SKILLET

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Read Time:5 Minute, 44 Second

It’s always a banner day when a band comes to town that delivers what fans want to see and hear at a concert. I especially love it when SKILLET is on the bill for a couple of reasons. First, they’re stunning and on point live. Second, I love their fans because they’re super nice and they love SKILLET; which is always refreshing and fun to se at a concert! Getting up to the photo pit is never a hassle at a SKILLET show because even though people are crammed up to the railing not to miss a thing, they don’t mind moving over when photgraphers wriggle in to get in the pit. Not to mention, they want to talk about SKILLET and how much they love them!

Take these two brothers as an example! This was their first concert and they were super pumped to be up front for all the action! The youngest is nine and the oldest 14 and when their parents that were a couple of feet behind them agreed to me snapping a photo, my heart was warmed that this was a family affair. Music, that is. It is always so refreshing to see families at concerts, together, experiencing the thrill of live music.

Partially in support of their upcoming release entitled Dominion dropping January 14, 2022 and partially because the band was ready to hit the road earlier this summer, the tour was well-received by fans around the country and here in Dallas.. The first single off of Dominion has already been well-received by fans by the sheer amount of people that were singing along to “Surviving the Game” at tonight’s show at THE HOUSE OF BLUES DALLAS.

What I love about SKILLET, is the band’s ability to convey a positive message through seemingly impossible situations, while the underlying story parallels stories familiar to the faithful with modern-day challenges; without being preachy or uncomfortable. The knack to produce music that can literally melt your face off (#rockmyfaceoff) and make you feel good about yourself while planting a seed of hope, is refreshing and necessary. Dare I say that in these upside-down times? I will without fear or reserve. The titles of Dominion hint to the past almost two years humanity has encountered with tracks like “Standing In The Storm”, “Destiny”, Shout Your Freedom”, and “Ignite”.

It is humbling to be reminded of the inalienable rights that we have as Americans. In the fast-paced world we live in, it is almost like we think the world shares these rights that are taken advantage of so frequently. Because we are connected to people all over the world, it can be very easy to think that a person in another country shares the freedoms we have. The American Experiment, if you will, is what sets us apart from the rest of the world and the reason so many people love this country; or hate it.

‘Dominion’ is about the celebration of freedom, a liberation from fear — to be who we want to be, say what we want to say, believe what we want to believe,” JOHN COOPER says. “In some ways, it’s a reminder of the God-given rights that we were born with. It’s time to regain some sort of control over our lives and not be a slave to fear. I hope this record is going to make people feel empowered, inspired, uplifted, and want to rock their faces off!”

Produced by KEVIN CHURKO (Ozzy Osbourne, Papa Roach, Disturbed), with songs written by John Cooper, Korey Cooper, Kevin Churko and Kane Churko, remotely wrote the record whilst touring and recorded at the band’s home studio in Wisconsin and the Churkos’ studio in Las Vegas.

Here’s the OMV for the “Surviving The Game” single for your convenience and viewing pleasure right here!

CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY: SKILLET – HOUSE OF BLUES DALLAS, TX

Here are some of my favorite moments from the show!

JOHN COOPER continues about “Surviving The Game”, (it is) a defiant song about not giving in to the fear that the world is and has been experiencing. This song brings a feeling of survival; you have to do what you need to do in order to get your life back; a defiance against fear and the things that want to hold you down. For so many, that’s depression, isolation, loneliness, suicidal thoughts, etc. This song is about becoming the person you are meant be and coming out on the other side of all the madness.”

You can pre-order DOMINION by clicking the button or watch for the record’s release on January 14, 2022. While you’re waiting you can listen to “Surviving The Game” on Spotify or any streaming platform! The band is still on tour so you can catch them on the remaining dates by clicking here!

FOLLOW THE BAND ON SOCIALS

FROM THE EDITOR

SIDE NOTE: This is not a politically charged post about music that is from a position in politics. SKILLET is far from a “political” band and those words like “freedom”, “rights”, “God”, and the undertones they infer aren’t meant to create discomfort to anyone that reads them. But if they do create a tingle of un-comfortability, that should be an indication that additional thought on where that discomfort is coming from is needed. And this, of course, is just an opinion or suggestion from me; and does not reflect the band’s position. My feelings just come from a place inspired by SKILLET’S music and my own personal beliefs, ya dig?

