Occasionally, ever so often, I want to be a full-fledged headbanger. I want the tattoos up and down my arms. I want the long hair, the band t-shirts, the ripped jeans, the Doc Marten boots, and the leather jacket with patches. I think it would be cool to be a heavy metal pastor. It would be ever cooler (I think) to be the singer in a metal band. Now, when I say “metal” I mean METAL! I’m talking about straight up thrash.
There are some really good Christian thrash bands out there. I don’t listen to that type of music exclusively, which is probably why I am NOT a full-fledged headbanger. The guys that do look like that typically eat, sleep, and drink metal. I love it and listen to a lot of it, but I’m a far cry from being that guy. I don’t think I’m a poser. I don’t pretend to be something that I’m not. I openly admit that I like all kinds of music. I’m okay with that. There’s just something about the look that I’ve always liked.
I never wanted to wear leather and spandex and look like Judas Priest. I was more drawn towards the thrash aesthetic than anything. The one exception was during my early teen years when I wanted to look like Joe Elliot in the video for Photograph, but I’ve already touched upon that in another post. I was more likely to dress like James Hetfield than Bruce Dickinson. I definitely could not have done the glam thing, even though I did (and still do) like some of those bands. Big dudes (like me) don’t tease out their hair and slip into bright spandex pants. Well, let me rephrase that, they shouldn’t.
I’m sitting here listening to a band called Detritus. I have been told that this is one of the best Christian thrash bands ever. I have always been partial to early Tourniquet but I can see why this one is so highly regarded. It definitely has an old school Bay Area vibe. The vocalist falls somewhere in between Mustaine and Hetfield. Imagine Dave’s snarl in James’ lower register. The riffs are massive and the drummer plows along with the best of them. It was released in 1990 which means it was about two years behind the secular groups. Metallica and Megadeth were already going more mainstream by that point. This album (Perpetual Defiance) would have melted people’s faces in 1987 when I was still in high school.
Don’t get me wrong, there were still bands making this kind of music in 1990 and I’m sure there are some still making it today in 2015. The production is not bad for a Christian band. I’m sure they were on some tiny label and had zero budget. It’s not nearly as thin as early albums from Vengeance Rising and Extol. It’s not as thin as Metallica or Megadeth’s debut albums. It is not as dated as I may be making it sound. It this was released today an independent debut, it would probably get good reviews from the metal magazines.
I only recently acquired a copy it. I don’t own an original because it is out of print and I haven’t been able to locate a physical CD anywhere. When I do, I plan on snatching it up if it’s not some ridiculous price. A friend burned me a copy of his. He bought his brand new back in 1990 and has been rocking it ever since. It’s not the way I prefer to acquire music but for the time being, it is my only option. I am actively searching for a copy that I can snag. Like I said earlier, I don’t listen to metal exclusively, but this is one that gets some decent airplay.
I’m going to finish this post up with my current top five Christian metal bands. I want to narrow down my definition of “metal” so that melodic hard rock bands like Stryper, Bloodgood, Saint, and Guardian are not included. I am talking about HEAVY METAL. Most of these fall into the thrash category so that narrows things down even more. This isn’t meant to be an all inclusive list or my picks for the BEST bands ever. These are the five that I am listening to a lot right now. Nothing more…nothing less.