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My Christian Metal Recommendations

Discussion in 'RC' started by Opeth17, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    This is a spin-off of a conversation in the distros thread.

    Those who are ideologically opposed to Christian themed lyrics in metal can ignore this (it's a perfectly valid stance to take) as the intent here is not really to start a debate on that, but rather to recommend some bands to those who don't care about lyrics or are OK with Christian-themed lyrics but have not actively sought out such bands.

    As I mentioned in one of those life update posts, I became an Orthodox Christian several years ago and so when I got back into metal I spent a lot of time exploring bands with Christian lyrics (that I had ignored for ideological reasons years before).

    I found that (in my opinion) the Christian scene is actually a lot broader and deeper than people know because there's so much segregation. Back in day I thought Stryper was all there was. A few names break through and get some attention, but they often aren't even the best examples and other stuff gets buried and relegated to a small audience. I think there may be some good bands here that many of y'all have never heard about because of the quarantining of Christian oriented metal. Here are some things that I would mention (by genre) either because I like them or they are generally well regarded:

    Heavy:

    Saint - Time's End (1986) or Too Late For Living (1988) - textbook Heavy Metal ala Judas Priest



    Bloodgood - Detonation (1987) - fast and melodic, great solos and choruses, and really epic songwriting ("Crucify" and "Messiah" about the Passion and Resurrection. Probably too much lyrically if you aren't a Christian, but shows both speed and ballad tracks).




    Emerald - Armed For Battle (1987) - raw and energetic (recently re-issued by No Remorse Records) - I think this band has a lot of respect outside the Christian scene already:



    Barren Cross - Atomic Arena (1988) - compared stylistically to Iron Maiden



    Bride - Live to Die (1988) - I like the speedier songs best (try "Fire and Brimstone")



    Diviner - Fallen Empires (2015) - solid modern Heavy Metal by Greek Orthodox Christians. I love this band.



    Stryper - Fallen (2015) - their early material is limp-wristed compared to this album (also check the Sweet cover of "After Forever")



    Impellitteri - Venom (2015) or Nature of the Beast (2018) both with Rob Rock on vocals. Chris Impellitteri SHREDS. There's even a killer cover of "Phantom of the Opera" on NotB.



    Power/Progressive:

    Recon - Behind Enemy Lines (1990) - leans more towards classic Heavy Metal sound (try "Ancient of Days")



    Seventh Avenue - Tales of Tales (1996) - classic Power ala Helloween (a band with Christian messages itself)



    Theocracy - S/T (2003) - one of the most respected bands in the scene. Check out below clip and "New Jerusalem"



    Divinefire - Glory Thy Name (2004) - cool band, heavy and fast, mixes in growled vocals
    Harmony - Chapter II: The Aftermath (2008) or Theatre of Redemption (2014) - latter is softer, but some real catchy stuff
    Signum Regis - Through the Storm (2015) or The Seal of a New World (2019) - faster/heavier side of Power Metal



    Narnia - S/T (2016) - well-respected band with great singer Christian Liljegren

    Speed/Thrash:

    Realm - Endless War (1988) - Christian themed lyrics if not part of the "scene."
    Vengeance Rising - Human Sacrifice (1988) - love how raw this is + psychotic vocals - the lyrics might be cheesy but this rocks



    Believer - early stuff is more traditional, later more progressive (only first 3 albums), highly respected

    Straight up (first album 1989):


    Progressive, Tech Thrash (third album 1993):



    Also check the cool orchestral track "Dies Irae" off the second album - 1990. Who else was doing this then?



    Deliverance - S/T (1989) or Weapons of Our Warfare (1990) - well-crafted, catchy, fast - several of the songs on the S/T were first recorded in 1985 so pretty early stuff as well.



    Tourniquet - Stop the Bleeding (1990) - I love the bits of falsetto vocals



    Seventh Angel - The Torment (1990) or Lament For the Weary (1991) - great gritty, doomy Thrash

    From the first album:


    The second album is more nuanced and complex as well as highly regarded. It took me some time, but it gets better and better with repeated listens. The difference between the two albums is kinda like Metallica going from Kill 'Em All to a more mature sound on Ride or Master.



    Sacrament - Testimony of Apocalypse (1990) - well regarded, hasn't hit me yet
    Possession - Eternally Haunt (1995) - cool death/thrash with a lot of variety and mixed growly/falsetto vocals.
    Freakings - Toxic End (2017) - beer swilling Thrash revival
    Ritual Servant - Metallum Evangelii (2019) - more Thrash revival (listen to "Amongst the Wolves")



    Death:

    Opprobrium (formerly Incubus) - Serpent Temptation (1988) - Ripping and pioneering Death/Thrash, all their stuff is good



    Mortification - S/T (1991) - my favorite (thrashier), Scrolls of the Megilloth (1992) - classic, and Post Momentary Affliction (1993) - more experimental







    Deracination - Times of Atrocity (1992) - solid old school, mid-paced Death



    Paramaecium - Exhumed of the Earth (1993) and Within the Ancient Forest (1996) - fantastic death/doom





    Crimson Thorn - Unearthed (1994) - brutal



    Obliteration - Dying Age (1997) - brutal - if you like also look into Discern, Disencumbrance, and Oblation (three of them appeared on a 90s compilation called Chords of the Grave).



