SKILLET

"Awake" (Lava/Ardent/Atlantic; 2009)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I'm back with another Skillet review, since penning one for their breakout disc titled "Comatose." The boss sent me "Awake" and metal horns to you R. Scott \m/. This disc debuted at No. 2 on SoundScan and became the highest charting Christian disc since The Underoath's "Define The Great Line." So what does all that mean? Well, it means that Skillet will hit you upside the head with a lot of hard rock and some powerful lyrics.

The single "Monster" has attached itself to the WWE, NFL, and MTV and just about any other acronym you can think of. The music is strong and powers the album from track to track. There is a deluxe CD that has two extra songs -- "Dead Inside" and "Would It Matter." I recommend getting the deluxe edition and supersizing your Skillet song list.

The first track, "Hero," starts off the disc and the vocal traits of John and Korey Cooper power this cut while it soars above anything they have recorded so far. John's gruff voice and gritty guitar make for some serious head banging. The keyboard and strings add a softer tone but when they crank it up the sound can change from serene to dramatic. The drums are solid and when Jen pounds those skins she does it with direct fury.

Even though Skillet has climbed to the top and offers of grand dreams swirl around them you have to remember that their main focus is on the lyrics. Each song has a meaning and not just a purpose. They don't just write for royalties; the songs on this disc talk about how you need to look for Christ and face life awake and alive.

The songs you'll be singing: "Hero," "Monster," "Awake And Alive," "It's Not Me It's You," "Believe," and "Dead Inside."

Skillet: John L. Cooper – lead vocals, bass guitar; Korey Cooper – keyboard; Jen Ledger – drums, backing vocals; Ben Kasica – guitar.

For more information, check out http://www.skillet.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/skilletmusic.

"Comatose Comes Alive" (Lava/Ardent/Atlantic; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I know I've said before that live albums are great as long as you were at the show when they were recorded so I must step out and be a little selfish in saying that I've seen Skillet live three times. The first was in Florida at WAYFEST in 2008, then at Winter Jam 2008 in Florida and then Winter Jam in Oklahoma within the same month of February ... which makes me a pan head.

This CD/DVD combo was recorded in Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 9, 2008. It was at the end of their "Comatose" CD tour. Bands that release a live CD should always release the DVD that goes with it; maybe some record executives are going to go back in the annals and pull footage of some great sounding concerts so we can see the live footage ourselves.

This DVD has some extra videos on it at the end, besides the concert footage, so you can see their vids for the hit songs "Rebirthing," "Whispers In The Dark," and "Savior." Overall the sound quality is really good and John Cooper gives introductions to many of the songs so you know the origin from where they came. This live CD/DVD combo has songs from their albums "Invincible" (2000), "Collide" (2003), and "Comatose" (2006).

Skillet: John L. Cooper – vocals, bass; Korey Cooper – keyboard, guitar, vocals; Lori Peters - drums; Ben Kasica - guitar.

For more information, check out http://www.skillet.com
 

"Comatose" (Lava/Arden/Atlantic; 2006)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Skillet is Christian rock, but don’t let that stop you from reading further. If you’ve read at least two of my reviews on this sub-genre then you know I would never recommend advice I wouldn’t take myself. 

Skillet have so many styles to pull from its almost unfair. They have an alternative sound, but they also bleed into the Goth world with their eerie keys and electronic undertones. They can also pull a nu-metal trick out of their hat. "Comatose" has them sticking with a hard rock tone.

The reason I like Skillet so much (in fact, I saw them twice live in the same year) is that they rock no matter what the subject matter is. No subject is taboo. They tackle issues and, when I say "tackle them," I mean they stop and have the conversations most people don’t have about certain problems instead of just throwing some scripture at the issue and giving their surgical response to it. They offer a way out, instead of a quick answer.

Skillet embraces cutters on “The Last Night.” John Cooper, the lead singer, talks about how he hated his dad and waited for years for an apology but it never came. “The Older I Get” turns around a potentially damaging cycle and brings hope out of it. “Better Than Drugs” sounds cliché from a Christian band and I’ll admit I half rolled my eyes but you have to remember that Christian musicians know they have a responsibility to those to whom they’re singing to. Despite the song title, it has a gritty solo, so not all is lost.

Skillet has fans that are called “Skilletfanz” and the hardcore ones who travel to three or four shows a year and bring skillets are called, “Panheads.” John Cooper admits he hates the name of his band but he’s glad that fans don’t mind it. John’s wife, Corey plays keyboards and guitar in Skillet; you can hear her backing vocals soar on a few tracks and that gives their songs a strong female voice.

Skillet: John Cooper – lead vocals, bass; Korey Cooper – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals; Ben Kasica – guitar; Jen Ledger – drums.

The best tracks are, “Rebirthing,” “The Last Night,” “Comatose,” “The Older I Get,” “Falling Inside The Black,” and “Whispers In The Dark.”

For more information, check out http://www.skillet.com

"Collide" (Lava; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Skillet avoid being hit with the dreaded "spongerock" label because at least they've got a solid edge to their music. Unlike the plague of pop punk spongerock out there, at least Skillet deliver sharp guitar and a aggressive metal attitude.

Still, Skillet never sounds much different from their touring partners, Pillar, or, surprisingly, middling Disturbed. This is the kind of hard rock that bands like Creed have made popular - it rocks harder than you'd expect and it can still get airplay. Skillet are just as good as any of the other bands in the genre at delivering the goods. My only complaints are the lack of originality and the filter that lead vocalist John Cooper uses to tweak his voice - it's far more annoying than enhancing.

The band has reportedly removed much of the electronic influence that their previous release, "Alien Youth," contained. Having not heard that CD, I can't say whether that's true or not, but I can say this: I have to wonder if maybe there wasn't a happy medium where Skillet could have retained a little more of their own unique sound while still moving forward into a more guitar-oriented format.

Regardless, "Collide" isn't a bad effort at all, and fans of Pillar and Creed will no doubt find something to like here.

For more information, check out http://www.skillet.org

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 05 Nov 2017 10:28:11 -0500.