Skillet, ‘Victorious’ Review: New Album Packs Uplifting Hard Rock

2019-07-31

Skillet – Review by Anne Erickson

Album review: Skillet is back with “Victorious,” and the album offers a special blend of uplifting messages and gutting hard rock

It’s always an event when Skillet releases a new album, since the Memphis, Tennessee, hard rock band has built a massive worldwide following with their unique blend of inspirational lyrics and orchestral hard rock. The crew is back with their 10th studio album, “Victorious,” and a North American tour in support of the set with Sevendust, Pop Evil and Devour the Day, followed by a fall run with Alter Bridge.

Listening through the album’s 12 tracks, the title “Victorious” truly fits the bill. Lead single “Legendary” kicks off the album, and it’s the kind of rock anthem to crank during a tough day. “Never gonna keep me down (never keep me) / Still the one that’s standin’ now (never falling) / Destiny is callin’ me / Go down in history /Every day I’ll fight to be legendary,” frontman John Cooper sings in the chorus. The track — which was ranked one of Audio Ink’s top songs of 2019 so far — is classic Skillet, with thick guitars, catchy beats and a heavy aura, which is why it’s the perfect song to set off the album.

“Victorious” continues with another hard-hitting track, “You Ain’t Ready,” with loud, gritty guitars and Cooper’s vocals sounding stronger than ever. “You ain’t ready for me!” Cooper declares in the chorus, with an explosion of hard rock instrumentation. It’s a catchy song that has the makings of a chart-topping radio single.

A real stand-out on the album is the album’s title track, “Victorious.” The song begins with a beautiful orchestral passage, which is classic Skillet, and carries a softer aura than most of the album, switching between Cooper’s longing vocals and drummer Jen Ledger’s passionate singing.

Skillet have made no secret of their Christian faith, and the idea of faith and resurrection is all over “Victorious.” That said, Skillet have never isolated themselves from non-Christian fans, and that’s one of the reasons the band has made such an incredible breakthrough to mainstream rock radio.

Some of the poppier number on the set are “This Is This Kingdom” and “Terrify the Dark,” which have a definite pop sensitivity. That’s not to say the band doesn’t get heavy, as tracks such as “Save Me” and “Reach” are fast-paced, heavy, pummeling numbers. The set closes with the crunching “Back to Life,” which even features a little screaming from Cooper.

On “Victorious,” Skillet offers something special to hard rock fans– music that addresses life’s hardships and struggles, but with an optimistic, uplifting message. It’s why, 10 records in, Skillet still stands “Victorious” as musicians, songwriters and performers. Ink rating: 9/10 stars.

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