- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Nov
It's interesting to note Skillet has never recorded any of their six albums in the same style since their 1996 debut. All projects remain true to the band's sound, since lead singer and bassist John Cooper has always been the principal songwriter, yet each release has played with different genres: modern rock, industrial, techno/electronica, worship, and even unplugged acoustic. Part of it stems from an ever-changing lineup, which finally seems to have settled on the one established with 2001's
The first impression when listening to
While Skillet may lose some of their pop-inclined audience, they're likely to gain increased credibility among serious metal-heads. Collide demonstrates a new maturity in sound and songwriting. More than ever, they sound like a credible hard rock band. Lyrically, they rely less on gimmicky words, geared specifically for a youth group, and more on powerful emotions and ideas that teens and adults can equally appreciate.
Take the opening track "Forsaken," a plea of brokenness combining guilt and pain with comfort and hope. It does a nice job balancing Skillet's two sonic extremes, relying largely on metal guitar bombast, but also briefly stripping down to guitar and piano for the prayerful lyric, "Take my pain and numb me from this." All of that is equally true of the title track, which beautifully arranges strings against electronic-tinged hard rock. "Collide" wonderfully sums up a Christian's mixed emotions of fear and faith: "There's something deep inside that keeps my faith alive/When all you can do is hide from the fear that's deep inside of you/Something … to hold me close when I don't know." You could view the album's popular first single, "Savior," as a response to that fear and brokenness—a melodic sonic explosion written from Christ's perspective as a call for change and surrender.
The album's intensity rarely lets up. "My Obsession" is driving and powerful in its message of making Christ our focus, rather than our own selfish and fleeting desires. "Fingernails" paints a vivid picture of brokenness and clawing toward peace, and "Imperfection" is equally bold in its struggle with self-acceptance. There are a couple of melodic rock anthems suitable for Christian Hit Radio, and not surprisingly, they happen to be the tracks Korey Cooper co-wrote with John—"A Little More" and "Under My Skin." Still, both are aggressive in the chorus, raising the decibel level considerably from previous hit singles.
Can Skillet distinguish itself from similar sounding bands? In some ways they do, but the industrial electronica elements of their past albums made them that much more unique in the Christian music industry. With heavy guitars dominating the sound, they're now more similar than ever to other bands, most notably Bush, Metallica, and Nickelback. You almost wish