July 29, 2019 Skillet – Victorious (Album Review)
They’re invincible, undefeated, and now totally Victorious! Proud titans of Rock-n-Roll, Skillet deliver their tenth epic disc on Friday, August 2nd, 2019, thanks to Atlantic Records.
If you love Rock-n-Roll, then you have no doubt heard the name Skillet. The multi-platinum, two-time Grammy Award nominated quartet from Tennessee are one of this generation’s most successful Rock acts. With over a billion streams in 2018 alone, 12 million-plus albums sold worldwide, and four consecutive albums to receive either gold, platinum or double-platinum status, Skillet have more than proven themselves a billion times over. Between selling out arenas on four continents over the past two decades, the band have had their music featured by the likes of the WWE, Marvel, ESPN, MLB, NHL, as well as NFL. One could easily say that, yes, they are indeed victorious!
So, what is an un-vanquished band to do? Well, for 2019 and their tenth full-length studio offering, Skillet—Vocalist/Bassist John Cooper, Guitarist/Keyboardist/Backing Vocalist Korey Cooper, Guitarist Seth Morrison, and Drummer/Vocalist Jen Ledger—are celebrating a hard-won victory. With the husband and wife team of John and Korey handling the bulk of the production for the album, the 12-song Victorious meanders through the ups and downs of surviving in this day and age, and making every moment count as you find your purpose.
“My heart bleeds adrenaline” is the fierce opening statement to Victorious and its suitably triumphant opening arena rocker “Legendary,” a look at making every day count. Leaving nothing to guesswork, Skillet open their tenth album with bold statements that claim their place at the top—rightfully earned with their infectious brand of Alternative Rock blended with their proud Christian beliefs.
Are you ready? Nope, “You Ain’t Ready” for an explosive throw-down that seeks to motivate you to stand up and give it your best shot. Next, for the album namesake “Victorious,” they dial the pace down to a power ballad and add delicate electronic strings and twinkling synths that accentuate the vocal flare of John Cooper and the always phenomenal Jen Ledger. Afterward, the talented quartet go for an Imagine Dragons-ish kind of pace on the creeping verses of “This Is the Kingdom,” a look at the age old story of building empires. (But do they know that it is the meek that shall inherit this Earth?)
Luscious synths open the vulnerable confessions of “Save Me,” a delicious, bass-heavy groove that reaches out from the darkness to timidly embrace the light. Here, the band fire on all cylinders as they create a divine wall of sound that leans heavily into some hard rockin’ territory. “Rise Up” continues where its predecessor left off, sampling elements from the same lush soundscape and recrafting them into a powerful fight song—but this is a call-to-arms in the name of love, not hate.
A promise that your light can shine bright enough to scare off the worst of fears, “Terrify The Dark” is an uplifting ballad, not something out of a Horror film. Next, the foursome opt to delve back into deep bass and Rock-n-Roll mayhem with “Never Going Back.” The perfect theme song for The Goonies, here the band promise to never say die and cap it all off with a killer guitar solo and some scrumptious 1980s synth magic.
Always infectious, Skillet then offer up the catchy rocker “Reach.” Beautiful power ballad “Anchor” provides a moment to take a breather as it pays a heartfelt tribute to the one who steadies us in the storm, the one who will never allow us to drown—be they mere mortal or divine entity. Next, blood, sweat and tears are on the menu as these heroes crawl toward the “Finish Line.” A fat groove that goes bold, this segues beautifully into the ferocious album closer “Back To Life.” Here, the bass explodes into a sinister sludge as a lost soul pleads to be found, and once the chains are broken, it all culminates in a killer jam session.
Victorious takes a closer look at what it means to survive and thrive, to make each day count, and urges listeners to continuously reach for the light though the world is full of darkness. Whether you’re an individual struggling with your mental health or a band trying to overcome the push-and-pull of two decades on the road, Victorious acknowledges that life isn’t always sunshine and roses, though when we allow our light to shine we can weather any storm.
While this blind faith in a higher purpose and unrelenting positivity is a tried and true characteristic of the band, there are moments on Victorious that go a little darker and dip into something heavier (think “Out of Hell” off 2016’s Unleashed or John Cooper’s Fight The Fury). By blending Alt Rock with some of these heavier influences, alongside a wonderfully upbeat, and infectiousness, Skillet create a collection that sounds like a more refined Unleashed splashed with some grittier moments. That’s okay: sometimes we have to crawl through the mud to find the light! Feeling completely Victorious, Cryptic Rock give Skillet’s newest 4.5 of 5 stars.