Christian black metal - is there such a thing?
Christian black metal - is there such a thing? And what on earth drives Christians to choose black metal as their expression? Well, Stefan Rydehed is about to try to find out why, and I look forward to see the result.
I have seen arguments among the Christian metal bands, that you can't connect religion to musical genre. If you see the trailer on Rydehed's documentary you'll see that this argument is also used by one of the musicians he interviews. And I agree. In principal the musical expression in itself has nothing to do with political or religious beliefs. It's the meaning and purpose you put into it that add any direction as such. So, I guess Christians who love the music, just want to play it.
It brings to my mind the memory of a Christian rock song called "why should the devil have all the good music". I just googled it to see who that singer was, and it turns out to be CCmers who wrote the song based on a misquote of reverend Rowland Hill, pastor of Surrey Chapel in London who according to the sources I found in my limited search actually said "The devil should not have all the best tunes" (don't nail me on this fact - it really was a limited search). Now, there is a significant difference between these two sentences. The first indicates that Christians should (or could) take "all" good music genres and use it to write songs to their god. The latter indicates no such thing. I'm not going to enter that discussion, since I am not a Christian and should leave internal Christian theology and ethics to the Christians. But I think there might be a clue in there somewhere, which might explain some Christian black metal bands. If they think black metal has a bad influence on people, in the context of driving them away from their god and what they are convinced is the truth. They might try to compensate and give them an alternative message - with the same musical genre. They like the genre, but they don't like the message, in other words. And to me this is all fine, whatever rocks their ocean.
But I must say that I find it odd to listen to a Christian black metal band, and to see them perform. The expression is quite aggressive - both in musical terms and in the theatrical package it comes with. And on top of this the genre rests on a mountain of anti religion. It has a kind of misfit to it, when all that is being brought out with a Christian message. I'm not saying that Christians should only write and sing psalms, but why choose black metal? It certainly isn't black metal if they do - it is something else, which sounds like black metal. Let's call it something perfectly, but not exactly, similar, to black metal. I like weird expressions, so by all means. But I am pretty sure that in the case of Christian?s perfectly, but not exactly, similar, black metal, I might like how the music sounds, but I will not like the message :-)
Hi Kjtiel, I've commented your blog before, I agree with your sentiments about x-tian Black Metal, it most definetly is NOT BM in any sense of the word.Satanism isn't just something cool to scream about, it's the ultimate most extreme form of individualism, anti-communist, anti-conformist and anti-life, which were the principles BM was formed founded and continues to survive on to this day. (not counting that Dimmu Borgir nonsense)Cheers.
Edit - Please forgive my misspelling of your name mate, cheers.
I agree with the fact that Black Metal cannot be adopted by christian musicians as a term, when the basis for the musical expression is rooted in the darker side of life. The term White Metal has been coined already (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_metal) but that refers to Christian Heavy Metal. Maybe we should call this style of music Blinding White Metal (also kicking it to the Christians as they turn a blind eye to everythin not christian). M.
hehe, good point Marius. I doubt they will adopt the term though :-)
No such thing...contradiction in terms.
Theres no such a thing like Christian Black Metal. Even the term Unblackmetal is stupid.Marius's term sounds f**king great :D
I am the author of the documentary and I interviewed several bands and a professor in musicology, very interesting answers indeed. Did a small promomusicvideo for the documentary with a christian band, the musicvideo is in the link.Personally I am still very confused about the whole concept.
Kjetil, i remember that in second or third grade, the priest at Vevelstadåsen Kirke said the exact same thing during our christmas class session. He started by holding up a milkcarton with some lyrics on it and pictures of nisser, then he mentioned bob dylan and said that it wasn't fair that the devil should have all the good music.
Christian Black Metal as a genre is as much a fantasy as statues bleeding tears or cookies resembling the face of Jesus. Afterall, sane thinking is not exactly the first thing you expect from these people.
Well, for me black metal is supposed to be sinister and have a dark (satanic, as some would call it) athmosphere to it. That is what defines black metal for me, and - in my opinion - it just isn't black metal if the vocalist is roaring "Praise the light! Jesus is Lord!", no matter how harshly he may shout it. 8) To summarize my feelings on the matter: black metal is defined by both music AND lyrical themes for me, not just one of them.
Well, it seems to me that, after all, it's nothing new in the relationship between the Christianity and the "rest of us".Since their first coming the "sons of the only God" always tried in every possible way to own everything they don't already have. With or without your agreement of course :)That has been the case with the ancient Romans, the Africa, The Americas, now the China...I think that the very next big thing they will try to do is to assess Satan as their property, something like:-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Christian Satanism"Yeahh buddy,that's cool, come to our church this evening and will see the only truth.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Black Metal can help us to find God in our self. Find true way in our life... and killing sins. Hail from Iran...
