Widely celebrated Welsh Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly band known for fusing, as they state in one of their songs, Reggae, Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hip-Hop. Specifically, the reggae influence comes from Benji Webbe, who combines dancehall-style Ragga singing/rapping with Metal shouts and growls. Sometimes compared to Bad Brains and System of a Down, Skindred has been the subject of much appraisal for their unique sound and mostly lighthearted lyrics. They're even popular among Metalheads, who normally dismiss any musical fusion that has Metal and Rap, wary of any connection to Nu Metal. (Benji jokes that they're "Nu Reggae" instead).
Skindred were formed in 1998, in the wake of the collapse of Benji's old band, Dub War, which had a similar reggae/metal fusion. After unsuccessful stints on major labels, during which two different versions of the band's debut, Babylon were released, they finally signed to the Florida independent label, Bieler Bros., and released six more albums, Roots Rock Riot, Shark Bites and Dog Fights, Union Black, Kill the Power, Volume and Big Tings.
Their name derives from the word "kindred", and also refers to dreadlocks hair.
- Benji Webbe (vocals, synthesizers) - 1998-present
- Mikey Demus (guitars, backing vocals) - 2002-present
- Daniel Pugsley (bass, programming, backing vocals) - 1998-present
- Arya Goggin (drums) - 2002-present
- Martyn "Ginge" Ford (drums) - 2001-2002
- Jeff Rose (guitars) - 2001-2002
- Dan Sturgess (synthesizers, turntables, samplers, backing vocals) - 2011-2017
- Babylon (2002, with a 2004 rerelease)
- Roots Rock Riot (2007)
- Shark Bites and Dog Fights (2009)
- Union Black (2011)
- Kill the Power (2014)
- Volume (2015)
- Big Tings (2018)
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: The rapper is always Benji. He does this most prominently in the verses of "Babylon", "Rat Race" and "Living a Lie"
- Alternative Metal
- Audience Participation Song: They absolutely love this, to the extent that they extend songs or even drop remixes into their set for the sake of getting the crowd going.
- Cover Song: "Electric Avenue", originally by Eddy Grant, on Shark Bites and Dog Fights.
- Darker and Edgier: Union Black. It's lyrically their darkest and most serious album, as well as being their heaviest overall musically.
- Their debut album could also be considered as this, considering Roots Rock Riot and Shark Bites and Dog Fights are noticeably more melodic.
- Genre Roulette: The entire premise of the band, basically. Aided by Benji's ridiculous vocal diversity.
- Lighter and Softer: Big Tings.
- The Big Tings version of "Saying It Now" is an acoustic track. It doesn't make the song any less poignant or emotional, however.
- They often perform acoustic versions of their most popular tracks, which draw much more upon their reggae influences than their rock and metal ones.
- Lyrical Dissonance
- "Guntalk" is a bouncy Reggae song about gang violence and gun culture and explicitly mentions the use of hard drugs.
- "Nobody" is a violent, angry song about how fun their music is.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: Benji can sing, scream, growl, rap and scat.
- His singing voice is also in a pseudo-Jamaican accent, whilst his screaming voice has a mild Welsh accent (like his speaking voice).
- Metal Scream: Types 1 and 2 are utilized very frequently.
- Mind Screw: Benji's lyrics can be quite hard to understand because he uses a lot of Jamaicanisms and slang words, coupled with his occasional Motor Mouth tendencies.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Their more serious songs reach a 7 or 8. "Guntalk" is at least a 9.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: From a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 9.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: See above.
- New Sound Album:
- Union Black introduced Dubstep influences to their sound.
- Volume went back to a more guitar, bass and drums-centric approach, with the electronics being based more around samples and sound design. It's the only album that Dan Sturgess contributed to as a full member, which would explain the changes.
- Big Tings stripped away almost all of the electronic and reggae elements and went more towards a straight up rock sound.
- Nu Metal: One of the later, more outwardly experimental acts of the genre. One early review of them joked that reggae-metal "had to happen eventually."
- Reggae: "Guntalk" sounds like it could have come straight off a Bob Marley album.
- Sampling: They do A LOT of this, probably unsurprisingly considering their influences from reggae and hip-hop. Volume is especially full of small samples here and there such as police sirens, undoubtedly due to the influence of Dan Sturgess.
- "Babylon" quotes "Sound Of Da Police" by KRS-One.
- "Set It Off" samples "Oh It's You" by Super Cat.
- "We Want" samples "Redeption Song" by Bob Marley.
- "The Fear" is based around samples from The Clash song "London Calling".
- "Kill the Power" samples "Afroamerica" by Continent Number 6.
- "Ninja" contains samples from Super Street Fighter.
- Signature Style: Heavy riffs, electronic beats and reggae/dancehall vocals. Benji Webbe has jokingly called it "Nu-reggae" in the past.
- Soprano and Gravel: Benji does both.
- Step Up to the Mic: During live performances, Mikey often sings Jacoby Shaddix's parts in "Warning" and Gary Stringer's parts in "Start the Machine".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: A few: "The Fear", "Guntalk", "We Live" and the Big Tings version of "Saying It Now" are the most obvious examples.