Like an innovative cook who throws everything in the skillet, this trio draws from an eclectic blend of musical influences to serve up a helping of spicy modern rock. Features "Gasoline", "Saturn", "Paint", and more funky grunge pop tunes.
John L. Cooper – vocals, bass guitar, piano
Trey McClurkin - drums, backing vocals
Ken Steorts - guitar, backing vocals, guitar synth
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Sometimes I drop my cross, deserve a little rest...| Posted August 29, 2009 ...that's when I run to You and I nail Your feet and Your wrists
I imagine legions of new Skillet fans will be running to check out their older albums. If you are one of them, you will be pleased to know that the inclusion of ballads and the mixture of different orchestral instruments in the background is a part of even the earliest Skillet release. However, before diving all the way back to their roots, you will want to note a few changes in the thirteen years since their self-titled record was released. The style of music is drastically different as a whole and from song-to-song takes several different forms. The lyrics are hard-hitting and honest, though they do come across as a bit trite and corny in a couple instances.
The first few songs are as solid as any group of songs in Skillet's discography and contain some of the best lyrics they have ever written.
The opening track, I Can, perhaps single-handedly defined Skillet as the Christian alternative to popular 90's grunge bands. The song looks at the times where we've betrayed Christ, and whether or not we can come to God amidst our guilt and shame. The song's title proclaims the answer to that question as it comes to the conclusion that we can, even when the rooster crows, portraying our denials of Christ in the same light as Peter's.
Gasoline sees the band continue their grunge sound while spinning this tale about literally having your heart out on a table in front of God. John sings of wanting God to take his heart and put it in a box (Heart-Shaped Box reference anyone?) for fear of other people hurting him. In this song, God responds that He wants instead to set it on fire for Him. Jesus' sacrifice is also directly mentioned in the bridge.
This is followed up by Saturn, a surreal acoustic turn from the previous two songs. The lyrics, while nothing terribly profound, offer a softer message with "Heaven has a ring around you / The angels sing a song over you / If you don't see it, know that it's true".
The hard hitters come right back, along with brutally honest lyrics, in My Beautiful Robe. This is one of the deeper songs in Skillet's repertoire, so let's take a closer look at it. John's lines speaking out against hypocrisy here fall right in line with scripture.
I want pleasure in Your sight
I want to subscribe to Your delight
So hold on and see what I do for You
Oh by the way...
Did You see me dressed in my beautiful robe?
Here we have the image of a person who says and does all of the right things in public, but is not necessarily as close to God as they would like to have everyone think. To me, it clearly draws a picture of the Pharisees during Jesus' time, however you can also see the parallels with several passages in Isaiah and God's comments about the Israelites.
"These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
God gave me a cross, but I made my own instead
My beautiful cross carries on, I'll carry on
I cut down a tree
Said "Man, would you look at me?"
I stuck my head in a thorn bush
Man, I was deceived
I fell to my knees and I remembered
The words of God pierced so hard
"Your righteousness is like filthy rags"
And I fell to my knees and said, "My filthy robe"
"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags."
If you look through the rest of Isaiah, you'll see that during that period, God's people were sinful and rebellious and even likened to Sodom and Gomorah at one point. Yet, they continued to offer God sacrifices and prayers. They were hypocritical and insincere, worshipping while they also continued to do evil, and so the Lord repudiated their false righteousness for it was like filthy rags to him.
That is not even the first half of the album. Though not as strong as the earlier songs, the latter portion is still highlighted by Promise Blender, one of the hardest songs on the record, as well as Safe With You, a slow worship song.
The raw, gritty rock sound and John's raspy vocals may win over old grunge fans, but will certainly scare off more than a few of the most recent set of Skillet listeners. Make all of the comments you will about their unpolished sound here, but you cannot deny the message... or, unfortunately, the watering down of it since.
My Highlights:My Beautiful Robe, I Can, Gasoline
Soak my heart in gasoline
Light a match and consume me
Soak my pride in gasoline
All of You and none of me
3.5/5| Posted October 17, 2011
Skillet's self titled debut album does a good job in setting up the identity of the band. The grunge sound is fitting for the late 90's time period. John Cooper's vocals sound young and not fully developed yet but that's to be expected for a first effort.
If you are a fan of Skillet, this album is a great nostalgic trip as well as a good album that shows us the humble beginnings of a great band.
not my favorite| Posted August 04, 2009
this isnt skillet at their best, but its ok. My favorite songs are probably paint, safe with you, and i can. I think i like this better than hey you, i love your soul, but its a close call. There so different sounding its hard to tell. I bought this at my local christian bookstore for like 10 bucks a couple years ago, but the best of skillet is yet to come!
Pure Gold| Posted March 03, 2008
Though John's vocals are a little rough in spots, this is an awesome album. It's a LOT different from what Skillet sounds like now, but it's not an album to be passed up. (Though die-hard Comatose fans may disagree) The lyrics are really creative and moving, and each song is special (and awesome) in its own way. I especially love "I Can", "Saturn", "My Beautiful Robe", "Boundaries", and "Splinter."
First stuff...| Posted October 02, 2007
I forgive more on first CD's and even though its not comparable to collide in my opinion they have so many different sounds...Skillet is pretty much my all time favorite band. They infuse a lot of different types of music together and its really impressive.
