Disclaimer: The following article argues that Christian heavy music (heavy metal, death metal, metalcore, deathcore, unblack metal, hardcore, thrash, and the like) can honor Christ. This is not all-inclusive article, it’s simply my thoughts poured out. I encourage you to read it with an open mind.
Do a quick search for “Christian heavy metal music” and you will find plenty of people who oppose the genre, including this guy who doesn’t seem to listen to anyone who replies to his post.
What are the main reasons people oppose heavy Christian music? They bring up the origin of heavy metal being rooted in Satanism, which isn’t really the case.
Sure, many of the early metal bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were out for a shock effect. They liked the idea of scaring people, but a lot of that came from the massive amount of judgement they got from the masses (mostly Christians) in the first place, because they were different and their music was different.
That’s largely the same today. Dress in all black for a few weeks and see how many people react. It’s obvious that you’re depressed and flirting with Satanism if you dress in all black. There’s not a chance that you simply like the color scheme, right? That’s what many believe.
As Christians, we’re often too quick to find fault in things that can be a pathway to Jesus for many.
Negativity Towards Christian Metal
Heavy metal received a massive amount of judgement, and the musicians reacted by moving farther into the dark lyrical themes. Rebellion is a common reaction to judgement, which is likely one of the reasons Jesus was against judgement.
You can’t drive people away and lead them to Jesus at the same time.
But as far as music goes, there is a dark side to metal, and there is a Light side to metal. Why focus on the dark side? We should appreciate the Godly side, and encourage it to flourish.
I played Christian metal for many years, and I played with some of the best bands in Christian metal. They were some of the best dudes I’ve ever met, and they were some of the strongest Christians I’ve ever met.
There is an underground music scene leading people to Christ daily. Yes, this includes people with tattoos, piercings, and dyed hair. It’s literally a mission field that many people don’t care to save.
Believe it or not, the people holding signs out front of the metal concerts with statements like “heavy metal is Satan’s music” aren’t helping bring people to Christ. Surprising, I know.
It really bugs me that people are so quick to point out the negative. Think about all the people who argue that Christmas, and many other holidays, are pagan holidays, because of the history around it. Maybe they are. But a lot of people, non-Christians included, love Christmas, and it’s a great opportunity to bring up Jesus.
If you have an opportunity to make something about Jesus, why wouldn’t you just take it instead of trying to stop it?
“But heavy metal makes you angry”
Another argument against Christian heavy metal is the aggression factor. They say it “makes people aggressive and angry.” That’s not really the case. Sure, some people may get angry when they listen to metal, just like I get angry when I hear some pop songs, but that doesn’t mean the music in general makes you angry.
Some people are actually calmed by the loudness and screaming of metal. Personally, I can sleep to it.
All kinds of people use music as an outlet, whether listening or playing it, and I’m not just referring to heavy music here.
I’ve listened to metal my entire life, and it has never made me angry.
Miley Cyrus? Now that’s a different story.
“But you can’t understand the words”
This is true, maybe you can’t understand the words, but that doesn’t mean no one can understand the words.
I have a couple points here:
- You can understand what you’re accustomed to – Whether you listen to metal, rap, country or rock, you tend to be able to understand what you typically listen to. Try listening to a different genre, and you may have a hard time hearing all of the words. This applies to any vocal style. I can understand the words in most “screaming music,” because I grew up on it.
- Why do you need to understand what they’re saying? – The words are easily found if you want to follow along, but you don’t always have to understand every word. Ask someone to recite their favorite pop song, and most people don’t know the words.
Screaming is one vocal style. Yodeling and opera are also vocal styles. If you’re simply worried about not understanding the words, you may want to attack some additional genres of music. Or you could always just let people listen to what they like.
How heavy is too heavy?
If you don’t believe “Christian” and “metal” can exist in the same sentence, then how heavy is too heavy? What’s considered metal? Bands like Red, which is an extremely popular Christian rock band, scream in their music sometimes. Is that ok?
At what point does music become too metal?
I encourage you to eliminate that line, and accept all music that serves Christ.
Here’s a guideline you could use to determine if music is “Christian” or not:
Do the words glorify Jesus?
Heavy Christian Bands
There are too many Christian metal bands to count, but I will mention three of the most popular worship-centered Christian metal bands.
1. Sleeping Giant
Sleeping Giant hails from California. With their hardcore style, they turn bars into worship centers. If you ever see them live, you’ll immediately see the love of Christ in their show. I’ve met them and can attest that they come off as Spirit-filled guys.
2. Impending Doom
Also from California, Impending Doom brings music that rivals the secular death metal bands. With a brutal sound, and a loving message, they attract listeners from all walks of life. Also, some of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and living for Jesus.
3. For Today
For Today hails from Iowa, and they brought a mix of heavy music and worship singing to the table. I have always got a good vibe from these guys in conversation, and they speak as if they’re Spirit-filled to the core.
The Most Common Objections
Heavy Christian music is one of my favorite topics to discuss, so I’ve talked to plenty of people about it.
I’ve found that these are the most common reasons people don’t like it or agree with it:
- It just doesn’t “seem right” – I understand this, because initially when you think of Christian music you think worship or hymns being sung in church. on this point, I encourage you to open your mind to different styles of music. This helps to reach different styles of people.
- They think all metal is Satanic – We’ve already covered this above, but just know that nowhere in the Bible, and nowhere in the world does it makes sense for one style of music (not lyrics, just music) to be Satanic on its own. Any type of music can be used for the Lord and any type of music can be used for evil. Let’s pretend like it was originally used purely for Satanic means, wouldn’t it be a good thing to turn it around on Satan and use it to the glory of God?
- They grew up with parents that didn’t like it – Let’s make our own decisions, shall we?
- They think metal makes people angry or aggressive – There’s really no proof for this, it just seems to make sense to people. We covered this above as well, but I would just say that metal music gives people energy (just like praise and worship does), but energy doesn’t have to mean aggression.
- They don’t understand it – Some types of metal, especially more technical genres, are mostly (but not only) understood and appreciated by musicians and people who have listened to it their entire life. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean you have to condemn it. It’s ok for you to not like a type of music that someone else likes.
I don’t feel like these points hold much water, but you may feel differently.
Open Your Mind
If you condemn heavy music or any music with screaming in it, I encourage you to reconsider and ask yourself why you feel this way.
There is an amazing community of Christians in the world of heavy metal. These bands are the light in dark places. They often opt out of playing churches to play bars and secular venues, which is where Jesus would prefer we play I think, based on His teaching.
We don’t heal the healthy, we heal the sick.
My main point is this: why would you condemn something that’s being done for Jesus, with a right heart? If that’s the case, and if that’s why people are doing it, let them serve in their own way.
I’m not trying to make you like heavy metal, I just want you to accept it as a real form of ministry, and good work for the Kingdom of God. And it would be nice if Christians would stop judging it so harshly.
Let’s face it, the Bible is pretty metal. You don’t have to read for long to find some really metal lyrics, especially in the Old Testament and inn Revelation. There is a variety of literary styles throughout the Bible. Why wouldn’t there be a variety of musical styles within Christian music? You can worship in more ways than we will ever know on this earth, especially with different styles of music.
Recognize the fact that you may be against Christian metal for some weak reasons. Maybe you haven’t fully thought so far into it until now. It’s never too late to give metal a try, or at least to accept it as a form of Christian music.
I like to think Jesus listens to metal, and I know He loves metalheads.