Theme Thursday: Faith Metal

There are countless amounts of themes that come up in various metal songs.  In my opinion, out of all the genres of music, in metal, you will find the most diverse sets of lyrics and imagery between the insane amounts of great bands creating this style of music.  Unfortunately, the mass public sees the often aggressive nature of this music and quickly associates the bands famous for their darker imagery with Satanism, the occult, and the glorification of violence.  Well, there are plenty of bands that thrive on that kind of stuff, but it’s only a small percentage.  I mean, even a band like Slayer, whose lyrics often deal with war, are a group of people crying for peace by showing and making known the horrors of violent conflict.  Black Sabbath were shunned against for their philosophical lyrics based around occult ideas and imagery.  Upon closer inspection their songs more closely resembled Christian and Buddhist philosophies.  You could not only call them the ‘Fathers of Metal’ but also the ‘Fathers of Faith Metal’.  Not everything is what it seems, but I do have to agree that the Dark Lord does get a lot of press and his counter point a lot of negative in the metal realm.

What I’d like to do this week is give the White a spot to shine.  Some call this ‘genre’ Christian Metal, but I don’t really care for that term.  I’m not Christian and don’t always agree with their teachings and don’t share the same stance on many social subjects (if you’re curious, I lean more towards the teachings of Buddhism for my placement of faith/philosophy), but I do think there are lots of good lessons to be learned in the Bible.  I think the term Faith Metal fits this ethos in thematic elements of the band’s music much better.  It doesn’t confine itself to one religion nor one single flavor of metal.  One thing that all these bands have in common is they often profess to a higher power and include teachings of their religious book of choice in their songs and their lyrics and themes are on positive energy side of the spectrum.  And honestly, isn’t one big thing about metal being counter-culture?  Well, Faith Metal is the ultimate counter-culture countering the counter-culture established by metal and at the same time countering the popular culture.  What’s more metal than that?  As one should always do in life, keep an open mind and check out some great music by a nice variety of Faith Metal artists.  Who are some of your favorite Faith Metal bands?  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Theocracy

This power metal band blew me away when I first heard them.  Huge everything, guitars, solos, vocals.  Everything is just oh so glorious and the surges of positive energy in their music really gets my adrenaline pumping.  The faith elements of their lyrical themes fit the feel of power metal perfectly and only work to heighten the good vibes coming from the music.

As I Lay Dying

At first glance you probably wouldn’t picture this band being filled with faith.  But alas, many of their songs revolve around thankfulness, profession of their faith, believing and standing up for yourself, and forgiveness.  In the sea of breakdown heavy metalcore bands AILD stands out as by far one of the best in genre with their frantic guitars, crushing rhythms, charged vocals, and damn catchy songs.

Orphaned Land

Hailing from Israel where religious wars are tearing the people apart, Orphaned Land comes and preaches peace and love.  Using themes from their own culture and religion you will hear many stories taken from the Torah (the Jewish bible, also known as The Old Testament) and the traditional music of their homeland.  Pinning a specific genre on them is difficult as they explore many aspects of metal.

The Firstborn

Combining Oriental instruments with thundering metal this Buddhist metal band really knows how to make an impact.  Their sound reminds me of bands like Opeth at times and Neurosis at others with lots of hints of Pain of Salvation sprinkled in, but in the end it is wholly unique.  All in all some amazing music.  Their albums are all based on Buddhist scriptures and teachings and are worthy listens.  You can hear their latest release, Lions Among Men, in its entirety over on Bandcamp and grab yourself a ‘pay what you want’ copy while you’re there (Click Here).

Oh, Sleeper

This techy metalcore band bring high energy, tons of passion, and pour their souls out into their music.  Beyond themes revolving around Christianity, their themes often revolve around the disgust of violence caused by the want of religious freedom and the horrors of extreme religious fanaticism.  Their album Children of Fire is by far the most mature work the band has released and some of its stark imagery will send chills down your spine as you’re causing permanent damage to your neck from excessive headbanging.

Antestor

Traditional Black Metal is well-known for being the most evil of all forms of evil in metal with the praise of Satanism and string of church burnings that overcame the scene during its early years.  If there was one genre of music that I would think Faith Metal couldn’t strive it would certainly be Black Metal.  But alas, Antestor made their rise during those notorious Black Metal beginnings in Norway and even reached the ear of Euronymous (of the pioneering Black Metal band, Mayhem), who vowed to stop Antestor from ‘continuing’ (they were known as Crush Evil during this time).  Fortunately that never happened, and funny enough, Mayhem drummer Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg appears on the bands 2005 release The Forsaken.  Peace wins!!!!

Tourniquet

Need a little thrash in you life.  Well Tourniquet will deliver that to you along with some praise to God.  Using the Bible as a base for their lyrics their usage of them never really comes across as hokey, preachy, or cheesy.  Their music is also a blast to listen to with the bulk of it hanging out with the D.R.I. realm of thrash, but progressive elements work their way in.  This gives them a more challenging sound compared to your typical thrash metal band, but without giving up on the fun that Thrash Metal brings.

Rudra

This band from Singapore takes a mix of Black Metal and Death Metal and infuses teachings from the Sanskrit Vedic (the Hindi Bible) into their music.  Along with stories about Krishna and Arjuna they meld shlokas (mantras) into their music giving it a great hypnotic feel among all the brutality.  Along with the religious subtext there are many themes of self introspection and opening yourself up to being a better and more spiritual person in their music.

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About atleastimhousebroken

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on August 2, 2012, in Theme Thursday and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. So many good bands in one post :D
    Even the thrash-band Tourniquet sounded nice! ;) Antestor I knew before, I really like that CD you posted a song from. The Buddhist band is just great, and Oh, Sleeper is one of my new favourites. I have to say it’s quite impressive power metal from the first band too.

    Orphaned Land does a great job with spreading metal, peace and love where it’s needed the most. Their music is something special. The last video and song was very different, in a good way.

    Great post, nice descriptions of the bands.

  2. In an odd twist of synchronicity, another – Buddhist – blogger I subscribe to http://painisanillusion.wordpress.com/ posted a link to The Firstborn’s Bandcamp page in today’s post (these guys sound really interesting) and I also had an email update from Radiant Records re the new upcoming Neal Morse record

    http://www.radiantrecords.com/default.aspx

    Ok, Morse isn’t metal so much as prog rock but with Michael Portnoy handling percussives we can be assured of a healthy dose of hard rock action. Any subscribers partial to something proggy and not familiar with Morse, Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic etc really ought to check out some of his work:

    • Irlmelnis, the commenter above you, runs Pain is an Illusion. Lol, small world :)

      Thanks for those Neal Morse links. I’m familiar with Transatlantic and some Spock’s Beard (love that band name). I’ve not heard any of his solo stuff, but I am quite intrigued (Portnoy finally doing something worth some salt with his post-DT career!) and I really dig that track you posted.

  3. There is definitely some good music going on here. I tend not to focus much on lyrical content, I like the music more than anything. Therfore, these bands appeal to me more than some other stuff I heard in the past. I have had some people before try to introduce me to Christian rock and it was well, pretty bad…really thick with the “message.” I have only heard of a couple of these bands before and saw one live – As I Lay Dying. I didn’t think they were that great, but I didn’t catch any scripture being shoved down my throat…so, I have respect for them for just being cool.

    Thank you for not featuring Creed on this list.

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