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THE DEAL--How I went about putting this history together
        Metal... is a HUGE and very diverse term.  When I was teen-ager in the 80s, it all seemed much simpler.  There was pop, rock, hard-rock,      
        heavy metal and thrash (or speed-metal).  Sure there were lots of other genres out there too.  But in the world of "rock" those were the
        basic ones.  Today--I must confess, I can't keep up with all of it!  I mean, there's white metal (which I think is positive/Christian), black metal, progressive metal, melodic metal, hair metal, industrial metal, goth metal, death metal... and I guess the terms "classic metal" ... "heavy metal" ... "speed metal" and "thrash metal" are still out there...  And I'm sure I left a few out!

So, what I'm going to do with this "History of Christian Metal" is go back to what I consider to be the begininngs of metal and bring it up through the decade of the 1980s.  You can take it from there.  If you have something you think needs to be added, email me!!!!

         It's kind of impossible to pinpoint a precise "beginning point" for Christian metal.  I mean it's obvious that Christian metal was an off-shoot
        of secular metal... which was an off-shoot of secular pop and rock... which were off-shoots of blues and country... which were off-shoots
        of... see... it gets kind of Cray after a while!  So, we'll start it this way...

The 70s were an era of incredible musical discovery.  Rock music, birthed in the 50s by fusing rhythm and blues with country music (by folks like Chuck Berry, Elvis, and lots of other folks), was evolving and attracting fans everywhere!  Some of the forerunners to metal in the early days of the 70s were "acid rock"...  "hard rock"... and "progressive rock".  It was an exciting time, where musicians were constantly experimenting and pioneering new musical forms.   It was also during this era that the foundations of CHRISTIAN METAL (granted in a very 70ish form) were laid.  

It all began in 1972.  In... of all places... MY HOME STATE!   Yep,  Bob Hartman, Greg Hough, John DeGroff and Bill Glover, of Ft. Wayne, IN.  felt God calling them to a very unique ministry.  Their vision - to create a "Christian Rock Band" and reach the world with this radical new style of music!  And so, with the birth of Petra, the first steps toward what we call CHRISTIAN METAL were taken...

Other contributors to the rise of Christian rock/metal in those early days would include-- Larry Norman and Phil Keggy.

It is also very important to recognize the contributions made by some ground breaking secular hard rock/metal bands/artists of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Jimi Hendrix
Deep Purple
Black Sabbath
Led Zeplin
Judas Priest

And, of course, others that you may be able to think of...

Each of them made their own unique contributions to the evolution of "metal music."

        In 1978 RESURRECTION  BAND aslo called "REZ BAND", released their debut album, AWAITING YOUR REPLY.  Heavily influenced by the music of    
        Led Zeppelin, Resurrection Band burst onto the scene with a killer brand of blues-based hard rock and a bold message of God's love!  Their
        groundbreaking release Awaiting Your Reply broke new ground... attracted many more fans to "Christian Rock" and thus paved the way for many more christian hard rock/metal bands to come.

Another band that sprang up around this time was JERUSALEM.  This Swedish Christian Rock Band also released their debute album, "Volume 1",  in 1978.  Their vision was very similar to Petra and Rez Bands'... to spread the news of God's love through hard rock music.

Secular bands/artists who made major contributions to the evolution of metal... and subsiquently Christian Metal--from the mid 1970s to the end of the decade include:

Kiss, AC/DC, Led Zeplin, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest continued to grow and shape metal--and in addition bands/artists like...

Van Halen
Rik Derringer
Ted Nugent

...and others...each made their unique contributions.

        There's just way too much awesome info from this decade to cram into this brief history... So, I'm simply going to share the highlight


One of Jerusalem's heaviest and most successful albums was released.


STRYPER formed this year changing their name from Roxx Regime to Stryper.  Along with the name change, they also began to wite lyrics that pointed straight to Jesus Christ!


Stryper's groundbreaking "Yellow and Black Attack" is realeased.  This album brought Christian Metal up from the underground and put it on the map for all the world to see. People were amazed that there was a christian band throwing out Bibles to the audience while at the same time playing KILLER metal music.  Stryper showed the world that it is possible to combine Jesus and Metal and opened the way for all the christian metal bands to come.

1984 also marks the birth of the term Christian Heavy Metal.  Many Christian Metal bands were coming up from the underground and there was a need for a term for this new movement and as a result the term Christian Heavy Metal was born.

SAINT - Warriors of the Son
Saint entered the scene with their melodic/aggressive Heavy Metal and added to the upswell of awesome Christian metal acts that were hitting the world's stage!  These guys were sometimes labled a Judas Priest clone band (just because they have a similar sound) but they made (and continue to make) a HUGE contribution to the world of Christian Metal!  

The Christian metal scene was exploding and there was a BIG need for some kind of publication to both promote bands and inform fans--"Heaven's Metal" filled that voic...and it's meant a lot to the christian metal scene through the years.