Way back in the day when Stryper was around we used to call it White metal.I think the term is apprpriate here.
The concept of christian Black Metal is, probably; illogical. But where does satanism come from. Christian dogma, bastardised from other cultures as it is, has spawned its own peculiar child. In creating demons to scare people, there was always going to be the danger that somone turned round and said "Demons are cool!". This must be a byproduct of humanity's insistance on supporting the underdog, or downtrodden. Given fuel by the witch hunts, exorcisms, child abuse and other flagrant abuses of power by the church; the other side starts to look not only appealing, but tame and not as frightening as originally intended.Face it guys, i am as much of a metal head as the next man. I also read poetry from various cultures and appriciate classical music, which is heavily influenced by christianity. I count myself as agnostic, because if i am wrong and there is something out there, and the prince of darkness starts strolling down the street and farting fire, we are all going to reassess our lives. Die hard satanists like Benton may quail in their boots. There is no place in hell for humanity. Satan rebelled because he refused to bow to humanity. His hatred is unending. Worship of him is illogical. Worship of God is vacuous.Final point: MUSIC IS GREAT! Don't hurry to categorise CBM into the nuthouse. They can rage with Old Testament fury just as much as our mouths can flap in paltry hymns to the Dark One.
Christian Black Metal seems pretty confusing to me, it makes as much sense as a theocracy based on Atheism if that makes any sense.But it doesn't seem too big a problem over here in Britain since 90% of Black Metal I've heard of is Scandinavian, Venom aside we've done very little to do with Black Metal and CBM just seems to have (Aside from the odd album) not made it here, luckily for us.
They are just using the gift to create... The point is the essence, the spirit and the attention... Look behind the brutallity of their expression , there is something Great... Try to feel it...BTW Black Metal is not for everyone...
I agree that a musical sound does not need to be associated with a religion. For example, take a black metal song and remove the vocals. What do you have? An instrumental that conveys intensity and brutality. Now inject that instrumental with Christian vocals. Now you have an intense, brutal song about God and Jesus. I think it's acceptable. It may be humorous and "different", but it has the full potential that any other emerging genre might have.
I may find Christian Black Metal bizarre, even though I don't care about lyrics, but does it make any difference at the end? I think we are the Gods of ourselves , we don't need any nusical genre to tell us what to do.At least in my humble point of view, arts are not supposed to spread a message, they're only to spread art itself.
Ave true JESUS !! Heli Heli, Machar Machar , SETH !!!!
well, that was a sane comment, anonymous. Really sane. I recon you're religious?
Well, black metal isn't really a religous doctrine, now is it? For instance, Enslaved and Mayhem deal with completely different topics and the imagery is quite different also. Let's, for the sake of argument, presume that a band of fanatic christians would play black metal music and write lyrics gloryfying the torturous acts performed by the inquisition in the dark ages; I for one would have to admit that this would indeed be black metal.
You have a very good point, Johan. Very good.
Enslaved is actually Viking Metal because of their lyrical output so I think the same should be with the christians, its not black metal that is! I personally dont agree that its not black metal if its not satanic but nothing christian can ever be called BLACK metal. Cheers.
I agree with much of what's being said. Have you heard of Paper Tongues? They are an amazing new band. I saw them on tour with Flyleaf. Check out their stuff:
John!: I will check them out :-)
I've listened to many types of music in my life, from classical, movie scores, Irish, blues, dance, R&B, old country, gospel and of course death metal, industrial, grind-core,etc. Mostly I listened to either modern movie-scores or metal.
I bought a guitar only because of metal. I knew the Lord Jesus when I was a boy, lost my way and went back 10 years ago. Music is my love, especially the heaviest of metal. I was a big Cannibal Corpse fan, Carcass, Slayer, Sepultura, etc.
Though I'd like to still be listening to it, it is a paradox of worlds, Jesus and Metal. It's difficult to reap peace and love while sowing seeds of aggression and anger. (How can we grow apples if we're planting orange seeds?). It's not for me to condemn anybody else since "everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial". We have freedom in Christ to listen to such things, but for me, I had to realize that I was just trying to justify a love for something I knew would hinder the fruits of the Spirit (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control).
I also listen to gospel, which is beneficial in times with the Lord in prayer and worship. Speaking from experience, I don't think any type of Heavy Metal will do the same thing. Even though the lyrics may be positive, the music produces aggression and even rebellion.
