Skindred’s take on alternative metal combined with dancehall, hip hop and electronica has proven to be one of the most exhilarating and entertaining live experiences around. All studio albums have had a good number of exciting anthems, but the band gives a sense that they are yet to deliver a consistently great one that conjures up the same thrill of one of their live shows. With ‘Kill the Power’, Skindred’s ambition is at its highest yet, with an album title one-upping Public Enemy’s classic track ‘Fight the Power’, frontman Benji Webbe calling the album one for people that “wanna step up and destroy all those who oppress and hold them down”. How will this ambition come across on the band’s fifth album?
The title track that opens the album is classic Skindred. “This is a Resident Evil attack, zombie takeover, boy watch your back” are the first lines said by Benji Webbe in a verse with French disco sample ‘Afromerica’ in reference to Kanye West’s ‘Power’, all before the chorus, where the big nu-metal riffs combine with Benji Webbe’s screams of “Kill the power”, sounding like Chuck D possessed by Satan. From there, the album is a diverse mixture of styles, such as the EDM/heavy rock fusion of ‘Ruling Force’, the U2-sized anthem ‘We Live’, the laid-back verses of ‘Playing with the Devil’ that instrumentally have more in common with Max Romeo’s ‘Chase the Devil’ than Iron Maiden’s ‘Number of the Beast’, and the closing run of the Slipknot-style riffs of ‘Proceed With Caution’ straight into one of Skindred’s most purely reggae offerings ‘More Fire’. The band absorbs influences from all across the musical spectrum at the same time as keeping the typical Skindred character and always sounding stylistically consistent, even if there are moments around the album such as the anthemic yet slightly forced ‘Saturday’ and ‘World’s On Fire’ where the band fall a bit short.
Overall Skindred have released an album that, whilst still not the classic album that they have in them, will give them plenty to work from in the live environment, where they are at their strongest. Some of the weaker tracks may make it seem they are not ‘killing it’ all the time in the studio, but their March show in Newport should be the final product of something that is growing throughout this album’s strongest moments.