Underground era of Christian metal

Underground Era of Christian metal refers to the 1990s era of Christian metal movement when it was no longer in the spotlight of the mainstream media, and the many bands focused on the underground metal styles, the major ones being thrash metal, death metal, unblack metal, power metal, doom and gothic metal, and alternative metal.

Christian metal in the 1990s

In the early 1990s, the rising musical styles, especially grunge, began to take their places as the dominant styles in the mainstream, which resulted in heavy metal music losing popularity and going underground for a decade. Heavy metal musicians began to seek musical limits. Therefore Christian metal musicians began to play extreme music as well. Soon death metal replaced thrash metal in popularity. For the time being it was typical that Christian bands took it seriously how secular bands affected their audience. Death metal and black metal styles had grown more and more dominant in the metal underground. Themes such violence, evil, and occult had become growing subjects in the lyrics of secular bands, such as Deicide and Morbid Angel. As a counteraction to this, there was a significant phenomenon that Christian bands wrote lyrics that encouraged to go to idealistic war against evil. [ Examples of lyrics that encouraged to go to idealistic war against evil include the following albums: Deliverance - "Weapons of Our Warfare" (1990), Mortification - "Mortification" (1990), Tourniquet - "Stop the Bleeding", Horde - "Hellig Usvart" and Antestor - "Despair" among others.] The mainstream was no longer interested in the Christian metal movement, and the metal audiences in many underground metal scenes began favoring more extreme sounds and disparaging the popular styles, including Christian metal. [Walser, Robert (1993). "Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music". Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 0-8195-6260-2, p. 14; Christe (2003), p. 170] This affected notably on how the more traditional Christian heavy metal bands such as Saint, Bloodgood, and Leviticus, who, for example, split up in the 1990s. Even Stryper's popularity went through a regression. The band could not return its success even though they tried to change their style from pop metal to classic metal on the 1990 album "Against the Law", and eventually Stryper split up in 1993. [Christe (2003) The Change in the 1990s: Black Album and Beyond. Page 230.]

Several changes happened: with the lead of "Heaven's Metal" magazine, the term "white metal" was abandoned by the Christian metal scenes in English-speaking countries as well as the Middle and Northern European countries. They adopted the "Christian metal" term, and "white metal" remained in use in South America and southwestern Europe, although several groups in those scenes began rejecting the "white metal" tag as well. During the 1990s, Christian metal was almost forgotten in the eyes of the mainstream. Very few metal groups saw mainstream success. However, bands such as Tourniquet remained popular despite their drastic stylistical changes.cite web | last = | first = | url = http://www.metalfortheking.kit.net/thocrm02.htm | title = History of Christian Rock/Metal part 2| format = | work = Rock for the King | publisher = Ope Publishing | accessdate = 2007-12-19|language=Portuguese]

The 1990s Christian underground metal benefited remarkably from the major German secular metal label Nuclear Blast Records's active distribution and sudden interest in Christian metal. Torodd Fuglesteg of Norway's Arctic Serenades Records has claimed: "The owner of Nuclear Blast was a committed Christian and he was pushing everything with that religious agenda through Nuclear Blast. Mortification and Horde were pushed like mad by Nuclear Blast when other labels were pushing pure satanic stuff." [cite web |url=http://www.toroddfuglesteg.com/arcticserenades1.html |title= Arctic Serenades |accessdate=2007-12-11 |author= Fuglesteg, Torodd |date= |format= |work= Toroddfuglesteg.com |publisher= Open Publishing |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

Thrash metal movement

In 1986, the band Bloodgood opened ways for Christian speed and thrash metal styles with their song "Black Snake". During the mid 1980s the bands The Crucified and One Bad Pig infused their punk rock with metal and influenced later Christian thrash metal groups. The Crucified was formed in 1984 and the band released "Take Up Your Cross" in 1986 and "Nailed" in 1987. The guitarist Greg Minier was noted for his guitar playing skills and was featured in "Guitar World" magazine in 1991. [cite web |author=Waters, Scott |title=The Crucified |publisher=Open Publishing |date= |work=No Life 'til Metal|url= http://www.nolifetilmetal.com/crucified.htm |accessdate=2007-12-19 ] One Bad Pig was formed in 1985 by Carey Womack and released "A Christian Banned" in 1989 they released "Smash" on Pure Metal Records and two following albums "Swine Flew" and "I Scream Sunday" on Myrrh Records.

