Rise review by Skillet

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  • Released: Jun 25, 2013
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.7 (98 votes)
Skillet: Rise

Sound — 8
"Rise" marks the 8th studio album for Christian rockers Skillet, and this release features the band at the top of their game. Following the platinum hit success of their previous album "Awake," the band has returned to unveil their first ever concept record onto the world. The album follows a story based on finding faith in a world full of chaos. Lead singer/bass guitarist John Cooper describes the protagonist of the album with the following quote. "He's coming into adulthood and he's faced by the horrors that we see every day-floods, bombings, earthquakes, school shootings. He's also faced with his own problems from his family life. It's about his path to salvation, and wanting to be significant in some way. The record has a lot of ups and downs, all leading to this salvation experience." Fans of Skillet will recognize the signature sounds of the band throughout "Rise." Korey Cooper's (backing vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, synthesizer) powerful string arrangements and creative synth work greatly define tracks such as "Rise," "Not Gonna Die," and "Fire and Fury." New guitarist Seth Morrison puts his staple on this album with the guitar driven rocker "Circus for a Psycho." Morrison also shows impressive solo work on "Salvation," "Not Gonna Die," and bonus track "Freakshow." Skillet have become well known for being high energy, symphonic rockers, and "Rise" is no exception.

Lyrics — 9
"Awake" was the first Skillet album to feature drummer/backing vocalist Jen Ledger, and on this release, her vocal presence takes front and center on multiple occasions. While John Cooper is still the primary lead singer of the band, Ledger can be heard singing lead lines on multiple songs such as "Not Gonna Die," "Fire and Fury," and "What I Believe." The pivotal point in the concept of the album's story comes in with the track "Salvation" which features Ledger taking over lead vocal duties. The album's musical arrangements compliment the lyrics well. The angsty, guitar driven tracks such as "Sick of It," "Madness in Me," and "Circus for a Psycho" are accompanied by aggressive lyrics. "Circus for a Psycho" opens with these lines. "You push me till I break, and the anger turns to rage // Why can't you just leave me alone? // Got your finger on the trigger, you think that you're the winner // But you're gonna get kicked off of your throne." The band also shows its softer side on songs such as "American Noise," "Salvation," "Fire and Fury," and "Hard to Find." The following lines from "Salvation" show John and Korey Cooper's ability to write more vulnerable lyrics. "Been out from under who I am and who I want to be // Held you tightly in my hands, why are we unraveling? // Was it me? Will you come to my rescue? // Or did I push too far when I turned my back on you?"

Overall Impression — 8
As a long time Skillet fan, I think "Rise" holds up well compared to the rest of the band's discography. From a guitar player's standpoint, Skillet's songs have never been very complex, but I feel "Rise" includes some of the band's best guitar work. I love that the band decided to bring Jen Ledger's voice out in the front more on this record, but I'm not a fan of the overproduced vocal effects that can often be heard throughout the album. My biggest issue with a lot of modern rock is the "over polished" sound heard throughout the industry, but I think the songwriting on "Rise" makes up for most of this. All-in-all, Skillet have released a very solid album with "Rise." My initial favorite tracks are "Rise," "Not Gonna Die," "Salvation," and "Circus for a Psycho." "Rise" shows that Skillet are still capable of doing what they do best, and I'm excited to see where the band goes from here.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    If a song having Christian tendencies bothers you, you're being ridiculous. Honestly, listen to "Pieces" by RED and tell me that isn't an incredibly moving song. Christian or not, that song will stand the test of time because it's a great song, not because it's a Christian song.
    As a long time Skillet fan, to this day, their best albums were Comatose, Collide and Alien Youth in that order. Awake was lukewarm for me because for the first time, not a damn bass note was heard. You would think with Benson, they'd get the P.O.D. treatment, where your strengths are played to and production is solid. Awake was also lacking in solos but to its credit, a song like Lucy (about would-be parents trying to get over guilt from having had an abortion) was appreciated but not a fan of trying to be buddies with the Daughtry, Green Day and Three Days Grace (Monster felt too much like Animal I Have Become Jr. and Never Surrender sounded like a song Daughtry and Green Day would collaborate for As for Rise, I still have lukewarm feelings. I like that they brought back some of the electronic/synth elements they use to use in their older material (Invincible and Alien Youth come to mind) and I liked that the new guitarist dished out a few more solos BUT I feel like they need to bring the weight of the guitars from Collide back and the better song writing they had from Comatose. Lyrically, not a whole lot going on. The last album they wrote that had lyrics I could relate to were Collide and Comatose. I also didn't like that they totally removed Korey Cooper from backup vocal duties (her voice IMO are more solid than Jen's) and Jen, who has a naturally decent voice, sounds unreasonably processed and even slight autotune. As far as their Christian status, that shouldn't matter at all. You listen to a song or piece of music and just enjoy it. You don't hear anyone complaining about Prince being a Jehovah's Witness or Manson's association with Lavey or even the fact that KSE's Jesse Leech is a Christian. Just listen to it and if you dislike it, don't listen to it.
    Just got the Deluxe Edition of this album yesterday. It's good, but definitely not their best (Comatose IMO). I'm enjoying the instrumental side of the album more than I did "Awake" however. Love the fact that Jen steps up more to the front on this album too. But lyrically, as everyone else has said it..."Rise" is kinda lacking in that department. I'd give this album a good 7 or 8
    For me I can judge on whether what type of music is good or not. In my opinion about this album, I like 75% of the songs. Yeah some songs are kinda lacking the impact for us fans but consider those as slow songs for people who like slow songs. Set that aside and the album is amazing. Want something fast, listen to their songs Sick Of It, Not Gonna Die, Circus For A Psycho, and FreakShow. Want slow, listen to It's Good To Be Alive, American Noise, Everything Into Black, and Hard To Find. The ONLY Jazzy song in this album is My Religion. Plus, bands do, in fact, change and we just have to go with it. I personally love this album cause there were a few emotion feeling to it when you hear that little girl (John's daughter) signing and then the opera comes in and BOOM; Not Gonna Die was on after it. It fitted PERFECTLY.I give this album a 9.5/10. EMBRACE THE SKILLET XD