Review Summary: Skillet has "Risen" back to their former glory!!!
So for anyone who doesn't know, Skillet has been alive much longer then you think, They've been around about 11 years, and released 8 albums before Rise. Their first big seller came out in 2006, titled "Comatose", and showed the world the talent they have, the true potential that the band possesses, and their passion to their religious beliefs. It was so good that even non-religious people was able to fall for these guys. But then came "Awake". Sure, some songs on Awake were fun (Hero, Monster, Lucy, and Awake and Alive), but the album itself was nothing but fodder and mainstream waste. I wasn't expecting much with "Rise", but, and dare you call me for making this statement, Skillet has Risen back to their former glory!!!
So this album is notably a change both in sound and album structure, for this is their first album to be a concept album. The concept is that of the typical life journey of the average teenager who experiences the harsh troubles of life and finds passion in Christ and is able to make it through it all, and may I say they did a amazing job telling it! And here I was thinking, "Jeez, not another "Wretched and Divine" and from these guys?!" I gotta give it to them, they surprised me!
So the album begins with it's title track, which is a strong opener like "Awake" did, only Rise is ten times better then "Hero", both lyrically and technically! The song ends with a strong taste of the world around the listener and leads to the first single of the album, "Sick of It" Which continues the albums strong new sound, dating back to the good old days of Alien Youth (Remember I said this is their 9th album? Using a strong techno beat in there to keep things fresh while at the same time bringing in the same audience won from "Awake". The next song is the slower, more upbeat song, "Good to be Alive". I was thinking this would be another "Don't Wake Me" from "Awake", which was one of the weaker songs from it, But I was wrong again! "Good to be Alive" had a great vibe about it and was powerfully uplifting, any sad person can't stay sad at it!!! Finally for the first of three parts, the beginning ends with the powerful anthem "Not Gonna Die" And Believe me when I say, This is truly one of Skillet's best songs ever!!! And like that, the first of three parts of the album comes to a close.
The next part of the album takes a look at the world around the listener and how, despite it falling apart, it shouldn't affect you!!! It begins with "Circus for a Psycho" that has a fun technical sense to it. Definitely once you'll remember when thinking of this album. After that comes "American Noise" which feels slower and less blissful then the rest of the album. I like it, but compared to the rest of this album... eh. Finally comes "Madness in Me" which is like the "Monster" of this album. It's powerful, both emotionally, and the ending with give you goosebumps!!! Thanks to the Cooper's daughter reading a passage from the bible.
The third part of the album strike more positive themes like Love, and Jen Ledger, the drummer and backup singer, takes the lead vocals for the first song, "Salvation" And she does an amazing job for it!!! She's heard almost everywhere on this album and I'm loving it!!! It's kind of a breath of fresh air from John's continually straining voice. They must of realized this mistake from "Awake" and fixed it beautifully. Next comes "Fire and Fury" which is another strong love song, but the excellence in this song is that it goes straight to God, which is something the band has rarely done that much before, Their much more blunt with their religious lyrics on this album, yet I know fans, christian or not, will love this nonetheless!!! They continue this lyrical rapture with the next song "My Religion", which I felt was a little brittle around the edges, but still a decent song nonetheless. After that comes "Hard to Find" which is another amazing song made about pain, and religion. The song is also about loneliness. That's what I love about this! Their able to make songs about different stuff all at once, even though most bands have trouble doing so! Finally the last song on the album, "What I Believe" which is the last of a barrage of amazing songs from this band that I once thought was lost in the streets of Mainstream. Thanks to Seth Morrison's creative guitar playing since he replaced Ben Kasica, and Jen's more prominent vocals!
So in the end, Skillet's "Rise" is a step forward that proves that the band isn't a group of sellouts, nor our they people who lost their faith in exchange for fame! No, Skillet has come back!!! With a hard hitting, heart warming album that'll make you smile every time you listen! This isn't just an album for God, this is something i recommend everyone from all religions to listen to and hear for yourself!