Skillet’s album, Awake, released in August 2009, is one of my personal favorites. It contains a myriad of songs that are guaranteed to get you up and moving, even if you are not a Christian. This Christian rock band has made quite a name for itself with the band’s amazing ability to mix the teachings of Christianity with the hard and heavy tone of rock music. Winning the Top Christian Album at the Billboard Music Awards in 2011, this album is no different.
Unlike some of their other music, Skillet adds a harder edge to the music in Awake. This harder style gives the music a livelier tone that makes the songs desirable to those heavy rock fans. A prime example of this is track two’s “Monster”. “Monster” possesses a constant heavy beat that features electronics in conjunction to heavy rhythms from the instruments and vocals. The song itself describes our inner demons, that little monster that tells us to do wrong. Despite its message, one does not have to understand the song in order to appreciate it. The song is popular on its own, and became one of the albums seven singles and was featured along with track one’s “Hero” -another single to come from the album- in the 2010 WWE Smackdown vs. Raw video game.
Moving on, another notable song within this album is track four; “Awake and Alive”. Like the majority of the album’s songs, “Awake and Alive” deals with sticking to your guns. The lyrics flat out say that one should never disregard one’s own beliefs and to never be afraid to be who they want to be. While not as “heavy” as track two, “Awake and Alive” still possesses that fast pace and heavy beat that is a constant in all of Skillet’s music. With its message and appealing genre, this song is able to teach while the listener enjoys.
If the heavier songs are not your cup of tea, then do not disregard this album. While the album his predominately heavy rock, it does have slower and more mellow songs. Both track eight and nine, “Believe” and “Forgiven” respectively, fall into the category of “light” rock. While both of these songs have aspects that consider them to be “heavy” rock, they do contain a calmer disposition in the majority of its stanzas. They both aspire hope for a better tomorrow with their lyrics, basically saying that everything will turn out fine in the end. Out of the entire album, these two songs seem to be the most “preachy” then the other ten, but it works.
If your looking for a mix of heavy and light rock then look no further than track eleven’s “Never Surrender”. The verses of this song possesses the light aspect, telling the listener that everyone must face hardship, but they should not let it get to them, while the chorus is a lot harsher in its teachings of never backing down. While nowhere near as heavy or harsh as “Monster” or even “Hero”, the chorus has a much harder and more fast pace disposition than the verse sections as it speaks of never giving up on one’s beliefs and never surrendering to the hardships that will most likely appear in life.
Now I have mentioned “Hero” several times within this review, but I have not really discussed it in great detail. “Hero”, being track one, is the first thing that the listener hears when they first listen to the album, and I have to say, it is a great hook. The song speaks of the need for a hero to come and save singer from whatever is plaguing them. Considering that this Skillet is a Christian rock band, it is safe to assume that the hero is Jesus and that he is saving them from sin. Like “Never Surrender”, “Hero has a mix of heavy and light rock, though the light rock has a much more excitable feel to it when compared to the more mellow and calm of track eleven. All in all, the song is a great opening to the music that the album contains.
The album in my opinion is an incredible rock album that is able to incorporate the teachings of Christianity within its music. With its flawless blend of heavy and light, Awake truly deserves its spot as one of Skillet’s most popular albums. Even if you are not a Christian, you can still enjoy the songs that this album contains, and if your parents are like mine and think that all rock music is quote on quote “devil music”, then you can safely enjoy this album without incurring the ire of your family. In short, Awake is a must hear.
Review By: D.J. Adams