Review Summary: Hugely flawed, but great nontheless
Radio rock bands, for the most part, suffer from being the most repetitive, generic artists to have left their imprint on the music industry. Such a curse has long since been the trend, enveloping bands such as Bon Jovi and AC/DC in it's money making net and choking the life out of said bands. However, every once in a blue moon, should the stars be aligned correctly, one band manages to stray away from the beaten path and release an album that stands out as being a cut above their peers, and, on Comatose, Skillet achieved this.
Now, I shall say straight away, this album is not a perfect album by any stretch of the imagination. However, what this is is three quarters of an hour of catchy, enjoyable enough rock music full of pulsing guitar riffs and catchy enough choruses, and actually breaks away from the stereotypical themes of much radio rock, and provides a little more variety. Each of the twelve songs found throughout this release is as fun to listen to as the last, and some of them pack a real punch, and create an impact upon the listener almost unheard of in such a generic genre.
The real weakness of this album, however, is utterly unforgivable. John Cooper's vocal work throughout this release is very weak, and, despite fitting the music, and the themes found on here, he comes across as sounding a little too underwhelming. He has a very gruff, almost Nickelback-sounding voice, although thankfully not being that bad, he is still by far the weakest member of the band. The occasional female vocals from Korey Cooper is considerably stronger, and gives the band a nice dynamic to work off, with the conversation styling of The Last Night and the dual vocal line at the beginning of Better Than Drugs being the highlights.
The instrumentals to this band are utterly top notch, using some hard hitting guitar lines coupled with nice enough drumming from Lori Peters, and some nice uses of keyboard from Korey. This is the bands real strong suit, being able to put together some exceedingly strong bases for the vocalists to work off. The guitar work to Better Than Drugs, The Older I Get and Say Goodbye are the best moments for the instrumentals throughout this album, which at times does have a feel of intensity. The guitar solos are tight enough for a radio rock album, serving to bridge the individual segments of the songs together really well, and showing the guitarists to have a lot of talent.
The lyrics are also a strong point of the album, with The Last Night taking the cake as being both the best overall song and the most powerful lyrical song on the album. This deals with a guy who likes a self harming girl, but she wants to end it all, and he wants her to trust in him, and really is a beautiful song. This song was the song that served as my introduction to Skillet, and truly is gorgeous from start to finish, with an incredible amount of emotion dripping from every single note in the instrumentals, and even the vocals being completely bearable start to finish.
Say Goodbye, Comatose and the closer to the album, Looking For Angels, are the other real standouts on the album, with each one having enough going for it that the vocals can be completely overlooked. However, this can not be said for Those Nights, nor for Falling Inside The Black, two songs situated in the middle of the album that really serve to drag down the album, and are essentially a void between the stellar first half of the album and the thrilling finale to it.
This album truly is a cut above the average radio rock music, and stands out as one of the best the genre has thrust upon us, with some extremely strong tunes found on it. Listen to The Last Night, and if this catches you, and hooks you in, then purchase the album, and prepare to be absorbed in this bands mix of pulsing guitar lines, great lyrics, and the beautiful female vocals from Korey Cooper. 3.5/5