Skillet is proof that in the world of metal, light can emerge from the darkness where most other bands are complacent. With their unstoppable refrains, their sharp sense of melody, their over-the-top shows, they carry their positive messages on relentless guitar riffs and drum rhythms, making audiences around the world headbang.
Far from the bestial imaginary world of serial killers or the underworld that his fellow festival-goers describe in abundance, John Cooper, the band's founder, carries a universal message on a backdrop of hard-hitting music. He celebrates faith, love and hope with subtlety. The band has sold over 12 million albums, collecting gold and platinum records, and hovering dangerously close to the top of the Billboard 200 with each new release.
While they've long had the magic formula for making fans squirm, they're always experimenting, sprinkling a little pop or symphony into their metal to write choruses that the crowd can sing along to, and finely adding electro underpinnings on the now landmark Unleashed.
The rock band stays on stage completely explosive and masters the fire of the underworld like no other. Completely crazy about pyrotechnic effects (which turn into cleverly spat smoke in France), they propel flames in all directions while their charismatic leader embarks the audience with his warm and rocky voice, sometimes joined by his drummer, Jen Ledger. For sure, these four must have been touched by divine grace to deliver, year after year, an energetic rock that never gets old!
John Cooper and Ken Steorts met while playing in different rock bands. But the two hit it off and decided to start their own band. It was to be Skillet, a name that still sounds like a good joke. The two explain that because their musical influences are so different, Skillet's goal is to mix them in a big pan and come out with a tasty sound. In two years, the band released two albums: Skillet with a post-grunge feel, then Hey You, I Love Your Soul, which already went the way of alternative rock, with a touch of metal that they still play.
With its terribly catchy refrains and its definitive rock energy, Skillet, already known in the United States, set the world on fire with its seventh album, Awake. The title track Monster was one of the most streamed songs in history, with over 1.2 billion listens worldwide. The album went triple platinum, won a Billboard Music Award and was embraced by pop culture. Hero, the second hit from this powerful album, is used by the NFL, when the band goes on an absolutely triumphant world tour.
So yes, Skillet have found the formula to, album after album, get their message of peace across on raging rhythms and melodies that stay in everyone's head. But if some criticize them for not changing this winning combination, they succeeded in a coup de force by releasing the nugget Unleashed. An album that veers towards electro and danceable pop without ever denying the powerful rock the band is used to. Feel Invincible and The Resistance are the two positive gems of this record, also carried by the second female voice of their new drummer.
Incisive as ever, it's time for rebellion for Skillet, who, after the take-off of Victorious in 2019, return with an eleventh album entitled Dominion. "Our rebellion has begun" sings John Cooper, who explains that he wanted "lyrically powerful" tracks to "rise to a higher plane". Once again, the four musicians won the bet, Surviving The Game, the first track released, having generated millions of listens in a few days. A release followed by a new world tour with a not-to-be-missed appearance in Paris.
Skillet really know how to put on a show. With a smashing arrival on Feel Invincible and a set list worthy of a best-of, you couldn't ask for anything better to get you going all night. But that wasn't the opinion of John Cooper who very quickly put on two arms in the shape of steampunk smoke cannons to show us off! Special mention to Jen Ledger who left her drums for a moment to perform the beautiful Awake and Alive. It's powerfully rocking, and frankly, we want more!
If Skillet sings about hope, positive rebellion and resilience, on stage these four are no choirboys. Their rock is brutal, raw and powerful, led by a singer with a crazy energy and pyrotechnical effects worthy of the fiery underworld. It's no wonder they're on every stage, at every festival. With melodies as smashing as they are catchy, and John Cooper's tornado-like voice.
The record is able to give us everything we want. Very metal and deep tracks but also ballads, which Skillet masters to perfection. "Valley Of Death" is one of the album's very nice surprises. It features Cooper's special voice, letting it wander over a piano tune before being carried over a very orchestral and rocking set, tinged by some choirs on the finale. Early fans will find everything that made the Americans' heyday.