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JFH Staff Review

Alien Youth: The Unplugged Invasion DVD

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 5 songs, 1 music video, & several features
Street Date: November 19, 2002

The Fall 2002 Collector's Series DVDs continue with this special addition to the the line: Skillet's Alien Youth: The Unplugged Invasion. In recent years Skillet has become known for their bold faith-based lyrics and hard rocking electronic-flavored rock. When the group began as a trio in 1996, grunge was their sound which quickly departed in 1998 when Hey You - I love Your Soul replaced it with industrial rock. Now a quartet, Skillet offers up a different DVD single from the series. A unique feature is their 5-song live unplugged session filmed in the Ardent Records studio.

While most of the other DVD singles released this year are merely a few music videos and a couple behind the scenes featurettes, Skillet treats you to a truly unique experience as they play some favorite tracks reimagined as acoustic tracks. This finds bassist and lead vocalist John Cooper accompanied by guitarist Ben Kasaica pounding away on their acoustics while Lori Peters beats the bongos and a very pregnant Korey Cooper slams away at the keys (Korey has since given birth to her and John's first child, Alexandria!). The first song is "Alien Youth," which takes a few seconds to adjust to the different sound, but easily becomes a joy to watch despite their electric shows being so loaded with unbridled energy. The direction on the live shots keep the viewer's attention, bouncing between members and the audience at key moments. "One Real Thing" makes a great transition to acoustic considering it's more ballad approach, as does "You Are My Hope," but I was concerned about the rocker "Kill Me, Heal Me." I was impressed, however, to hear an almost perfect acoustic rendition. It seemed a little out of place to keep some of the electronic samples that are characteristic of the amazing original version, but for the very reason of being pertinent to the original arrangement is probably why they kept them in. The set ends nicely and surprisingly abruptly following "Best Kept Secret," which incidentally is also the only track from any other record (in this case, 2000's Invincible).

In addition to the acoustic session, fans are treated to a 10 minute "Bible study" with John Cooper and a group of young teens which is edited nicely to keep moving steadily as it turns into a bried question and answer session. A photo gallery of moments during the session is also present, including a surprising 29 photos. Finally, the music video for "Best Kept Secret" is included as well as a complete discography of musical offerings from the band's career.

As all of the DVDs, this disc is a must for the fans, in this case, the panheads of Christian music (shout outs to all the panheads!). It may not be the best representation of who Skillet is musically for a newcomer to their sound, but it's an excellent piece for the fans and a highlight from the Collector's Series!

- - Review date: 12/8/02, written by John DiBiase

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Skillet DVD

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. Artist Info: Discography
. Record Label: Ardent Records
. Album length: Acoustic set with 5 songs, 1 music video, & several features
. Street Date: November 19, 2002
. Buy It:

  1. Unplugged Session Feature:
    - "Alien Youth"
    - "One Real Thing"
    - "Kill Me, Heal Me"
    - "You Are My Hope"
    - "Best Kept Secret"
  2. Alien Youth Bible Study featurette
  3. 29 Photos from the acoustic session
  4. "Best Kept Secret" video
  5. Discography



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