The four biggest Christian thrash metal groups were Deliverance, Believer, Vengeance and Tourniquet. They all released their early material on Intense Records, apart from Believer which was on R.E.X. Records. Deliverance was formed in 1985, Believer in 1986, and Vengeance was formed in 1987 and in 1988 year published its first album "Human Sacrifice", the first Christian thrash metal album. The group soon changed its name to Vengeance Rising since there was another band called Vengeance in Holland.cite book |last=Powell |title=Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music |year=2002 |chapter=Vengeance Rising |pages=993–994] In 1989 both Deliverance and Believer released their first albums. Deliverance published "Deliverance" and Believer "Extraction from Mortality".

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filename=Tourniquet - Ark of Suffering.ogg
title="Ark of Suffering"
description=Sample of "Ark of Suffering" by Tourniquet, from "Stop the Bleeding" (1990). A video was done for the song, containing footage of animal abuse, and it received some airplay on MTV before it was banned for being too graphic. [cite web |url= http://www.hmmagazine.com/exclusive/heavens_metal_exclusive_guy_ritter_interview200708/index.php |title= Heaven's Metal Exclusive: Guy Ritter Interview |accessdate= 2007-09-20 |author= Walker, Todd |date= 04-10-2007 |format= |work= HM Magazine |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]
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Especially Tourniquet was one of the more popular Christian thrash metal groups. The band was formed in 1989 and in 1990 released the album "Stop the Bleeding". The band's unique style brought them fans all over the world and broke new ground. [cite web |url= http://www.metalforjesus.org/news1997.htm |title= News 1997 |accessdate=2007-09-29 |author= Jonsson, Johannes |date= 1997–1998 |work= |publisher=The Metal For Jesus!| quote= Kohllapse is, at last, receiving major label interest!! (1997-12-18); "Congrats to Kohllapse on obtaining Nuclear Blast America for its distributor." (1998-03-05); "Kohllapse recently inked a distribution deal with Nuclear Blast USA.. unfortunately, they also, again, lost their bassist, Bevan Carroll, and are now seeking bassists.." (1998-02-26)] A music video was made for the song "Ark of Suffering", but it was banned from MTV because of its violent content that pointed out the horrors of animal abuse. In the early 1990s both Believer and Tourniquet, known for their technical styles, caught the interest bigger record labels: Believer was signed to Roadrunner Records and Tourniquet to Metal Blade Records. On their new labels, Believer released "Sanity Obscure" and "Dimensions", and Tourniquet released "Psycho Surgery" and "Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance", which was voted as the "Favourite album of the 1990s" by the readers of "HM Magazine". Deliverance released "Weapons of Our Warfare" in 1990. A music video was made for the title track and received some airplay on MTV. These 1990 releases marked a turning point in Christian metal music. Allmusic has written about Believer's "Sanity Obscure" album: cquote|Before 1990, the Christian heavy metal genre rarely strayed from generic riffing and poor lyrics. Bands like Petra and Sacred Warrior never broke through to the mainstream for this very reason. With low expectations, Believer released this massive slab of molten metal. Although it never really became popular, several mainstream magazines praised the album. [cite web |url= http://wm10.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:wifexql5ldse |title= Believer - Sanity Obscure |accessdate=2007-12-12 |author=Torreano, Bradley |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

