Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cutting Through The American Noise

WOW!!! To quote a title from Sweet Comfort Band, The Waiting Is Over.

Let me take a breath and rewind. Expectations are a cruel thing, and usually they are not met and disappointment ensues. The best out there usually wind up just meeting our expectations and leave us feeling... satisfied.

Then there are the truly rarefied air bands. They are the acts that not only clear the bar of expectation every time, they can clear it so well that they make further comparison ridiculous. Such a band is +Skillet.

Skillet had a less then industry changing debut in 1996, and even Nostradamus wouldn't have predicted their success. To be fair I got their debut CD after I was hooked. I came in at Hey You, I Love Your Soul, which though only their second album, represented a giant leap in talent and production. Beginning with Invincible, Korey Cooper, John's Wife, came on board to add programming, synthesizers and backing vocals. She also runs the band. (If you don't believe me, look at the credits for her name on any album).

Rise has been haled as the bands Magnum Opus, and hint that this may be their swan song. I hope it's not, but if it is, talk about going out on top. Though Korey has hit the big 4-0 and John is pushing it, the couple are in tremendous shape and I think with the popularity the band has they will be chasing Petra's longevity before long.

Rise is a Theme Album, like FM Static's Dear Diary, though on a much darker note. The Theme is Evil, and what we must do to stand against it. It is brought into focus with the 911 Montage ending the title cut, where we are urged to "Rise in Revolution", against the world system if we're "Sick of it", which reintroduces the long missing electronic edge of the band.

Chicks rule on Rise . The album marks the "introduction" of Jen Ledger to the world. Though she has been drummer since Comatose (2006), she shines on this time, and is even allowed to (almost) carry a few songs (three: Salvation, Fire and Fury and What I believe).

This could be Skillet's hardest rocking album, though ballads like Good To Be Alive, American Noise and Salvation could steal the show. They also create a few mega songs by using intros between Rise and Sick of It, Good to Be Alive and Not Gonna Die, and Madness in Me and Salvation. We still find room for strings, another Korey Cooper specialty, on Salvation especially.

Music Videos don't usually capture the intensity of the album, and lyric videos even less so. However for Rise Skillet has managed to do it. A "lyric video" with an animated dystopian world.

The only bad thing to say is that I have to give this album a measly 5 Emeralds. I mean, I've got this on auto repeat as long as Billboard Magazine has the preview up. 50 Emeralds is more like it. Rise in Revolution, buy the album. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.