Eleven albums deep and showing no signs of slowing down, alternative metal tour de force Skillet enter their twenty-sixth year of existence with Dominion (WMG / Atlantic), a collection of big rocking tunes, expertly polished and produced, which continues in their now trademark vein. We get the arena stompers, the WWE PPV-ready (or premium live event as they seem to now be known as) montage accompaniers, the saccharine reflective synth and strings ballad, and the chirpy up-tempo deeper cuts.
Predictability genuinely is underrated, and this is an exercise in giving the fans exactly what they want from a collective of attuned professionals who are experts in what they do. So, while the likes of Skillet probably do sit to one side of the usual universe of Ghost Cult, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge their abilities or enjoy their wares. We can pretentiously refer to gateway bands, but with a lead-off single (‘Surviving The Game’) racking up over 3 million YouTube plays, let alone a ridiculous raft of streams in a handful of months only, Skillet are doing fine without our acceptance, thank you very much.
And they should be given more credit for that, as Dominion is one of their stronger full-lengths and it sets about showing what an accomplished act the quartet are. At the rockier end of mainstream metal or at the more metal end of mainstream rock, you take your pick, but there is a vibrancy and positivity prevalent throughout with Skillet being the benchmark for the style that acts like Shining tried to emulate and were unable to match.
There is a more prominent role throughout the album for the excellent accompanying vocals of drummer Jen Ledger, who acts as a foil to the husky leads of bassist and centre-piece Jon Cooper moreso than on previous releases, with Ledger really shining on ‘Forever or the End’ and its reflective semi-Country stylings. Elsewhere, there is a more integrated and better use of electronics and synths even in the heavier sections to add elements of dynamics and colour.
While there are a couple of moments that don’t quite land (the aforementioned piano-ballad ‘Valley of Death’ or the experimental electronic / dirgy closer ‘White Horse’), there is plenty of success across the rest of the album’s ten other tracks. By now, you know what you’re getting, and most things exist in that Disturbed, Shinedown, Linkin Park, heavier 30 Seconds To Mars ballpark, but make no mistake, this is a strong modern rock record from experts at their craft, with enough killer to continue to assert Skillet’s dominion over the arena metal competition.
Buy the album here: https://skillet.com/dominion
7 / 10