The Skillet debut CD.| Posted August 19, 2007
This CD came out in 1996 when I was in high school. It was my first CD that was hard rock that had screaming in it. It was a CD that got me into more harder rock. I'm glad that they are still putting CDs out because they are a great band that is all about serving Christ through making music.
sdf| Posted June 28, 2008
Classic rock riffs, swirling drums, monstrous hooks, and undeniably catchy choruses … hints of old school progressive rock mixed in with modern alternative flourishes … touches of classical influence as swelling strings intersect with sonic adrenaline rushes. It's indeed a fusion unlike any other, marking the latest chapter in the continuous evolution of Skillet, whose moniker couldn't be more fitting for their explosive new Lava/Atlantic/Ardent/SRE Records release, Comatose.
The project follows Skillet's 2004 Lava/Atlantic debut Collide, which launched the group into the mainstream with the single "Savior," and garnered the quartet a prestigious nomination at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards in the "Best Rock Gospel Album" category. Collide went on to become their best-selling project to date, with over 200,000 units sold, while the band played some 200 dates a year—including tours with the likes of Three Days Grace, Saliva, Shinedown, and 12 Stones—in the process becoming one of the hardest working, heaviest rocking, boldly witnessing, and most broadly appealing acts of its generation.
"We're proud of where we've been in the past, but I feel like this is our strongest record," says vocalist/bassist John Cooper of Comatose. Recorded at Chicago Recording Company (Smashing Pumpkins, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly), the album was co-produced by Brian Howes (from famed Canadian TVT band Closure and Hinder's hit debut) and the band's John Cooper, and mixed by maestros Chris Lord-Alge (Green Day, Hoobastank, Bon Jovi, P.O.D.) and David Bottrill (Tool, Staind). "There are so many different influences that it won't just be about rock audiences or metal audiences," notes Cooper. "I think there's something here for everybody."
That's not to say that the group has watered down its message or cheapened its sound by a single cent, but rather stepped out on several limbs to continue its influence on the mainstream, while holding firmly to its faith-based roots. Pop in the project for a matter of seconds and it's obvious Skillet has raised the bar yet again, building off the refined musicianship found on Collide and taking it to even more jaw-dropping extremes. A case in point is first single, "Rebirthing," a complex but accessible amalgamation of piercing strings and humongous power chords calling all to come alive in Christ. In sharp contrast, but equally compelling are tracks like "The Last Night," "Say Goodbye" and "Yours To Hold," all oozing with ethereal orchestration and insanely infectious sing-a-long potential.
On the other side of the Skillet, Comatose shows the band flexing its experimental muscles, adding several piano-based and progressive-influenced pieces. A careful dissection of "Whispers" unveils nods to the current prog crop via the channels of Yes, while "Better Than Drugs" (focusing on an eternal destiny rather than earthly gain) is a delightfully schizophrenic barnburner that is one of the disc's most aggressive displays. "The Last Night" takes a more delicate twist, merging John's vocals with his wife Korey Cooper's keyboard cadences.
"It's a new era for both Atlantic and Skillet," exclaims Andy Karp, head of A&R for Atlantic Records. "It's the first record where we've really been one on one with the band, and it's the latest step in our unique journey together. I've been at the label seventeen years and we're known for having so many great rock n' roll bands: Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Yes, Bad Company. There really aren't a lot of labels that have that kind of pedigree for rock acts, and Skillet is yet another in a long line of great bands."
Cooper and company can certainly relate, citing several from the label's lineage as influencers since its infancy. "Growing up, I was a prog freak and loved bands like Yes and Dream Theater," he confirms. "I also grew up with my mom as a classical piano teacher and took lessons for eight years, along with playing in the marching band and symphony. It's funny because every once in a while there was a touch of that on Collide, but until recently, I didn't see what that background had to do with rock music. On this record, we were able to make it work structurally with the piano and strings, plus there's enough prog to make me happy."
Aside from Skillet's musical strides, Cooper's songwriting has expanded to cover a vast range of topical territories, some of which follow spiritual and socially conscious ideals, while others vulnerably mirror his personal life and struggles. Take, for instance, the aforementioned "The Last Night," which talks about someone considering suicide after living life in despair and not having support from their parents. Rather than calling it quits, a supportive friend reminds of God's unconditional love and they're eventually talked down from that ledge. Even closer to home for Cooper is "The Older I Get," which picks up after his mom passed away, tracing the rocky relationship he had with his dad and the eventual forgiveness they reached.�
"My dad got remarried two months after my mom died, and my stepmother's husband had also passed away a few months earlier," he recalls of the admittedly faith-tested time. "It was a really bizarre situation and they didn't get along, which was also the point when my dad and I started fighting. From the time I was fourteen or fifteen, I don't remember having a single conversation with him for about four years that didn't have to do with fighting. But a lot has mended since then and we've been able to move on. You can only go through life so long living in regret, and while those situations certainly affected me, I don't hold onto the anger anymore."
Those introspective visions tie in with the group's overall goals of promoting positive messages that will give fans something to digest beyond pre-conceived clichés or trite topics, and open the gate for spiritual seekers.
"The funny thing about Jesus is that He wasn't just all talk, but as much or more about relationships and communicating to people in a relatable way, as He was solely preaching to them," he observes. "The way we tend to evangelize in today's Christian society is actually often times much different than the way Jesus reached out. As I was writing for this record, I realized bands like Linkin Park and Staind and Korn were being more relevant to people than I was. We prayed about these sessions, and we knew this is the direction God was leading us. It allows us to reach out to people who've maybe been turned off by what they think is 'Christian music,' which may get them out to a concert to hear even more of our message. I'm very passionate about evangelism, but love begets evangelism and we want people to know we care about their needs in a practical way."