Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Praise Christ: A brief overview of Jesus metal

Although I am anything but a Christian, for some reason I've always had a soft spot for the sweet sounds of Christ's love put to music. Here are some of the most notable examples I've come across, but please add your own in the comments!

Even by 1990s thrash metal standards, Mortification were stunningly unfashionable

The first time I heard Mortification was about 15 years ago on one of those shitty early 90s death metal comps, I think it was "At Death's Door." They had one track on it, "Scrolls of the Megilloth," which was absolutely crushing and to this day of the best death metal songs I have ever heard. That song was so great that I made the mistake of paying $18 for the full length at some Christian bookstore in Mount Vernon, Washington. It turns out that the rest of their catalog is absolutely awful, third-rate death/thrash along the lines of Demolition Hammer or something but much worse.

Verdict: 2/5 crucifixes

Christian bands have never been shy about charging exorbitant prices for their merch, and at $17 for 2lbs, Tourniquet coffee is no exception!

I am pretty sure that my introduction to Tourniquet was in some guitar magazine back in 1993 or so. I think they had a feature on Jesus metal or something. Anyway, Tourniquet had long song titles like "Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance" so I thought they would sound like Carcass, but they definitely did not. However, their brand of progressive thrash for Christ was very good nonetheless, with outstanding drumming. But the best thing about Tourniquet is their coffee! (Thanks to reader Keith Kahn Harris for the tip!)

Verdict: 3/5 crucifixes

Note the fancy cuffs on the guy's shirt on the bottom left- you have to admire that kind of attention to detail!
I love Stryper so much that once I looked up Isaiah 53:5, which is the verse that they quote on all their covers and stuff (King James):
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Well I guess that explains their outfits! But look how they fucked it up in the NIV. Someone on the NIV translation staff should have been on the lookout for potential conflicts like this, because now Stryper's whole image doesn't make any sense at all!!!
...the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Anyway, people who read the NIV are morons who can't be saved so who cares.

Verdict: 4/5 crucifixes

Believer were nothing less than the finest thrash metal band of the 1990s. Well, perhaps tied with Forced Entry and Dark Angel for that title. In any case, they were great and if you don't listen to them on the regular, it is highly likely that you're a poser. All of their albums are excellent, but "Sanity Obscure" is maybe the best, complete ass-raping thrash (for Christ). Their third album, "Dimensions" is also excellent although it is much different. It sounds exactly like Earth Crisis, only the lyrics are all about killing sinners in the name of Jesus instead of "the cow, the cat, the fetus or the rat."

Verdict: 5/5 crucifixes

This is a photo of Devastation, but really it could be any generic 1990s death metal band, and would you know any different?

The first 45 seconds or so of this record are fucking sweeeeeet, one of the most brutal thrash metal mosh jams ever. But then it's just song after song of wretched, generic riff-salad death/thrash that makes Six Feet Under seem refreshingly original. Many years ago I saw the hardcore band Overcast, and the guitarist was wearing a Devastation long sleeve. That's when I knew he wasn't a poser. Overcast was a great band.

Verdict: 1/5 crucifixes (except for the intro which is 5/5 crucifixes)

Vengeance Rising
We've already covered this band quite extensively. Roger Martinez is a lunatic. Most of their songs are excruciatingly dull and they are chronic chopaholics (all their riffs sound like "CHOPPA CHOPPA CHOPPA CHOP"). I strongly suggest not listening to this awful band, although the story of his descent into insanity and conversion to Satanism is mildly entertaining.

Verdict: 2/5 crucifixes

Impending Doom
This is a very bizarre band that plays Christian wigger slam metal. As is typical of Christian bands, they have very nice, expensive equipment, 4 different managers, and 900 different (extremely expensive) merch items but yet I have never met anybody that listens to them. From their Myspace:
Q. What is Gorship?
A. Gorship is our way of worshiping God through our gore sounding music.
Verdict: 3/5 crucifixes

For further reading
Other popular Christian metal bands include Slayer, Black Sabbath and Death, but I am guessing you are already familiar with these artists. If not, you aren't missing much, they're all very boring and generic although Slayer does have a few good songs like "Dead Skin Mask" and "Silent Scream." Listen to Malignant Rupture and Gut instead.


