"Babylon" (Lava; 2004)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

If your MP3 player is starting to sound like FM radio, might I suggest Reggae-Metal? I wasn’t sure what I would get with this combination. I knew that reggae had a funky groove to it and even Helen Keller would know what heavy-metal would sound like. So, take some hip-hop and mix in some metal and reggae and you’ve got something that won’t let the word "boring" even become a thought.

It may take a while to get used to the sound and mental barriers might cause you to think that these types of music, although separated only by miles, don’t belong together. But, with "Babylon," you’ll find an infectious groove being forged. Because there’s a metal element the reggae sound is steeped up. Imagine putting guitarist Jason Bieler with Ziggy Marley. (The reason I chose Bieler is because Skindred is on the Bieler Brothers Records label).

The tongue-twisting rapping of Benji Webbe becomes a bit much at times but never too much. Webbe sings a lot and his voice is great. The guitar keeps the metal sound alive. There aren’t any “solos” but there are more riffs and sounds coming out of that guitar than you can count. I would equate Skindred to The Deftones in the guitar department.

Because Skindred is part reggae you can expect the traditional sound to be represented on at least one or two tracks. “Interlude 2” is a three minute reminder of who Skindred are and what sound they embrace as their base. “Firing The Love” also has some traditional reggae set to a little harder guitar, and the funky lyrical delivery lets you know the sound they are aiming towards.

The best cuts are “Nobody,” “Pressure,” and “Firing The Love.”

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:21 -0400.