    Sympathy - Arcane Path (2004) - technical and melodic but absolutely pummeling (listen to clip below and "The Shining Ones" WOW)



    Extol - S/T (2013) - well-done progressive death
    Renascent - Praise of the Lord God Almighty (2016) - crushing symphonic death metal (try "Reign of the Ancient of Days")



    Fleshkiller - Awaken (2017) - an Ole Borud project, basically the follow-up album to Extol's S/T
    Implement - Bleeding Alone (2019) - lots of groove ala Blood Red Throne

    (Un)Black:

    Horde - Hellig Usvart (1994) - foundational, raw (try "Thine Hour Hast Come")



    Crimson Moonlight - Eternal Emperor (1998) - Stormblast style symphonic black, and Divine Darkness (2016) - fast and brutal black (Try "I Am Tribulation")



    Vaakevandring - S/T - symphonic black, powerful and emotive with some of my favorite vocals



    Antestor - The Forsaken (2005) - modern approach to symphonic black metal (Try "Rites of Death")



    Antestor also played some pretty sick death/doom in their early days (1993):



    Slechtvalk - At the Dawn of War (2005) - started as melodic/symphonic and moved toward Viking, this is where shift began. It continued on A Forlorn Throne (2010) and Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide (2016)
    Drottnar - Welterwerk (2006), Stratum (2012) - technical black - very impressive



    Moreld - Tidarkverv (2011) - Norwegian folk/black with a fairly unique sound



    Hortor - Dios de Dioses (2013) - solid Mexican act with extensive catalogue
    Hesychast - Ageless (2016) - atmospheric, experimental black with Russian Orthodox influences
    Elgibbor - Resist him (2017) - raw and atmospheric black by a prolific musician and former satanist



    Frosthardr - S/T (2018) - black with thrashy rock n' roll riffage



    Panegyrist - Hierurgy (2018) - avant garde/experimental black
    Reverorum ib Malacht - Im Ra Distare Summum Soveris Seris Vas Innoble (2018) - I don't know what to say about this. It's twisted stuff. Dark and pummeling.
    Skald in Veum - Stridslysten (2019) - ferocious, fast black metal ala 1349, Marduk



    Vials of Wrath - Days Without Names (2015) and Dark Winter Memories (2019) - fantastic Agalloch-influenced project full of atmosphere but still with a black metal bite.





    I think the unblack scene might actually be the best and most diverse part of the Christian metal underground.

    I'm not gonna do Doom because I think it is unique in that Christian oriented lyrics are foundational and considered pretty normal in the sub-genre which is quite different from the others, especially the extreme metal sub-genres.

    I've put some effort into sharing this small sampling of what I've found so I hope it is of benefit to someone.

    J., you've got some work to do. :dopey:
     
    #1 Opeth17, Nov 19, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
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  2. CiG

    CiG Harbinger of Metal

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    I know you already mentioned Mortification but I'm gonna throw down for their 1999 album, always had a soft spot for it. Pretty strange mixture of styles that at first might be pretty awkward sounding I guess.

    Also I believe the band Wytch Hazel consider themselves Christian-themed, and they rule.
     
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  3. J.

    J. Old Fart

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    I am really not familiar with any except Extol, Panegyrist (which I have) and Paramaecium, which quite frankly, did nothing for me.

    I have always been curious about Mortification.

    My shift is over, so I will hit this up tomorrow night when I come in.
     
  4. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    Most people write off Mortification after Post Momentary Affliction. I personally did not like the vocal changes Steve Rowe made on Blood World and I didn't enjoy samples of later albums I checked out. For a beginner, I would definitely start with Mortification, Scrolls of the Megilloth, and Post Momentary Affliction which provides a fairly diverse spectrum of quality extreme metal. If they really like the band then I'd go ahead and venture onward. I worry that if someone started with anything past the first three albums they'd write the band off.

    Wytch Hazel is definitely a Christian band and they are, indeed, a fantastic NWOTHM band.



    Sounds good.

    I still haven't really gotten into Paramaecium's Exhumed of the Earth although it is widely considered their classic and is respected outside the Christian scene. I much prefer Within the Ancient Forest which is a much more diverse album with more clean (male and female) vocals and random instruments like harpsichord.



