‘Union Black’ unifies styles

This isn’t a review, it’s a lament. Skindred’s stellar album, “Union Back,” has been out since April in the UK. As of this publication, it still isn’t available anywhere in the US. However, it is finally affordable to import, formerly costing $40 and now a much more reasonable $9.

If you haven’t heard of Skindred, enrich your life. Skindred’s unique sound, which no one has ever touched, mixes funk, reggae, hip-hop, blues and metal; it hits the ears like a swarm in its catastrophic harmony.

From the opener, “Union Black,” to the final track, “Game Over,” listeners will be blown away by the explosive guitar riffs, drum breaks, bass lines and the ever versatile vocal styles of Benji Webbe. After the nearly 10 years they’ve been around, Skindred has perfected their sound to an art that is up there with Mozart and Pachelbell.

“Warning” marks the first time the band has featured any other artist on one of their albums, and the one they use here is none other than Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach. The two of these vocal styles mesh perfectly, and neither overpowers the other.

All the songs are classics, from “Doom Riff,” to “Guntalk” and “Get it now,” Skindred has taken their genre and reconstructed it again so that nearly every song has one main genre with the others set to puree.

“Union Black” marks the most versatile album Skindred has released. After the stellar, but way too short “Shark Bites and Dog Fights,” this album is a fantastic follow-up. The only issue is that Skindred needs to put out an album more often than once every two to three years, because you always want more.