  1. I remember I laughed for about a week or two about ten years ago when I stumbled across a band on the old interwebs whose name was GRIM in capital letters. This was because their name was an acronym for "GOD RULES IN METAL." They were supposedly a Christian black metal band (or "unblack metal" or whatever the fucking shit you wish to call it) but sounded like ninety-second rate generic-beyond-belief death metal, so boring I practically had to hum some random ...And justice for all interlude through the whole thing to keep awake. This paragraph is long so I'm aiming at a new one.

    Have you noticed how (at least ten years ago) what non-Christian black metal fans call "grim" Christian "black metal" fans call "shrill"? I have never quite understood this.

    The funny thing about GRIM however, was the dude's name. As far as I can remember it was only one dude, just like the quintessential worthless Christian black metal band Horde probably set some rickety standard for. He usedta go by the nickname of "Blood Scepter," a fantastic sounding name if you're a roleplaying fourteen-yearold (which I guess he most certainly cannot have been since roleplaying is Satanic) or just a fucking retard. He didn't stop there, though, he decided he needed his silly name in Norwegian and looked to an old Norwegian bible he supposedly had (I know this because I e-mailed him about it) and a dictionary. Then, coupled with his complete lack of understanding for the "subtle differences" between the English and Norwegian languages, he re-Christened himself "Blod Kongestaven." This literally means "Blood, the stick of the king." Including the comma.

    I didn't claim this story was going to be any interesting, did I?

    Anyway, that guy kinda put me off Christian metal for a while. I should check out Believer, though.

  2. Crimson Thorn. We all had this dub of one album in high school - don't remember which - and everyone agreed the vocalist was definitely growling "Kill The Jews" during the chorus.

    Crimson Thorn: Way more evil than Deicide.

    One of the band members looks like the mom from Gilbert Grape too.

  3. That one Believer album sounds so much like Earth Crisis that it's scary. its as though they played the same instruments, with the same settings and mics. i know it was the same studio...but its just insane. Believer get mad props for being original. So many christian bands were just the third rate version of a secular band. That's what DC Talk were all about.

  4. I didn't know Devastation was a christian band? Either way, you're wrong, because "Idolatry" is fucking superb. Their other records aren't that hot (the first one definitely eats shit), but "Idolatry" is pure thrash gold. How can you like Dark Angel and not like "Idolatry"!?

    I listed to Tourniquet, Vengeance Rising, and Deliverance for like a month each when I was a kid. Then I decided they all actually sucked and sold the CD's. I still remember the song "Psycho Surgery" though, even after all this time.

    Despite having heard of Mortification 5,000,000 times, I don't think I've ever heard a Mortification song.

    Svein, as usual your comments are brilliant! Ha, ha...

  5. This literally means "Blood, the stick of the king."

    ha ha A+++

  6. Believer was awesome. I remember seeing them live and it pissed me off that no one else was into them.

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't realize how good Stryper were until recently. I always thought they only played crap like "Honestly".

    My favorite Christian metal band is definitely Glacier. Also check out Stryken for a laugh.

    Deliverance is good, but some of the lyrics make me angry. I have no problem with the usual Jesus-worshipping lyrics, in fact I often like them better than typical metal lyrics, but they went past that into hating anyone who's not Christian.

  7. dude stryper are fucking awesome if you like hair metal.

    another good jesus metal band is Embodyment- at least, their first couple records that were death metal. then they went nu-metal and weren't very good anymore.

  8. "songs for the living" is a solid slab of semi-mainstream rock, though.

    some of the stuff by living sacrifice and sinai beach ain't so bad either. i'll even admit to liking some of the demon hunter shit, but only when i'm in a very forgiving mood. like any good christian.

    Someone on the NIV translation staff should have been on the lookout for potential conflicts like this


  9. may jesus touch your lives and save your souls.

  10. E.E.E. Recordings is a label that deals exclusively in Christian black metal. It's pretty amusing, I recommend checking it out and laughing (although Njiqahdda, despite having a completely ridiculous name, are good in a post-rock sense).

