Album Review: Skillet “Unleashed”


Katy Swift, Editor in Chief

On Aug. 5, 2016, Skillet released their tenth album, entitled Unleashed. With this band’s musical history of two albums that went platinum, fans expected great things from this newest album. Right off the bat their song “Feel Invincible” set the tone for another fantastic album that would please anyone from the diehard Panheads to brand new listeners.

Just like Skillet’s previous albums, Unleashed provides a musical experience that is not to be missed. The songs range from empowering fight songs to sentimental ballads. While this isn’t unusual for Skillet, it’s astounding how their musical style shines through in these two distinct song types. When listening to these songs back-to-back, a story is created. The urge to keep fighting is instilled, and then you realize part of the reason to fight is because of those that you love.

Skillet even managed to combine the idea of a ballad and fight song in “Lions.” The song definitely takes on the musical tone of Skillet’s ballads with the combination of frontman John Cooper and drummer Jen Ledger’s harmonies. On top of the riveting vocals, there are the lyrics that, while being a little cliche, can move almost anyone. Right before the chorus, Skillet states exactly what listeners need to hear. “We’re not waiting for permission/ We defy our inhibition/ Like our middle name is ‘fearless.’/ Unafraid.” This is only one of the lines in this album that resonate with listeners; if you look at almost any song, you can find similar sentiments.

Another song on Unleashed that everyone should take a closer listen to is  “The Resistance.” This song has an explosive end filled with guitar solos, synths and some of the best vocals heard on the album. It’s also clearly one of their biggest fight songs in the album. Ledger even sings at one point,“You can take my heart, you can take my breath/ When you pry it from my cold, dead chest.” If that doesn’t get the point across, nothing will.

What makes Unleashed clearly stand out from Skillet’s past albums is how each of these twelve songs feel like they could be a single. Although this is probably not going to be the case, it is still an impressive feat. Even the most popular musicians usually have duds on their albums that we all consider to simply be filler material, so Skillet should be commended for their accomplishment.

Even if you don’t agree with recognizing Unleashed as a fantastic accomplishment, there are other reasons to applaud Skillet. For instance, this year is the band’s 20th year of existence. Today, there are groups that don’t even make it past two years before people completely forget about them.

While many members have come and gone from Skillet, Cooper has been with the group since day one and continuously ensures that fans don’t forget the band’s name. Like the group says in one of their newest songs, “It’s the hunger that keeps me alive.” They live off of making this music, and there is no chance they will give up easily.

With everything Skillet has already done, one can only wonder where they will go from here. After their world tour for Unleashed ends, it definitely wouldn’t be surprising if they started working on another album. There is no doubt that they will continue to be popular for many more years, and as said in the album’s last song, “This is how we rise up/ It’s our resistance, you can’t resist us.” Skillet’s music is how they stand up and speak about the human condition and spirituality. Besides, like that last line says, Panheads just can’t resist their music.