A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Rock

Or, “Another Excuse for Me to Talk About My Favorite Bands.”

Want to start listening to Christian rock, but don’t know where to start? Well, I’m here to help.

But let’s get one thing straight first – I’m not the biggest fan of the term “Christian rock,” or whatever genre you feel like shoving in there. First off “Christian” isn’t a genre, no matter what your local Christian bookstore tries to tell you, and second, bands can’t actually be Christian. To quote Blimey Cow for the second time in the past week: “Bands don’t have souls! DC Talk didn’t go to Heaven when it died!”

However, musicians can be Christian, and lyrics can have themes related to Christianity. Musicians and bands use their platform to share the Good News, which I think is wonderful! That’s really what I mean when I use the term “Christian rock” – a rock band that’s using their music and their platform to spread the Gospel.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll explain this list: I know from experience that discovering Christian rock is both incredibly exciting and very overwhelming, so I decided to come up with a reference for those new to this “genre.” I’ve included the bands I think are pretty accessible to everyone up to metalcore and heavier artists. There’s a place for everyone, so read on!

The Basics
If you’re completely new to this style of music, there are a few bands that just about everyone can start with.

Skillet
Skillet’s been a Christian rock staple pretty much ever since their album Comatose,  so they’re a given for this list. They were the first band I ever listened to, and the first band I ever saw in concert. They’ve had a pretty big impact on the industry as a whole, and it would be a mistake not to include them.

Recommended songs: “Rebirthing,” “Comatose,” “Hero,” “Rise,” and “Stars”

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John Cooper of Skillet

Thousand Foot Krutch
Another band I’ve been listening to for a long time, TFK sounds somewhat similar to Skillet overall, but with more rap and hip-hop influences. They’re also a pretty accessible band, so I’d also recommend them for newbies.

Recommended songs: “The Art of Breaking,” “Welcome to the Masquerade,” “Be Somebody,” “War of Change,” and “Give Up The Ghost”

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Thousand Foot Krutch

Fireflight
If you prefer female vocalists, Fireflight might be the way too go. Their most recent album, INNOVA, has a bit of an electronic influence, but I for anyone looking to dip their toe in the water, they’re definitely worth listening to.

Recommended songs: “You Decide,” “Unbreakable,” “For Those Who Wait,” “Now,” and “Safety”


A Bit Heavier
Looking for something a little more hard hitting? These bands might be what you want. Heavier music, and the occasional screamed vocals.

Disciple
Like Skillet, Disciple’s been around for a long time, and it would be a mistake not to include them in this list. Their sound has changed slightly over the years, but they always write high-energy songs with thought-provoking lyrics.

Recommended songs: “Dear X,” “Invisible,” “Radical,” “First Love,” and “Erase”

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Kevin Young of Disciple

Flyleaf
Flyleaf’s music mainly reached a secular audience, something I think few bands can really do successfully while still promoting a Christian message. The music is heavy and the writing is strong – their songs include some of my favorite lyrics.

Recommended songs: “All Around Me,” “Breathe Today,” “Beautiful Bride,” “Arise,” and “New Horizons”

If you want more music like this, you should also listen to Lacey Sturm’s solo album, Life Screams.

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Lacey Sturm, formerly of Flyleaf

RED
Like Skillet, they incorporate other instruments into their music sometimes, like strings, but their music definitely packs more of a punch.

Recommended songs: “Breathe Into Me,” “Death of Me,” “Feed The Machine,” “Not Alone,” and “Darkest Part”

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Michael Barnes of RED

Attalus
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where Attalus fits on this list, but either way, their music is absolutely fantastic. They write some of the most beautiful and poetic lyrics I’ve heard and plus, concept albums are great.

Recommended songs: “This Ship is Going Down,” “Sirens,” “Step Out,” “Albatross,” and “Death Be Not Proud” (I should warn you this one is about 8 minutes long)

You can also check out their album Gospel Hymns Vol. 1 if you enjoy hymns. Not as heavy as their other music, but I enjoy it all the same.


Definitely Hardcore
This style of music is not for the faint of heart – metal, hardcore, whatever you want to call it. But if you’re the kind of person who likes this genre (like me!), then these bands are definitely worth your time.

Wolves At The Gate
They became one of my favorite bands in the past year and a half, and I just can’t seem to stop getting excited about their music. I love the vocals especially, but they’re amazing lyrically and musically as well, just a great band all around.

Recommended songs: “Dead Man,” “Man of Sorrows,” “Relief,” “Asleep,” and “Convalesce”

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Nick Detty of Wolves At The Gate

Memphis May Fire
Like Flyleaf, Memphis May Fire foun

d its main market among secular audiences, but there’s no denying the Christian influence in their lyrics and message. “No Ordinary Love,” is my favorite, but their music is all around fantastic.

Recommended songs: “The Sinner,” “No Ordinary Love,” “Beneath the Skin,” “Carry On,” and “This Light I Hold”

For Today
Sadly, For Today broke up at the end of last year (right after I started listening to them). However, I really enjoy their music, and I have a lot of respect for Mattie Montgomery (lead vocals).

Recommended songs: “Seraphim,” “Fearless,” “Break the Cycle,” “Molotov,” and “Broken Lens”

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For Today

This blog post ended up being longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to end it here. I could have gone on and on about punk rock, alternative, pop/electronic – you get the idea. Maybe one day I’ll write another one of these “guides.”

If you liked this, let me know, and tell me what you’d like to see me cover next time! Do you enjoy any of these bands? What would you add to this list? There’s a lot more that I didn’t cover here, so I’d love to see what you contribute!

Until next time!

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2 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Rock

  1. Eeeee!! I love Christian rock! Switchfoot is my absolute favorite (I’m assuming you’ve heard of Switchfot and just aren’t a fan since they weren’t on your list… If you haven’t heard of them before, though, you seriously need to check them out! They’re the best.). But I’m bookmarking this post so I can check all of these out! Aside from Skillet and Thousand Foot Krutch, they are unfamiliar to me. Very excited! 🙂

    Like

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