Wednesday, April 6, 2016

1980s/90s Christian Rock and Metal

Poking around the Spotify catalog has been interesting on several fronts. Discovering new music via recommendations and playlists is the main draw, but it's also been a trip down memory lane.
As a teenager in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I listened to a whole lot of rock and metal. Mostly Christian bands, though there was a good amount of Metallica and Rush in there as well. And I mean a lot, to the point where I wore out cassette tapes and broke tape players. Yeah, cassettes, although I did mostly switch to CDs toward the mid-90s. That all seems so ancient now, but I still have some of that stuff lying around. Though I don't think I have any cassette-playing equipment any more.

Spotify has a whole bunch of the bands that I remember in its catalog, and I've been revisiting them lately. The "similar artists" feature means that once you've found one, it's easy to get lost in clicking around to a bunch of stuff from the same time period. I built a playlist out of some of the favorites that I ran across. A few of them, in no particular order:
  • Petra - These guys were seriously long-lived, from the 1970s to the 2000s. I best remember the On Fire album, which I'm pretty sure I bought at least three times since I broke one cassette, bought another cassette, and later the CD. But their best work in my opinion was Beyond Belief, both the song (probably my favorite single Petra cut) and the whole album. Saw them several times in concert, too - 3.5 that I can remember. (That 0.5 is a show where just the lead singer, John Schlitt, did a concert with pre-recorded band tracks.)
  • Die Happy - I listened to a lot of very heavy stuff by a band called Vengeance Risingwho aren't on the playlist only because my tastes don't run to screaming-all-the-time vocals any more. Die Happy was formed when most of that band split from the leader, and they had a very different sound. Blues Metal, as I remember my friends and I called it. It's too bad they only ended up doing two studio albums.
  • Deliverance - I was in a garage band in high school (of course) and we'd have been deliriously happy to sound like Deliverance. Their first two albums were pretty much pure metal, but later on I'd classify their sound more as hard rock. My favorite album is Stay of Execution, which I'd put somewhere in the middle.
  • Bride - Southern rock, heavy style. These guys absolutely loved their wah-wah pedals. Judging from the Spotify most-popular list, people seem to like the Snakes in the Playground album. Nothing wrong with that one, but for me, Kinetic Faith was better. Particularly the songs Hired Gun and Everybody Knows My Name.
  • Whitecross - I best remember Whitecross for two things: listening to their In the Kingdom and High Gear albums while delivering newspapers, and getting to meet their bass player after a show sometime during my high school days. It was one of those 10-second autograph conversations, but it still stuck with me.
  • White Heart - When I came across this Spotify page, I was unsurprised to see that the most popular song by far is Desert Rose. I remember that ballad as their biggest hit, though I liked the rest of the Powerhouse album quite a bit as well. Saw these guys a couple of times in concert.
  • Tourniquet - Probably the heaviest band on this list. I listened to some even faster and harder stuff back in the day, but my tastes have mostly left those behind. But even before I started this little trip down musical memory lane, I still had Tourniquet in my MP3 collection. Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance, Psychosurgery, and Vanishing Lessons are all great albums.
  • Saviour Machine - It's hard to classify Saviour Machine musically. Some of it is metal, but there are also operatic and classical themes. Thematic classification is pretty easy, though - dark and apocalyptic. Lots of focus on the end times and the book of Revelation. I saw them live twice, easily two of the better concerts I've ever seen from anyone, Christian or secular. Too bad that's unlikely to happen again, as lead singer Eric Clayton had retired from music, at least partially due to illness.

No comments:

Post a Comment