A Bard’s Eye View: Religion in Music


Religion in Music

 

Whether you are religious or not, it is generally assumed that artists who make a lot of religious references in their music are going to be a little bit on the lame side. There are some notable exceptions, particularly if country music or gospel is your jam, but for the metal and hip hop crowd, it can be difficult to find an entertaining artist with religion as a focus.
For one thing, if you aren’t religious, thematically, you’re already dealing with a natural inclination to avoid things of that nature. It’s the same natural reluctance that religious people feel about artists who are thematically atheist or Satanist. For another thing, bridging the secular with worship is frowned upon in a lot of communities. This was an issue of contention for bands like P.O.D., who were too religious for a lot of secular crowds and too secular for a lot of traditional churches.
For me, I happen to know a fair share of both religious people and non-religious people, but the people within the crowds of music that I am more associated with tend to be more of the non-religious sect. Some are more vehemently anti-religious and some are just casually non-religious. In both cases, they are generally averse to exploring music with religious themes because they usually don’t enjoy the way it sounds regardless of its lyrical content.
This week we’ll be exploring some of the groups I think are pretty awesome and maintain a religious theme.

TROUBLE (UNITED STATES)

Most wouldn’t normally associate doom metal or stoner rock with Christianity. After all, a thematic part of doom is the idea that the end is near. But, wait a minute…. What is the “doom” they foresee in this instance is of a religious nature? In any case, Trouble is one of the pioneers of both genres and a driving force in many new bands’ influences.

ILLOGIC (UNITED STATES)

There are numerous references to Illogic’s faith in his works. This particular one is a haunting tale about a young couple faced with the decision of raising a child or possibly getting an abortion. The narrative travels through the perspective of both the man and the woman involved in the decision as well as a third perspective: the unborn baby’s. I feel this song captures the true internal conflicts people, especially women, experience when becoming pregnant before they are ready.

DEMON HUNTER (UNITED STATES)

Demon Hunter is a little bit on the mellower side, drifting into the class of nu metal often, but they have some pretty nice gems. This one features some pretty cool clean vocals and some cool guitar riffing going on in the second half of the track.

MISERATION (SWEDEN)

While not specifically known as a Christian band, the lyrics were originally written with strong overtones before they decided on Christian Alvestam as the singer. Alvestam is the only atheist in the band so a lot of the lyrical content was toned down, but it’s extremely heavy and you probably wouldn’t guess it was religiously themed until you really dissected the lyrics.

AMASEFFER (ISRAEL)

The significance of Amaseffer is that they tell the entire story of Moses and his adventures in Egypt. It’s Jewish in faith, and biblically accurate to the Old Testament. Mats Leven lends his legendary voice to the cause and it is a fantastic showcasing of musical talent. I am awaiting their second album, but it’s been eight years and I’m still hoping.

Hopefully this was a good experience in looking into some religiously themed music. Concerts and album reviews are coming within the next month or two! Stay tuned!

-Ryan

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