Christian Music That Rocks
By Richard Wines
When I mention the words “Christian rock,” the first response I get from most people is, “Is Stryper still around?” The prevailing opinion is that Christian rock is a lame, tired, and outdated copy of better secular bands that gets rolled out for youth groups to keep wayward preachers sons from listening to music from Pantera and Iron Maiden. If this is your opinion, I have good news—things have changed.
The last decade has begun a new renaissance in Christian rock. The Christian lover of rock no longer has to close his ears to the lyrics of “Highway to Hell” or “Enter Sandman” to get a testosterone infused fix of heavy guitar. Here are seven new bands blazing a trail that make Christian rock worth a second look.
Kutless – Deep, full, heavy chords characterize the rock of Kutless. The worship song “Strong Tower” is likely played on your local Christian pop station, but their real quality can be heard in examples like “Run,” “Legacy,” and “It’s Like Me.” The song “Sea of Faces” has a particular meaning to me as it reminds me of my position with God. www.kutless.com
Skillet – A few years ago, a friend gave me the Skillet album Collide, and I’m eternally grateful. Gravelly voiced lead singer John Cooper sounds as if his vocal chords could blow any second, but the mix of his voice with heavy guitar and various unique instrumental combinations create a grunge/industrial mix that gives the band a unique flavor. The new album, (Comotose), has a little more mainstream sound than past efforts. Preview the song “Savior” when you check them out at www.skillet.com.
Red – Grammy nominated (1) Christian rock group Red exploded onto to the music scene in 2006 with album (End of Silence), which had huge success on both Christian and secular charts with songs “Breathe Into Me,” “Let Go,” and “Already Over.” Red is a versatile band with every thing from driving metal riffs to haunting lyrical masterpieces with orchestra accompaniment. This group shows huge promise and will release a new album, (Innocence and Instinct (2), in February. I’ve not looked forward to a new release like this since (The Empire Strikes Back). Visit their website at http://www.redmusiconline.com/.
Demon Hunter – In much the same way as Petra’s “This Mean’s War” confronted spiritual warfare head-on, Demon Hunter carries on the tradition. Their deep metalcore combined with unique lyrical melodies creates a sound that defies explanation. The hardest rocking group mentioned here, Demon Hunter has gained critical and secular success with songs such as “Fading Away,” “Carry Me Down,” and “My Heartstrings Come Undone.” http://www.demonhunter.net/.
Seventh Day Slumber – The only thing more gripping than the hard rocking sound of Seventh Day Slumber is the testimony of lead singer Joseph Rojas. His love of the Lord and transformation from a drug addict to gospel proclaiming rocker is evident in the passion of every song. Ballads like “I Believe in Jesus,” and “Caroline,” are likely heard on many Christian pop stations while, “Finally Awake,” and “Break Me,” are much too hard for moms in minivans. www.seventhdayslumber.com
Sanctus Real – Current Grammy award nominated (3) group for album (We Need Each Other), Sanctus Real delivers with a distinctive upbeat rock sound. Songs vary from the jarring, but impossibly good “I’m Not Alright,” to the potent “We Need Each Other.” Sanctus Real unashamedly proclaims the name of Christ. http://www.sanctusreal.com/.
The Classic Crime – A group that doesn’t want to be classified as Christian Rock(4), but their positive themes get them a mention here. The unknown song, “Warrior Poet,” is one of my favorites. With driving rhythms, this is the best workout music I’ve found. New album (The Silver Chord), shows a little more variety and mature sound than earlier (Albatross), though I prefer (Albatros). Check out “Gravedigging” at http://www.theclassiccrime.com/.
I left out some bands such as Switchfoot and Reliant K because I don’t really classify them as rock in the classic sense. Honorable mention are Pillar, Fireflight, Thousand Foot Crutch, Amberlin, Day of Fire, Decyfer Down, Disciple, The Fold, Hawk Nelson, High Flight Society, Lifehouse, Run Kid Run, Ruth, Stellar Kart, This Beautiful Republic, The Wedding, and 12 Stones. I’m still growing in my exposure to this genre, so forgive me if I left out your favorite.
The more I listen to Christian Rock, the more secular music looses its appeal. These bands let me lose myself in the hard rocking beat while at the same time worshiping God. Why listen to unwholesome, lost bands with music that glorifies debauchery, when there are so many quality alternatives.
1. Grammy Awards "GRAMMY.com – 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards Winners List"
2. http://www.cmspin.com/newsmanager/anmviewer.asp?a=5245&z=26 Red: Second album info