Artist:  Skillet
Title:  Comatose Comes Alive
Label:  INO Records

Packing over 10 years of rock into its first CD/DVD combo, Skillet releases Comatose Comes Alive. Expertly documenting a live concert from the band’s 2008 tour, the four-piece outfit fills a set list (or two) with pure, sweaty rock from its best-selling, seven-record discography, focusing the bulk of the attention on the band’s last two releases:  the GRAMMY-nominated Collide and nearly-Gold selling Comatose.

Issuing a string of No. 1’s to radio over the years, Skillet uses popular tracks (“Rebirthing,” “The Last Night”) to provoke the crowd in singing word-for-word the entire night. As for band classics (“Best Kept Secret”), Skillet doesn’t disappoint. Mixing in a few tunes from the early days adds to the fire and is sure to stoke the thousands of “Panheads” (a nickname for Skillet diehards) and disciples of Christian rock alike.

Recorded at the historic Tivoli Theatre in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., an unusual pick for a screaming Skillet show, the two-tiered seating and ornate backdrop create a provocative visual experience. Synced lighting, a balanced stage and John Cooper’s commanding presence translate on DVD, while special effects and post-production miracles make the final footage as stimulating as the quartet’s pounding performance.

Smoking with rock riffs and alternative edge, Skillet’s performance is so tightly executed it almost substitutes for the related studio recordings, giving the listener both the production of a studio project and the sweat equity of a live show on one disc.

The CD/DVD comes enhanced with six acoustic tracks and music videos for “Rebirthing,” “Whispers in the Dark” and “Savior” as well as behind-the-scenes footage, making the single CD purchase price more than worthwhile.

You can view Skillet music videos at Godtube.com.

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**This review first published on December 8, 2008.