Skindred – Smile (Album Review)

Established back in 1998, Skindred are a unique Welsh band that have always stood out among others on the Alternative Metal scene. Possessing a sound that fuses various styles, including of course Reggae, their style is passionate, energetic, and continuously evolved. Topping Reggae charts with their 2002 debut Babylon, fast forward many years later, they continued to top charts in the UK with 2015’s Volume and 2018’s Big Tings, but yet again in 2023 with Smile

The band’s first album of all new material in five long years, Smile is their eighth overall studio effort, and encompasses twelve new tracks. Released on August 4th, the new album is also their debut with Earache Records; a label they signed a global four-album deal with back in 2021. Banking on the band to continue well into the future, the deal also solidifies their place in the music world. This in mind, Skindred are also celebrating their 25th anniversary, and Smile is yet another escapade into a world of Reggae infused Alternative Metal that is purely their own. 

Commencing with a short intro, soon after “Our Religion” begins what can only be described as a strong, intense, loud trip. One of the heavier tunes of the collection, this among others wake you up to shake off all the bad vibes surrounding you every day. These good feelings continue with “Gimme That Boom” before “Set Fazers” brings on the Reggae that is matched with heavy guitar riffs, all while “Life That’s Free” offers a shot of adrenaline. 

Moving forward, “If I Could” is an interesting piece that balances soft and more ruckus parts with a catchy chorus amidst it all. This is while “L.O.V.E. (Smile Please)” feels like a circus before launching into more Reggae, and “This Appointed Love” draws you in with a smooth sound… before bringing on a boom of power. A perfect pendulum of emotional states, get swinging, because cuts like “Black Stars” and “State of The Union” keep you moving. And then Skindred finds a way to take a sad, heavy topic on “Addicted” and turn it on its head with trumpets and hopefully tones, all while wrapping this journey up with “Mama” and the empowering “Unstoppable.” 

In enough words, Smile brings along a good feeling. It will undeniably make you, well, smile.  Filled with songs that are pleasant, danceable, and very emotional, the energy is almost addictive. Ok, forget that almost… it is highly addictive. So, get hooked and crank it up, because Cryptic Rock gives Smile 5 out of 5 stars.

Skindred – Smile / Earache Records (2023)


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