Much as I loved the music, I knew in my heart it had to go. I've read many testimonies of people visiting heaven or hearing angels sing, and not one of them noted any metal songs. If anybody does have a testimony of listening to such music and experiencing wonderful worship with the Lord, please post it; that would be interesting to say the least. And that's my two cents.
Trev: I think you have a point Trev, the musical expression of metal might be difficult for some of the themes in christianity. But there's plenty of themes in the bible to sing about more agressive themes, like the destruction of peoples and Gods punishements of all kinds. Maybe christian metal composers should focus on that part, and let other musical expressions take care of the more positive messages for christians.
@Manheim, regarding music of destruction and punishment.
I can see how that might seem reasonable, as God does indeed direct Israel to destroy certain nations, though for reasons that are not apparent unless carefully searched out. God even directed the reluctant punishment of his own rebellious people, as in Jeremiah 13:16-17:
16 Give glory to the LORD your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to thick darkness and change it to deep gloom.
17 But if you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears,because the LORD's flock will be taken captive.
In true context, any punishment is withheld until there is no other resort and in tears with that. I suppose such music would encompass all the melody, horror and redemption of the worst experience that ultimately brought the most positive fruit in the end.
For example, some movies glorify violence, others merely tell of what happened. The movie "Passion of the Christ" itself was rated "R" for violent content, yet the context was necessary to be honest to the story. In contrast, the movie, "Natural born killers" is meant to display our fascination with violence (As Oliver himself explained in the commentary). And I was a big fan of the movie at the time.
Trev: yes, the bible is very good at defending Gods cruelty. I guess it is up to the reader to deside wether to buy it or not. Agony and tears goes very well with metal, though :-)
I personally do not like the God portraided in the bible. I think he's a cruel psycopath. I'll probably end up at the plains by Megido if the story has any truth in it.
Which goes back the question, is there such thing as Christian Black Metal?
Sure, somebody can use the bible as a basis for such dark music if they choose to focus only on the negative aspects of what is portrayed, but if somebody claims to know Jesus and be walking in him, they would naturally exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit and reflect the Father himself. The fruits being love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. These things come naturally in this instance and actually takes effort to go against.
We may claim to be something, or to believe in something, but ultimately it is our actions and desires that truly portray who we are and what we believe. An apple tree can only grow apples, no matter how much it may want or claim to be an orange tree. That is it's nature and what it truly is.
So then, I may claim to be a Christian as such, but through my actions and desires to the contrary, I deny it.
God may seem to be a psychopath, but it all leads to the cross, where this same "psychopath" offered his only Son to pay for our sins for all time. Not only that, he did it not at a time when people were willing to repent, but when they hated him. I don't know of any greater measure of love where any human who would offer their only son to save the life of a person who hated them.
In this context and understanding, even if you disagreed, would you expect somebody born of God to be drawn only to God's punishment, rather than his love and grace?
Trev: It's an interesting parable that one about the tree and the fruit. And it is about false teaching, isn't it. Not about evil in itself or infidels and non believers. It's about priest and religious teachers claiming to be the right believers and representatives of the true faith and theology. Interesting enough it is then quite obvious that if you're right about Jahve/allah's, or what his name should be, fruits being love, joy, peace etc. none of the christian churches can be the right representatives, can they? The organized churches and christian organisations does not have a very good record in that context, and if you ask me, still represent some pretty bad fruits.
But to the question at hand, it is the message that the parable is talking about, not the artistic expression it goes within. So in the case of christian black metal, I would say that your argument fails.
To the offering you refer to, I must say I do not find that offering so impressive. If the story hold any truth the God and father in question knew very well that he would see his son again. It's not the same as if a human should offer his or her son, not knowing what would happen apart from the fact that the son would most certainly die. I would instead call it a cruel action to put your son, only or not (should that even make a diffference!?) through all that torture, pain and suffering, just to prove your point. This father and God could just have showed himself as the God allmighty in a very impressive an persuasive way and yelled some reason into the people, and I'm sure it would've been more effective. No, this faith in Abrahams God is just ridiculous.
If anyone's interested - here's the parable. Pay attention to the cutting down bit - what did he mean by that. Should all false prophets be cut down and thrown into the fire? Peace and love indeed:
Scripture: Matthew 7:15-20:
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.
Interesting fact on this subject: A former member of cult Swedish black metal legends OFERMOD converted to christianity and has a christian black metal band called Reverorum ib Malacht. Their debut album is supposed to be out through Ajana, label that works with Watain, Deathspell Omega, Averse Sefira etc...!
