Is not new that Christians, are present in basically most of the music genres available out there, it could be rock, hip hop, electronic, progressive, indie and of course Heavy Metal. Although, there’s a couple of famous metal bands that has Christian themes on their lyrics and artworks, many of those bands are not well received by the metal scene.
I cannot express my opinion towards Christianity on power metal, trash metal, nu metal, metal core, etc. because I’m not familiar with many bands with Christian influence under those metal sub genres, with some exceptions such as The Devil wears Prada (metal core) and Stryper (heavy metal), to mention some. But for the current post, I would like to share my thoughts over bands and music in which I’m very familiarized: Extreme Metal.
Before start, I want to tell you guys how I discovered some Christian extreme metal bands. A couple of years ago, I started to fascinate with the first wave of Black metal which is actually the Norway 90’s scene, mainly encouraged by Mayhem. I was obsessed with Dead, his lyrics and his freaking voice, so I went to see a lot of documentaries, and articles about it, and finally I got this amazing documentary titled “Pure Fucking Mayhem” produced by Stefan Rydehed. After reading about the producer, I learned that this same guy actually produced another documental called “Light in Darkness – Nemesis Divina”, which actually shows a brief history of Christian Extreme Metal scene, and the struggles and ideas of this kind of bands. The bands featuring this film are Crimson Moonlight, Horde and Pantokrator, among others.
At this point, I would like to think that is implicit by the title of the post, that I’m not Christian, and that actually I consider myself agnostic, and that definitely I’m not trying to convince anyone to become Christian, or spread the word of lord, etc. Is clear that the only reason for what these bands has to struggle, is that Extreme metal, such as Black and Death Metal were conceived under satanic subjects and influences, especially for Black Metal. Based on this, there is a lot of fans that cannot accept the fact, that extreme metal can be influenced by Christianity, and that actually this is an insult, another strategy to get more people into the religion or whatever.
Now, why does people don’t like Christian extreme metal bands? I see a lot of rejection because for example, black metal fans consider that Black Metal should be satanic, or must be focused on the worship to the devil. But you don’t need to be a devil worshipper actually, to show some resistance to Christian Metal Bands, if you only think on the words from a Christian pastor, telling all the congregation that the devil is in video games, that homosexuals are possessed by Satan or, that Harry Potter books influence kids to perform black magic; well you probably just gonna try to be away from that people. But in my experience, Christian extreme metal bands, are not necessarily acting like that; yeah ok, they could perform a little bit, but honestly, ¿how different is that, from “normal” Black Metal bands?
I remember from the documentary, Light in Darkness, some words from Karl Walfridsson of Pantokrator, in which he mentioned that they are the actual rebels, why? Because as Christians, they are hated by the whole metal scene, and because as metalheads, the Christian congregation hate them. So these guys has problems on both sides.
The only substantial difference that I have been noticed so far in Christian Extreme Metal bands, is that they do actually share a positive message in their songs. Let’s take as example the song “Revolution” from Pantokrator last effort, “Incarnate”. The chorus is as follows:
Come I will bring you revolution,
it begins in the hearts of man.
The light shines in darkness and the dark cannot prevail
I ask you to believe, not to understand.
You know guys, to me, this not actually that bad, because is trying to bring hope to anyone who maybe need it, and of course this is quite positive, but I also understand, that if you are an atheist this also can be quite annoying, because it is asking for faith, and not for the understanding; I got it and I agree, but also, I chill out, and I just enjoy the music, and just as it happens with lyrics from bands like Opeth, Darkthrone, Mayhem, etc. I prefer to just not take it so seriously and only enjoy their songs.
So, as I mention before, is not my intention to convince anyone to listen this kind of bands, but personally, they have a lot of killer songs and albums, and they should be treated equally as the rest of the bands. If you don’t like them, because their music just don’t filled your taste, or because the Lyrics are just too annoying that it doesn’t matter how great is the music, you just can’t take it, fine, thats ok; but, don’t judge without giving actually a chance. I’ll recommend three bands that in my opinion are the best of this genre: Pantokrator, Horde and Crimson Monlight.
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See you next time around!