Skillet’s ninth album Rise maintains the metal-influenced sound they have had since their third and most popular album Comatose 2006 came out in 2006. Although billed as a Christian rock band, Skillet’s lyrics don’t outwardly endorse any religious beliefs (as in there’s no praising Jesus happening, although some older songs such as “You’re Better Than Drugs” definitely have a religious tinge). Instead of overtly Christian lyrics, many of the tracks on Rise are inspirational, encouraging listeners to work to make the world a better place. On the title track, “Rise,” lead singer John Cooper’s voice takes on an urgent tone as he asserts “This is the call/It’s our time to change it all/Rise and revolution!” Additionally, the end of the title track features a phone call to 911 from a distraught woman saying there was a man with a weapon in her home and urging her children to “get under the table.” This appears to speak to the increase of massacres that have been occurring all over America in the past year, costing many innocent people (including children) their lives. With so many currently popular songs that are literally about nothing (I’m sorry, getting drunk and hitting on some girl at a club doesn’t count as a “topic,” especially when there are at least a thousand other one-hit wonder hip hop artists singing about the exact same thing), I was glad to hear that at least some bands that are popular among a younger demographic are singing about current issues and confronting what is going on, instead of just la dee la da dee, we like to party.
The rest of the album has a similar tone, urging listeners to take a stand and fight for what they believe in. However, not every song on Rise veers away from religious undertones. “Salvation,” the eighth track on the album, asks “Are you far/Will you come to my rescue/Am I left to die/But I can’t give up on you.” Regardless, “not giving up” seems to be an overall theme of this album, which is a good message to send to “the young people of today” and actually, just about everyone.
Although Skillet’s influences span from Amy Grant to P.O.D., their sound reminds me vaguely of Fall Out Boy, because of the driving rock guitar, the screaming vocals, and the overall tone of their music, which I can only describe as “shiny.” I read somewhere that Skillet has many influences from several different genres, all thrown together in a “skillet” to create the sound that got them awarded “Top Christian Album” in 2011 and nominated for many other “best of” awards in the past eleven years. People who like rock but don’t particularly enjoy Christian music are likely to enjoy Rise because of its inspirational lyrics, strong guitar and catchy songs. Especially people who like Fall Out Boy.