By Debra Akins, contributing editor, GospelMusicChannel.com
Hard to believe it's been 13 years since Skillet first appeared on the Christian rock radar, but longevity has proved to be this band's friend in a very big way. The GRAMMY-nominated group has amassed a huge following over the years, which seemed to grow exponentially with the 2006 release of Comatose, the band's most successful project to date. It scored the group six No. 1 Christian radio singles, a GMA Dove Award for Rock Song of the Year ("Comatose"), a Dove nomination for Artist of the Year, a trio of singles on Billboard's Mainstream Rock charts, and we could go on. And after a three-year wait, the anticipation for Skillet's newest studio offering, Awake, has been great.
It's clear after a first listen that Skillet knew exactly what worked well for them on Comatose, and they did not venture too far from that model with Awake. The album kicks off right away with the first two singles, "Hero" and "Monster," both of which will (and have already) let fans know up front that this band has not lost its edge. Both of these heavy-hitting rockers come packed with crunchy guitars and John Cooper's gritty vocal wails.
The album then begins to weave rock anthems like the infectious "Awake and Alive" (my favorite and a sure concert favorite) and "Forgiven," in between melodious pop/rockers "One Day Too Late," and "Don't Wake Me," along with more stripped-down, accessible tracks like "Believe" and the piano-driven ballad "Lucy." It also comes complete with a somber side: "Sometimes" is a dark-but-thoughtful track that Cooper says many have found "strangely therapeutic." But the uninspired "It's Not Me It's You," and the borderline cheesy "Should've When You Could've" (which both provide an overdose of clichéd lyrics) are lower points in what is overall a very solid and power-packed offering from this band committed to being unabashedly expressive in delivering
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