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: RECORD REVIEW

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Read Time:8 Minute, 48 Second

WAGE WAR – PRESSURE – FEARLESS RECORDS – 2019

Let’s Time Travel back to 2019 and revisit WAGE WAR’S release of Pressure, shall we? In anticipation of the 2021 summer tour with BEARTOOTH, I thought we’d go back to before the world was outwardly infected to revisit Pressure and to give those that aren’t familiar with the band a peek into why so many of us are so obsessed!

WAGE WAR is: BRITON BOND – frontman, CODY QUISTAD – rhythm guitar/clean vox, SETH BLAKE – lead guitar, CHRIS GAYLORD – bass, and STEPHEN KLUESENER – drums

With the relase of Pressure this record, I can definitively say in the Game of Thrones manner this band isn’t like Winter, they’re not approaching; WAGE WAR IS HERE!! Unlike the creepy snow zombies in GOT that took all that time alluding that “Winter Is Coming.” WAGE WAR moves in; quick like a fox running from a rainstorm and settles in for the long haul. I first saw them at Rocklahoma in 2017 and instantly knew they would hit rock fans in a massive way! Now, I didn’t have to time travel or conjure up any silly soothsayer to know this; the evidence was right there in front of my face. Even earlier songs, like STITCH and DON’T LET ME FADE AWAY, had the inner workings of badassness and unabridged brilliance. If you go back and listen to these early tracks and don’t hear this, I may have to have your Metalcore Membership card revoked. Listen carefully to what goes into a WAGE WAR song and I think you’ll agree. This new record is no different and in fact, the band levels up with every track on Pressure.

REVIEW: TRACK BY TRACK

WAGE WAR offers PRESSURE, their third release since the band’s beginnings under the FEARLESS RECORDS brand on August 30th, 2019. This record is the band’s “F you Flag” – the nicest possible “f you” they can muster up, of course. This record is like a flag that’s going to fly high over their camp for a long time, I think. PRESSURE is just letting everyone near (and far), know that WAGE WAR has come to kick it and take names! 

As one of those anomaly bands; heavily steeped with talent and come outta nowhere, WAGE WAR doesn’t play, as in ‘homie don’t play’, that is. So it isn’t surprising that PRESSURE as a whole is 10 out of 10, I’ll just say that right now. If you’re a fan, you already know this, right? For those that don’t know WW’S battle cry within the Metalcore Corps, it’s time you did. With standouts like TAKE THE FIGHT and WILL WE EVER LEARN along with the well-received singles like LOW and PRISON, PRESSURE just solidifies this band’s mark on music, even more. 

If you haven’t seen WW live, I almost feel sorry for you. It only took one time for the cat to be let out of that f’in bag for me, and not just once, not just twice, but every time I have seen them. Jaw droppin’ show, Lovelies, #HandToGod! The band has busted balls on the road, on stage, and in the studio with the byproduct being music that is listened to by millions of people and right out of the shoot it would seem. All that being said, you’re here to read my review on PRESSURE so without further ado…

…here’s my track by track take on WAGE WARS #3: PRESSUREready? Let’s go! 

PRESSURE – WAGE WAR

WHO I AM – BOOM! An impressive start, right in the first couple of measures. BRITON’S bond with the ‘core rests in the crystal clear growls of his lyrics. I love this song’s raw emotional mantra because no one knows who any of us are on the surface. This track’s guitars dig into you – so hold on Lovelies…you’re about to learn who they are. WAGE WARE IS HERE!

PRISON – give me any song that makes me wanna rise up – no matter what your cause or plight. WW delivers fans more of the personal monsters within the notes, riffs, and blasts in this track that so many of us deal with. BRITON and CODY say what we can’t. PRISON takes that on for us. I dig the grind that is straight-up ‘core and one of the things this Bird saw in WW from the jump. The choir infers we’re not alone; no matter how imprisoned we think we are. 

GRAVE – one of the sing-songy tracks that keep the pace strong on the record. I can identify with the lyrics “burn the pages, but you can’t erase it”. It is crazy AF to me why some try and erase the past, knowing that it’s not going to be any different than what it is. Love the tempo and the drums; STEPHEN kills it!

