Babylon (Skindred album)

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Skindred - Babylon.jpg
2002 release cover.
Studio album by Skindred
Released July 3, 2002
Recorded @ Bay 7 Studios, Valley Village, California / Sparky Dark Studios, Calabasas, California
Genre Alternative metal, reggae, nu metal
Length 51:06
Label Lava/Bieler Bros.
Producer Howard Benson
Skindred chronology
Roots Rock Riot
(2007)Roots Rock Riot2007
2004 release cover.
2004 release cover.
Singles from Babylon
  1. "Nobody"
    Released: 3 October 2005
  2. "Pressure"
    Released: 6 February 2006

Babylon is the debut album of Welsh rock band Skindred. The band was formed from members of the disbanded band Dub War, including leader Benji Webbe, and signed to RCA Records in 2002, who released the album on July 3rd. The band felt that they were being treated poorly by the label, and left in 2004, signing with Bieler Bros. Records, who released the album internationally in association with Lava Records. Each version released featured a significantly altered track listing.

Promotion of the album included performing in a tour led by Korn. Two singles were released: "Nobody" and "Pressure", for which music videos were produced. Babylon has been well received by critics for its fusion of alternative metal and reggae. In 2004, the album peaked at #1 on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart, #5 on the Top Heatseekers chart and at #189 on the Billboard 200. In 2006, the album again ranked at #1 on the Top Reggae Albums chart.


Singer Benji Webbe formed Skindred in 1998 with bassist Daniel Pugsley, guitarist Jeff Rose and drummer Martyn "Ginge" Ford after Webbe was unable to put together a new project featuring other members of his former band, Dub War.[1] Skindred recorded their debut album, Babylon with producer Howard Benson. The album was first released in 2002 by RCA Records,[2] and reissued in 2003 with an altered track listing, achieving some success in Europe and amongst fans of heavy metal in the underground music scene in the United States.[1] Band members Martyn "Ginge" Ford and Jeff Rose left the band following the release of the album, citing poor treatment by RCA.[2] The band left RCA to sign with Bieler Bros. Records, who released the album internationally in association with Lava Records in 2004. This version featured different artwork, removed the songs "Falling Down," "Kiss and Make Up," and "Together", and included new interludes featuring dancehall musicians Jatoman Busha and Herbius Darussalam, and four new songs: "Start First", "We Want", "Tears" and "The "Beginning of Sorrows".[1]


Babylon features a style which the band refers to as "Ragga metal", fusing heavy metal, punk rock and reggae influences.[3][4] Benji Webbe has also jokingly referred to the band's musical style as "nu-reggae", in reference to the term nu metal.[5] In his review of the album, Allmusic critic Johnny Loftus wrote that Babylon brought a new edge to the "blasé world" of rap rock, writing that "Emerging from the ashes of Dub War, Benji Webbe and company eschew that band's fetish for freely shifting sounds, in favor of a more focused ragga-rap-metal attack. It's not merely a facsimile of last year's money-making metal model. No, what little repetition does exist here comes from the dancehall influence, the harping and chatting over a nonstop groove."[6]

IGN reviewer Justin Falzon compares Webbe to "a flexible mesh of Jonathan Davis and Beenie Man", writing that "comparing his apparent vocal mastery to any one (or two) artists is nigh impossible. He screams, he wails, he growls, he rolls, and he jumps all over the register at will; it's an altogether astounding virtuoso performance. Unfortunately the music itself - slightly less funk than 311, slightly more punk than Limp Bizkit, and much more reggae than both - can't possibly keep up with Webbe's vocal apocalypse."[7]


Skindred toured in promotion of the album alongside Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle and Instruction, in a tour led by Korn. The band also performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[8] The first single from the album, "Nobody", was released on October 3, 2005.[9] A second edition of the single was released the same day, containing a remix of the song.[10] A music video for "Nobody" was produced, and appeared in solid rotation on Fuse TV and MTV2.[8]

The second single from the album, "Pressure", was released as a 7" on February 6, 2006. It contained the album version of the song and the "Happy Roses Baggy Mix" of "World Domination".[11][12] A CD single of "Pressure" was released on February 6, 2006. It contained the album version of the song, the "Drum N Bass Fix Pressure" remix, and the non-album track "Rude Boy 4 Life", as well as an Enhanced CD feature containing the song's music video.[13]

In the United States, the album charted at #1 on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart, #5 on the Top Heatseekers chart and at #189 on the Billboard 200, and the single "Nobody" peaked at #14 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and at #23 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in 2004.[14] In 2005, the single "Pressure" peaked at #30 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[14] In 2006, Babylon once again charted at #1 on the Top Reggae Albums chart.[14]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[15]
Audio Video Revolution 7.5/10 stars[16]
Eagle Eye favourable[17]
IGN (7.7/10)[18]
TuneLab favourable[19]

Critical response to the album was positive. Allmusic critic Johnny Loftus wrote that "Skindred doesn't seem to consciously want the reinvention tag; it has simply tapped into the same lack of pretension that fueled Korn and Living Colour's Vivid -- records that were made visionary by an unadulterated honesty in both delivery and craft. [...] highly recommended for fans of literate genre jumpers like Soulfly and System of a Down, or any heshers looking for some heavy-hitting firepower that hasn't fallen victim to the anvil of corporate assimilation."[6] IGN reviewer Justin Falzon called the album "a welcome attempt to innovate today's mainstream metal", writing that it "can be decidedly erratic, but nonetheless fascinating and difficult to dismiss" and concludes that "Skindred manages to place themselves outside the cookie-cutter conventions, nearly pulling off something fresh in the process."[7]