The British bands Seventh Angel and Detritus introduced Christian thrash metal to Europe. Seventh Angel was formed in 1987 and were considered to be thrash metal pioneers. They released the albums "The Torment" (1990) and "Lament for the Weary" (1992). These records achieved mainstream distribution through Music for Nations label. [cite web |url= http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/Seventh_Angel/The_Torment/10905/ |title= Seventh Angel - The Torment |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Hoff, Brian |date=1990-07-01 |year= |month= |format= |work= Cross Rhythms |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] The band was known for its combination of doom metal and thrash metal. [cite web |url= http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/Seventh_Angel/Lament_For_The_Weary/23648/ |title= Seventh Angel - Lament fot the Weary |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Williams, Lynn |date=1992-07-01 |year= |month= |format= |work= Cross Rhythms |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] Although Seventh Angel disbanded in 1992, for a long time they were considered to be the best metal act in the UK.cite web |url= http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/Seventh_Angel/Heed_The_Warning_Live__Demo_Recordings/18334/ |title= Seventh Angel - Heed the Warning Demo Recordings |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Sammons, Greg |date=2006-07-31 |year= |month= |format= |work= Cross Rhythms |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] Another British group, Detritus also played thrash metal on the 1990 album "Perpetual Defiance", [cite web |url= http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/Detritus/Perpetual_Defiance/6347/ |title= Detritus - Perpetual Defiance |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Cummings, Tony |date=1991-06-01 |year= |month= |format= |work= Cross Rhythms |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] but changed to power metal on the critically acclaimed album "If But for One" (1993). [cite web |url= http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/Detritus/If_But_For_One/6346/ |title= Detritus - If But for One |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Raybold, Marc |date=1993-08-01 |year= |month= |format= |work= Cross Rhythms |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

During the late 1990s, an Oklahoman group called Eternal Decision gained attention with its thrash and groove metal style. The 1997 album "Eternal Decision" hit the record stores in the U.S. and 16 other countries, achieving considerable acclaim and providing the band with even more notice. [ cite web |author=Mesquita Borges, Mario |title=Eternal Decision |publisher=Open Publishing |date=2005-04-30 |work=Allmusic|url= http://wc01.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:5q63trprkl5x |accessdate=2007-09-09 ] In 2005 Temple of Blood released their debut album "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind" which is one of the more recent acclaimed releases for the Christian speed and thrash metal genre. [cite web |url= http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=6&id=10140 |title= Temple of Blood - Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Henn, Ralf |date=2006-05-26 |year= |month= |format= |work= The Metal Observer |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] [cite web |url= http://www.forgotten-scroll.net/review.php?act=s_rev&id=154&rev=Trampakoulas |title= Temple of Blood - Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Trampakoulas |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= The Forgotten Scroll |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

Death metal movement

In 1990, the Australian group Mortification became the first widely recognized Christian death metal band. Though they played an old style of death metal, on the album "Mortification" (1990), very close to its thrash roots, their 1992 album "Scrolls of the Megilloth" is still considered classic death metal,cite web | last = Kraemer | first = Chris | url = http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=1&id=9870 | title = Mortification - Scrolls of the Megilloth Review | format = | work = The Metal Observer | publisher = | accessdate = 2006-04-21] and was released in both Christian and secular markets as the band was signed to Nuclear Blast Records. The album was almost as ground breaking as Stryper's "To Hell With the Devil".cite web | last = Jonsson | first = Johannes | url = http://www.metalforjesus.org/history.htm | title = Christian Metal History | format = | work = The Metal For Jesus Page! | publisher = MetalForJesus.org | accessdate = 2007-12-19 ] "Scrolls of the Megilloth" brought Mortification to the elite of the death metal movement. The band enjoyed notable commercial success with "Blood World",cite web | last = | first = | url = http://www.amo.org.au/artist.asp?id=332 | title = Mortification Biography | format = | work = [http://www.mono.net/ Mono.net] | publisher = Australian Music Online | accessdate = 2007-12-19] and eventually became possibly the most successful Christian extreme metal group. Interviews by Gary Garson and Peter Schultz, translations by J. Grym, additional notes by Mape Ollila. [http://imperiumi.net/int_2.php?id=273 Maailman metalli: Australia] . Article about Australian metal today in the biggest Finnish metal site Imperiumi.Net (in Finnish).]

