Memory Dump #18: Heavy Metal Edition
Weekly Digest for September 24th, Year 7532
Hello friends, I am once again apologizing for missing a Memory Dump (btw, I was thinking of renaming this newsletter to Coffee Hour since I’ve been publishing them after liturgy on Sundays. What do you think?
This week, I want to share a list that I compiled in an old archived Twitter thread. If you are not a fan of heavy music, this probably won’t be of interest to you. If its not really your thing, I included an unrelated piece of bonus content that will be of interest to you at the end.
I know that many of you newer converts might be struggling with being able to enjoy metal at the gym and having the problem of the lyrics and imagery of the genre being largely Satanic. A common question I have seen in some of the Orthodox Discord servers is “are there any good metal bands that are Christian?" or at the very least not demonic.
I have always thought of Christian metal as subverting something that is typically used for evil and reclaiming it to point towards Christ. Growing up I would always hear people say “Christian metal is an oxymoron”, because they are under the assumption that the genre itself is supposed to be anti-Christian, which to be fair, a lot of it is. But thats what I liked about the idea of Christianizing it, because it made a lot of metalheads seethe.
As far as Christianized secular music “honoring God”, I won’t as far as to say that. I simply see it as a way to enjoy the genre without being concerned if the lyrics are Satanic. As with anything worldly, use discretion under the guidance of your spiritual father and be conscious of how it impacts your mood and your soul. I’ve been listening to metal my whole life so its not something that makes me angry - although I only listen on occasion to motivate me at the gym.
I've heard countless metal albums in my life and was blessed to grow up during the best era of metal, the 90's. So here's some Christian metal albums that I would consider great even by secular standards. I'll try to include each band's secular counterpart if any.
Believer - Extraction From Mortality (1989). Just an awesome thrash album through and through. Lyrics deal with topics of philosophy, theology and social issues. Incredible soloing and drumming.
Place of Skulls - Nailed (2002). Interesting backstory to this band, Victor Griffin the lead singer/guitarist was formerly in a famous Satanic doom band called Pentagram. He became a devout Christian and started Place of Skulls. He’s a very humble and kind man, I remember emailing him when I was struggling as a (Protestant) convert because I was still addicted to smoking pot. He sent me a book about Christ that helped him in his conversion with a very nice personal note in it which I unfortunately lost.
Extol - Burial (1998). Norwegian band with a unique blend of progressive thrash and black metal. Honestly one of the best debut metal albums I've heard, secular metal bands included. Fans of Opeth will enjoy.
Seventh Angel - Lament for the Weary (1992). Insanely underrated thrash album, incredible guitar work. Lots of instrumentals. For for fans of Metallica and early Slayer.
Tourniquet - Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance (1992). One of the best 90s metal albums from any band, period. They use a lot of medical terminology as theological metaphors and have recurring classical music usage throughout their discography. This was one of my favorite bands for years.
Tourniquet - Stop the Bleeding (1990). This album rips. Ted Kirkpatrick was one of the best metal drummers ever, he also wrote all the bands lyrics, fills in some complex guitar parts. Unfortunately he just passed a few years ago, he was an incredible talent. One of my all time favorites, similar style to Mercyful Fate. I remember reading that he had all the band’s lyrics reviewed by reputable (Protestant) theologians, not that it means anything to us, but I just find it funny that its more than what mainstream Evangelical Christian songwriters are doing for “worship” songs that they are singing in their churches.
Saviour Machine - Legend Part I (1993). An absolute masterpiece, symphonic and operatic gothic metal. They had a cult following and never took off in the Christian music world because they were on the fringes with their performance. The singer would cover his entire head with white paint and they were very theatrical so they didn’t really fit in anywhere. This is from a series of concept albums based on Revelation and end times prophecy. I would also include the follow up album Legend Part II, both are epic. Also, just a disclaimer that the eschatology from this band seems kind of dispensational but the music is good enough that I can look past that. You can’t win them all.
Hesychast - Ageless (2016). I had to throw an Orthodox metal album in here since there's not many. But this is hands down the best I've heard. Not much info about this band, I believe they are Russian. Symphonic black metal with liturgical lyrics.
Deliverance - Weapons of Our Warfare (1990). Another thrash metal classic in my book, I listened to this album regularly as a teen, majority of the lyrics are direct from Scripture. Ripping guitar solos, great vocals, catchy melodies, classic 90's thrash.
Trouble - Psalm 9 (1984). A doom metal classic, criminally underrated. On par with any other classic metal albums. Its 10/10 start to finish. Masterful riffs, very distinct vocals (RIP Eric Wagner) and Biblical lyrics/themes. For fans of Black Sabbath