Kingdom-focused songs Posted January 13, 2022 By KevinDavis_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need to Know This long awaited tenth studio album Dominion by Skillet has captivated my spirit. Over the past several years, I've had the opportunity to speak with Skillet’s John Cooper about several songs from their prior albums, including "Awake and Alive,""One Day Too Late" and "Lucy,""American Noise,""Good to Be Alive,"“Stars,”“Lions,”“The Resistance,”“Legendary,”“Anchor,”“Save Me,”“Terrify the Dark,” and “Surviving the Game,” and with each discussion we've built on how John’s biblical life verses Romans 8:38-39 have shaped his songwriting. “Surviving the Game” sets the tone for the album. We're all united in our struggles and spiritual warfare, and in our desire for truth and relationship. These songs are prayers for God to teach us to realize that this life isn't forever. Help us to realize what we're living for. What am I wasting my time on? What am I doing with my life? We also need to think about what we are doing for His Kingdom. That's our dominion, and the theme of this album. That’s one of the threads that weaves its way through all twelve of these Kingdom-focused songs.
What it Sounds Like Over the years, it's been a treat for me to watch their meteoric ascent into one of rock's biggest bands in the world and the incredible success of their last five albums, Comatose, Awake, Rise, Unleashed and Victorious. Each album has reached another level of popularity. Arguably the bar has been set so high there is a possibility that some people may have unreachable expectations of how much higher Skillet can “Rise,” and I’m pleased to say that after repeated listens through all twelve tracks in order, I’m all in on these songs and the ear worms including "Surviving the Game," "Valley of Death," "Beyond Incredible," "Refuge" and the energetic track, "Forever or the End," keep me coming back for more with an excitement that builds with each listen.
Spiritual Highlights The project opens with "Surviving the Game" which has a celebratory vibe, and it builds to an exciting refrain that stirs my soul to cry out loudly “I am more than a conqueror." I'm really engaged by John Cooper’s emotional vocals and the sincere, enthusiastic and thought-provoking lyrics throughout the album. When I first heard "Surviving the Game," I was immediately hooked by the message, connected to the theme found in Romans 8:37: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” That is how we can show the world what we are for instead of what we are against. Be followers of Jesus and make your life count.
"Refuge" features introspective lyrics and a beautiful refrain with John displaying emotive vocals. It is yet another reflective track in the vein of "Stars" and "Anchor" and includes another catchy musical vibe and the vertical message. As followers of Jesus, we can live out the words: “I can face my darkest night/'cause I trust You with my life/I'm not afraid/For You are my refuge/When it's heavy on my chest/You're the place I catch my breath/You are the only One I hold onto.” These are some of the strongest lyrics I've heard by this talented band, all in extremely catchy songs. John’s and Jen’s emotive vocals and the exciting musical bed takes me on an emotional journey that causes me to excitedly worship along with the stirring lyrics every time I hear the song.
Best Song on the Record All of these songs are poignant and powerful with earnest worshipful lyrics. "Valley of Death" features introspective lyrics and a beautiful refrain with John displaying emotive vocals. It is yet another reflective track in the vein of "Lucy" and includes another catchy musical vibe and the poignant message based on Psalm 23. Longtime Skillet fans will be most excited by the standout tracks, "Surviving the Game," "Standing in the Storm," "Dominion," "Beyond Incredible," "Refuge," and the energetic track, "Forever or the End."
Final Word Skillet is back with Dominion, one of my top rock albums of the year from both the Christian and mainstream music markets. The album includes standout recordings like the sing at the top of your lungs anthems “Surviving the Game,” "Standing in the Storm,” “Dominion,” and “Beyond Incredible,” along with the reflective vibe of “Valley of Death” and “Refuge.” From my first listen, I wanted to tell others about this great new album. If you’ve always liked Skillet, you'll love this new album. Dominion is one of the catchiest, most energetic, and emotionally engaging rock albums I've heard this year. This is my favorite overall Skillet record and I have been a “panhead” from the self-titled debut. Right as I got to “Forever or the End” in listening to the album in track order, I realized this is the Skillet album I’ve been waiting for and Dominion is the album that is needed “for such a time as this.”