How I feel about Once Christian Bands Leaving the Faith or not Standing Up for their beliefs
Ok, so this is something that's been bugging me for awhile. I find this sort of thing very upsetting and I need to discuss this with people.
In these last few years, there's been a trend happening. A trend of once faithful Christian metal bands renouncing their ways and their faith and become staples in this new uprising scene of post-Christian metal. Primarily, I would say it has remained in the metalcore/deathcore genre. But to summarize, the gist of what I'm breaking down is bands that have decided to renounce their faith and becoming atheists or simply non-believers and having one remaining Christian member or none at all. Of course another thing I'll be mentioning is the Christians-in-a-band situation as that is just a lame way to be. Now, take in mind, these are just my thoughts, and by no means am I trying to be rude or offensive, I'm just trying to say something.
There are several bands out of this genre to start off with. So I'm gonna start in a different genre in a different time. Way back in the 90s, when Thrash metal was dying off and metalcore and hardcore were beginning their rise to power, there were a core group of thrash metal bands. Also known (to me) as the Christian thrash Big Four. One of these bands, was Vengeance Rising. Now, I'm sure many of you are aware of the entire story, but for those who don't; Vengeance Rising began in 1985 with the name Sacrifice, which after one show changed to Vengeance. Later they changed their name to Vengeance Rising. By 1990, all of the band's original founding members - Lead Guitarist Larry Farkas, Rhythm Guitarist Doug Thieme, Bassist Roger Dale Martin and Drummer Glen Mancaruso - departed from the band due to a lack of interest and a disconnect with the Lead Vocalist, Roger Martinez. They signed all the rights over to Martinez, who agreed to the terms and accepted them and all debts of past, present and future. However, Martinez turned around and stated that he was robbed by the former members, which was not true by any standard. In the mid-90s, between when the band officially broke up in 1992 and when the interview was conducted in 1997 by HM Magazine, Martinez lost his faith, with many questioning if he ever had it to begin with. And I can't really speak on that, as I've never met him. I haven't heard anything about in years now, just mentions here and there from the former band members, Jimmy Brown from Deliverance and Erik Mendez formerly of Tourniquet.
Back to the metalcore scene, as that seems to be the biggest portion of this conversation, we have several bands. The first band I really heard do this, at least in an extreme case is As I Lay Dying. I'm not going to go into the whole Tim situation. I've made my thoughts clear on that. But by the time all that went down, it seemed like some of the members may have lost faith. While Nick Hipa and Jordan Mancino have stated that both of their faiths' foundations were still there, I've heard nothing from Phil Sgrosso or Josh Gilbert. Of course, I can't speak on that either, because I don't know them or where they're at. It seems like all the members are back in the band and together and it seems like the positive lyrical side of things, but I'm not 100% sure where the band stands on that.
Following this, there are bands like Zao and Underoath that have gone down this trend. Zao began in 1993 and has switched lineups all the way till 2005, when a consistent lineup solidified with Dan Weydant, Russ Cogdell, Scott Mellinger, Martin Lunn and Jeff Gretz. As of now, Lunn is the only Christian in the band anymore. Gretz is Catholic, so in that regard, he is as well. Weydant has not really spoken on his beliefs. Mellinger has been an atheist for awhile now, and I don't believe he's ever really been a Christian. At least that's how he has made it sounds. Cogdell. *Sigh* Cogdell. He's..........very confused. As of 2015, he was very confused on a Bible Verse. While the concept is somewhat intriguing, I would never subscribe to it. Because it basically was Jesus was Satan, or Jesus was an hallucination of Satan's or something like that. Then there's Underoath. As of their new album, Erase Me, only the Keyboardist Chris Dudley is a Christian. I won't speak on this, but I'll let you watch this video of Vocalist Spencer Chamberlain and Drummer/Vocalist Aaron Gillesppe speak on Christianity.
This has nothing to do with the core values of Christianity. Which makes me curious, as to where their beliefs lay with Christ, as they seem to be fine with core beliefs of Christianity.
