Album Review: Skillet – Unleashed

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a huge wave of Christian-inspired musical acts across all genres; hip hop, rock, post-hardcore and even pop. Some of the biggest musical within those genres arose during this timeframe as acts like Underoath, Thousand Foot Krutch and RED went on to become extremely successful, some even becoming mainstays and influential bands in today’s scene. As the 2000s progressed, many of those same acts ended up disbanding or fading away in popularity, leaving few wondering if they were still making music. That hasn’t been the case for all of the acts that arose in popularity during that time frame as many adapted to the ebbs and flows of the industry and are putting out successful records still to this day. One such act that has continued to be a mainstay in the Christian rock realm is Skillet as the past decade has seen them put out a steady stream of releases. With the bands 10th studio album, Unleashed, set to drop this coming Friday, is the band still capable of staying with the trends or is that the album that sees them fall of the proverbial cliff?

[tw-toggle title=”About Skillet”]
Genre: Christian Rock | Hard Rock
Label: Atlantic Records
Release: August 5, 2016
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play
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Over the many records they’ve created in their career, Skillet has managed to not only explore, but successfully utilize a multitude of musical elements in regards to their music. Out of all of those elements, the integration of orchestral arrangements and back-and-forth vocals between lead vocalist John Cooper and both Korey Cooper and Jen Ledger has been one of the more distinguishable elements. With their last record, Rise, the emphasis seemed to be on other aspects of their music and it resulted in more of a conceptual approach lyrically and sonically leading to a blander sounding rock record. That approach was abandoned for Unleashed which has resulted in a record that contains aggressive, in your face and up-tempo music littered with the elements that helped Skillet stand out from the crowd giving this new album a more genuine, authentic sound.

Skillet – I Want To Live [Official Audio]

“I Want To Live” off the upcoming album UNLEASHED available August 5th Available Now: iTunes: http://www.smarturl.it/SkilletUnleashed Google Play: http://www.smarturl.it/SkilletUnleashed_GP Amazon: http://www.smarturl.it/SkilletUnleashed_A Stream “I Want To Live” on Spotify: http://www.smarturl.it/StreamSkillet

The return to a more rooted approach is immediately noticed on the opening track and first single, “Feel Invincible” as there’s back-and-forth vocal play over a catchy synth-driven backing beat. This track serves as an introduction to the album lyrically and sonically as it carries over into the bigger, arena sound found in “Back From the Dead”. As the record continues, there’s not only back and forth in vocal duty, but also in approach. One can essentially break the album apart into different categories and slide the tracks into those. There are the aggressive, in your face rock songs like “Undefeated”, “Out of Hell” and “Burn It Down”, the synth-laden atmospheric tracks like “Stars”, “Famous” and “Saviors of the World”, the pop ballad “Lions” and “Watching for Comets” and the orchestral, Awake-esque sounding “I Want To Live” and “The Resistance”. While they can be grouped categorically, it showcases a stronger approach in songwriting which lends credence to the more varied approach that has seemingly suited Skillet best.

This is a record that feels more natural in regards to what the band has typically created and ultimately comes across as the natural progression of where they were headed after Awake. The sound is bigger, the composition is stronger and the production comes across tighter while not sounding overly processed. Unleashed is what it aimed to be; an aggressive and varied rock record that lets the world know Skillet still has the ability to adapt along with the ebbs and flows of not only the music industry, but their fanbase and own personal tastes. As a band, they’ve never been one to set the genre ablaze with groundbreaking ideas but have always found their sound and Unleashed sees a return to form.

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