Rock band Skillet has been around for more than 25 years now—which in and of itself seems crazy, and is quite an admirable feat. Not only around, but relevant to the current music scene with a rabid fanbase. I’ve been a fan of their albums since the grunge beginnings of self titled in 1996, but after 2006’s Comatose, they lost some intrigue for me as they seemed to slip into a comfortable groove with diminishing returns. I certainly dug individual songs like “Hero” “Monster” “Freakshow” “The Resistance” “Victorious” and “Anchor,” and even gave them points for branching into newer sounds on 2019’s Victorious…but as far as full albums go they seemed stuck in a rut of vague rah rah lyrics and formulaic nu metal/symphonic rock sonics. It was tough to grade their last few albums highly when the songwriting lacked anything personal, specific, or daring. I’m sure it was frustrating to the band who no doubt faces pressure from label to sell, fan expectations, and then music critics calls to higher art, but they seemed to hit a creative ceiling.

This is strictly my opinion of course but each album from Awake forward seemed to improve slightly on its predecessor, and I’m happy to report that to my ears, 2022’s Dominion is a tremendously large step forward for the band, and their best since Comatose. Below I’ll give a track-by-track rating with a very brief take on why I rated it as such. This is after 3-4 spins through the album, but that’s usually enough to keep me from a hot-take that will change drastically with time.

Also, here’s another Skillet post you might enjoy: Top 20 Songs Of 20 Artists: Skillet

“Surviving the Game” – 4 stars

A good fist pumping anthem to kick things off.

“Standing in the Storm” – 3.5 Stars

I got a little nervous as this trends back to their familiar template with trade off vocals, but it ends up being a decent song. Not likely one I’ll return to much as they’ve done this much better before.

“Dominion” – 4.5 Stars

Absolutely the best song they’ve written since “Hero.” The Face-melting guitar solo is 🔥.

“Valley of Death” – 4 Stars

Mostly a piano and John’s earnest vocals. A nice break from the three jams preceding it. I like it.

“Beyond Incredible“ – 4 Stars

Another driving rock anthem with some pulsing electronic drums mixed in.

“Destiny” – 4 Stars

The trade-off vocal match is done better here with the harmonies in the chorus adding a nice touch.

“Refuge” – 4 Stars

A ballad with some of Coopers best lyrics in awhile. This one is primed for radio.

“Shout Your Freedom” – 3.5 Stars

Hate to say it, but it’s a basic Skillet song. Not bad but nothing memorable either.

“Destroyer” – 3.5 Stars

I really wanted to like this song more because musically I find it interesting, but the lyrics hold it back.

“Forever or the End” – 4.5 Stars

The most personal and specific lyrically that Cooper has gotten in the past few albums to my memory. Well done. Tender and earnest. Hopeful ballad. Another radio-ready tune.

“Ignite” – 3 Stars

Forgettable both musically and lyrically. Moving on.

“White Horse” – 3.5 Stars

Interesting close to the album. The chaotic musical feel fits the revelation/apocalyptic lyrics. Rated lower because I tire of these type of angry God expressions.

3.92 Average:

Overall: Bump to 4 Stars for the strongest set of songs since 2006s Comatose. Worth a purchase or add to playlist for me are: “Dominion” and “Forever or the End.”

What about you? Have you heard Dominion yet? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!