I love the band Antestor.A christian black or whatever metal band if ever there was one.I'm neither christian or satanist,but can see both ways as representative of human states of mind.It's always puzzled me as to how there seems to be this neverending stream of bands trying to be evil and wonder what their ultimate aim beyond shocking thier parents is.
Christian black metal is a strange concept in a way but then again so is putting a shiny plastic disc in an electronic device to hear someone bashing some drums very fast with wooden sticks.
Life is full of contradictions and confusing aspects.
I'm a very un-evil person but love the kind of music that is supposed to embody the very esscence of evil,but but for me it's abstract.I have no desire to sing the praises of satan,or whatever people like to call him but he's always seemed quite well behaved in comparison to the way humans behave.
The best "modern" black metal band, and the only Christian band I listen to, in my opinion is drottnar. They are brutal as hell and yet are Christian. This doesn't really bother me as they are so badass but it is strange. Also, their lyrics fro their first album, while Christian based, are basically the same as many black metal bands except instead of immense hatred for christianity they have an immense hatred for Satan. But their lyrics are politically based now so it's ok.
Surely bands that sing about satanism are working within a christian context? I understand many black metal bands claim Paganism or the Occult as a point of reference but within Metal as a whole there is a fascination with religion. I dont think the issue is whether Christians can play black metal its more about Pro-God vs Pro-Satan, or at least the values they represent.
I was always under the impression that the symbol of Satan was appropriate to rock/metal/blues etc as a symbol of freedom and having fun rather than following the flock. It is still Christian symbolism, it's still operating within the context of Christianity. It does seem like a serious mis-match for a 'metal' band to actually be expounding the virtues of worshipping the Christian God.
christian black metal from Venezuela
i don't have anything against christian metal, but not going to search and listen.
Christian Black Metal?? Alright so I can understand Christian Death Metal bands such Impending Doom as death, doom, demons and suffering are all strong aesthetics of Christianity.. but Christian Black Metal?? Seriously. The whole premise of authentic BM is anti-Christ so where does a Christian?s logic come from to express themselves through Black Metal? Even if Black Metal was based on true Satanism and being a Satanist this would make a lot more sense for a Christian to follow a movement as Satan is the reverse side of the coin when it comes to Christianity. The use of Satan and Satanic influences in BM is nothing about the belief of Satan, it is just about disrespect and tarnishing of Christianity. You can?t believe in Satan without believing in God, they are from the same story.
?Why must the devil have all the good music?!? - Express yourself however you feel is right but personally I just will never understand why a Christian, who loves God and follows the word of Christ would ever turn to something which roots are based in the destruction of everything they stand for.. But I guess that?s Christian logic ;)
For those Christians who choose to walk the path of Black Metal check out this link - http://www.wikihow.com/Be-a-Christian-Fan-of-Black-Metal - Stay safe.
I feel that Black Metal must have and has a mindset connected to it. This being a rebellious expression - be it anti-Christianity, Satanism, or anarchism.
The very fact is is called 'Black' Metal is indicative of its ideology. I'm in favour of Christian bands playing BM to be labeled 'unblack' or 'white' metal. I think those are fitting terms.
To sidetrack, Nazi/National Socialist ideologies are at odds with BM also. This is because both Christianity and Nazism encompass the very things BM was created to rebel against. These being authoritarianism, discrimination, herd mentality, murder, and prejudice.
Black metal is a tough one for me. I've listened to music from Crimson Moonlight and liked it a lot. It DID have to do with the blatant spiritual themes in the music though. The songs themselves have very passionate worship themes. In other words, the music may be aggressive, but I find myself worshiping the Lord Jesus through it. On the other hand, it seems that early black metal (Christian) projects had ridiculous lyrics, intent on being "unblack" in their themes. "Invert the inverted cross"? Anti-satanic symbolism doesn't really speak to me; it has little to do with the relationship that God desires with each of us.
With that being said, there's a lot of really crappy music on BOTH sides of the "Jesus fence". It's the hardcore nonbelievers who tend to trash any Christian music, though. On the other hand, I can go on and on about how AC/DC suck balls, but I'll listen to X-Sinner; no problem.
Some of my favorite heavy bands are: Mortification, Becoming the Archetype, and Holy Blood.
Well, I don't see a contradiction.
+ BM is against religion: some christians are too.
+ BM preaches about the supernatural: a lot of christians also.
+ BM talks about adversities: christianity speaks a lot about struggles.