SANCTUARY  -  The  Rock'n'Roll  Refuge
Praise the Lord--lots of people have found Christ through Christian metal... that's a great thing!  Unfortunately, in the 80s, not all of these new converts "fit" in traditional churchs...  God laid it on Pastor Bob Beeman's heart start a ministry geared directly to these head-bangin Christ-followers!  He called Sanctuary International.  Through Sanctuary christian rock'n'rollers found a home.   The first worshipleader in Sanctuary was Michael Sweet of Stryper.  Throughout the years thousands of metalheads have come to know Christ and grown in faith through the ministry of Sanctuary.

Of course---at the same time--on the "secular" side of the music scene... bands like Ratt, Dokken, Kiss, AC/DC, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Ozzy,  Dio, Twisted Sister, Queensryche, Metalica, etc. were running up the charts as well!


LEVITICUS - The Strongest Power
Leviticus critically acclaimed 2nd album was released.  Brittish Metal Magazine Kerrang called it "One of the best records of the year"

STRYPER - Soldiers Under Command
With a heavier sound Stryper's popularity increased and this album even became one of the 100 best selling releases in the USA!  Soldiers Under Command stayed on the Billboard 100 chart for nearly 36 weeks!


STRYPER - To Hell With The Devil
One of Strypers most successful releases.   This was the height of the MTv days and Stryper shot some videos for this album which became very successful.  The videos for Free, Calling On You and Honestly were all on MTV's top ten list!  No one could say that Christian metal couldn't compete with the mainstream any more!   Get this--at this time--NO ONE.. No other band... had ever had three videos in the top ten at the same time, none!   Each one of these three videos also topped the MTV's top ten list, Free stayed number one for 12 weeks straight!  Needless to say Stryper's popularity skyrocked and on the upcoming world tour they sold out the BIG arenas everywhere!.

BLOODGOOD - Bloodgood
Bloodgood entered the scene lead by bassplayer Michael Bloodgood and singer Les Carlsen.   Believe it or not, Michael's last name really is "Bloodgood".  How cool is that?  Bloodgood was/is a great metal band!   They absolutely made substantial contribution to the Christian Metal scene!

PURE  METAL--Christian Metal's first record label
This was also the year when the first christian metal label "Pure Metal" was formed. Many christian metal bands were signed to this label including Saint, Bride, Messiah Prophet and Whitecross.

MESSIAH PROPHET - Master of the Metal
Great Classic Metal release with a very cool cover from this underground band.   The band unfortunately broke up some time after the release of this album.


The first big christian metal festival called "The Metal Mardi Gras" was held in Long Beach California. The festival was sponsored by the metal church Sanctuary.   Over ten bands shared two stages. Metal Edge and Kerrang, two of leading metal magazines at that time, wrote about the festival and solidified this new movement.

Regency Records released the first christian metal compilation called California Metal. All the bands featured on this album attended the metal church Sanctuary in California. This album was very groundbreaking and introduced us to great bands like Deliverance, Barren Cross, Guardian and Mastedon.

WHITECROSS - Whitecross
Rex Carrol's blazing guitarsolo on the track Nagasake is an all time classic.  The combination of Rex's guitarplay and Scott Wenzel's soulful/raspy vocals instantly set Whitecross apart as one of the top bands in Christian metal.

BLOODGOOD - Detonation
Help by many BG fans as the very best Bloodgood release ever... this release features  classics like The Messiah and the anti-suicide song Alone In Suicide.


STRYPER - In God We Trust
The title says it all. Stryper was never ashamed to stand up tall for Christ.  God used this particular album BIG TIME in my young walk with Jesus!  The guitar and vocal work are superb!  And the Spirit's presence is all over it!

SAINT - Too Late For Living
A Killer, classic heavy metal work!

VENGEANCE RISING - Human Sacrifice
This was just as groundbreaking for the christian thrash scene as Stryper's  The Yellow And Black Attack was to the Heavy Metal Scene.   An album showing the world that Christian thrash would never have to take a back seat (quality wise) to anything the world had to offer!  The album has a really cool cover showing how Jesus became a human sacrifice when he took our sins upon himself and died for us on the cross.

JERUSALEM - Dancing On The Head of The Serpent
One of Jerusalem's best.  A great mix of heavy metal thunder and ballads... coupled with bold, clear lyrics.  The cover of the album is a picture of an army boot crushing Satan's head. 

Another great release with more cool metal from the Sanctuary bands. This release introduced us to great bands like Recon, Soldier and many more.

The debut release of a fantastic, very Christ-centered (Queensryche like) progressive heavy metal band!

JOSHUA - Intense Defense
Joshua's classic release featuring guitarist Joshua Perahia and singer Rob Rock. Great melodic metal with plenty of hooks.

Many of the seculars labels didn't want to sign any christian metal bands because of the christian message while many christian labels didn't want to sign christian metal bands because the music was too HEAVY.  A new label INTENSE RECORDS was started. This label has meant a great deal to the christian metal scene.  Many great bands like Sacred Warrior, Vengeance Rising, Deliverance and Bloodgood released albums with this company.


ANGELICA - Angelica
Dennis Cameron on guitars and Rob Rock on vocals made this album a melodic metal masterpiece.

