Review: Skindred, Union Black

By Jake Rivett

Skindred’s Union Black is the fifth release from the ragga-metal masters and a fine collection of songs to boot. That isn’t to say everything is hunky dory, some of the more drum and bass areas of the album miss the mark a little in the first half and don’t sit well with the overall tone. After a strange intro track, the lead single Warning kicks in with the type of catchy chorus we would expect from these guys, plus the added bonus of Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) making an appearance.

The album stops and starts upon first listen with songs that don’t seem to fit with each other, but they grow and evolve with multiple listens. One thing that is for sure, is that all songs have that sense of catchiness, all songs have awesome rhythm and all songs are instantly recognizable as Skindred.

A highlight on the album is probably Living a Lie which has catchy verses alongside a sweeping chorus, but once again it feels ruined by electronics and auto-tuning.

The most reggae track on the album, Guntalk, really works as a sound for Skindred however, we have bad album placement, grating against Living a Lie but as time passes the album fits, so maybe it just needs getting used to it.

Skindred has a message to get across with this album, talking about “broken Britain”, it comes across better on some songs as opposed to others, but the tone is there. As a whole, some of these tracks you can hear being blasted in club whereas others, not so much. Skindred are one of the only bands currently out there that can jump between multiple genres within one album, hell within one song, and that is what makes them so gloriously unique!

Own You sounds a little nu-metal generic, but is a decent enough effort. Each song feels like it was wrote with a passion for the message they are trying to get across and the album blends heavy with rock really well, it may take a listen or two to absorb everything but once you have a grip on it, you will find a batch of catchy enough songs to bop along too.

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