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filename=Mortification - Scrolls of the Megilloth.ogg
title="Scrolls of the Megilloth"
description=Sample of "Scrolls of the Megilloth" by Mortification, from "Scrolls of the Megilloth" (1992). The album's music garnered the band some attention from the heavy metal underground and, according to Allmusic, contains some of the most frightening vocals ever recorded. [cite web |url= http://wm04.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:azfrxqq5ldke |title= Mortification |accessdate= 2007-09-20 |author= Dombek, Kirk |date= 04-10-2007 |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] >
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Prior to Mortification the Brazilian band Incubus (later known as Opprobrium) already combined Christian lyrics to death metal on their albums "Serpent Temptation" (1988) and "Beyond the Unknown" (1990). [cite web | last = | first = | url = http://www.tartareandesire.com/bands/Opprobrium/2187/ | title = Opprobrium | format = | work = Tartarean Desire | publisher = Open Publishing | accessdate = 2007-12-19|quote=One final note about the band, they are Christian-oriented, making Australian religious thrash band Mortification a close match. Opprobrium/Incubus lyrics aren’t preachy, but do make numerous favorable references to Christianity and God.] At roughly the same time the band Living Sacrifice was creating thrash and death metal. Their albums "Nonexistent" (1992) and "Inhabit" (1994) presented deathgrind style. Later they "evolved from their early death metal-inspired rumblings into a crushing, staccato-driven, heavily percussive metallic behemoth that pummels listeners with intense riffage and a decidedly personal, though nevertheless, often evangelical lyrical viewpoint." [cite web |url=http://wc05.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:h9foxq9hldae~T1 |title= Living Sacrifice |accessdate=2007-12-11 |author= Downey, Ryan J. |date= |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] The Minneapolis based Crimson Thorn released albums such as 1995's "Unearthed", 1999's "Dissection", and 2002's "Purification". Allmusic describes them as "one of the world's most extreme-sounding Christian metal bands." [cite web |url=http://wc05.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:39fexqlhldde |title= Crimson Thorn |accessdate=2007-12-11 |author= Rivadavia, Eduard |date= |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] Other notable American death metal bands include Disencumbrance, Clemency, and Embodyment. [cite web |url=http://wc05.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:f9fexq9jld6e |title= Embodyment |accessdate=2007-12-11 |author= daRonco, Mike |date= |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

The best-known Christian grindcore group that focused on goregrind style is the Australian band Vomitorial Corpulence. The band released its albums "Karrionic Hacktician" and "Skin Stripper" in 1990s. The Norwegian death metal group Schaliach gained a notable cult following for its album "Sonrise" (1996), which had a slightly more melodic and doomier approach than most Christian death metal albums. The fellow Norwegian band Groms combined traditional heavy metal with groovy death metal and achieved notice in the local scene since they were signed to Arctic Serenades Records that had a satanic band called Suffering on its roster.cite web |url=http://www.toroddfuglesteg.com/arcticserenades1.html |title= Arctic Serenades |accessdate=2007-12-11 |author= Fuglesteg, Torodd |date= |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= The problem was that this band [Groms] was a Christian White Metal act. Suffering was a Satanic Black Metal act. And here is something for the history books: Arctic Serenades did release a very Satanic album and a very Christian album on the same day. It was the debut albums of the label, no less.] The album "Ascension" was released in 1994 (later re-released through Pleitegeier Records in 1996). Later, Norway's Extol and Finland's Deuteronomium and Immortal Souls began playing post-death and received notable attention. The Norwegian band Extol's early style combined elements of old school death metal, power metal and traditional heavy metal with experimental guitar leads. Allmusic described their 1999 album "Burial" as "a breath of fresh air among a genre that relies on satanic gimmicks." The band were hailed as accomplished musicians,cite web |url=http://wc05.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:anfrxqwjldde |title= Extol - Burial |accessdate=2007-12-11 |author= DaRonco, Mike |date= |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] and noted for their exceptionally precise guitarwork. [cite web |url=http://wc05.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:0nftxqrkldae |title= Extol - Undeceived |accessdate=2007-12-11 |author= Jeffries, Vincent |date= |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] Technical death metal is currently presented by bands such as Aletheian and Sympathy.

