I’m a huge music lover. My bread and butter is rock but I also love Reggae, R&B, Blues, Classical, Vocal music, and even Jazz and Bluegrass in small doses. As mentioned though, I love Rock the most; hard-driving, intense, hacked-off, loud rock.
I never really liked Heavy Metal growing up. Some of my favorites were: Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat, Led Zepplin, and Sly and the Family Stone. In the 80’s I inexplicably fell in love with Disco, then Rap and as Rap became increasingly vulgar, I slowly turned back to Rock. As I and most of my peers started listening to Classic Rock and turning their nose up to the new Rock a funny thing happened. Kellye’s cousin Preston, a few years younger than myself, ( he and I had always sent each other music), sent me a cassette tape (yeah) of Pantera. He said in the accompanying note; that it would seem extremely heavy but to give it a chance. It was and I did, it slowly grew on me, and before long I was listening and enjoying all sorts of thrash, hard rock, and Metal.
Then I heard POD and everything changed.
Before that a friend of mine was always ragging on me and saying; how could I listen to the music I did ( Sevendust, White Zombie, Godsmack, Slipknot, etc.) and be a strong Christian? My standard comeback was that I just enjoyed the music, and that I didn’t listen to the lyrics, most that you couldn’t understand anyway. He did cause me to start feeling pangs of conscious however. I heard about a good music edit program that I downloaded and started editing all the bad stuff out of the songs. I did that for a couple of years, drawing much ribbing from Raleigh for my pitiful editing skills, butchering to pieces songs like House of Pain’s Jump, and Manson’s Mobscene. Anyway, back to POD. I got into them and others: Blindside, Living Sacrifice and realized that there was tons of good music out there where I didn’t have to listen to a bunch of cussing, dark lyrics, devilish subject matter, and just plain darkness. Matter of fact, the more I investigated and searched , I found there was absolutely a barrage of such music out there.
Below I have listed my favorite bands. I hope, if you haven’t heard some or any of the them, you’ll check them out. Their MySpace sites are a good place to sample, or ITunes.
I’ve listed first the group, a brief description, Hardmeter (10 would be the heaviest possible and 1 would be peaceful, chilled out, devo music), my favorite 2 songs by the group, the best line or the best part, the CD it comes from, and then a few songs that are really good but didn’t make my top 2.
Caveat #1. My definition of a Christian band. Most of the bands are not “Christian ” bands, i.e. that would be on the top 10 Christian sellers for the week or up for Dove awards. I don’t think any on the list are, maybe with the exception of Pillar. The MO for these bands is that most or all of the band members are Christians and their songs are about God and/or living the Christian life. There lyrics range from bold, in your face, calling you out Christian lyrics, and testimony ( Sleeping Giant) to very vague lyrics that you wouldn’t even know were about God unless you were a fan of the band (Underoath).
Caveat #2: Bone up on your internet lyric -finding skills because you’re going to need that with most of these bands.
Every song SG does is about God’s Kingdom, every one. They’re not vague about it either. Hard meter 8 on the hardest stuff but they have several chill-type praise tunes; O Praise Him, He Will Reign. If you want to get revived in your faith and like this kind of music, these guys are the ticket.
Whoremonger Scripture: Proverbs 7: 6-27 Best part/Line ” Hell relinquish your hold on my Sons” CD Dread Champions of the Last Days
Descending Into Hell Scripture: James 1:27 Best Line “You know what’s unbiblical? It’s Jesus sitting in some blackened room.” CD Sons of Thunder
Honorable Mention: King of Kings, The Streets Don’t Lie
NJ’s CD’s have gradually got less hard with each successive one.Their absolute hardest, brutal, math core-esque was their 1st 2 cds which feature the top 2 most played songs on my ITunes account: Memphis Will be Laid to Waste, and Face: Face. Their CD Redeemer is still hard but the most blatantly Christian. Hard meter: 8
A Small Spark vs A Great Forest Scripture; James 3:1-12 Best Line : “Oh how we curse, tongue is a flame, let there be Grace” CD Redeemer
The End of All Things Will be Televised Scripture: Revelation 21 Best Line: ” Out comes the Mercy, shutting down Hell”,” Captain, the ship is sinking, Have Mercy”. CD Redeemer
Honorable Mention: Face Face, Memphis Will be Laid to Waste, Amnesty Please.
