Atlantic Records recording artist Skillet is one of the most well-known Christian musical groups in the mainstream today without truly preaching God in their lyrics directly. Instead, they cover topics of self-worth, relationships, positive attitudes, love, and staying strong no matter what. Their ninth studio album “Rise” continues this trend and is an overall improvement over their polarizing Awake for the most part, which some fans accused of being too similar to Comatose. The overall theme of Rise is a call to arms to stand tall and strong. So what makes it so much better and what makes it so good? Let’s find out.
The lyrical content is a collective call to arms, and is in theory an inspirational musical for their fans. If you’re suffering from pain, depression, anger, angst, anything bad in your life, you can beat it. From the stand up call in “Rise” to the fight back sound of “Sick Of It”, the never give up feel of “Not Gonna Die” to a declaration of keeping your beliefs in “My Religion”, this album has something to inspire everybody.
The instrumental work is superb, and in some cases surpasses Comatose. The band has clearly been perfecting their art and it clearly shows on this record. There are some unique additions, two prevalent tracks to mention with this are Rise and Circus For A Psycho. The end of Rise has a 911 call filled with terror, a news report, and just gives the feel of desperation and horror. Circus For A Psycho has a cacophony of noises sounding like a city in shambles. Both definitely add to the overall feel of both tracks.
John and Korey Cooper’s vocal work is, in a word, stunning. They’ve improved on every record since Korey joined, and they’re at their best here. The harmonies, duets, and solo parts for both just sound like a smooth symphony entering your ears and massaging your ear drums. John’s raw power and gruff sound is perfectly offset by Korey’s smooth yet striking voice.
So, how does Rise stand out against an already amazing catalog from Skillet? It’s definitely better than Awake in some areas, but still lacks in others that Awake still rules in. And compared to Comatose, it’s heavier yet something is missing to surpass it.