Skillet
Victorious


1.5
very poor

Review

by Aeri USER (28 Reviews)
August 3rd, 2019 | 59 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Thunder, thun-thunder. Thun-thun-thunder. Thunder, thun-“oh shit, wait. Wrong band, sorry.

First off, a little bit of honesty is in order before going any further here.

I… like Skillet. Or, at the very least, I like the band they used to be.

Skillet remind me of my teenage years, and unashamedly for all the right reasons. When the early/mid-2000s radio rock/emo explosion took off and blasted your Linkin Park’s and Thirty Seconds To Mars’, to My Chemical Romance’s and many, many more into the spotlight, Skillet’s 2006 effort Comatose quickly found its own place among the fray. With carefully crafted lyricism that would allow for more than just a Christian audience into the fold, it was big, catchy, radio friendly rock music for the masses to easily digest, and cemented the formula that would eventually prove the band’s undoing. Or at least, in terms of critical reception.

See, Skillet weren’t always the symphonic radio rock giants they’ve been known to be for the last decade or so: 1996 debut release Skillet leans far more heavily into the typical 90s grunge influence of the time, and with John Cooper being the only remaining member since the group’s inception, effectively stands as the work of a completely different band. Alternatively, 2001 electronic rock oddball Alien Youth just sounds, well… strange. True, the album is solid enough, with tracks such as the gorgeous “Thirst Is Taking Over” and hard-hitting “Eating Me Away” certainly showcasing this, but as a whole the album couldn’t be further from the band’s inception if it tried. With the following 2003 release Collide again featuring a differing approach in style, geared towards a more straightforward alternative/hard rock direction, it appeared to be nothing more than the humble, eclectic behaviour of a group always wanting to try something new. That is, until Comatose.

Comatose proves the formula, and the formula is quite simple: craft a sound that appeals to the masses, market the sound, rinse and repeat. And Skillet are good at it. “Whispers In The Dark”, “Rebirthing” and “Comatose” all featured an immensely enjoyable symphonic rock direction with big, loud choruses and enough guitar firepower to appeal to most headbangers of the time, and Comatose proved the breakthrough needed to do one key thing: sell. Following the release of Comatose, the prerogative became clear enough, and John Cooper and Co. were going to do everything in their power to keep the ball rolling with Awake, Rise, and Unleashed.

Now sure, the band has always displayed a seemingly genuine adoration for the “panheads” that devotedly follow the group’s every release, and despite a huge rise in sales over the years maintain a humble appreciation toward all that even give the band a try, but this doesn’t stop an unsettling feeling creeping in. One that whispers (in the dark, yes… hilarious) that perhaps the band’s entire image is little more than a marketing ploy, and one that works too. So, here we all are in 2019, and Skillet’s Victorious has unceremoniously dropped into the laps of many a salivating fan (no doubt). The verdict" Well, it’s… bland. Really bland.

The biggest issue Victorious faces is very simple, and of its own design: everything you see before you, you have already seen before. The big choruses, guitar riffs for days and “whoa-oa”s are all present and correct, and should you accidentally play Skillet’s Unleashed instead and not notice the difference, you would be forgiven for such an “offense”. Fancy listening to “Legendary”" No need, listen to “Feel Invincible” instead. “Back To Life”’s ending solo shenanigans sounding like a fun time" Well, “The Resistance” did this s**t far better, so go listen to it.

Elsewhere, “Victorious” easily stands as the most diluted incarnation of the band’s symphonically driven material, lacking any of the punch “Awake and Alive” delivered a decade ago, whilst “This Is The Kingdom” couldn’t be more of an Imagine Dragons clone if it tried. Frustratingly, the track features some of Victorious’s best vocal harmonisation between vocalist John Cooper and drummer Jen Ledger by a huge stretch a usually reliable positive throughout Skillet’s discography, but actually appreciating this is difficult when ‘Believer’ keeps sticking its bloated, overproduced arena pop head into your ears. On the plus side, at least the following track “Save Me” allows room for lead guitarist Seth Morrison to actually let loose a little, but… “what are you waiting for, someone save me”" Give us just one, damn good reason, because if you thought we weren’t going to notice you stole the “Beautiful People” intro in “Rise Up”, guess again.

Honestly, the most frustrating thing with Victorious isn’t even the bland direction in material, it’s instead the overbearing fact that at the band’s core are a collective of solid musicians that can do better than this. Cooper may not exactly be the Corey Taylor of his craft, but where the hell did the ferocity of Fight The Fury’s Still Breathing go" Sure, “My Demons” shamelessly rips off Slipknot’s “Duality”, but at least the EP gave the briefest indication of trying before being heartlessly snuffed out by the disgusting vocal processing of “Never Going Back”’s introductory “can you hear me”. Even Seth Morrison’s guitarwork, another reliably positive element to Skillet’s recent discography, feels generally phoned in and lacking in inspiration throughout Victorious, completely shedding the edge that boosted the solos of “Circus For A Psycho” or “Out Of Hell”.

