Skindred have a long standing reputation of being fantastic live and decidedly lacklustre on record. Having been a band now for sixteen years, they’ve been threatening to break through into the mainstream for some time. Is Kill The Power finally their crowning moment? Unfortunately, it seems not.
Despite their best intentions and energetic frontman Benji Webbe and Co. mixing more genres than can be found under a kitchen sink in an attempt to make Kill The Power more than just another Skindred album, they may have ended up slightly over egging the pudding. With that said, Kill The Power does provide a few massive new tunes to bust out the Newport Helicopter to. The first of these is second single and title track Kill The Power, which features an audaciously brilliant sample from the Kanye West track POWER and sees Benji’s delightful reggae inspired vocals on full display, making full use of his unique voice. Even the hip-hop midsection somehow manages to fit seamlessly in amongst this massive genre mashing tune.
The second highlight is the riff heavy Ninja. This song features a brutal, metalcore inspired riff and
one of the best choruses on the album. It also contains the best sample in the album about halfway through the track. Another stand-out is the planet meltingly heavy Proceed With Caution. Featuring a neck breaking riff and an absolutely crushing breakdown along with a few uplifting gang vocals, this is possibly the best song on the album. Sadly these bangers are, as with previous Skindred albums, saddled in between a lot of funky, genre bending but ultimately uninteresting filler.
Kill The Power is, without a doubt, Skindred’s heaviest album to date. It features Benji breaking out of his comfort zone vocally and attempting more death growls than typical of previous Skindred albums. This is not necessarily bad thing, his screams are by no means terrible; in fact in any other band they’d be considered fantastic, but they feel slightly out of place and commercialised in this utterly anti commercial band. There are other hints of this throughout the album; the forced Skrillex-lite ‘dudstep’ that plagues the otherwise fun ballad of Playing With The Devil being a particular weak point. We Live is another; it’s the sound of a band trying hard not to sound like themselves. You can almost feel the awkwardness seeping out of Benji as he tries to tone down his natural accent.
Skindred have the most unique sound in rock right now; it’s a great shame that they don’t seem to be able to fully master the potential in their reggae metal fusion sound. Kill The Power is not a bad album; it’s just decidedly average. The standout tracks will no doubt make their way into fan’s iTunes playlists and Skindred’s live sets, but it’s not the world beating masterpiece this band are certainly capable of.