Posted August 18, 2009
As 2007 reached its end, Skillet said farewell to longtime drummer Lori Peters. Fortunately, the band recovered shortly thereafter and recruited fresh, new talent in the form of 19 year old drumming prodigy Jen Ledger, whom they found in London, England. With a string of tours in 2008, as well as being able to show off her skills on the band's "Comatose Comes Alive" live CD/DVD, Ledger proved herself to be more than a perfect replacement. In early 2009, Skillet returned to the studio to record their 9th release "Awake," their first studio album in 9 years to feature a different individual providing the drumwork.
Musically, "Awake" picks up where 2006's "Comatose" left off, containing plenty of alternative rock hooks coupled with Jon's signature heart-felt screams and harmonius melodies. Album highlights include the aggressive opener "Hero," the equally edgy "Awake and Alive," and the nu metalesque feel of "Monster."
However, some fans might be surprised to find that there are more ballads this time around than with prior Skillet albums. However, many of them continue in the vibe of songs such as "The Older I Get" and "Don't Say Goodbye" and may draw in new listeners that had a difficult time warming up to the band's heavier side.
The songs' messages touch on issues such as the ugliness of one's own sin nature ("Monster"), taking focus off one's self and giving credit to God ("It's Not You It's Me"), and dreaming of a lasting love that seemed to have been lost in the real world ("Don't Wake Me"). "Never Surrender is a mid-tempo tune that is also about a love relationship, but may be construed by listeners as a relationship between a man and woman instead of being between man and God. While some of the album's themes may not directly point to Christ, they still maintain a spiritual level of morale and do not falter from the truth.
Overall, fans of albums such as "Collide" and "Alien Youth" might have a hard time swallowing "Awake" as it contains almost as many ballads as heavier tracks. On a lighter note though, those who fell in love with "Comatose" will quickly find a new Skillet favorite to add to their CD collection. While not their strongest effort, "Awake" is a Skillet album fans old and new will not soon forget.
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