War of Ages
Wonderful band. So sincere. Check out front man Leroy Hamp’s testimony. Good, Pennsylvania, power metal/christiancore with some serious guitar work and real praise of God. Very inspirational lyrics. Hardmeter 7
One Day Best Line: Chorus: “God save Me” CD: War of Ages
My Solitude Best line: ” my life is not in vain, proved by the stripes on his back” CD War of Ages
Honorable Mention: Guide for the Helpless, Stone by Stone
There 1st 3-4 CD’s were their most in your face Christian: Snuff the Punk (my all time favorite cover art), Brown, The Fundamental Elements of Southtown, and Satellite. All those are still frequent visitors in my CD player.
Hard meter 5.5
Run Scripture: Psalm 13 (word for word) Best line “I will sing to You, my Lord, for You have been so good to me” CD Snuff the Punk
Tribal Warriors Best Line “Holding the stars, is the man who carries my scars”. CD The Fundamental Elements of Southtown
Honorable Mention: Southtown, Outcast, Anything Right, Portrait
As I Lay Dying
Very hard but just as with just about all Christian heavy music, it has a goodness, a wholesomeness that non-Christian bands noticeably lack. You would think that would be true huh? You definitely need the lyric sheet with these guys and it makes it all the more awesome when you find out what they’re saying alongside such monster guitar riffs and frenetic drum runs. Hardmeter 9
Collision Best Line:” I want you to know, how much it means to have you in my life. I could never forget You. I will never be the same”. CD Frail Words Collapse
Distance is Darkness Best Line: How quickly I forget, that this is meaningless” CD Frail Words Collapse
Honorable Mention: 94 Hours, Through Struggle, Meaning in Tragedy
Life in Your Way
Jordans favorite band. They, even though scream-rock, have a very wholesome quality which exudes goodness and love ( see songs below) We’ve seen these guys live several times and have been very impressed with them off-stage. They have a holler-guy and a sing guy like a lot of hardcore bands these days. Hard meter 6.5
Salty Grave Best Part: The Hymn, I Love You Lord halfway into the song. CD: Waking Giants
Threads of Sincerity Best Part: “Everywhere I go, everywhere my feet take me, Your compassion never fails me“ CD: Waking Giants
Honorable Mention: The Beauty of Grace, We Don’t Believe, Reach the End
These guys went from really screaming, hardcore on their 1st CD: A Thought Crossed my Mind (HM 9) to a lot less harsh , commercial-friendly singing style on Silence (HM 5). After that, they’ve gone too commercial, and lamed out. Those 1st 2 CD’s are good though, especially Silence which is packed with great stuff. Hardmeter See above
Cute Boring Love Song is About: Lust CD Silence
Act Best Line ” Shift into a higher gear, place a brick on the gas. On what I left behind, I won’t shed a tear, My rear view mirror has got broken glass”. CD A Thought Crushed My Mind
Honorable Mention: Pitiful, Sleepwalking, Caught a Glimpse, King of the Closet
These guys are probably the most commercially popular of anyone on my list, their CD’s going high up the Billboard charts, Grammy awards, and Gold records. My favorite cd is Define the Great Line which is really good, packed with killer songs. My next favorite is They’re Only Chasing Safety. Their earlier stuff is Hardcore Screamo which I don’t really love. These guys headlined the Warped Tour when it was in Nashville a few years ago.They’re the real deal musically. Hardmeter 7
In Regards To Myself, Casting Such a Thin Shadow CD: Define the Great Line
Honorable Mention: Returning Empty Handed, A Moment Suspended in Time,Young and Aspiring
I bought this CD early in my Christian Rock evolution,unheard, on the recommendation of some 13 year old hardcore/Christian kid at one of Jordans soccer games when he was about 10. I got home with it, cranked it up, heard the Living Sacrifice version of the devo-song I am Not My Own and freaked out. It was about the most awesome thing I had ever heard! Praise to God in absolutely SLAMMING, breakdown, monster riff, stop-start beats, with absolutely no commercial ambitions, only to crank as hard as possible and to glorify God. Wow. Hardmeter 9
Not My Own Best Line ” Born again, born again, LIFE. Born again, born again, PEACE. Born again, born again, LOVE , I am not my own”. CD The Hammering Process
Reborn Empowered: Best Line:Reborn empowered,All strongholds broken,Old ways have died,Given new life.CD In Memoriam
This band is broken up now.Their music is a really good; So-Cal, optimistic, blend of rock,rap with a little reggae thrown in.Their name “Pax” is Latin for Peace, and 217 stands for Ephesians 2:17.They sound a lot like the old rap/rock band 311. I wish they hadn’t broken up. The song No place Like Home breaks my heart. Hardmeter 4
No Place Like Home. About: Divorce. Best Line: “Mom and Dad come back around” CD Twoseventeen
I’ll See You CD Engage
Honorable Mention: Prizm, Engage, PSA, Move On This.
