At this point, it goes without saying: Skillet has ruled their genre for as long as most younger rockers can remember.
There is no longer any question about the staying power or the influence Skillet holds. The question is what they’ll do with that power.
Dominion, Skillet’s highly-anticipated 11th studio album, is out to deliver the answer.
“Survivin’ the game, I can be unstoppable / Gonna walk through hell, gonna shake the walls.” That refrain from lead single “Surviving the Game” immediately sets up Skillet’s approach for Dominion. During a time when many people have felt hopeless, isolated and confused, these songs set out to declare that we are not powerless. We still have strength we can call on— specifically, the strength of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God that Spirit inaugurates.
That concept is the beating heart that animates every track on this album. Title track “Dominion” punches through the silence with searing guitars and forceful vocals from frontman John Cooper: “Don’t let the empire take control / Revolution from within / Let the kingdom reign begin.” “Destiny” is a back-and-forth internal battle between doubt and our birthright of hope, framed by John and Jen Ledger’s contrasting vocals.
Rhythmic “Destroyer” and adrenaline-laced “Beyond Incredible” continue to provide soundtracks for warriors. On these two tracks in particular, the interplay between Korey Cooper’s programming prowess and Seth Morrison’s grungy guitar tones provides textured rock and roll ear candy. It’s the perfect blend of grit and slick electronics, painting a cinematic backdrop for what feels like a true post-apocalyptic battlefield. “Ignite” is another place this dynamic shines, with scorching riffs that harken back to the best of industrial rock while simultaneously capturing something sonically innovative.
However, Dominion isn’t all muscle: it also offers heart. “Valley of Death” is one of the brightest-shining ballads in Skillet’s starry career, a piercingly emotional track acknowledging the reality of death that so many are walking through. The lyrics are a soul-soothing prayer, asking for a reminder that we do not walk through that dark valley alone: “Say You won’t forget me because sometimes I don’t believe / that I am not alone in the valley of death.”
“Refuge” is a midtempo ballad with a gentle, hopeful melody structurally echoing the shelter that the lyrics talk about: “I’m not afraid, for You are my refuge.” In the same vein, previously released “Standing in the Storm” is a song about resilience, a fight song that acknowledges the storm while declaring our ability to outlast it.
Although Skillet’s deeply-held faith has always been central to their music, Dominion is easily their most theologically dense project in years. “Shout Your Freedom” is hard rock worship at its finest, heralding the imminent Kingdom of God with the lyric “now you’re a minister of a brand new reality.” “White Horse” could be a page straight out of the book of Revelation, packed with Biblical, apocalyptic imagery. It’s an eschatological approach likely to resonate most deeply with a Church desiring to be reminded of who they are.
Taking Dominion as a whole, it’s evident that Skillet is using their influence in this pivotal moment to remind listeners of the power available to them through the living Spirit of God. Skillet’s approach has always been the straightforward passion that rock and roll was built for. That fearlessness is well-suited to dispelling the darkness of our current cultural anxieties. Dominion is likely to leave you ready to face the world, rooted in the light that darkness cannot overcome.
Find Dominion at skillet.lnk.to/dominion.