From the point of view of a (former I guess) Skillet listener, if it wasn’t the barely passable Unleashed that killed off interest in seeing another Collide come to light, then this is the album that definitely seals the deal. There’s no heart in it anymore, a hilariously contradictory statement in itself when considering the fact that so much of the Christian rock group’s material generally leans towards an uplifting, fists-in-the-air message. Even 2013s Rise, something of a concept album revolving around breaking free emotionally from negativity to instead see the positivity in life (see “Good To Be Alive” for more elaboration on this), was starting to stretch things pretty damn thin, but Victorious is the final straw. My glossy eyed teenage memories of blasting “My Obsession” at full volume can only sate my lacking satisfaction so far, and although “Imperfection”’s absolutely stunning personal catharsis stares unflinchingly into my face, Victorious barely displays enough emotional investment to warrant an enthusiastic cough.

I’m sure it will sell well though.



Recent reviews by this author
Landon Tewers WithdrawalsZardonic Antihero
Mike Shinoda Post Traumatic EPSmashing Satellites SonicAluzion
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band Lay It On DownZhiend Echo
user ratings (53)
Chart.
1.7
very poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
Aerisavion
August 2nd 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I was really hoping this would be a more positive review, but there we go I guess.



Been a long time since I've written so negatively, feedback appreciated as always.



Lucman
August 2nd 2019


3092 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

That's a beautiful rating and review right there.

Toondude10
August 2nd 2019


13990 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

torn between a 2.5/3 for this



yeah it's a Skillet album, but even so I do like some of the stuff on here

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 2nd 2019


9962 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Great review. Sad to see bands just completely devolve.

Digging: WRVTH - No Rising Sun

Aerisavion
August 2nd 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

“yeah it's a Skillet album”



This is literally the band Linkin Park would have become had they simply remade Hybrid Theory a bunch more times.



I enjoy a Skillet session once in a while and Collide remains a very fond album in my mind, but the disgustingly obvious example of complacency here in just phoning it in is Nickelback worthy.

Toondude10
August 2nd 2019


13990 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

"This is literally the band Linkin Park would have become had they simply remade Hybrid Theory a bunch more times."



tbh I much prefer that than OML

Aerisavion
August 2nd 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks Lucman and Mars, appreciate you checking.



Wish it had been more positive but eh.

Aerisavion
August 2nd 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

“tbh I much prefer that than OML”



One More Light may have been what it was, but a creative direction stifled by playing it safe completely negates the point of being creative. We were never getting “Sharp Edges” or “One More Light” with “One Step Closer” still hanging around in the room like a jobless mid-thirty year old pretending to be a high schooler...

William21
August 2nd 2019


457 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

torn between a 2.5/3 for this [2]



This is basically Unleashed Part II. Still a few good jams off this, but as a whole it does feel more phoned in.

Hellscythe
August 2nd 2019


4075 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

one of the worst bands ever releases the worst album of the year. surprise!

Digging: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind

LotionLord
August 2nd 2019


64 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I'm in the same boat, I used to love this band. Hell, I still jam Collide and a few tracks of Comatose here and there. Unleashed made me completely lose all hope and this album is even worse. At least Unleashed had like 3-4 songs that I came back to a few times, but there's nothing here I would ever see myself listening to again, except Anchor.

Friday13th
August 2nd 2019


6999 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This is basically Unleashed B sides. Yeah, definitely the worst Skillet album.

Get Low
August 2nd 2019


6124 Comments


So which track is the banger here? There's always one.

William21
August 2nd 2019


457 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Get Low: I'd say Save Me. It's basically this album's Out of Hell, although the latter's still a bit better.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 3rd 2019


15520 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I was in the middle of reviewing this, but you’ve done a great job on it aeri. This album is total trash

Digging: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind

joshieboy
August 3rd 2019


6854 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

That summary is very good

Digging: The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature

Lucman
August 3rd 2019


3092 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

RISE UP LIKE A FIGHTER! WE WILL RISE AGAIN

There are some knockout lyrics on this.

AgentDeathbat
August 3rd 2019


10022 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Unleashed pt 2 but not quite as bad tbh

Sabrutin
August 3rd 2019


6280 Comments


Sampled some songs out of curiosity and this seems far better than it's given credit for. As in 2.5 instead of 1 haha, but still.

Save Me bangs.

Aerisavion
August 3rd 2019


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Cheers Gonzo, thanks for checking it out.



“Sampled some songs out of curiosity and this seems far better than it's given credit for. As in 2.5 instead of 1 haha, but still.



Save Me bangs”



Yeah I must admit it’s always been the case with Unleashed and Rise that if you cherry pick the songs, you’ll find a few good ones. It’s similar here, but when listening to the album in its entirety it gets boring verrrrry quickly. “Unleashed b-sides”, yes it is.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy