Pioneers of ragga rock/metal, Skindred have been ripping up the conventional metal rule book since forming in Wales in 1998. Their unique sound combines elements of heavy metal, reggae, alt-rock, ska, hip-hop and dub, thus forming a frantic yet addictive style that is difficult to replicate. Their seventh album, Big Tings, is yet another example of the band’s rule-breaking output and a solid addition to their discography. Most of the new tracks are succinct and blow up in the listener’s face within the 3-minute mark, so they pack a lot of energy and vigour within a reasonably short time-frame.

Big Tings’ songs are full of solid guitars and some big riffs from Mikey Demus, all complimented by Arya Goggins’ punchy drums and the almighty Benji Webbe’s extreme range of vocal styles. “Machine” and the upcoming single “That’s My Jam” are strong examples of what Big Tings has to offer, with the former featuring vocals from Reef frontman Gary Stringer, and a cameo from legendary Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell. “Machine” is exceptionally catchy – so much so that even AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson has used the intro for the titles of his TV show Cars That Rock.

Meanwhile, “Alive” and “Broken Glass” have spectacular renditions of the dub influences that Skindred have become known for, with rapid-fire, break-beat drumming and reggae/hip-hop vocals; echoing “Playing with the Devil” from 2014’s Kill the Power. “Tell Me” and “Say it Now” are the longer of the tracks on this release, and are a pleasant deviation from the mania and aggression of the previous tracks; both softer to start with, featuring minimal instrumentation, with an acoustic sound and meaningful lyrics. The latter is actually a reprise of “Saying it Now” from 2015’s Volume, resembling a ballad style alt-rock song about loss, and the importance of saying your true feelings in the moment, not waiting until it is too late.

Skindred’s “Start the Machine Tour” has now commenced, with support from CKY and Danko Jones – both with recent releases in the last year. Judging by the Southampton concert I attended on April 20, they are most definitely previewing the new album before its release date, filling the air with their big dirty beats, the floor laden with faithful Skindred fans and newbies alike, united as one with this niche band. Big Tings is a brilliant offering, and one to certainly check out

Big Tings Track Listing:

01. Big Tings
02. That’s My Jam
03. Machine
04. Last Chance
05. Tell Me
06. Loud and Clear
07. Alive
08. All This Time
09. Broken Glass
10. Saying it Now

Run Time: 37:40
Release Date: April 27, 2018
Record Label: Napalm Records

Watch the guys’s new video for the single “Machine” below.