Scream the Player: Christian musicians have a place in heavy metal
Crushed among thousands, people push into one another and scream alongside the band on stage. This atmosphere, consisting of tattoos, gauges, corpse paint, crosses and the pentagram, can be found at a metal concert.
Metal music is generally clumped together into one genre, but in reality there are at least 35 subgenres of metal. In those subgenres lie hundreds of bands, each with their own religious beliefs, making metal the most controversial genre of music.
One can hear anything from a Christian based metal band (Demon Hunter, The Devil Wears Prada, and August Burns Red) to a Satanic influenced group--Behemoth, Gorgoroth, Marduk, Burzum. In a genre so immersed in different beliefs, the topic of religious freedom often comes up and questions arise, such as, should Christians form a metal band or is this a genre that they should stay away from? Whether a person listens to metal or not, they probably have an opinion on where God belongs. In the metal world, the topic of whether or not God should belong is a highly contested topic. I believe that God does belong in metal.
Metal is often viewed as evil music to both Christians and non-believers. I beg to differ. Yes, this genre consists of heavier bands than you would hear on the radio, but that should not warrant the title of evil. And granted, metal was formed as a rebellion against religion, particularly Christianity, and the genre is composed of numerous Satanic bands (they even have their own subgenre: Black Metal). But, that is no reason as to why Christians cannot be involved in this type of music. If Christians believe that there is a group of people who are hopeless causes, then they may believe that God does not belong in metal. But, if a Christian believes that no one is beyond hope and faith, then I argue there is no reason for them to not support God’s presence in metal.
Avid metal fans may seem like hopeless causes because of the music they listen to, but they will forever be hopeless causes if Christians do not form metal bands and reach out to the metal-head where they are in life. God belongs in metal for this purpose; the bands can reach out to those who would typically never turn their head in the direction of a church. If all Christian music consisted of the gospel genre, then atheists clearly would not be listening to Christian music. Metal music is used by bands to get their message across to fans, and for Christians, this message is the gospel. Christian bands are paving the way of ministry within the metal world.
Christians are a good influence in the metal community. Even someone who is not a Christian can tell that there is a difference between a Christian metal band’s lyrics and another metal band’s lyrics, and it’s a good difference. For example, the chorus of Demon Hunter’s song “Dead Flowers” goes: “Dead Flowers for the Torn Apart./Laid at the grave to heal a Broken Heart./Let it Rain until it Floods/Let the Sun Breathe Life Once More.../Reborn.” The song offers hope for those embracing sorrow and despair. On the other hand, some of the lyrics for Gorgoroth’s song “Satan-Prometheus” is: “See the hordes ascend/Crushing the face of god/See the horns rise/The eternal reign of Satan.” Clearly, this is a Satanic band.
Metal is known for its explicit violence and hateful lyrics, but Christian metal bands have an uplifting aroma to them. This gives the genre a much needed twist. Most die-hard metal fans, who take the anti-religion aspect seriously, do not agree that God should be in metal music. But if Christian bands were not making such a great impact in the metal scene then it really would not be a big deal. Instead, they are. In fact, the website, metalforjesus.org, is dedicated to people sharing their testimonies about how metal music led them to Christ, and so far it has over 50 testimonies. To the secular community: Christians belong in metal because they have uplifting lyrics. And to the Christian community: Christians belong in metal because they lead people to Christ every year.