. The energy and style they bring to live shows is a main reason as to why they still continue to sell out tours and get picked on the bills of the biggest rock festivals.
‘Set Fazers’ sees frontman Benji Webbe calling for fazers to be set to fun- a move which doesn’t even need doing when you’ve got a bit of Skindred playing. The fun comes naturally, and this album is weaved together with a lot of it.
Another pre-released single ‘Gimme Dat Boom’ has become a track the band love playing live. I had the pleasure of watching Skindred headline the Apus Stage on Thursday at Download 2023, and this song- despite still being new- was lapped up by the thousands watching on.
‘Addicted’ is a song which projects the brutal yet crisp sound of Skindred in 2023. The track has a tempo and flow which makes it a stand out fixture of what is a clinical album. ‘Our Religion’ feels almost like Benji getting the chance to flex his sound and incorporate all of the reggae metal aspects we’ve come to expect from him and the band over the years.
Skindred have been on the scene for over two decades, and ‘Smile’ feels both closely related and a distant cousin of their debut album ‘Babylon’. The band has kept hold of the key features which makes them ‘Skindred’, but over the years they have developed into a band which has traversed the landscape of the metal world. This new album is all of this and much more.
‘Smile’ is a proud swagger through the best and brightest aspects of Skindred. It is a fine example of the band being at the top of their game, taking on the world of metal with as much vigour and aplomb as they did back in their early days.