    I would definitely give some time to Mortification and Antestor since they are pretty big names in the Christian scene and respected outside of it. They both have extensive catalogues (with Antestor's staying at a higher quality while Mortification's declined over time). If you don't like one of the three Mort albums mentioned above, try one of the other three because they have enough variation that I think it can make a difference. Antestor sounds somewhat different on every album so I tried to provide a couple varying samples.
     
  5. einride

    einride your best friend

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    personally, i would not recommend christian metal
     
  6. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    :lol:

    I thought about starting this thread by saying "in b4 'I would not recommend.'"
     
  7. Carabeu

    Carabeu Active Member

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    Appreciate the time you put into this post. I'll check out several of those bands further, even if I am a dirty heathen. Honestly dgaf what a band's religious beliefs are. If it makes them rock, so be it.

    My brother still hasn't returned my Stryper tape that I loaned to him in the 80's (don't even remember which one it was). If only he had...I might have turned out more godly. :p
     
  8. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    Thanks, you're exactly the kind of music listener that I wrote this for. I sincerely hope (and think) that there will be at least something here for you and others with your mindset to enjoy. Let me know if you have any questions.

    I mean, I'm not that into early Stryper but this is an absolute ANTHEM sure to banish the forces of darkness:

     
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  9. CiG

    CiG Harbinger of Metal

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  10. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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  11. CiG

    CiG Harbinger of Metal

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    Haha I don't think they care.
     
  12. J.

    J. Old Fart

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    I like those Drottnar and Crimson Thorn songs.

    Admittedly, the Saint song was really cool

    EDIT: lol wtf Crimson Thorn stuff goes for insane $
     
  13. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    Yep, those are three excellent bands. Saint rules hard when you just want pure, no frills heavy metal (and manly lower register vocals for your preferences as well).

    Drottnar is insanely talented and deserves broader recognition.

    Crimson Thorn has been around forever and been highly respected which is why it's weird that their stuff is out of print and hard to find. I have the Anthology of Brutality which collects their three full-lengths but even that is rare now. I got it signed when I saw them live in March. That song I posted kills live. Unearthed has been remastered and re-issued on gold disc recently. You can get it here:

    https://roxxrecords.com/products/cr...plagued-gold-disc?_pos=1&_sid=eb7932f90&_ss=r

    It's still expensive, but Roxx is having a 45% off sitewide sale this weekend so that would bring it down to normal levels. Might be a good time to grab some other stuff off this list at the same time if there's anything else you want. A lot of the classic Christian bands have been remastered and re-issued recently. I know you're not big into Thrash, but some of the most respected Christian bands are in that sub-genre: Deliverance, Tourniquet, Believer, etc. The first two of those have had all their stuff re-issued recently.
     
  14. J.

    J. Old Fart

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  15. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    Yeah, I honestly don't care for some of the business practices of the guy that runs Boone's. Nothing shady or anything (it's fully legit and you'll get your stuff promptly). What I don't like is that he jacks up the prices on his own releases when he gets down to the last copies. I bought that from him for $21.99 two years ago. I could maybe see if you're just some dude selling on eBay but he has a label and distro. I don't complain too much because he's re-issued a crap ton of stuff that was out of print, but that kinda irks me.

    Let me know if you're gonna order from Roxx and I'll give you the 45% off promo code.

    If you like Brutal Death, try that Disencumbrance and the other bands listed with them. You might also prefer Mortification's Scrolls over the others. The first is more thrash influenced.

    P.S. - I added samples of Believer, Seventh Angel, Opprobrium (Incubus), and Theocracy. I think that Opprobrium album is historically significant (and it gets almost perfect reviews on MA).
     
  16. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    The Roxx Records 45% off everything sale is today and tomorrow only.

    The most recent Drottnar, Crimson Moonlight, and Frosthardr albums are on sale.

    You can also find remastered classics by Saint, Deliverance, Tourniquet, Bloodgood, Recon, Vengeance Rising, Paramaecium, Mortification, Horde, and more (on both CD and vinyl).

    Contact me for the promo code. Some stuff has already gone out of stock.
     
  17. CiG

    CiG Harbinger of Metal

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    Epic metal.
     
  18. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    I'm surprised that I haven't listened to this band. I think I've seen their name pop up only once or twice. Not sure If I actually enjoy it at this point.
     
  19. CiG

    CiG Harbinger of Metal

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    It's an oddball project that's for sure. Their second album is a little more riffy.



    I like it, though not nearly as much as I like William J Tsamis' Warlord.
     
  20. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

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    Added samples for Vials of Wrath, Obliteration, Deracination, Paramaecium, and more Mortification clips from Scrolls and Post Momentary.
     

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