Review Summary: A Christian rock classic with a large mainstream appeal.
Skillet is, and always has been in my view one of the best modern bands competing for fans in the rather crowded 'nu-metal' genre. It is a great injustice to sell them short as simply a christian band appealing to Christian fans, they, in my view, have a very wide mainstream appeal.
Despite the efforts on Comatose and more recently, Awake, Collide will always be the most important album too me, it introduced the sound that skillet have pioneered on in latter albums. While Awake and Comatose have softened the new sound, Collide is Skillet's heaviest, loudest album, and smashes out several rock anthems with skillets rather signature 'dun dun, dun dun' guitar riffs. Compared to Alien Youth, Coopers voice is significantly less autotuned, and with the introduction of several tracks that featured a rather belated scream, it is even hard to consider this of the same genre as previous efforts.
Focusing on the album itself, several of these tracks really stand out. The lead single Savior will be familiar to most who are aware of the band as it gained heavy radio play in alot of countries, and despite featuring rather traditional verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break setup it manages to be highly energetic and worthy of relistening. The enthusiasm of the chorus and message behind the words make this one of the few tracks that you will find hard to forget, the message is clear. As Cooper screams "you need, you need meeee" you have to wonder if this is a message regarding god, or one about his own personal life, and that is one of my favourite parts about this band, the interpretation of the lyrics, they talk about the highs and lows of life, something that everyone can relate to.
But unlike many bands, it is not the single that gives the best experience, my favourite part of Collide is that it has removed the typical mid album soft points and is able to be listened too from start to finish. Forsaken uses the autotune to extremely effective levels mixing softer verses with extremely energetic choruses, and despite criticism Coopers voice fits the sound perfectly. Imperfection, despite a similar sound is another highlight with one of the best breakdowns on the album. The tracks are full of highs and breakdowns, and are not afraid to use more classical sounds to broaden the musics range. Collide still has a heavy synthesised feel that may not appeal to some, it is no Metallica, but the recording quality is high class and not a single song misses out on giving a impressive breakdown and effectively using Coopers newly found aggressive scream to its advantage. One of my only criticisms can be the repetitiveness of the tracks, alot of the songs sound very similar that until you re-listen, you may have trouble differentiating, especially since they follow similar song structure and "dun dun dun dun" guitar rifs, but I enjoy the sound Skillet made on this album, and it was new for them as a band, I never was left wanting them to try a completely different style, on Collide anyway. Despite possibly not being as technically experimental or concrete as some rock bands, not a single song on this track is boring, Energy is by far the hardest track and the lyrics can really be enjoyed by christian followers.
And that is the key point, nothing on this album sounds overly preachy, that is what makes them appeal as a mainstream band. The tracks, while covered in energy, are vocally strong and have a clear message, they discuss themes such as love, hate, depression, unfaithfulness, and common relationships that most people can relate too. The highlight of the album by far for me though wasn't actually included on the original release, but instead the special edition. "Open Wounds" comes home with the highlight of the bands career in my view, offering a heavy rendition of a man dealing with the emotional perils of a failed relationship and someone coming to grips with their 'loving' partners betrayal.
How could you, how could you, how could you hate me"
When all I ever wanted to be was you"
How could you, how could you, how could you love me"
When all you ever gave me were open wounds"
In my view, skillet is the modern rock band that can make new age christian music that all people can relate too. Several tracks on this album are simply exhilarating, and portray positive messages about life. That in itself is a pleasant change from many alternative rock bands out there. In more recent albums I feel their trademark sound has become tired and overused, and quite possibly taken down several notches into their softer sound from times of yore. But in its own context and not in the development of the band, Collide is a modern rock classic that deserves far more recognition than it gets.