Unblack metal movement

Horde is widely considered to be the first Christian black metal band. As a one man band with only one release (in 1994), Horde initiated controversy within the extreme metal community, opposing the more common lyrical themes of Satanism and evil. [cite web |author= |title=MusikkOpp-ned oppnedkors! |publisher= Oslonett |date=1995-02-06|work= Morgenbladet |url= http://www.oslo.net/historie/MB/utg/9521/kultur/13.html |accessdate=2007-12-19|language=Norwegian ] [cite web |author=EvilVasp |title=Horde - Hellig Usvart |publisher= Open Publishing |date=|work= Necromancy |url= http://www.geocities.com/vasp_1999/Horde.htm |accessdate=2007-12-19 ] The title of Horde's only release — "Hellig Usvart" — means "Holy Unblack", which is now often used by Christians to refer to Christian black metal, in order to avoid the negative connotations of the term "black metal". [cite web |author=Morrow, Matt |title=Horde - Hellig Usvart |publisher= Open Publishing |date=|work= The Whipping Post |url= http://thewhippingpost.tripod.com/hordehelligusvart/ |accessdate=2007-12-19 ]

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filename=Horde - Invert the Inverted Cross.ogg
title="Invert the Inverted Cross"
description=Sample of "Invert the Inverted Cross" by Horde, from the album "Hellig Usvart" (1994). Horde's lyrical themes were known to be anti-satanic, and the music represents the older school of unblack metal.
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filename=Antestor - A Sovereign Fortress.ogg
title="A Sovereign Fortress"
description=Sample of "A Sovereign Fortress" by Antestor, from the album "The Return of the Black Death" (1998). This sample represents Antestor's "sorrow metal" style: a mixture of viking metal and doom metal.
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Antestor (then called Crush Evil) existed prior to the release of "Hellig Usvart" but their music was a death/doom style (or as they called it, "Sorrow Metal"), and was not yet musically considered black metal. During the early 1990s when the band was known as Crush Evil, Euronymous, guitarist for the seminal black metal band Mayhem, was planning to stop Crush Evil from continuing.cite web |author=Eithun, Bård G. "Faust" |title=Mayhem Interview |publisher=Blackmetal.nu |date=1990–1993, correct date unknown |work=Orcustus zine |url= http://www.www.blackmetal.nu/~ubc/files/euroint.htm |accessdate=2007-08-29 ] However, this never took place. By some sources, Antestor started the northern European Christian extreme metal scene.cite web |author=Morrow, Matt |title=Antestor - The Defeat of Satan |publisher= |date=|work=The Whipping Post |url= http://thewhippingpost.tripod.com/antestorthedefeatofsatan/ |accessdate=2007-12-19 ]

The Swedish band Admonish was also formed around 1994 or 1995, and is known to be the first Christian black metal band in Sweden. They gained notoriety for calling their style "Christian black metal" publicly on their website. This caused some debate in metal underground and soon one black metal fan started an anti-Admonish website. Although the band did not release anything until 2005, the magazine "Metal Hammer" called Admonish "One of the leading Christian black metal bands" in a 1990s issue which focused on black metal.cite web |author=Morrow, Matt |title=Admonish Interview |publisher=Open Publishing |date=2005-05-26 |work=The Whipping Post |url=http://thewhippingpost.tripod.com/admonishinterview.htm |accessdate=2007-09-09 ]

