A ragga-metal band at number one on the album chart? It nearly happened.
In August 2023 Newport's very own Skindred found themselves at number 2 on the UK album chart with Smile, having battled it out for superiority against the likes of indie rockers The Sherlocks and Irish singer-songwriter Cian Ducrot.
It was a long time coming. Since forming 25 years ago, Skindred have become a festival favourite – Classic Rock's review of Smile called them "the best live band on the planet" – but their albums have frequently received less attention than their onstage reputation might warrant.
Here are six Skindred songs that'll tell you more about the band than we ever could.
Nobody (Babylon, 2002)
One of the band’s earliest songs, Nobody set out Skindred’s stall perfectly with its scintillating mix of jagged riffs and tight, rhythmic interplay wound around a vocal from Benji Webbe that darts from soulful croon to barking madman to defiant holler.
Ratrace (Roots Rock Riot, 2007)
Settling into what would become their permanent line-up, Skindred hit their stride on 2007’s Roots Rock Riot, ever more adept at seamlessly melding styles while always sounding like themselves. It was best summed up in this standout that blended urgent ska-punk, bass-y rock rumbles and a toasting vocal from Webbe.
Warning (Union Black, 2011)
A searing anthem that introduces beats and electronic experimentation into the maelstrom, this superlative track features Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix on guest vocals. Webbe’s way with a hook was becoming ever more refined, his melodic sense sharpening.
Kill The Power (Kill The Power, 2014)
The audiences were getting bigger, and Skindred had the wind in their sails by the time they arrived at 2014’s fifth album, Kill The Power. You can hear it in this title track, which builds on a swaggering hip-hop beat into an empowering, all-for-one singalong.
L.O.V.E (Smile Please) (Smile, 2023)
The reggae side of Skindred’s sound has been ever-present, but they’ve never been as unabashed about it as on this glorious track from the new record. A sunny dancehall smash to soundtrack the summer.
Gimme That Boom (Smile, 2023)
A banger that captures everything that’s exciting about Skindred in 2023: a band who can sound muscular and loose-limbed at the same time, who can make a silly phrase the sort of thing you want to lose your voice to at a festival, and whose fusion of pop smarts and explosive metal has hit a peak.