Review Summary: Skillet has never sounded better.
After three studio albums, Skillet has perfected their industrial rock. That much should be clear when listening to ‘Vapor’, an intense hard rock piece interwoven perfectly with industrial mechanisms. Other songs like ‘Earth Invasion’ and ‘Kill Me Heal Me’ follow this structure and result in perfect industrial bliss. Loose ends still exist, however. ‘Stronger’ utilizes annoying sound effects and bland lyrics while ‘Rippin’ Me Off’ is just a bunch of psychobabble.
Despite casual annoyances, Skillet’s Christian message has never been clearer: “Nations stream and angels sing, "Jesus reigns"”. It is when Skillet tears down the industrial sonic barriers that they are truly compelling as a Christian band. Songs like ‘You Are My Hope’ and ‘Will You Be There (Falling Down)’ take this musical direction and release emotion into the album. With excellent female vocals (from Korey Cooper) added to the mix, the quieter songs are practically irresistible listens. In the title track ‘Alien Youth’, her vocals are crystal clear and compliment the song in the way a glass of wine compliments a fine meal.
Although there are plenty of reasons to celebrate this album, there are also plenty of reasons to avoid this album. The mind-numbing industrial effects can get monotonous quickly. Also, the drama that comes with Skillet’s industrial music can bring the album down to a cheesy level. For those that can take it, though, an enjoyable album will await.