Who said loud music was evil? Besides the church. And the parents. And black metal fans. And the PMRC. OK OK. But the Bible encourages loud, passionate music with stringed instruments. It also mentions dinosaurs (Job) and prohibits slavery and allows women to lead armies. So the whole “heavy music is bad” idea is nonsense. Many successful heavy bands are made up of Christians, and their faith may inspire their music, but they don’t accept the label of Christian metal. This may be because they hate labels in general, they don’t like being boxed, a few members aren’t Christian, or other reasons, such as secular audiences and platforms. blacklisting them, preventing them from spreading the gospel to non-Christians. -believers. Groups like Stryper are or have a ministry, so they want to bring the Word of God to those who need it most. When secular listeners think “Christian,” they tend to stay away. Today I’m going to look at heavy bands that are huge with Christians because of their beliefs, or their themes and lyrics. Even if the band does not identify with Christian metal but is proud of its faith and uses it to inspire its music (Stryper, Flyleaf, etc.).
If you listen to old rock, you can tell it comes from the blues. Perhaps the first musician to make the transition from blues to rock was Sister Rosetta Tharpe. His raspy vocals and guitar distortions were mostly used for gospel music. She was one of the first African-American musical legends. Much of it could easily be mistaken for 1950s rock n’ roll music. However, Rosetta did it two decades before and was so popular that white gospel performers performed as backup, despite segregation! Christianity has been in rock since the beginning!
In 1969, a new song with a new sound was released. It absolutely terrified people. Many called the group demonic. They were unlike anything before (and since, though many have tried, none have mastered it like them) their time. While the group enjoyed alcohol, drugs, and the rock star lifestyle, they sometimes broadcast gospel messages. “After Tomorrow” would be the first Christian metal song. Black Sabbath’s eponymous song was also not supporting the devil, but rather trying to evade him. The band also denied being satanic, however, Black Sabbath weren’t exactly choirboys either. Many of their songs contain Christian messages, however, if you look at the lyrics.
Alice Cooper has been a Christian for some time. Although his music and lifestyle do not always align with his beliefs, he has stated that his music has always had themes of good and evil. He also said his message was to choose God, not the devil. The biggest shock rock icon has sold over 50 million albums in a career spanning more than half a century. His consistency and endurance are legendary. Alice Cooper’s albums such as Brutal Planet are also openly Christian. Yes, the creepy guy from the Muppets loves Jesus.
Beginning in 1972, Rez Band began producing a heavier Christian sound. Although they received minor mainstream success, the band never broke up. 1975 Petra began using rock music to spread her message. They received backlash from some televangelists, which hurt their popularity with many Christians. Despite this, they remained strong and had a 33-year run that saw the release of 24 albums in total. This resulted in the sale of approximately 10 million albums and an induction into the Gospel Music Hall Of Fame, the first hard rock band to enter. They would release 2 gold albums and inspire a young John Cooper (Skillet) as a musician with a Christian message.
Stryper dominated MTV in the late 80s with several top 10 MTV music videos. They were also the most requested group to listen to on Dial MTV in 1987. To Hell With The Devil became the first contemporary Christian album to go platinum. He would sell more than two million records. Their follow-up, (In God We Trust) according to an MTV interview sold enough copies to go platinum but was not yet certified as such. They also had a huge following, both in Japan and South Korea. To this day, many South Korean YouTube singers cover the power metal single “In God We Trust”. With several platinum and gold records, they became one of the best-known metal bands of the 80s. from Christian and secular sources. Of their more than 12 million records sold, 8 million have been purchased by those who do not follow Jesus.
Impellitteri is much more popular in Japan and Europe than in the United States. Axeman Chris Impellitteri is ranked as the second fastest guitarist in the world. Vocalist Rob Rock is widely regarded as one of melodic metal’s finest singers. This helped them sell over 2 million albums despite a massive lack of publicity in America. Although under the radar, they are one of the most decorated and respected speed metal bands. Chris Impellitteri is also known as one of the greatest destroyers of all time, with multiple awards.
Creed burst onto the scene with a 6x platinum record titled My Own Prison. They then released Human Clay, which was certified diamond in the United States. Weathered also went 6x platinum. Frontman Scott Stapp’s personal issues became too much for the band. It was unknown that he was bipolar, and after an accident he became addicted to painkillers. The combination was just too much. On the happier side, Scott got help when he was diagnosed with bipolar and helped others. He seems to have recovered. While their 4th album Full Circle went uncertified, their Greatest Hits compilation disc went double platinum and sold nearly 3 million copies worldwide. Talking about a Creed reunion never seems to die, but if they do, hopefully they’ll let Mark shred this time.
In 1999, Payable On Death (POD) released the platinum disc The Fundamental Elements Of Southtown. They followed it up with a triple platinum release in Satellite. The record sold over 7 million copies worldwide and was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards for their hard rock/metal performances. Their last successful release was the gold album Payable On Death, which sold over a million copies. Blending rap, hip hop, reggae and metal, they have become one of the most respected nu-metal artists of all time. Ok, most people considered metal trash, but the POD was an exception for many.
Evanescence took the world by storm in the 2000s. Their first major studio release, Fallen, won two Grammy Awards and sold over 17 million copies worldwide. It propelled Amy Lee to metal queen status. Blending nu-metal and symphonic metal, their unique sound was the next big thing. Their next two releases topped Billboard, going double platinum and gold, respectively. With two hit CDs and another hit studio album, Evanescence has sold over 25 million albums.
Underoath had 2 albums peaking in the top 10 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. They also have 2 Gold releases. They found popularity in the early to mid-2000s. Overall, Theocracy made a respectable career. Although they are not known, the group had 2 successful projects.
Paramore has 5 album releases. All are RIAA certified. Riot! is 3x platinum while Brand New Eyes and Paramore are both platinum. All We Know Is Falling and After Laughter is gold. Their singles have sold over 17 million units in the United States alone. They are also certified in Great Britain, New Zealand and other countries. There is some debate over whether they are Christians, with some believing that Hayley Williams, the only remaining original member has lost the faith. However, when they took over, faith played a role in their words, so they made the list.
Flyleaf debuted with a self-titled platinum release. Their next album was not certified and they fell out of the limelight, but a single from their second album (All Around Me) went Platinum and was a radio hit. They also have some viral videos on YouTube. While most people see them as a one-hit wonder, former Flyleaf vocalist Lacey Sturm is one of the most respected women in metal. She replaced Jen Ledger on drums and backing vocals on a Skillet tour and worked with Breaking Benjamin and POD. Lacey also became the first solo female artist to take No. 1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart.
Red took on a simple name but plays complex music. It can be a banger they play or a theatrical ballad. Their range is ridiculous! End Of Silence was their first gold record, which resulted in 2 singles achieving gold status. The disc has 6 singles, 5 of which topped the Billboard Christian Rock charts. Over 3 million units sold later, they continue to beat hundreds of thousands of fans.
Skillet made it big when WWE used his song “Monster” for Hell In A Cell. This helped Awake go double platinum and sell over 6 million singles in America. 9 of their singles have been certified, as well as 4 albums. They have sold over 12 million units and over 10 million singles. This total of more than 22 million units sold has made them one of the biggest rock bands of the last decades. They also have billions of global audio streams around the world, with “Monster” receiving 3 billion. Frontman John Cooper and drummer Jen Ledger also have their own side projects but remain committed to Skillet. They are one of the most popular artists on the internet with billions of plays on platforms like Spotify, Pandora and YouTube each!