As an avid writer and blogger enthusiast, I am constantly searching for new blogs to read in my spare time. Not only do I try to find blogs with different styles and techniques, I also look for new ideas and inspirations for my own. Recently, I stumbled upon a blog solely dedicated to Christian metal. The writer talks about anything from For Today‘s newest album, Fight the Silence, to As I Lay Dying‘s frontman, Tim Lambesis, to Memphis May Fire‘s Matty Mullins’ faith.
One particular post that stood out to me was Metal Isn’t Just For Satan, this blog is about the Christian metal scene as a whole and how it is depicted. Although my music taste varies from Justin Bieber to City and Colour to Nirvana to Levi the Poet, or even Taylor Swift, anyone who knows me knows that I thoroughly enjoy a good breakdown. Naturally, I get heat for listening to “screamo” (which is an entirely incorrect term). I’ve been called “emo” or have been told that the music I listen to is “of the devil”, “satanic” or that “there’s no way that music is God- like.”
“People hear screaming, then they tune out and call it Devil music.”
In which, I actually find these false statements quite humorous. But I also find a deeper, sad truth: “People hate what they don’t understand.” So what is it that people aren’t understanding? The sound? The style? The screaming? The honesty?
The real question here is: “What does Worship look like?”
Well, Worship is Heavy. Worship is Honest. Worship is Honoring. After reading Haters be like, “your music is for Satan,” I came to a few conclusions of how to better explain why “screamo” doesn’t have to be satanic.
First, the writer talks about David’s Song of Praise in 2 Samuel 22 and how “songs and psalms [that] wouldn’t have [made] much sense sung Chris Tomlin style.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Not that Chris Tomlin isn’t a great artist and doesn’t have the capability to draw in crowds with his more “contemporary” sound, because I’ve seen him live at Beach Camp (Student Life. Daytona, 2o14.) and had one of the most awesome worship experiences of my life but, the story of David’s Song of Praise doesn’t seem to set a “contemporary” tone. This Song of Praise is about how God allowed David to crush his enemies and destroy those who hated him.
“I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back til’ they were destroyed. I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You aremed me with strenght for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them- to the Lord, but He did not answer. I beat them as fine as the dust of th earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.” – 2 Samuel 22: 38-43
I see this more of a heavier, more aggressive tone like old school For Today or In The Midst of Lions, not Newsboys or Third Day.
Of course, Worship is Worship. Any style can accurately depict the emotion of God-breathed Scripture. However, “God didn’t forbid us from talking about violence, pain, or shame. There are a lot of Psalms about how David is wretched compared to God, [and] how he’s nothing without him.” Another conclusion I’ve made is that most people don’t realize that Christian metal bands have some “contemporary” style, acoustic versions or even instrumental songs that people can worship to. Christian metal bands realize that the “screaming” and “aggression” isn’t always a way to worship. One of my favorite worship songs is actually a softer melody by a Christian metal band.
Talmidim (The Servants) by For Today is about Redemption. God is promising to “remove our hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh.” (Ez. 36:26)
Of course this song may not be perceived as “gentle” or “redemptive” had it been screamed. But For Today knows that. There is a time to be still and “soft” and there is a time to be “Ready For The Fight.”
And sometimes, even instrumentals can be considered as “Worship.” My favorite Christian instrumental is by a heavy Christian metal band whom I have also had the pleasure of seeing live. Although I don’t know the “origin” of Revival by As Hell Retreats, the song itself is a really great song you can just sit and reflect on. As cheesy as it sounds, I feel “revived” when I listen to it.
My purpose of writing this post isn’t to “persuade” the reader to go and buy all the heavy Christian metal music you can find, (or do, that’s cool, too) but to give some insight on why I love, and prefer, this style of music. But I’m not entirely against contemporary music because then I would have contradicted myself by writing about this particular style.
(I actually really enjoy Hillsong. Don’t even get me started on how powerful Oceans is.)
But even if the “heavier” stuff isn’t for you, that’s perfectly alright. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you like TobyMac, listen to TobyMac. If you like Lecrae, listen to Lecrae. If you like Kari Jobe, listen to Kari Jobe. Just don’t forget the true reason of Worship. It’s to bring Glory to God, not to “fit your taste.”
Worship is Worship. Worship is Heavy. Worship is Honest. Worship is Honoring.