For this post, I want to take a look at Christian hard rock and present a few bands in this genre.
First, hard rock is a very loose genre. This means that hard rock music sometimes mixes with genres like alternative rock and metal. But, most people describe hard rock music as having an emphasized lead guitar along with a rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. Vocally, much of hard rock features loud, raspy vocals with occasional screams. Musically, hard rock is both loud and aggressive. Hard rock is also known as post-grunge and alternative metal.
Hard rock began in the 1960s out of Blues Rock and Garage Rock. Bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones helped create the genre of hard rock. Hard rock reached its peak commercially in the 1970s and 1980s with bands like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, ACDC, and Bon Jovi. Since hard rock music is loosely defined, most of the hard bands of the time were labeled with other genres like heavy metal, glam metal, and blues rock.
In the 90s, one form of hard rock became very popular. Grunge rock exploded with the band Nirvana, while other bands also paved the way of grunge rock like Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. In the 21st century, a new wave of hard rock music has emerged: post-grunge and mainstream rock. Bands like Three Days Grace, Seether, Nickelback, Shinedown, and Hinder are the new wave of hard rock.
Like many mainstream acts, Christian hard rock features emphasized guitars with driving rock songs. Most Christian hard rock bands choose to talk about issues of today and they also sing about Christian themes. For this post, I want to share with you six bands that are making waves in the Christian hard rock scene.
The first band is Thousand Foot Krutch. They have released 5 albums since 2001 on Tooth and Nail Records. When they began their career, they were a rap rock band. But over the last few years they have turned into a hard rock band. The song I want to share with you is called E For Extinction, which is off their fifth album Welcome to the Masquerade. E For Extinction is about how people put on masks and camouflage to hide their inner feelings and emotions from people. This song is also named after a 1960s X-Men comic.
The next group is Falling Up. They have released six albums since 2004, including a greatest hits album. Falling Up broke up as a band in early 2010, but made an announcement a few months later that they were back together. Most of Falling Up’s early work was hard rock music fused with driving piano. But, in their last couple of albums they have turned to a more experimental rock sound. Here is one of their early hard rock songs. It is called Moonlit. Most of their song lyrics are a little vague and open to interpretation. To me, this song speaks about how we should let go of our sins, secrets, and pain to God.
The third group is 12 Stones. They have been a band since 2000. They have released three full length albums and an EP since then. 12 Stones has had a lot of popularity in the secular market. They have had songs featured on WWE, soundtracks for Elektra, The Scorpion King, and Daredevil. Lead singer Paul McCoy was also featured as the back up vocalist for the breakout song for Evanescence called Bring Me To Life in which he won a Grammy for best Hard Rock Performance. The song I want to share with you is called Lie to Me off their album Anthem For The Underdog. This song speaks about a broken relationship; this could include an intimate relationship, family member, or someone you simply look up to. Lead Singer McCoy sings about how this person has messed up and it has greatly affected him and his beliefs.
The fourth group is Pillar. They have released eight albums since their formation as a band in 1998. Like Thousand Foot Krutch, they also started out as a rap rock band. After their first couple independent albums, they transformed into a pure hard rock group. They have also been nominated for one Grammy for their album The Reckoning. The song I want to share with you is off their latest album, Confessions, called Whatever It Takes. This song is about falling away from God and doing whatever it takes to get back with Him.
The next band is Red. They are a relatively new band, only released two albums since 2006. But, their first two albums have garnered huge success. Both albums were grammy nominated. Red has also dominated radio charts with nine consecutive number one singles. Their third album will be released on February 1, 2011. The song I want to share with you is off their second album called Innocence and Instinct. According to guitarist Anthony Armstrong, Death of Me is all about actions. “The song is really a regretful introspective moment, where you realize that your own actions have led you down a path you never wanted to take. You are the one who keeps tearing yourself down in some kind of vicious cycle that never seems to end,” said Armstrong. I love the concept behind this music video. It is really really cool.
The final group is Kutless. They have released ten albums including two worship albums, two special editions, and a live album. Two of their albums have also gone gold. Kutless’ name is a reference from Romans 6:23. The band says the name derives from Jesus taking away our cuts, therefore we are Kutless. The song I want to share is off their fourth album. Shut Me Out is about standing up for your beliefs in Jesus Christ and not letting anyone shut out your voice or opinion.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at Christian hard rock music. If you like this genre, here are some more hard rock bands to check out: Skillet, Decyfer Down, The Letter Black, Fireflight, Kids in the Way, and Day of Fire.