  11. demon hunter kind of sucks, one of those guys was in some other band like sanctuary or something i think though.

    good call on living sacrifice! their first few records were great! after that one of the guys joined POD and they got 2 drummers and sucked but the early stuff is like what vengeance rising should have been.

  12. Believer had one song that I really liked where they switched seamlessly back and forth between a thrash riff and a reggae beat. Couldn't get past the words once I understood what they were saying, though.

  13. Devastation "Idolatry" is pure Dark Angel/Possessed at their finest!
    Maybe you listened to 1st/2nd sloppy albums...give "Idolatry" a chance!

  14. Deliverance were awful. Just awful. VengRising even worse. Couldn't get into Stryper, but then I can't stand hair metal, except for TNT.

    I like the first four Living Sacrifice albums a lot. I put them on my iPod over two years ago, and they're still there. Each one sounds totally different (young band with an identity crisis), but the song writing is quality, and the performances are ferocious. Lance (I forget his last name) is a killer drummer.

    Extol is totally bad-ass, even with their constant line-up shifts. If you like your thrash technical and freaky, their third album "Synergy" is the way to go.

    The only Christian 'black metal' band I like is Lengsel. Post-black metal gratuitous weirdness.

    Trouble Trouble Trouble Trouble!!!!!!

  15. Yeah, you cover the hideous Stryper but no Trouble?

  16. shit, i forgot about Trouble! good call.

    nobody mentioned slayer, death, and black sabbath?

  17. only a retard forgets Trouble.

  18. Was going to post asking about Trouble, but it looks like it was covered.

  19. Devastation were great. You're a fucking moron.

  20. Don't forget Vomitorial Corpulence.
    Christian goregrind:

    They are also on some 6-way split with 6 other Christian grind/noise bands:

  21. I think Florida's death-thrash titans, Incubus, also fall in this category.

  22. no mention of the legendary Jim Winters.

    = (

  23. No mention of Crutch/Aletheian? For shame.

  24. no Daniel Band!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmuxmtiK06o

    Holy shit that doom part at the end slayed! For Christ!

    Believer and Tourniquet are technothrash (another two christiany technothrash bands: Betrayal and Seventh Angel) what is this "progressive thrash" bullshit? Watchtower named this genre in 1986, posers!

    White metal is a pleasure of mine also, no shame.

  26. I came across this compilation album some time ago. It features tunes from Brazilian bands such as Neversatan, Belzebu Dead and Satan's Doom! Brutal.

  27. you guys are fags. there is no such thing as Christian Metal. that is an oxymoron and those two words cannot exist together.

    believer sucked ass. they had one good song (1st song on extraction from mortality) and then they played the same riff for all the rest of the songs.

    by the way, nobody mentioned the crucified.

  28. dude nice blog post! i love the comments you got too, i'm familiar with pretty much all these bands.

    I'd have to say the best so far that I know of is Extol...all their albums are awesome, but fans of their early work probably wouldn't like their latest work, "the blueprint dives".

    but I love almost all christian metal, and i have almost every cd you can think of, besides hair metal stuff because I can't make myself like that kind of music since i wasn't even alive in that era.

    Impending doom are so damn sick, but I don't like how their overrated in the metal scene...they don't need that many managers for the simple music style they play. Check out Sleeping Giant, aletheian, Jesus Wept, kekal, lengsel, burden of a day, and august burns red for some good Christ metal :D

    also, I have a grindcore project of my own, I call it Christian because I make it with the intention of haveing Christian lyrics, even though right now my music tools are crap and I'm having trouble fitting vocals in there...

    it's called HELL BOVINE and you can visit the page at www.myspace.com/hellbovine4jesus

  29. http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=puns

  30. well fuck christian metal!!!

    slayer is NOT christian. Tom Araya is a roman catholic but it doesnt mean that slayer is christian.

  31. I came across this compilation album some time ago. It features tunes from Brazilian bands such as Neversatan, Belzebu Dead and Satan's Doom! Brutal.


  32. I think Florida's death-thrash titans, Incubus, also fall in this category.