The final big band I want to focus on is The Order of Elijah. I not a big fan of this band anymore. Especially after how set on fire for Christ they seemed to be during the CD of Dethrone. I listened to that album over and over again and it's awesome! The music is so amazing! And that goes for all the band's I've mentioned previously! I still listen to Zao, As I Lay Dying and Vengeance Rising. I've not really ever been a big fan of Underoath, but I did hear a few tracks from the album and they weren't bad! TOOE is no longer a Christian band. The band gave up their Christian ways in 2016, when singer Shannon Low renounced his Christianity stating that he lost faith due to the church and reading Richard Dawkins. Here's a quote from Low, however:
After one of the most difficult decisions in my adult years, I had no choice but to accept that I had shed my faith like a cocoon. It was scary yet liberating, it confusing yet simple, I felt at peace yet completely shaken, I pretty much had to reprogram my way of thinking about the world. Not only that, I felt I had lived a lie for half my life. I read books, tried meditating, hell sometimes I'd even try to talk to god. After a few months I read about the science of addiction and life trauma. I stopped trying to pray my alcoholism away and began combating it with real methods. I began confronting my problems head on rather than "giving them to god". I became very interested in researching science and the culture of other religions daily. I eventually completely gave up alcohol, got my health back, and enrolled in college. I'm proud to say I have a 3.75 GPA.
So here we are today. Look, I love you guys and I'm sorry I'm not a Christian anymore. This is honestly me completely coming out of the faith closet, I tried to avoid throwing all my mental baggage into the road but you guys very important to me and the rest of the TOOE crew. I'm not looking to debate anyone in the comments or anything. I understand that apostasy is highly shunned upon, you guys just deserve to know the whole truth. Special thanks to Will Strotz for reaching out to me instead of getting angry
I had a chance to interview Low, however that time never came to be. For what reason, he wanted to do it, and then kind of backed out without saying anything. He seemed like a cool dude, and I don't want this to come across as talking trash. I'm not. I'm just pointing out this becoming a trend. An unfortunate trend. This all came up because two different bands recently. On my Instagram, I follow most bands that follow me back and all bands in the Christian metal scene. I came across this band called Eternal Winter. As of yesterday, August 3rd, the band renounced their faith and kicked two members out, because one of them didn't want to convert to atheism. Major props to that guy. The other band is Demonic Extinction. The band is a Christian band. Still. But the guy behind the band, Richard Aguirre, is not a kind-hearted Christian, and has a tendency to blow up at people and not showing them love like they are supposed to. Not talking trash, but it's true. Read this message between him and Erik Mendez (ex-Tourniquet, 2050), who messaged him because he heard that Aguirre was ripping people off and taking their money without sending merchandise.
So yeah. There's that. I don't know how the other two official members and the session drummer Shawn Cameron (Carnifex) [pretty dope that he got him] feel about that, but it doesn't seem like Aguirre cares a whole lot. I don't mind if he sees this, I'd gladly talk to him about it. I'm not sure how that conversation would go, but I'm sure it'd be interesting to say the least.
With Christians-in-a-Band, that's been going on since the 90s. Bands like Training for Utopia, Stretch Arm Strong, Norma Jean, 7 Horns 7 Eyes, Blessthefall, The Agony Scene, Believer, Circle of Dust and so many others over the last several years have come out as Christians-in-bands. The Agony Scene, Circle of Dust and 7 Horns 7 Eyes may just be secular bands with a few Christians in the lineup. I won't speak on that anymore.
I'm not trying to give an argument to oppose these guys decisions. Most of them were just excommunicated from the faith and looked down upon by other Christians. That's not right. That's not how it's supposed to be. That's why we need to live in Christ's likeness. I'm not saying I do this all this time. I'm far from perfect and I've felt I've been beyond saving, but with Jesus no one is beyond saving. They could all come back. Every knee shall bow and tongue will confess. One day. If you guys want, maybe I could do a theology-backed argument against their reasons or something like that, but for now, I hope you enjoy this post. And by no means am I saying don't listen to these bands. Just know what you are getting into beforehand. God bless you all!
The Bearded Dragon