One of Raleigh’s favorite bands.Wow.These guys are like listening to a hard rock representation of the book of Revelation.You’ll just have to check them out to see what I mean. Their music is a little too intense for over a couple of songs at a time for me personally.Their guitar-virtuoso rating is very high,with ex-Between the Buried an Me guitarist Shane Blay leading the way, shearing off monster riff lines. Raleigh has met these guys and says they appear to be the real deal, really friendly, accessible, humble, and God fearing.
Vices Like Vipers Best Line: (hard to decide) Like the Viper, I kept when You said “Let Go”. “Take my lust, this world’s love. Great Counselor, take what’s left, Great Counselor, take what’s left…..of me.” CD When I am God
To Flagship Best Line: “As the Sons of the first King, the Sons of Flagship” CD When I am God
Honorable Mention Son of the Morning,We are the Archers, Building the Nations
Fireproof is my favorite with their preceding cd, Above, my next favorite which was pure rap/rock.Pillar is now more pure rock as in Where do We Go From Here, another good offering from start to finish. They’ve kind of went the commercial route and sold out since. Hardmeter 4
Fireproof Best Line ” I tried to tell you but you wouldn’t be quiet, I am FIREPROOF.” CD Fireproof
Live for Him Best Line ” We’re battle soldiers caught in spiritual warfare , fighting’ for the souls of the lost in this dark nightmare “. CD Above
Honorable Mention: You Should Know, Frontline, You Simply Loved
A local band, now broken up, they are actually a few Belmont guys.This is very good stuff, especially for a local band. I saw them a couple of times. Their front man had a penchant for jumping off really high places during their performances. I always see their little bearded guitarist in the pit at local shows. Check out the history of their band name Sophia. Hardmeter 7
Suffocating the Magpie Best Part: “I called you my Daughter, I called you my Mother, Forgive us, my sister, I am the curse“. CD My Morning; Migration
Prison Epistle Abridged Best Part: ” I am the poorest one if I give all I have to follow You Father” CD My Hands, My Greedy Hands
Honorable Mention: The Dove’s Solemn Hymn, Desertification
These guys are from Elizabethtown Tn. Their 1st CD A Chorus of Obliteration (HM 9) was really heavy but their 2nd Temptation Comes My Way (HM 6.5) is more Southern Heavy Rock, way, way more melodic with very little screaming. Great guitar work.
Head Down, I Victim CD Temptation Comes My Way
A Monument Encased in Ash This song is about the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yes, awesome.
Haste the Day
This group has a good mix of screaming (almost a screech) and singing, and really good guitar driven, breakdown, hardcore rock. They are one of Raleigh’s favorites. He saw them, and As I Lay Dying at one show. Wow. Their name comes from the lyrics in the Hymn It is Well With my Soul. I read this: they asked a band member to leave the band because he no longer believed in Christ and they didn’t feel that worked with their purpose as a band. You wouldn’t think of that type commitment when you hear these guys because they are so hard but that’s why we shouldn’t judge by appearances. ;0) Hardmeter 8.5
Walk On, When Everything Fails, CD When Everything Fails
American Love CD Burning Bridges
Honorable Mention Pressure the Hinges, Chorus of Angels
The Best of the Rest
August Burns Red
Devil Wears Prada
A Plea For Purging
I Am Terrified
Get Your Guns