Review Summary: Skillet have made a name for themselves, and have shown that they have what it takes to write a great record
Skillet is a name that wasn't widely known in the mainstream music scene until 2009. Their release of the singles "Hero" and "Monster" off of their latest release "Awake" garnered mainstream attention because of the widespread distribution of those singles being used for many sports teams warm up songs, and in many video games. They have, however, been in existence since 1996 as one of the best Christian Rock bands around. Skillet is known for changing their style a lot to keep things fresh, belonging to the genres of Grunge, Worship, Industrial, Hard Rock and Modern Rock at one point in their career. It all seemed to work for the Christian music industry, and even some secular outlets too. But this all changed with the release of "Comatose." The 7th effort by Skillet brought them out into the mainstream music scene. Now was the chance for them to reach out to the secular audience, and stay true to their Christian roots at the same time. Encompassing a heavy sound, while also developing the string arrangements found on "Collide," Skillet proved to the industry and themselves they are capable of holding their own.
The album opens up with the breathtaking single "Rebirthing." Regarded by frontman John Cooper as his favorite song they ever wrote, "Rebirthing" takes the listener on a journey filled with strings, synth, heavy guitars and a beautiful soaring chorus. What Skillet does extremely well is vocals. John Cooper's harsh, raspy voice is a lot of the time accompanied by the more soothing, soft voice of his wife (who plays rhythm guitar and synth) Korey Cooper, thus creating the perfect tone for choruses and bridges. This formula is kept throughout most of the epic-sounding songs like the title track and "Falling Inside the Black." The guitar work on this album is a step up from their cliched release of "Collide," providing crunchy tones and thick heavy sounds to go with the string and synth arrangement. The guys and gals of Skillet also really know how to get a listener emotionally attached to their songs. For instance, their song "The Last Night" is about a girl John Cooper knew who came to him one night and told him that she was saying goodbye and that she was going to kill herself because she has nothing left to live for. In the song John tells her and all of the people in her position that they have much to live for, and that there is a God that loves and cares for them. Now even for non-Christians this song hits the listener hard because of a beautifully made chorus overflowing with vocal emotion. Throughout the whole album there are instances of emotional depth added to the vocals that you just don't hear a lot of nowadays.
Now to keep the epic strings/synth/heavy guitar combo from being overused, Skillet throws in a couple ballads and pop-rock anthems intermittently throughout the album . "Yours to Hold" is an extremely well made ballad, combining acoustic guitars, soft synth, and a very good vocal performance from John Cooper. Nostalgic pop-rock anthems such as "The Older I Get" and "Those Nights" really perfect the catchiness needed to pull of a good pop-rock song, and brings the listener back to good memories. Honestly the only filler I feel is on the album is a ballad called "Say Goodbye" that although lyrically is really good, is just a cliched rock ballad. It isn't a terrible song by any means, it just doesn't have the impact that the rest of the songs on the album do. Now the drumming on the album isn't anything overtly special. Ex-drummer Lori Peters really does what is needed to make the song flow, and not much more. The drums on "Better Than Drugs" really adds to the upbeat feel of the lyrics by providing a nice shuffle for the synth to work with. All in all the drums aren't bad at all, they just aren't anything special.
Comatose really set the bar for Skillet and is almost like a new start for them, because apart from the Christian scene their albums really went unnoticed. I think that they'll hit some road bumps up ahead trying to find their role in this new scene, but all and all, "Comatose" is a nearly perfect record for Skillet to get their feet wet with.
the Last Night
Better Than Drugs
i really dont find much attractive about their drastic change in style.
the only good tracks on comatose are the ones with deep intense strings on the title track and Rebirthing. Better than Drugs is okay, Those Nights is okay, but overall the album just fails to ever have any play count by me, and i listen to a lot of christian music. Its not bad though, Awake did that job pretty easily