A few months ago, I started a series called “The Poetry of Metal,” where I analyze the lyrics of metal (or metalcore, if you want to be picky) songs in an effort to show that there’s more to them than just screaming. I believe that there is a lot of fantastic and even beautiful writing in this genre – you just have to look beneath the surface a bit.
The last time I did this, I covered the song “Panic Room” by Silent Planet, which was written about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This time around, I’d like to look at a song by one of my favorite bands: “Wake Up” by Wolves At The Gate, from their album VxV. You can listen to the song below, or just keep reading to see the lyrics.
I personally think metal is a great genre of music, but it often gets a bad rap – understandably so, in some respects. It’s certainly not a genre for everyone (much in the same way that country music is not a genre for everyone), so I’m not here to try and convince you to listen to it. However, I do think we need to give it a chance. Metal often gets brushed aside because, “it’s just senseless screaming,” but beneath the screeching guitar riffs and pounding bass lines, there’s some really beautiful artistry.
I’m also an English major, so analyzing words is kinda my thing.
That’s why I decided to start this series on my blog, which I’m calling, “The Poetry of Metal.” Every so often, I’ll pick out a song I like and analyze its lyrics, showing how the artist uses the words to create art and meaning. Maybe by the end of it, you’ll still think that metal is loud and annoying, and that’s okay. What I do hope is that you’ll come away from these posts seeing that metal, like any other genre of music (yes, even CCM) deserves to be treated like the poetry it is.
You probably know by now that there are many things I’m passionate about – books, writing, video games, stories, mental health, photography, the list goes on and on. One of those things is music.
I love all kinds of music – everything from the poppy electronic beats of The Jellyrox to the rapping of Manafest to the heavy riffs of Wolves At The Gate. This is also evidenced by some of my previous posts, like my favorite music videos (Part 1 & Part 2) and my favorite lead vocalists (Part 1 & Part 2).
As a Christian, I tend to listen to music that has a Christian message, or is at the very least appropriate and not disrespectful. One of the genres I’ve learned to love over the past year or so is Christian metal which is a vague term, but I basically mean metal/metalcore music that has a Christian message (if you’d like a longer explanation of my thoughts on “Christian music,” you should read my Beginner’s Guide to Christian Rock). Even though I dislike using “Christian” as a genre, I’m going to use it in this post because it will (hopefully) clear up any confusion.
Christian metal bands are often the recipients of a lot of criticism because of the style of music they play. Forget the message. I’ve seen everything from “How do you know it’s honoring God if you can’t understand what they’re saying?” to “The music is too worldly.” Responses to these comments will wait for another day. Today, I’d like to explain to you why I think Christian metal is important, and why, even if you detest the musical style itself, you can at least respect these bands for what they do.
It all started when I went to see Memphis May Fire a few weeks ago…
Or, “Another Excuse for Me to Talk About My Favorite Bands.”
Want to start listening to Christian rock, but don’t know where to start? Well, I’m here to help.
But let’s get one thing straight first – I’m not the biggest fan of the term “Christian rock,” or whatever genre you feel like shoving in there. First off “Christian” isn’t a genre, no matter what your local Christian bookstore tries to tell you, and second, bands can’t actually be Christian. To quote Blimey Cow for the second time in the past week: “Bands don’t have souls! DC Talk didn’t go to Heaven when it died!”
However, musicians can be Christian, and lyrics can have themes related to Christianity. Musicians and bands use their platform to share the Good News, which I think is wonderful! That’s really what I mean when I use the term “Christian rock” – a rock band that’s using their music and their platform to spread the Gospel.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll explain this list: I know from experience that discovering Christian rock is both incredibly exciting and very overwhelming, so I decided to come up with a reference for those new to this “genre.” I’ve included the bands I think are pretty accessible to everyone up to metalcore and heavier artists. There’s a place for everyone, so read on!