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Monday, Dec. 7, 2009

Skillet

Awake (Atlantic/Ardent/INO)

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The Kenosha-based band Skillet has parlayed its solid popularity in the Christian subculture into growing general market success for much of the current decade. Awake finds the quartet refining its lite industrial rock to address heretofore unaddressed lyrical themes and vocal approaches.

Singer/guitarist John Cooper's gravelly tone and almost English accent—funny, for a Kentucky native—combines well with the addition of occasional duet vocals from drummer Jen Ledger. And though metaphors for spiritual need and struggle (minus outright Evangelical jargon) still abound, the group now sings of male-female love that doesn't seem directly related to Cooper's wife and keyboardist band mate, Korey. As romantic subjects take tempos downward, the effect can be that of an especially crunchy power ballad. Longtime fans may find that Awake is something of a stylistic continuation of Skillet's previous, gold-record-certified studio set, Comatose, but there’s enough to please them and newbies as well.