The hard rock Christian band Skillet thrilled some 37,000 Lutherans at the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans and have now released their first album in more than three years. Awake has been hotly anticipated in the Christian music market and might make a nice Christmas gift or souvenir for youth who heard the band in July. Skillet fans, by the way, are called Panheads.
Skillet is known for a high-energy sound, significantly harder than what is often associated with Christian pop music. The classic formula involves swirling guitars, memorable riffs and catchy choruses, all supported by the swelling string section of an orchestra. Their music may sound more secular than what is often called “Christian rock” because the songs aren’t filled with obviously religious language.
Awake (Ardent, 2009) kicks off with a pair of hook-laden songs destined to be hit singles on Christian radio. “Hero” and “Monster” give expression to two aspects of every human being: the first song brims with the hopeful potential of making a difference in this world and the second grapples with the awful recognition of one’s capacity to cause harm. Together they offer a hard rock version of Martin Luther’s teaching that every Christian is both a saint (“Hero”) and a sinner (“Monster”).
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