Despite emerging in a climate generally hostile to anything not influenced by Sweden or dressed up in guyliner, Skindred still managed to shift a respectable 250,000+ copies of their last album, "Babylon". Now, with a record industry up to its neck in quicksand and sinking ever further, it may be tough to surpass or even mimic those numbers with this latest outing, "Roots Rock Riot"; but if it doesn't happen, it won't be for lack of trying.
A far superior listen to "Babylon", Skindred have largely abandoned the tamer numbers that hurt their momentum in the past. Instead they now focus nearly entirely on aggressive staccato riffing mixed with a healthy dose of dub and highly animated ragga vocals. It all falls somewhere between the Bad Brains, Bedouin Soundclash and of course Dub War; and yet it remains entertaining as a result of its somewhat unique mixture of tongue twisting vocals and lunging riffs.
Of course it's not without its weaknesses though as some will clearly find the instrumentation on this record a bit too nu-metal. But given the urgency and the under-utilized mixture of dub, ragga and metal, not too mention the explosive energy of the material here, it's also not without its charms. Sure it comes off as a bit glossy and slick. But the buoyancy and scrappy nature of this disc may just make it more than a guilty pleasure for some foppishly haired hardcore kids.
(3.5 / 5)