“Merit for Sadness” by Haste the Day popped into my head the other day, and I put together a playlist around it. I realized that the end of the song would transition seamlessly into “Existence” by August Burns Red. After that metal onslaught, I thought a slower-paced song would do, so I threw in a low-tempo Demon Hunter song. I had “Artist in the Ambulance” stuck in my head soon after, and added “Injection” as a bridge.
Here’s what I ended up with:
- Thrice, “The Artist in the Ambulance”
- Rise Against, “Injection”
- Haste the Day, “Merit for Sadness”
- August Burns Red, “Existence”
- Demon Hunter, “I Play Dead”
I picked these songs either intuitively, or because they fit musically. Then, I noticed a theme in the lyrics.
I know that there’s
A difference between sleight of hand, and giving everything you have
There’s a line drawn in the sand, I’m working up the will to cross it and
I hope that I will never let you down
I know that this can be more than just flashing lights and sound
Rhetoric can’t raise the dead
I’m sick of always talking when there’s no change
Rhetoric can’t raise the dead
I’m sick of empty words, let’s lead and not follow
-Thrice, “The Artist in the Ambulance”
Guide me through unchartered waters
Before we lose our way again
Will you be my compass until forever?
Until forever ends?
Knees are weak, hands are shaking, I can’t breathe
So give me the drug, keep me alive
Give me what’s left of my life
Don’t let me go
Pull this plug, let me breathe
On my own, I’m finally free
Don’t let me go
-Rise Against, “Injection”
Open my heart to sadness
It’s though the pain that I believe
It’s in the pain that I can see
Love is alive in darkness
The waters may rise but your hand carries me
The world may deny what you choose to believe
I know that you’re here
So I’ll hold on and won’t let go
I won’t let go
-Haste the Day, “Merit for Sadness”
Don’t excuse yourself from life today on the pretense of your past
You’re hurt, you’re broken, that’s alright
This might be what it takes to wake you up
-August Burns Red, “Existence”
I’ve got to find a way to stop before it starts
Finding its way through my veins right to my heart
I never thought it something everyone could see
And it kills within me
I won’t, I won’t leave without a trace
I won’t be erased
-Demon Hunter, “I Play Dead”
They’re all about perseverance. They’re all about changing for the better.
And right now, they’re all terribly inspiring to me. Love it.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some contemporary worship songs I genuinely love.
But sometimes I listen to the strummy, contemplative guitars and the woefully simple lyrics; the deep, slightly gravelly male voices; or the melodic piano with breathy female accompaniment, and I just think… my soul doesn’t sound like that.
It sounds more like…
Sample lyric: Life can be overwhelming / but don’t turn your back on / the strongest crutch / you’ve ever had
Some of you are now utterly terrified. Don’t be. Meet August Burns Red. They’re a Christian metalcore band.
You heard right. But wait, how could such “angry” music possibly be Christian?
I understand that some people can’t listen to metal without either getting angry themselves or wetting their pants in fear. I’m not like that. When the guitars pound and the drums thunder and the lead singer roars, something in me lights up. I don’t get angry. I get inspired.
If you’re a metal fan, maybe you can relate.
The Christian hard rock scene has been thriving for years, now. As with any genre, there are examples ranging from abysmal to sublime. But, despite what you might think, there are some bands that I’d put alongside a Bullet for My Valentine or an Avenged Sevenfold any day.
From the second verse: How can you end my affliction / if you’re the sickness and not the cure?
Red ranges from metalcore to alternative. They incorporate hammering guitar riffs and soaring strings. Innocence and Instinct deals with the inward struggle against sin, as the lyrics above illustrate. I love them. Their new album is coming out shortly.
From the chorus: One final heart-break / And blinding lights will guide our way / Free us our blind state / They will call us by our name / Undying
And then there’s Demon Hunter. Their band logo is a demon skull with a bullet hole in it. And from their sound, they earned it.
Chorus: The innocent will rest in the peace they’ve been given / paintings will sleep on the floor / build walls of lonely dreams / as beauty fades / I can’t take this anymore
What can I say about Haste the Day? I had this song stuck in my head for a week the first time I heard it. Their latest (and I unfortunately, last) album, Attack of the Wolf King, has been melting my earbuds for the last month nonstop.
I could go on. If you want more, check out the likes of Skillet, All That Remains, Project 86, Becoming the Archetype. Browse the catalogs of Tooth and Nail and Solid State Records, and you will be pleased.
They say metal is the devil’s music.
I say it’s high time we took it back and made him cry.
Update: I switched out the August Burns Red video for a different one when I realized YouTube wouldn’t let me embed the original video I posted.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the YouTube Effect, or Progressive Recombinant Absurdity.
Phase 1: Amusing Clip
Fig. 1: a terrifying rooster (above)
Phase 2: Funny Mashup
Fig. 2: a terrifying rooster + death metal (above)
Phase 3: Hilaridiculous
Fig. 3: a terrifying rooster + death metal + cockatoo fan (above)
This post brought to you by the Know Your Meme Death Metal Rooster page.