I once had a pastor who said one of his nightmares was to get stuck in a rock concert. I had to chuckle when he said it (in a sermon) because one of the members of our church headed a metal band. Despite what the pastor may think, rock music isn’t all sex drugs and rock n’roll. Sometimes it’s theological.
Metal was not a genre I grew up listening to per se. Sure, there were bands like Metallica, Def Leppard, and Poison. But 80’s hair “metal” hardly qualifies as metal. In my teens, I listened to much of the roots of metal with Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, AC/DC, and The Who. The heavier sounds eluded me until my wife introduced me to Iron Maiden, As I Lay Dying, Nodes of Ranvier, and Alice Cooper’s Brutal Planet and Dragontown.
Still not sold on it, it took a moment of anxiety to change my mind. She had always claimed that metal mellowed her out. I was incredulous, how could something so loud and raucous mellow one out? So one particularly crappy day I looked up Christian Metal, because I figured if I couldn’t understand the lyrics, they might as well be “good”.
The first band I stumbled on was Becoming the Archetype. What got me hooked on them was their rendition of “How Great Thou Art” on the album Dichotomy. I could understand every word! It probably helped that I already knew them, but you know. The fact that they were loud and roaring made my anxiety melt, the noise drowned out my crazy thoughts.
The whole album was so melodic, classical music came to mind. It was exactly what I needed in that moment of my life. Mellowing indeed.
My second favorite album of theirs, Celestial Progression, is a little less heavy and mixes in another of my favorite genres, electronica. There is also some sitar and a little ska thrown in, it’s an incredible mix of eclectic styles. It’s definitely worth a listen.
After that I explored the genre a bit, even joining Facebook groups dedicated to it. They introduced me to many other awesome bands including Demon Hunter, Sleeping Giant, I Shot the Albatross, and Haste the Day.
My current favorite, and what inspired me to write this post, is Seventh Star. Seventh Star is (was) headed by a guy in my church, so i may have a bit of a bias. I’m not even much a of a fan of their first album, released before he was the lead singer. Particular highlights of his career with the band are “The Seventh Star”, “My 96th Thesis” (the most Reformed metal song of all time), and the entire third album Undisputed Truth.
Unfortunately, the band broke up in 2008, but have reunited on occasion. If we are lucky they will do another tour soon. For the most part you can understand the lyrics, but metalcore wouldn’t be nearly as fun if you knew all the words. The good balance of comprehensible lyrics to unintelligible ones is a testimony to Johnny’s skills as a singer. Having spent some time with him, I can hardly see him being such a great metal singer, he’s way too mellow. Hey, maybe I should take lessons! If listening to metal is mellowing, singing it must be all the more! He’s proof!
Maybe with some poking I could get some singing lessons!
Who’s up for listening to my first release? 😀