I think I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth talking about again. I attended an impossibly tiny Christian high school, and was floored to find out that the type of music I was listening to at the time had quote-unquote, “Christian” equivalents – punk, metal, hardcore, etc.
The idea of attaching a religious label to a particular genre of music is something uniquely American – and it’s patently absurd.
Too much is made of the stigma of religion in music. Whether or not a band is “Christian” is no reason to listen to them or not listen to them.
That someone could try to justify not wanting to listen to a band’s music because that band has different beliefs than their own is foolish. Punk rock was created on the premise that you can believe and talk about whatever you want to, and not be judged for it. That you have beliefs and want to talk about them in your music is more important than the message itself.
Music is music and EVERY band has a message, no matter what it is. Those are the lessons I took away from my discovery of “Christian” metal/hardcore bands in high school. The songs don’t sound any different. “Christian” bands use the same instruments as everyone else. The albums are released in digital and physical forms, not some transcendent, spiritual or metaphysical “beam” to someone’s brainstem. The lyrical content might be “poems to God,” but isn’t that really what all lyrics are- musical poems?
I’m sure there’s some deeper purpose for why a person who isn’t Christian (or, further, anti-Christian) doesn’t like listening specifically to Christian bands; but I have more respect for someone who doesn’t believe in God who listens to a band like Impending Doom or For Today in spite of their basic message than a kid who won’t listen to those same bands because they believe in a higher power and a savior.
Aside from all that, an observation: “Christian” heavy metal/hardcore artists are downright obsessed with eschatology (the study of the “end times” or end of the world). A lot of Impending Doom’s material is focused on this topic, but also on redemption through Jesus Christ.
This skews the lyrical content in a manner that can be exclusionary. I personally do not believe in the generally-accepted, conventional ideal of “hell” as a place of unending torment, fire and damnation. I find that concept to defeat the purpose of Jesus Christ’s ministry.
That said, if a person who is not a Christian gave an honest listen to Impending Doom’s lyrics, I’d imagine them to be completely freaked out. Eschatology is an advanced Christian study, in my opinion. I don’t believe a person should base their religious beliefs on fear. Eschatology is steeped in fear. Perhaps this is why non-Christians have such a problem with this so-called “Christian metal” genre of music.
But if one can accept Impending Doom at its face value and look past any problems they may have with the message, listeners will find creative, speedy, technical metal from some talented dudes.
Baptized in Filth is the 4th release from this SoCal metal outfit. Unfortunately for them, it’s their most forgettable. Baptized is a pummeling, 10-track explosion, but fails to recapture the eye-opening impact of Nailed. Dead. Risen., and the catchy-yet-undeniably-brutal The Serpent Servant. Their third release There Will Be Violence, began to reveal the pigeonholing that arises in heavy metal. “Every song starts to sound the same after a while” is the primary criticism.
While there are a few tracks on Baptized that perfectly encapsulate the sound and message of Impending Doom (namely, “Murderer” – which may just be the best ID song to date – as well as “Falling Away” and “Death. Ascension. Resurrection.”), from about the mid-way point of their previous album and throughout this one, a lot of the songs start to run together in my mind. With few exceptions, I’d be hard pressed to name any one song from any other song
I will say that production-wise, Baptized is worlds ahead of its predecessors. Nailed. was notorious for being bass-heavy; Serpent Servant greatly improved in production values; and Violence sounded real clean and pretty smooth, but Baptized takes the Jesus cake.
And, for what it’s worth, if there’s any redeeming value to the people that make up Christian bands, I’ve never met a band member who wasn’t the nicest dude I met that day – no matter how heavy their music is.
Standout tracks: “Murderer” and “Falling Away” and “Death. Ascension. Resurrection.”
Weakest track: “My Light Unseen” – I want nothing to do with Demon Hunter. Make it stop.
RIYL: Black metal, speed metal, technical metal, metalcore. Haste the Day, For Today, Whitechapel, Job for a Cowboy,