Brandon's Notepad

April 2, 2013

Christian Rock Music

Back to My Lists

I’ve never acquired a taste for contemporary Christian music. I’m not talking about church music per se (the best of which was written between 1650 and 1950, IMHO), but the “praise and worship” music on the radio. I’m into pipe organs and rock guitars, and the stuff in the middle just doesn’t do it for me. So, I went on a quest for Christian rock music and here’s what I’ve found so far.

Catholic Bands

Katholicus. This is my favorite band on the list. The guitar work is phenomenal, reminiscent of big hair band ballads peppered with orchestral scores here and there. There is some Metallica, some Malmsteen, and a few other influences that I cannot quite pick out. The lyrics are overtly Catholic and make use of Latin.

Ceremonya. Great composition! Firehouse and Scorpions. They really make the music and the lyrics work together. The guitar bridges and solos are top-notch and the scores are versatile. They even worked in a short organ solo (Hammond B2?) in the song Our Lives.

Eterna. Good clean guitar and clear lyrics! This band leans word the guitar-driven power ballad and I love the cover art on the Arcanjo album, an action portrait of Saint Michael the Archangel (think Molly Hatchet).

Theandric. Adoro Te Devote was written by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century and translated into English by Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in the 19th century. Theandric managed to set the traditional chant (Plainsong Mode V) to rock!

Illuminandi. This awesome band from Poland is classified as Gothic Metal, incorporating heavy guitar with classical strings, cello and violin. Some songs are in English. Some have a Celtic sound, such as A Blessing.

Demon Hunter. If you like Pantera (R.I.P. Dimebag) then you will like Demon Hunter. The band is not strictly Catholic, but a survey of sites and forums revealed that a few (two?) of the band memebers are (or at least were) Catholic, and that their lyrics contain Catholic-friendly themes.

Cradle Catholic. Latin prayers superimposed on a rock backdrop. The music is rather flat and the prayers (which come from various sources, some of which I recognize) sound disjoint. All in all, it’s just mix work and nothing more.

Seven Sorrows. Basic metal coupled with sloppy, nasty, angry vocals (i.e. everything I don’t like about metal).

Last Rites. Just a shade better than Seven Sorrows on the creativity scale. I’ll give them bonus points for the song Lorica (Latin: armor), a trimmed rendition of St. Patrick’s Breastplate.

Other Bands

Theocracy. Another progressive power metal band. Very melodic with excellent drums and shredding!

War of Ages. Good old-fashioned screaming metal with solid guitar and drums. These guys are serious about their work! The video for Silent Night is a little disturbing but powerful. Through the Flames features plenty of head banging, hair swinging, and barrels on fire.

Creed. This band was very popular in the late 1990s and was played ubiquitously on secular rock stations at that time. I liked them then and revisiting their work brought back a lot of memories. They are not explicitly Christian, but

Coldplay. I don’t follow this band, but I know their songs Clocks, Yellow, and The Scientist from the radio. Some of their work includes hints of the Christian theme, such as ‘Til Kingdom Come, an obvious presupposition. The one that caught my attention was A Message, which was inspired by Samuel Crossman’s 1664 hymn, My Song is Love Unknown.


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