Secular Predecessor, Inferior Successor | What’s the Point of Christian Rock & Metal

Dimmu borgir live in rome
Dimmu borgir live in rome (Photo credit: luigioss)

If you’ve read my previous post on the “me” instead of “You” in Christian progressive rock & metal, then you know my questioning in this.   And it is because of this “me” over “You” that brings me the questioning of the point of Christian rock & metal.

If the music isn’t worshiping – then what’s separating Christian metal, or even simply Christian music, from what’s considered secular? After all, it is simple sociology that shows that Christian culture mimics & mirrors secular culture – we would haven’t Christian rock if there wasn’t first rock… and I’m sure something as silly and trivial as bumpersticks preceded all of our favorite Christian emblems and verses we stick all over our cars.

So, if the only point is a positive message or scripture referencing from our Christian music & not worshiping the Father directly – what’s keeping me from listening to everything else not with the certified “Christian” label.

I’ll certainly be the first to admit that as a composer and a musician – that more often than not – the secular sound better; production, composition, musicianship. After all, as stated above – the Christian alternative is simply an imitation of the secular predecessor.  It’s so much better, in fact, for me as a composer of symphonic metal, that I have listened to

Cover of "This Godless Endeavour (Aust Ve...
Cover of This Godless Endeavour (Aust Version)

symphonic black metal for inspiration. The orchestrations are very well done, production is out of this world, and it’s simply on the cutting edge of music composition & recording.  I got my vocal technique for the Revelation-inspired “Are You Ready” from Dimmu Borgir’s “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse.”   My guitar tapping technique is directly inspired from Nevermore’s “This Godless Endeavor,” (and that’s a bit disconcerting, is it not?)

So, what’s to keep me from going full-immersion into these genres of music? Since it is SO great as a composer to be exposed to all that secular music has to offer?

Being a bit vulnerable now… I can tell an attitude change in myself upon listening to great amounts of this secular music.  My outlook on things in life, despite being a solid believer in the Almighty, is often bleak. My tendencies towards depression are more likely when having listened to this music. I often become a little less patient in life, become less understanding and empathetic…and I begin to sound a little more like a sailor. But, that’s just me, and I certainly can’t speak for anyone else.

But, What if we cut out both entirely – the secular as well as the unfruitful Christian rock & metal. The replacement: the worship music we hear on Sundays as well as our personal time with the Lord – praying, reading, journaling.

  • Can we get enough inspiration from these things alone? And, if we can,
  • will the art we create be able to break through and change the lives of the unsaved? And
  • will that art be able to compete & dominate the secular because it wasn’t inspired by the secular nor created in imitation of it?
  • Is this final product alien; and if it is, will its naturally alien-nature be what makes it cut through?

I feel the answer is different for us all; and you’d be surprised by mine.


Author: John Matthew Newman

Disciple of the Living God, Husband to @TheRockersWife, - Composer, Multi-Instrumentalist, Minimalist, Avant Garde, Worship -

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