Skillet
Rise


1.5
very poor

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
June 24th, 2013 | 144 replies | 14,586 views


Release Date: 06/25/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Out of the frying pan, into the fire

I’m not sure why, exactly, I decided to listen to Skillet’s new LP, Rise. Most likely, I think it was as some sort of catharsis, forcing myself to realize Skillet is no longer the band I loved. I was in middle school and freshman year of high school not too long ago, and I was your standard gangly, pubescent kid wandering around aimlessly in the Hybrid Theory T-shirt and blasting KoRn through cheap Apple earbuds. With that profile inevitably came Skillet’s Comatose (or at least the singles). I thought songs like “Comatose,” “Better Than Drugs,” and “The Last Night” were the greatest things since sliced bread, and at this point I’ve listened to those three so much that they’re ingrained in my psyche, forever intertwined with my idea of adolescence and growing pains.

Of course, my tastes have matured since then. Radio-friendly hard rock is no longer my favorite genre, and I’ve realized good music spans far wider than the Breaking Benjamins and Halestorms of the world. Alive was one of the first records to broaden my perspective: past the superficial catchiness and “heaviness” of “Awake And Alive” and “Hero,” Skillet was just capitalizing on what worked in the past, knowing full well that many would snap up the pop violins and male-female vocal split over power chord after power chord. The mediocre and boring album stung especially hard for me, as a (I thought then) die-hard fan of the band. Initially, I refused to give up on Skillet, shitty-ass “ballads” be damned. I hated critics’ negative receptions of the release - couldn’t they just be satisfied with Skillet’s skill at creating kick-ass hard rock riffing?

As time went on, though, my musical horizons inevitably expanded. I realized that “kick-ass hard rock riffing” I loved so much didn’t change much between any of the songs I appreciated so much. I found countless bands who made catchy hard rock better and more interestingly than Skillet, and as I grew older Awake fell hard in my eyes. I stopped hoping for Skillet to redeem themselves with their next album after seeing that they had no reason to change - Awake sold so well that Skillet had no need to switch their sound to be more “critically acclaimed.” In my mind, there was so much anti-hype surrounding Rise that Skillet had near-insurmountable obstacles on their path to creating a quality album.

It hurts more than I expected, though, that Rise is exactly what I thought it would be. There’s a lot of mindless power chords on every song, there are a lot of overtly “force-feeding Christian” lyrics and imagery all over, and the album will most likely appeal to those who drank in the toxins of Awake with no inhibitions. It’s possible to argue this is just Skillet doing what they know how to do best, but what’s really disappointing is that Rise is way too watered down, even for Skillet. “Salvation” is essentially a bad clone of “The Last Night,” piano intro and cheesy Hollywood strings kept virtually the same. The only real difference is that Jen Ledger is far worse of a vocalist than Korey Cooper, as her auto-tuned “Whoa, oh, yeahs” fit rather poorly with the rest of the song.

Much like Awake, the ballads are on the whole horrendous. “Fire And Fury” is grating, with its male-female dynamic that sounds vaguely like if an infinitely less talented Lady Antebellum decided to make their lead singer gruffer and replace acoustic and slide guitars with simple string arrangements and uninteresting keys. “American Noise” is an even worse offender, as if Skillet tried to make a Hinder-esque stab at hitting the radio and failed almost as badly as the latter usually does. The “la-da-da-da”s from John Cooper are almost a summary of the half of the album made up of ballads - mindless and unnecessary.

If there’s any salvaging factor on this album, it’s that Skillet is still arguably being Skillet. As much as “Not Gonna Die” is essentially a carbon copy of “Awake and Alive,” at least it’s still got that classic Skillet kick in the chorus: catchy, singable, and striking the perfect balance between heavy and easily listenable. However, the biggest successes on the album (and they are few and far between) are arguably so because they’re no different than either of Skillet’s previous two albums - “Salvation” and “The Last Night,” “Not Gonna Die” and “Awake and Alive,” “Circus For A Psycho” and “Monster” (regarding the third of these: see if you can listen to Cooper’s calls of “Circus For A Psycho!” in the chorus and not think immediately “I FEEL LIKE A MONSTER!”).

