Genre: Alternative metal / reggae rock / nu metal
Label: Napalm Records
Released: Out Now
Benji Webbe – lead vocals
Daniel Pugsley – bass, programming, backing vocals
Michael Fry (a.k.a., Mikey Demus) – guitars, backing vocals
Arya Goggin – drums
1. Big Tings
2. That’s My Jam
4. Last Chance
5. Tell Me
6. Loud and Clear
8. All This Time
9. Broken Glass
10. Saying It Now
Skindred have been off the scene for a few years, staying relatively quiet on the writing front since Volume was released in 2015, but it’s safe to say they’re back with a bang. Big Tings is their seventh studio album and certainly has an apt name, with gargantuan tunes that could fill an entire stadium. It’s hard to believe that Skindred have been making music for a whole two decades at this point, and while happily incorporating different styles into their songs, they’ve remained true to their roots. This album definitely has more of a poppy edge than their previous efforts, but their rather unique mix of reggae and metal is still as refreshing as when we first heard it.
Benji Webbe’s vocals are instantly recognisable on the opening title track, and you’d be hard pressed not to be foot tapping along within seconds. Big Tings mixes in a satisfying amount of bassy synth with some catchy backing chants, which really adds a fresh dimension that continues in That’s My Jam (think “radio friendly Korn”). The pop and dance vibes endure for the album’s first single, Machine. It’s infectious in all the right ways, and you can instantly tell that it will be a big hit with crowds when played live – I can feel the venue floor shaking already!
Any good album needs to throw a slower tune in from time to time so you can get your breath back, but there’s always a danger of losing people’s attention through the mellow melodies. Tell Me manages to get it just right, with no small amount of emotional investment to hold your focus well in place. There’s a surprising lack of their famous “dirty” metal riffs from the rest of the album, but they more than make up for it in catchy numbers that keep you dancing. All This Time is probably the closest they get to a balanced fusion between the two; dancey enough to make your non-metal friends bob their head but heavy enough to make your mum disapprove.
It’s not very often that an album gets two big thumbs up from me from the very first listen, even releases from my favourite artists usually take a few plays for me to really appreciate them, but Big Tings has proved to be an exception to the rule. If there was a bit more metal injected into the heavier songs I would give this album a perfect ten, but it still comes close enough to be perfectly enjoyable. Giving us a cover to cover belter that could easily redefine the term “all killer, no filler”, I think it’s safe to say that Skindred will certainly have big “tings” coming their way.
Reviewed by: Vikki Luff