Horde's "anti-satanic" and "crusade mentality" themes dominated the unblack metal movement for years.cite web |author=Erasmus |title=Horde Interview |publisher=Unblack.de |date= |work= Son of Man Records |url=http://unblack.d135-1r43.de/hordeint/hordeinterview.html |accessdate=2007-12-19 |quote=So the album was created with a prophetic, free, submissive, obedient, reverent, anti-Satan and Christian mindset.] In late 1990s, Antestor, Crimson Moonlight and Vaakevandring set a new direction: their lyrics focused more on philosophical and personal themes.cite web |author=Hottenbacher, Dirk |title=Vaakevandring Interview |publisher=Unblack.de |date=2001 |work= CrossOver |url=http://www.crossover-agm.de/intVaakevandring01.htm |accessdate=2007-12-19 |quote=Our songs deal with personal challenges as well as on spiritual struggles. (Pål Dæhlen)|language=German] The release of Antestor's "The Return of the Black Death" on the British secular black metal label Cacophonous Records in 1998 proved influential on the Christian black metal movement. While the unblack scene is not part of the secular black metal scene, several musicians from both have co-operated: Stian Aarstad of Dimmu Borgir produced Vaakevandring's "Demo 98/99", [cite web |author=Hottenbacher, Dirk |title=Vaakevandring |publisher=Open Publishing |date=2005-05-26 |work=CrossOver |url=http://www.crossover-agm.de/intVaakevandring01.htm |accessdate=2007-12-13|language=German ] and Jan Axel Blomberg of Mayhem played drums for Antestor's "The Forsaken" (2005) album. [cite web |author=Kemman, Max |title=Antestor |publisher=Open Publishing |date=2004-04-1010 |work=Jesus Metal |url=http://home.wanadoo.nl/kemman/interview16.htm |accessdate=2007-12-13|language=]

Crimson Moonlight and others such as Divine Symphony make up today's more polished style of Christian black metal comparable to more mainstream high production black metal bands. However, more traditional and raw low-production black metal bands such as Abdijah, Light Shall Prevail, Offerblod, Arch of Thorns, Flaskavsae, Eligbbor, Bedeiah, Dormant, Firethrone, etc., still exist on record labels such as Sneeuwstorm Produkties and GES Productions, among others. There are unblack bands in different parts of the world but the prominent scenes exist in Scandinavia, USA and South America. The latter is known to have a more radical, highly anti-satanic unblack metal scene than other regional scenes. [Black Metal Primer Redux Heaven’s Metal #67 2-3/07]

Power metal and progressive metal movements

During the 1990s, the metal scene in the United States focused more on the alternative styles. This caused the regional change that the center of heavy metal music moved to Middle and Northern Europe. [cite web |url= http://www.suezine.fi/haastattelut?t=1&sid=102 |title=Pedon Meteli |accessdate=2007-09-24 |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2005-09-17 |year= |month= |format= |work= Suezine |publisher= |pages= |language= Finnish |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= "The heart of comtemporary metal is in Middle and Northern Europe." ("Nykypäivän metallin sydän on Keski- ja Pohjois-Euroopassa, piste.") ] Even "Heaven's Metal" changed to "" in 1995, and focused more on the mainstream Christian hard music rather than underground metal music.

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filename=Narnia - The Witch and the Lion.ogg
title="The Witch and the Lion"
description=Sample of "The Witch and the Lion" by Narnia, from "Desert Land" (2001). The song represents Narnia's neoclassical metal and power metal style. The virtuoisic solo in the beginning is influenced by classical music, and the lyrics portray the band's metaphorical approach on Christian topics.
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The German group Seventh Avenue, formed in 1989, was one of more notable Christian power metal bands in the 1990s. They released "Rainbowland" 1995, and after that the band was signed to Treasure Hunt Records. Their first release on this label, "Tales of Tales", topped at 18 on the Japanese Heavy Metal Charts. The 1998 release, "Southgate", was licensed to Megahard Records for release in Brazil, where the band subsequently toured. They released two albums, "Between The Worlds" (2003) and "Eternals" (2004), on Massacre Records. [cite web |url= http://www.vampire-magazine.com/showband.php?bid=3742 |title=Seventh Avenue Biography |accessdate=2007-12-19 |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Vampire Magazine |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] [cite web |url= http://www.rockdetector.com/officialbio,7904.sm;jsessionid=05F12059822C96D3B42E0237038D6877 |title=Seventh Avenue Biography |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Rock Detector |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] [ [http://www.revelationz.net/index.asp?ID=1360 Album Review - Seventh Avenue - Eternals - RevelationZ Magazine ] ]