GHOST – MEGA guitars a the onset that are on fleek with BRITON’S screaming vocal assault; delivered from the pit within him. I’d put his scream up against any kind of Metal singer and he’d be the victor, hands down. And that heavy tone wound around the guitars totally echoes the undertones of this track; musically and metaphorically. CODY answers with that soothing sound that’ll back that ass up to the wall! STEPHEN again delivers and right in time with the guitar solo from SETH. The builds on the back nine of this track #bringit solid! 

ME AGAINST MYSELF – a metalcore couple skate, without that second person. Skate alone in a circle as the beats of this song flicker like the light from the disco ball in the center. Orbiting around the tempo are the swells of CODY’S vocals that cause you to re-evaluate. I love the full chorus and killer riffs that hook you to the choirs. The punches of reality BRITON’S vocal at the end drop you back into The Now. I love the ethereal vibe from this track. There’s a wake-up call like an alarm here – we are our worst enemy in some things. Well, I can only speak for myself…glad I can see this but do I accept it? Hmmmm…food for thought. 

HURT – in short, I’ll answer the question asking if the hurt ever go away, at the start of this song: “No. It does not. Ever..” Ok, now that we’ve cleared that up… Echoing in this track is the evidence that processing the nonsense the world has to offer through music is why fans love WW so much. I love the road BRITON jogs off from in this track. The tempos and that choppy cadence give CODY a sweet place to show his stuff is clean AF. Listen for the key change at the end – killer touch.

LOW – here’s a gritty lil’ ditty that flips some massive guitar and drum combos like the middle finger is in your face! Look, if you’ve not heard this song before, or if this is the first time you’ve heard WW, don’t be scared. CODY will chase you down and while you’re catching your breath, BRITON comes in and pokes you with a stick to make you get up and go again. I’ll give you the goods here: CODY reaches new heights with his technical peaks in this track – he shows it off with the holds and breath control. Take a bow man, seriously. Killer job.  

THE LINE – very 80’s reminiscent at the start, a little pop-punk-like tempo, and the vocal effect. Is a very cool way to mix it up. The bridge of electronica is dope – WW has an awesome way of using audio layers to contribute to an amazing way to structure songs. 

FURY I love the way BRITON’S opposite side compliments the band, shown here. His vocal styling is the “war” that is waged on fans with the heave-ho power behind it. There are heavy AF guitars in this track that bounce off the electronics up in the middle. Love the way the end trails off like there’s more coming…ya know what I mean?

FORGET MY NAME – here’s a good revenge track that I can get behind;  WW can bring up those parts in us that comes out behind a song like this – I’m empowered during the 3:23 song and I love the unity of the chorus telling us that we can charge our enemies together; even if it’s just symbolically. I love the guitar breaks and the choir “oh oh”s in the back of the room. Nice touch and lyric “the enemy wants me dead, but I got eyes in the back of my head”. 

*** TAKE THE FIGHT – Word to my Mother on the sick AF guitars in this song!! They had me from the tone at the jump! That sound melts so good with the melody like PB and chocolate. The rough and airy parts balance this track; solid, solid like a rock! Ever wonder why opposites attract? Here’s a great example of why. 

***** WILL WE EVER LEARN – jebus jumpin’ up crickets! Spotless and spot-on song saved for the last. I love the direction this might point WW war in for the future. Very subtle but different from their go-to delivery. Probably one of my favorite tracks on PRESSURE for the vocal CODY delivers, and the mash-up with BRITON. Not to mention I love the drums and the way it moves. DUDE, CHRIS!! You win the award for a bass line that is sticky and damn good – just like your favorite meal sticks to your ribs…hell yausssss! The drag of the tempo and the almost low, lows…f’ing killa! A+ my friend, A+!

So, there you have it Lovelies! PRESSURE from WAGE WAR drops this Friday, August 30th. You can purchase the record anywhere you pull down music: iTunes, Google Play, Amazon you know the drill. The band is also on tour this fall and I have dates below. I highly recommend seeing this band if they’re coming through your town. They’ll give you the metalcore goosebumps hard!

CONCERT SHOTS: WAGE WAR/DEEP ELLUM, TX/TREES/2019

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