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Awake by Skillet

Reviewed by Adrian B. Martinez

"...takes the same formula that made Skillet’s last project so successful and turns it up a notch."

John Cooper and Co. are BACK! With their 8th studio album, and the much anticipated follow-up to the monolith that was the 2006 release Comatose, “AWAKE” released August 25th on INO Records, and it continues with the use of strings and guitars with a harder rock sound that made Comatose such a success.

Recording for this album began in March 2009 with lead singer John Cooper writing more than 40 songs in preparation of the pressure to outdo the last record. “This time it was intensified because the last project was so successful,” he said.

Unveiling what primary songwriter Cooper (penning all 12 songs), calls a “turning of a page” for the band, “AWAKE” takes the same formula that made Skillet’s last project so successful and turns it up a notch. Cooper said that it “sounds like Skillet with some new things people may not expect.” Some of those new things are the inclusion of drummer Jen Ledger’s vocals. She's included most notably in the hook heavy opening track "Hero", the ballad "Don’t Wake Me", "Awake and Alive" and "One Day too Late".

Trying to capture lighting twice, “Awake and Alive” is very reminiscent of Comatose’s "Rebirthing”. This string heavy rock song takes all the components that worked in "Rebirthing"---from the opening violins surrounded by Ben Kasica’s guitar playing and Korey Cooper’s keyboards---they all aid John’s raspy voice (never sounding better) and create one fantastic fist pumping song. Cooper says, “Sometimes it doesn’t seem like there’s hope, and sure you can choose to give up, but why not face it ‘Awake and Alive’"?

8 albums in and Skillet still shows a noticeable maturity. Cooper says, “Everything we sing about on this album is something someone can relate to, and if anything, the songs will let you know you’re not alone. Some of the songs are complex, others are just really intense rockers and overall there’s a real sense that we’re opening a new chapter. There are definitely some classic rock elements on the record (Monster, Hero, Should’ve When You Could’ve), some very melodic moments with orchestration and piano (Awake and Alive, Believe, Never Surrender and Lucy), along with a lot of today’s heavier rock influences as well.”
As they do consistently, Skillet will be touring heavily to promote Awake in what they are calling their “Alive and Awake Tour” set to begin September 24, 2009 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Accompanying them on tour will be, The Letter Black, Decyfer Down and Hawk Nelson.

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Adrian B. Martinez: "Music and Movies, Movies and Music, always the twain shall meet" is Adrian B. Martinez's motto; a displaced New Yorker living in Connecticut. A complete Movie nut, Adrian was responsible for writing movie synopsis' for Loews Movie Theater's for over 5 years. At any given time that would be a synopsis for over 25 movies in one week. Whew! Nowadays, she is a regular in the Press area for the Creation Festival and Purple Door Festival. To keep her in the lifestyle she has become accustomed, she does web-design for DelMonico Hatter in New Haven, Ct. and serves as a Supervisor for the Hartford Civic Center, also in Ct. An avid traveler, Adrian has been to Europe numerous times and can be seen criss-crossing the United States in her re-furbished 1974 Orange Volkswagen Vanagon which has allowed her to participate in her favorite past-time, meeting new people….When she does take the time to stop, she spends her time with a very handsome man that goes by the name of Zorro. He can be seen sleeping on the couch, bed, bathing in the sunlight on a window ledge or anywhere else that he deems comfortable. Zorro of course, is her cat.