DELIVERANCE - Deliverance
Deliverance took christian metal to a new level with their bonecrunching speed metal. Their selftitled album was a big success right from the start and took the world with storm delivering a bold christian message with real speed metal. They are also known for their motto Faster For The Master!

RAGE OF ANGELS - Rage of Angels
Commercial Metal was growing and one of the best bands in this genre was Rage of Angels. Unfortunately they only released this album before they broke up.

X-Sinner's very cool debut.  This band offered AC/DC fans an excellent Christian alternative!  

LEVITICUS - Knight's of Heaven
Produced by John and Dino Elephante... an excellent melodic metal album with plenty of hooks, harmonies!

SHOUT - In Your Face
Commercial Metal at it's finest. Incredible hooks, shredding guitar solos and  singalong choruses!  Ken Tamplin and Co. kicked tail on this one!

SACRED WARRIOR - Master's Command
Much heavier than their debut and one of the all-time-classics in christian heavy metal.

BARREN CROSS - State of Control
A well produced release, showing progressive Heavy Metal band Barren Cross at their best!  This is Barren Cross most successful album.  The Crying Over You video was also played on MTV.

WHITECROSS - Triumphant Return
An excellent album showing Whitecross at their best... jam packed with melodic guitar leads and Scott Wenzel's raspy vocals.

BLOODGOOD - Out of the Darkness
Bloodgood's heaviest album... a classic Christian metal disc!

John and Dino Elephante had a studio of their own and wanted to help promising christian bands to release their albums, so they started up their own label called Pakaderm Records on which they released bands like X-Sinner, Guardian, Mastedon and many more.


Christian metal has its origins in the early 1970s. Generally, Resurrection Band and Jerusalem are cited as the earliest Christian metal bands. During the mid-1980s, the band Stryper helped to popularize the genre, as they were the first Christian Metal band to reach platinum status on an album.

Because Christian metal is largely characterized by lyrical content, there are various musical subgenres within Christian metal. In the 1980s, Christian metal bands closely followed the trends of more mainstream bands, producing a large amount of glam metal such as Stryper, Whitecross and Neon Cross. Many speed and thrash bands such as Tourniquet, Deliverance, Vengeance Rising, and Believer also began to appear.

In 1990, Mortification became the first widely recognised Christian death metal band. Though they played an old style of death metal very close to its thrash roots, their 1992 album Scrolls of the Megilloth is still considered classic death metal, and was released in both Christian and secular markets. At roughly the same time the band Living Sacrifice was creating thrash/death metal; also, Paramaecium became one of the largest Christian doom metal bands and would influence later Christian bands such as Pantokrator.

Horde is widely considered to be the first Christian black metal band. As a one man band with only one release (in 1994), Horde initiated controversy within the extreme metal community, opposing the more common lyrical themes of Satanism and evil. The title of Horde's only release -- Hellig Usvart -- means "Holy Unblack", which is now often used as a replacement name for black metal made by Christians by those who see black metal as exclusively Satanic.

Antestor existed prior to the release of Hellig Usvart but their music was not yet musically considered black metal. They, as well as Crimson Moonlight and others(such as Divine Symphony), make up today's more polished style of Christian black metal comparable to more mainstream high production black metal bands. However, more traditional and raw low-production black metal bands such as Abdijah, Duister Maanlicht, Light Shall Prevail, Offerblod, Arch of Thorns, Eulogium, Eligbbor, Horrific Majesty, Dormant (band), Firethrone, etc., still exist on record labels such as Son of Man Records, Sneeuwstorm Produkties, and GES Productions, among others.

Currently, there exist Christian metal bands for virtually every sub-genre of metal. Extol has a mixed (and often changing) style, and is popular among both Christian and Non-Christian metal fans. Theocracy, Narnia, Rob Rock, Jacobs Dream, and Divinefire are the most prominent Christian power metal bands. Rob Rock also achieved initial fame as the vocalist for guitar virtuoso Chris Impellitteri's band Impellitteri during the 80's and 90's and then went solo with his Rage of Creation album. He also performed guest vocals for the heavy metal band Warrior. There are many other notable bands, including Ultimatum, Becoming the Archetype, Temple of Blood, Aletheian, Crimson Thorn, Harmony, Saviour Machine, Majestic Vanguard, Soul Embraced, Afterimage, Disciple, and Veni Domine.

Certain Christian metal artists have found mainstream acceptance selling millions of albums to both Christian and non-Christian fans, including P.O.D. and Stryper. Metalcore's popularity is especially based on Christian bands, including such crossover successes as Underoath, Norma Jean, Zao, As I Lay Dying, Still Remains, and Demon Hunter.

In its 2006 In Review issue (February 2007), Revolver Magazine dubbed Christian metal the phenomenon of the year. Editor in Chief Tom Beaujour interviewed the lead singers of As I Lay Dying, Demon Hunter, Norma Jean, and Underoath (Tim Lambesis, Ryan Clark, Cory Brandan, and Spencer Chamberlain, respectively) as the front-page article for the issue. Tooth and Nail Records, P.O.D., Zao, War of Ages, Still Remains, and He Is Legend were also mentioned.

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