Audio Video Revolution reviewer Paul Lingas wrote that "most of the tracks are somewhat short, but too many of them blend one right into the other and end up sounding like noise [...] look for Skindred to plant themselves firmly on the map with this debut album."[20] TuneLab reviewer Jay described Babylon as "Party beach-type music for metalheads",[21] and Eagle Eye reviewer Edward Savoy called Skindred "the musically enlightened head-bangers dream".[22]

Track listing[edit]

Three editions of the album were released, each with a different track listing.[23][24][25]

2004 edition.a
No. Title Lyrics Music Producer Length
1. "Intro"   Ginge, Benji and Dan Jason Bieler and Skindred 0:28
2. "Nobody" Skindred Skindred Howard Benson 3:56
3. "Pressure" Skindred Skindred Howard Benson 3:31
4. "Start First" Skindred Skindred Jason Bieler and Skindred 2:49
5. "Interlude 1" (featuring Herbius Darussalam)     Jason Bieler and Skindred 0:16
6. "Selector" Skindred Skindred Howard Benson 2:23
7. "Bruises" Skindred Skindred Howard Benson 2:42
8. "We Want" Skindred Skindred Jason Bieler and Skindred 3:01
9. "Interlude 2" (featuring Jatoman Busha)     Jason Bieler and Skindred 0:28
10. "Set It Off" Skindred Skindred Howard Benson 3:03
11. "Firing The Love" Skindred Skindred Howard Benson 3:37
12. "Tears" Skindred Skindred Jason Bieler and Skindred 3:00
13. "World Domination" Skindred Skindred Howard Benson 2:24
14. "The Fear" (Contains elements sampled from "London Calling") Skindred Skindred/Strummer/Jones/Simonon/Headon Howard Benson 3:46
15. "Interlude 3"   Ginge and Benji Jason Bieler and Skindred 0:26
16. "Babylon" Skindred Skindred Howard Benson 3:34
17. "The Beginning Of Sorrows" (An acoustic version of "Pressure" appears as a hidden track) Skindred Skindred Jason Bieler and Skindred 11:06
Total length: 51:06


Information taken from Allmusic.[26]


  • Benji Webbe — vocals
  • Daniel Pugsley — bass
  • Mikey Demus — guitar
  • Jeff Rose — guitar
  • Martyn Ford — drums

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Brandon Abeln — assistant
  • Howard Benson — keyboards, producer
  • Aaron Bieler — A&R
  • Jason Bieler — producer, mixing, A&R
  • Christina Dittmar — art direction
  • Martyn Ford — digital editing
  • Mike Fuller — mastering
  • Gersh — drum technician
  • Andrew Goldman — engineer, mixing
  • David Holdrege — pro-tools
  • Ted Jensen — mastering
  • Andrew Karp — A&R
  • Per Kviman — A&R
  • Jason Lader — digital editing
  • Eric Miller — engineer, digital editing
  • Martie Muhoberac — production coordination
  • Keith Nelson — guitar technician
  • Johnny O. — digital editing
  • Mark Obriski — design
  • Mike Plotnikoff — engineer, digital editing
  • F. Scott Schafer — photography
  • Rick "Soldier" Will — mixing


  • ^a This track listing reflects the United Kingdom release, as the version released in the United States does not contain the track "We Want".[25]


  1. ^ a b c Loftus, Johnny. "Biography of Skindred". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Jeff / Ginge Statement upon leaving Skindred". Dub War. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2008. 
  3. ^ "Last chance to catch Skindred". Express and Echo. December 15, 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  4. ^ "Skindred set to storm into action". South Wales Evening Post. April 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  5. ^ Briggs, Newt (September 9, 2004). "Dread head". Las Vegas Mercury. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Loftus, Johnny. "Review of Babylon". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  7. ^ a b Falzon, Justin (April 12, 2005). "Review of Babylon". IGN. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  8. ^ a b "UK ragga-metal band Skindred lands Korn tour alongside Breaking Nejamin and Instruction". The Gauntlet. November 9, 2004. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  9. ^ "Information for "Nobody" (CD #1)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  10. ^ "Information for "Nobody" (CD #2)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  11. ^ "Information for "Pressure" (1 Track)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  12. ^ "Information for "Pressure" (7")". Discogs. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  13. ^ "Information for "Pressure"". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  14. ^ a b c "Charts and awards for Babylon". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2008. 
  15. ^ Allmusic review
  16. ^ Audio Video Revolution review
  17. ^ Eagle Eye review
  18. ^ IGN review
  19. ^ TuneLab review
  20. ^ Lingas, Paul (August 31, 2004). "Review of Babylon". Audio Video Revolution. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  21. ^ Jay (September 6, 2004). "Review of Babylon". TuneLab. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  22. ^ Savoy, Edward (November 17, 2004). "Eclecticism Amuck". Edward Savoy. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  23. ^ Skindred (July 2002). Babylon. RCA Records. UPC 743219477323. 
  24. ^ Skindred (April 2003). Babylon. Bieler Bros. UPC 044007502228. 
  25. ^ a b Skindred (August 14, 2004). Babylon. Lava/Bieler Bros. UPC 075679330420. 
  26. ^ "Credits for Babylon". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-09.