Later in the 1990s, the Swedish group Narnia made notable contributions to Christian power metal history. Previously, Christian Liljegren was in a melodic metal band called Modest Attraction which released the albums "The Truth in Your Face" and "Divine Luxury" before Liljegren teamed up with guitarist Carl Johan Grimmark to form Narnia in 1996 and released the first album "Awakening" in 1998. Narnia was later signed to Nuclear Blast Records, Germany, and Pony Canyon Records, Japan, and broadened its popularity. [cite web |url= http://www.rockdetector.com/officialbio,6246.sm |title=Seventh Avenue Biography |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Sharpe-Young, Garry |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Rock Detector |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] [cite web |url= http://www.tartareandesire.com/bands/Narnia/1129/ |title=Narnia Biography |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Tartarean Desire |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=]

Later there appeared more notable European groups such as the German bands Chrystyne and Lightmare, and the Swedish groups XT, Harmony, and Heartcry.

The British group Balance of Power was a notable Christian progressive metal band, although their lyrics became gradually less Christian based album by album. The band was formed in 1995, released their first album "When the World Falls Down" in 1996, was picked by Japanese label Pony Canyon, and received significant airplay on Japanese radio stations. After Lance King joined them as vocalist, the band released "Book of Secrets" in 1998. [cite web |url= http://www.metalstorm.ee/bands/biography.php?band_id=235&bandname=Balance+Of+Power |title=Balance of Power Biography |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Metal Storm |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] [cite web |url= http://www.tartareandesire.com/bands/Balance_Of_Power/3528/ |title=Balance of Power Biography |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Tartarean Desire |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=]

It was not until late 1990s and early 2000s when some United States based power metal and progressive metal groups began to appear. Jacobs Dream, formed in 1997, became popular and was signed to Metal Blade Records. They soon released the albums "Jacobs Dream" (1997) and "Theater of War" (2000). [cite web |url=http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=1&id=8136 |title=Jacobs Dream - Drama of Ages|accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Henn, Ralf |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2005-06-22 |year= |month= |format= |work= The Metal Observer |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] [cite web |url= http://www.metalglory.de/interviews.php?nr=261 |title=Jacobs Dream "Emotions and Dreams Set to Music"|accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Christian |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2005-09-05 |year= |month= |format= |work= Metal Glory |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] Magnitude Nine released the albums "Chaos to Control" (1998), "Reality in Focus" (2001) and "Decoding the Soul" (2004). [cite web |url= http://www.progressiveworld.net/magnitude9_3.html |title=Magnitude Nine - Chaos Control |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Silvyera, Marcelo |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Progressive World |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] [cite web |url= http://www.progressiveworld.net/magnitude9.html |title=Magnitude 9 - Reality in Focus |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Sollow, Stephanie |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Progressive World |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] [cite web |url= http://www.progressiveworld.net/magnitudenine5.html |title=Magnitude Nine - Decoding the Soul |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Hannaleck, Keith |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Progressive World |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] In 2003 a one man project called Theocracy created by Matt Smith released their self titled debut "Theocracy", which achieved notable popularity in both Christian and secular scenes. [cite web |url= http://www.angelicwarlord.com/reviews/t/theocracy03.html|title=Theocracy - Theocracy |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Rockwell, Andy |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format= |work= Angelic Warlord |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=] [cite web |url= http://www.metalreviews.com/interviews/interviews.php?id=44
title=Theocracy Interview |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author=Ben |date= |year=2003 |month= December |format= |work= Metal Reviews |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=
] [cite web |url= http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=2986
title=Theocracy Biography |accessdate=2007-12-19 |author= |date= |year=2003 |month= December |format= |work= Prog Archives |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=
]

