Skillet
Awake


1.5
very poor

Review

by fr33convict USER (10 Reviews)
February 18th, 2011 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Skillet take a leap of faith towards more mainstream popularity but ultimately miss the target.

Skillet is a band that has always the shown potential to create something unique but unfortunately almost always seems to miss the mark. Whether you look at their average post-grunge beginnings to their misguided industrial phase, the band has never seemed to been able to pull it together to make the great record they’ve always had the potential to. That was, until 2006. Comatose was an interesting combination of symphonic elements and hook-driven mainstream rock that became one of the first albums I ever truly loved. Every song was of high quality, the hooks worked, and the string arrangements felt like an important part of the song rather than a gimmick that was simply tacked on. Unfortunately, fans looking for a quality follow-up will be disappointed. Awake is filled to the brim with filler material, uninteresting songwriting, and ultimately feels devoid of any life. Skillet strips this record of almost all of the things that made past release worthwhile and instead takes a misguided leap of faith towards reaching a greater fan base.

The first thing Skillet screws themselves over with is the ballads. No matter which phase of their career, previous releases brought forth quality softer tracks which were always memorable and enjoyable. Unfortunately almost all of the ballads on Awake feel about as lifeless and manufactured as the latest Hinder or Nickelback single. Embellishing themselves in every cliché known to man, the ballads are incredibly predictable and completely stale. The worst part is that for whatever reason the band decided to fill half the disc with these boring, corporate-created snooze-fests.

With the reduced emphasis on the strings and instrumental component of the band this time around, more focus is put on vocalist John Cooper. On Comatose, John felt like he had comfortably found a voice that suits him, and while not being the most interesting vocalist on the planet, he rarely struggled to hit a note he couldn’t quite reach or wrote a bad melody. On Awake however, he rarely sounds at ease with his voice. Frequently trying to reach notes he is unable to, he often winds up making the choruses almost cringe-worthy rather than the large and memorable affair they should be. John’s lyrical abilities have also taken a noticeable decline. While his past work wasn’t exactly poetry, Collide and Comatose showed signs of vastly improved lyrics. Themes of past efforts revolved around society, struggling with his faith, and being the light of the world and leading by example. Yet on this album, Skillet seems content making sure to include every possible over-used metaphor. The lyrics are as uninteresting and predictable as one could imagine. Songs range from feeling like a monster (complete with dull shout-along choruses!) to feeling sorry (almost all the ballads).

While the album rarely pulls itself out its self-imposed state of mediocrity, there are a few parts worth noting. Album opener “Hero” features a one of the band’s catchiest choruses to date. “Awake and Alive” brings the powerful string arrangements to the table in a style similar to that of Comatose. Album closer “Lucy” is a humble track dedicated to a lost loved-one in which Mr. Cooper actually succeeds at sounding genuinely remorseful and is both powerful and moving. Unfortunately for Skillet, three solid tracks out of twelve just doesn’t cut it. There just isn’t nearly enough substance here to make this album anything remotely enjoyable. Whether you like Skillet or not, Awake is an album you will most likely want to avoid. Awake sounds like a cop-out for more mainstream appeal rather than the true follow up to Comatose fans deserve.



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user ratings (463)
Chart.
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

My first attempt at writing a review in the 1 range. Did not enjoy this at all.

Emim
February 18th 2011


26646 Comments


Definitely not a 1.5, but good review.

fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

what do you think it definitely is mimsy

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2011


16412 Comments


Ok so looking this over it is definitely a solid review, if not a great review. I hate this album too, it was a complete letdown from Comatose. It seems so bland and predictable, I liked the portion where you compared it to Nickelback and Hinder because honest to god there are similarities. I have always thought the vocalist sounded like a crappier version of the guy from Three Days Grace on this record, but maybe that's just me. My personal opinion is that you did a little too much to defend it in the conclusion, seeing as you gave it a 1.5 yet stated outright that there are 3 good tracks and the rest is rarely offensively bad. Like I said, it might just be a case of personal preference, but for me a 1.5 means it is offensively bad, but it has like 1, maybe 2 redeeming qualities.

Overall you make good points and defend them well; your writing style is easy to read as well. Worth a pos for sure. I hope this doesn't seem picky, but since you did ask me to look it over, these are some grammatical things you might want to fix:

previous releases brought forth quality softer tracks which where always memorable and enjoyable

*which were

John’s lyrical has also taken a noticeable decline

Pretty sure you either meant lyrics or lyrical abilities, or something of that nature

While his past work wasn’t exactly poetry, Collide and Comatose showed signs of vastly improved lyrical work. Themes of past work revolved around society,

way too many "work"s for its own good. Throw in a few "efforts" and "albums" to make that read more smoothly

incredibly vague metaphors and making sure to include every possible over-used metaphor

same thing

sounds like a cop-out for mainstream more mainstream appeal

didn't really follow that

Like I said though, solid review...quite good for your first overtly "negative review." Hope that helped.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Emim
February 18th 2011


26646 Comments


Probably about a 2.5 or so.

And this sentence has an extra mainstream me thinks:

Awake sounds like a cop-out for mainstream more mainstream appeal rather than the true follow up to Comatose fans deserve.


fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

fixed.

@sonic: there's some decent stuff here so it's hard to really justify a 1.

WhiteWallStargazers
February 18th 2011


2647 Comments


It's bad, but not a 1

Phideaux
February 18th 2011


1654 Comments


Pretty good review, fr33. It doesn't really read like a 1.5 though. The review makes it seem like a 2.5, in my opinion.

I've never check this out, but I liked Comatose.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2011


16412 Comments


Nah def reads like a 2

fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I changed the last paragraph up a bit. I don't know why I put the line about it not being offensively bad since I kind of
really offended me haha. And I didn't say the three songs were even very good, just that they were decent.

DinoX
February 18th 2011


3582 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Ratings is correct

fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yay someone agrees

KimmsightMatters
February 18th 2011


6147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Comatose was definitely way better, but I don't think the album was that bad...

Awake and Alive is a good song, as is Hero.

fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

-23537/5

fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I really don't know why but I lol'd at Kimm's post.

fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yes, although it's not very noticeable at all on this cd.

fr33convict
February 18th 2011


11694 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

no because he's all I FEELLL LIKE A MONSTARRRR and I NEED A HEEEEEEEROOOOO on this cd.

Acanthus
February 18th 2011


9543 Comments


Pos'd - agree with most of the points here.

Digging: The Knife - Deep Cuts

DinoX
February 18th 2011


3582 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I actually really like Skillet's album Collide but this is just awful.

Also both vocalists are god awful.

EyeForAnEye
February 18th 2011


1694 Comments


Fuck this band.



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