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Skillet, the Christian metal band from Nashville, has been putting out inspiring and powerful music for decades now.  Since its inception in 1996, the band experimented with their sound at times, seemingly to find its place.  Grunge, Alternative, Electronic, and of course Hard Rock were all styles Skillet dabbled in over their history.   Their most recent release, “Victorious”, is a continuation of this strategy, only bigger.  For me, they have found themselves.

It took me a few spins to truly grasp what husband and wife duo John (lead vocals, bass) and Korey Cooper (keyboard, rhythm guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals), Jen Ledger (drummer, backing vocals), and Seth Morrison (rhythm guitar) have woven together this time around.  There is so much going on within each track that you find yourself being drawn to listen intently to absorb all they are offering here. 

The album opens with a couple of motivational songs.  Upbeat, straightforward, and punchy, “Legendary” and “You Ain’t Ready” offer the idea of being the best you can.  Stoke that fire within you.  You are in control.  Both are primed to be classic crowd participation songs live and set the tone for what’s to follow. 

As we proceed to the album’s title track, “Victorious” it emerges as one of the most intriguing of the lot, and one of my personal favorites.  Strings open the song, leading into a punchy electric rhythm slowly gains momentum as John begins delivering the lyrics.  Soon, this massive sonic boom of a chorus emerges, with John and Jen overlapping their vocals atop of this musical mountain they’ve created.  What’s interesting is as how uplifting this tune is musically, while the lyrics themselves are very different. Sung from the perspective of someone mired in depression, they’ve managed to combine a sad story, with a very musically uplifting tune. 

The album continues with more powerful tunes, with some different flavors here and there.  “This is the Kingdom” has a bit of Imagine Dragons in it’s DNA, “Rise Up” barrels along with a Marylin Manson flavor, and “Never going Back”, a flat-out ass-kicker that will get all the fists in the crowd up for sure. The album finishes with “Back to Life” which could be the most traditional hard rock tune on this record.  It could have easily led off the record, but I find it sits nicely here a solid exclamation point and the end.

Strings, piano, soaring choruses, big drums, fat guitars; this record has something for any heavy music fan.  If you think you’ve heard Skillet before, you might be surprised where they are today.  I can say again, this is one big heavy album with something for everyone. You might find this is a surprisingly satisfying group of songs.  I did.


As always, rock on my friends!     Hunnypot Approved!     Overall Rating:  8.6 out of 10

Artist:  Skillet  LP: Victorious,   Release Date: Aug 2nd, 2019,  LabelAtlantic Records

John McAteer

Photojournalist - Orange County

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