As many of you may know if you’ve seen other posts I’ve written or if you know me personally, I made a decision a few years ago to only listen to Christian music. I’ve posted blogs before on my reasons for this (Why I Only Listen to Christian Music) and relating to the subject, including links to some of the songs that I particularly like (A Challenge) but I haven’t written anything on the subject for a while. For a few months at university I didn’t really find any new music. This was partly because I didn’t want to spend any money on it, partly because I was happy with what I had, and partly because when I did look I didn’t find anything particularly inspiring. However, in recent weeks I’ve had a mini-surge of inspiration and have managed to find some new stuff to listen to, some of it new this year, some of it older and only just discovered by me. In the rest of this post I’ll put links to a few songs and write a bit about the album they come from, and maybe you’ll be encouraged to try out some of this stuff for yourself.
Extremist – Demon Hunter
Though I’d been aware of Demon Hunter’s existence for a long time, it wasn’t until this year that I actually bought my first full-length album, True Defiance. It wasn’t long before the mixture of pounding aggression and haunting beauty got me hooked, and thankfully it turned out that their 2014 release, Extremist, was only a few days away. I bought the album, still not really knowing what to expect, and initially was underwhelmed. One song in particular (the one posted below) stood out to me from the start, but others on the album underwhelmed me. Sure, ‘Heart of a Graveyard’ was catchy and moments of ‘In Time’ sounded good, but I struggled to get excited. It’s the kind of album that grows on you though, and after a few more listens I was starting to hear more and more that I liked, particularly in the song ‘What I’m Not’, a heavy song with a clean chorus that I initially skipped over for some reason. Demon Hunter has been around long enough that fans of heavier Christian music will no doubt have heard of them long before me, but on the off-chance you haven’t I recommend you checking them out, as there’s a reason they’ve been so successful.
‘Last One Alive’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZyE9QApvEU
From Water to War – Nine Lashes
Nine Lashes, a lesser known rock band, may well have surprised their existing fanbase with their latest effort (their second full-length album) the crunching, heavy tones of World We View have more or less faded into the background, being replaced with softer, more ambient sounds (though Jesus Freak Hideout’s decision to reclassify them as ‘Ambient Pop’ still seems a little extreme). I was skeptical before buying the album, but quickly realised that it works. The opening song, ‘Never Back Down’ harks back to their debut effort, but the really impressive songs on the album, such as the song featured below, ‘Where I Belong’, almost completely lack the rock-driven heaviness. It surprises me that I like this sort of music, but if you’re someone who likes catchy, upbeat songs with a slightly hard edge, then this album may well be for you.
‘Where I Belong’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he32vwlKQPY
Attention! – Philmont
Though generally preferring heavier music, I do have a big soft spot for cheesy, feel-good pop-punk still left over from the days where I would listen to bands like All Time Low, Boys Like Girls and Every Avenue. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find Christian pop-punk that sounds good. Bands like MxPx, Relient K and Hawk Nelson have all made this sort of music, but there’s still not a lot out there really. Then yesterday, completely by accident, I discovered Philmont. Musically, there’s probably not a lot that’s special about them. They’re hardly cutting edge. But they were exactly what I’ve been looking for ever since giving up non-Christian music. They have that fun, boundless energy about them that’s infectious when you hear their music, and they also have a couple of songs that, for me, are really stand-out. There’s the incredibly upbeat, ‘I Can’t Stand to Fall’ and my personal favourite, the slower, but more powerfully delivered ‘Another Name’, which is the link I’ve given below.
‘Another Name’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LApl7bYsk9U
Though I don’t have space to give more details about these following songs, I wanted to include some others that I’ve come across in various ways recently, all of which are well worth a look.
‘Glass House’ – Red: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlB592l8SZ4 (Rock)
‘Steady My Heart’ – Kari Jobe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0ip40j82ws (CCM/Pop)
‘Where I Belong’ – Building 429: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he32vwlKQPY (CCM/Soft Rock)
‘Savior’ – Worth Dying For: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63bZId2c_wk (Rock/Worship)