Do you know what a “Panhead” is? If you do then maybe you are one. A “Panhead” is a fan of the Christian rock band Skillet. According to a former band member “Panheads are those who come to three of four shows traveling up to 10 hours, bringing skillets, banners, writing on their cars…etc, we have a special place in our hearts for Panheads.” I have traveled for almost 3 hours to see Skillet, I wonder if I would qualify? The two original members, John Cooper and Ken Steorts preferred different styles of music. Ken was an old rocker and John liked the newer stuff. Their pastor encouraged them to make music together and actually suggested the name Skillet because they could throw all of their musical tastes into it and see what comes out. The band Skillet has gone through many changes since their forming in 1996. The current line-up is John Cooper on bass and lead vocals, Korey Cooper (John’s wife) on keyboards, rhythm guitar, and backing vocals, Ben Kasica on lead guitar, and Lori Peters on drums.
Skillet’s current album release is titled “Comatose” it was released in October of 2006. The album title, says John Cooper, is a challenge to the American Church to awaken from the sleepy apathy we have toward one another and enter into relationships with people. Not just online but face to face time. The album punches the accelerator right out of the gate with the first track “Rebirthing” about, you guessed it, being born again. I believe this is the first song where Korey Cooper’s vocals are actually heard in a big way. Her voice is fairly prominent in several songs on the album. The next track “The Last Night” is a ballad about Jesus’ love for the person who feels outcast and alone. I think John Cooper and the band have a passion for kids who are experiencing these kinds of things. I remember when they came to Lincoln, Nebraska I watched them come down from the stage after their set was done and engage kids in conversations about what was going on in their lives and how much Jesus loves them. The third track “Yours To hold” is about that special someone God has sovereignly created for you. The song’s bridge is so cool it goes:
I’m stretching but you’re just out of reach
You should know
I’m ready when you’re ready for me
And I’m waiting for the right time
For the day I catch your eye
To let you know
That I’m yours to hold
The album then gets back on the head banging track with “Better Than Drugs”. You guessed it, it’s about God and His love being better than drugs and being addicted to the thrill of doing His will. (Hey that could’ve been a lyric) Next is the album title track “Comatose”. I really like the synthesized orchestration and keyboards with the crunching guitar and bass in the song. This whole album rocks and would be appealing to those who listen to secular bands like Hinder, 3 Days Grace, Fuel, and others like them.
Album highlights are “Rebirthing”, “Yours To Hold”, “Comatose”, “The Older I Get” which is about personal reflection and dealing with hurt and a personal favorite. “Those Nights” is also a favorite because it reminds me of the all times I spent with friends away from home and my verbally abusive dad. We all had parents that just didn’t understand us and took out frustrations in their lives on us. This song speaks to that and reminds me how God is faithful to send friends into our lives who love us and walk through the scary forest with us. The rest of the album is well done and speaks to me on so many levels.
Musically the album is very good. You can hear how much Ben Hasica has matured as a lead guitar player. The album has more of a guitar sound with Korey playing guitar on many of the tracks. As I have mentioned in other reviews, I really like the combination of keyboards and overdriven guitars. I give it 5 stars out of 5 mainly because it is so personal to me and it rocks my face off!
Please check out the video for “The Older I Get”. It’s cool to see a more personal video.