On Awake, Skillet follows up the success of 2006’s Comatose with a similar blast of melodramatic pop/rock from a Christian perspective. Singer/bassist John Cooper leads his comrades through a set of ballad-heavy tracks filled with spiritual conflict and romantic anguish. Cooper’s throat-searing vocals drive home the desperation within “Forgiven,” “Monster,” and “Hero” (the latter featuring some equally urgent singing by drummer Jen Ledge). On the earthly plane, love’s rough patches are exposed in the stinging “One Day Too Late,” the snarling “Should’ve When You Could’ve,” and the regretful “Don’t Wake Me.” Though many of the tunes here are decidedly dark, “Awake and Alive” offers a God-centered battle cry as stirring as any Skillet has recorded. The ballad “Lucy” closes on a melancholy note. Overall, this album occupies a niche somewhere between Red and Evanescence, counter-pointing expressions of faith with boy/girl angst. Though Awake rarely strays beyond the boundaries set by Comatose, it stands on its own for its muscular attack and underlying passion.