It’s painful to realize Skillet is no longer interested in releasing another Comatose. Rise will inevitably sell quite well, Skillet will make mountains of money off merch and touring, and everyone goes home happy except for some disgruntled fans. However, it’s also strangely liberating to realize I don’t have to rely on Skillet to come through with every release, every song. Just as my freshman year is safely behind me, so too is my adoration of Skillet, and while it’s sad to let go it also frees me from my bond. I’m no longer tied down to the same album released ad infinitum until the cash stops rolling in - I’m done with the relationship. The cheesy violins in closer “What I Believe” sum up my feelings: sure, it’s sad that Skillet is basically dead to me, but I’ve grown out of them. Who I put my trust in next is for me to decide.



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user ratings (108)
Chart.
2.4
average
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hcwhite254 (3.5)
If only other reviewers would "awaken" from the doldrums of "Awake", this album offers significantly...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2013



3008 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

A blog-styled review for an album I didn't really know how to approach any other way. Streaming here:
http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/1568069/skillet-rise-exclusive-album-premiere

also reading that stream description lol it's a concept album apparently, that's cute

plus I doubt anyone will find it otherwise so there's a slight pun (?) in the summary

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

skoopy48
June 24th 2013



1308 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh god if this is as bad as Awake I wont even bother listening. The songs they've released haven't been comepletly terrible though.

TooManyFriends
June 24th 2013



388 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Comatose was nice and all but everyone knows their true best album is Collide

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2013



3008 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I thought Sick of It was pretty bad but could have meant all right things for the album, but American Noise was absolute shit. Make of that what you will

TooManyFriends
June 24th 2013



388 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

When did his voice get so bad goddamn

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2013



7160 Comments


Contribs don't enjoy music. I knew that.

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2013



3008 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I'm in it for the bitches which mx gives me for contributing

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 24th 2013



7160 Comments


That being said, I'm sold. I like the tone of the review. It's personal and feels genuine. Thank U.

DegausserGuernica24
June 24th 2013



1134 Comments


This is really sad, Comatose was my favorite album for a long time.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
June 24th 2013



14510 Comments


So is this kind of like how Seether went downhill?

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 24th 2013



18591 Comments


haha damn. very noice review man

Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

toxin.
June 24th 2013



11804 Comments


this might be awful but comatose was a legitimately good album for what it was

SowingSeason
Emeritus
June 24th 2013



14510 Comments


Yeah the orchestral introduction to Comatose makes me want to run out of a tunnel into a stadium.

Doesn't matter what sport, I just want to someday be introduced by that song.

DegausserGuernica24
June 24th 2013



1134 Comments


^^^^ this

Gwyn.
June 24th 2013



13971 Comments


"plus I doubt anyone will find it otherwise so there's a slight pun (?) in the summary"

i saw it lol

DinosaurJones
June 24th 2013



490 Comments


Yeah, I've totally lost faith in this band. I probably won't even bother.

Toondude10
June 24th 2013



1816 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Too harsh on this. It's better than their last album but they still need to improve. I honestly thought that this was decent.

Digging: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas...

Friday13th
June 24th 2013



1213 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Haven't heard more than the singles, but I'm not surprised if it's this bad. Collide and Comatose were good but after that it's been rehash after rehash.

Digging: Sebastian Hardie - Four Moments

marshal46
June 24th 2013



15 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Halfway listening through this and my first thought is if only the songs on this album were as clever and thoughtful as the concept interludes... John Cooper's voice just isn't good enough to carry anything sadly. The instrumentation is good in a guilty pleasure, nostalgic sort of way.

Green Baron
June 24th 2013



11025 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

never a big skillet person, but at least i thought they were kinda half-decent in some way. heard "sick of it", and it was shit

Digging: Chevelle - La Gargola



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