Doom metal and gothic metal movements

In 1987, the Swedish group Veni Domine started playing progressive doom metal and released its first album "Fall Babylon Fall" in 1992. The album was called a "masterpiece" by some critics. [cite web |author=Melzer, Alexander |title=Veni Domine - Fall Babylon Fall |publisher=Open Publishing |date=2000–2007 |work=The Metal Observer |url=http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=1&id=3604 |accessdate=2007-09-09 ] The following album "Material Sanctuary" featured a heavier output, however, the band abandoned most of their epic style on later releases.

Listen
filename=The Unnatural Conception - Paramaecium.ogg
title="The Unnatural Conception in Two Parts: The Birth and Massacre of the Innocents"
description=Sample of "The Unnatural Conception" by Paramaecium, from "Exhumed of the Earth" (1993). The song represents Paramaecium's doom metal style. The song opens with soprano vocals which then progresses to a heavy guitar riff.
format=Ogg
Listen
filename=Saviour Machine - Legion.ogg
title="Legion"
description=Sample of "Legion" by Saviour Machine, from "Saviour Machine I" (1993). The song represents Saviour Machine's gothic opera metal style. Containing lyrics with a gothic horror feel and apocalyptic themes, because of this song the album was banned from Christian music stores in the United States.
format=Ogg

Paramaecium and Ashen Mortality are the two best known doom metal bands in Christian metal. [cite web |author=Spencer, John |title=Ashen Mortality - Your Caress |publisher=Open Publishing |date=1999-08-14 |work=The Phantom Tollbooth|url=http://www.tollbooth.org/review99/ashenm.html |accessdate=2007-09-08 ] Australian group Paramaecium incorporated violin, flute, and acoustic guitars to its atmospheric music on their album "Exhumed of the Earth", and continued on adding more symphonic elements on the following albums. What sets Paramaecium apart from other bands in the doom metal scene, is the fact that they are the only Christian death doom band that made it to the top of the genre. [cite web |url= http://www.doom-metal.com/reviews/paramaecium.html |title= Paramaecium |accessdate= 2007-09-08 |author= Panagiotou, Kostas |work= Doom-metal.com ] Paramaecium would influence later Christian bands such as Pantokrator. British group Ashen Mortality was formed after thrash metal band Seventh Angel split up. Ashen Mortality mixed elements of medieval music and goth in their doom metal sound. The critics usually wrote that Ashen Mortalitys overall quality set them apart from competitors. The 1998 "Your Caress" was called "essential album". cite web |url= http://www.doom-metal.com/reviews/ashenm.html |title= Ashen Mortality |accessdate= 2007-09-08 |author= Quispel, Aldo |work= Doom-metal.com ] In 2000, the ex-Pentagram guitarist Victor Griffin formed a traditional doom metal group called Place of Skulls, and released the albums "Nailed" (2002) and "With Vision" (2003)

Christian gothic metal was pioneered by Saviour Machine, which mixed David Bowie type rock-opera and classic metal. Saviour Machine was more popular in Europe, particularly in Germany, than US. [ cite web |url= http://web.archive.org/web/19971025044139/www.wp.cc.nc.us/~rbuff/ectalks.html |title= Eric Clayton Talks |accessdate= 2007-09-08 |author= Vanderpoel, David (1997) |work= Deus Ex Machina ] After releasing the albums "Saviour Machine I" and "Saviour Machine II", the band gained attention with its ambitious Legend trilogy. The vocalist Eric Clayton also produced the United States gothic metal band Wedding Party's album "Anthems" (1997). Later Wedding Party changed its name to I-Dragon-I.

In the 1990s, there were three other notable gothic metal bands: Undish, Necromance and Kohllapse. All of them started out in early 1990s playing death metal before developing their gothic metal sound. The Polish band Undish, formerly known as Graviora Manent, released the 1997 album "...Acta Est Fabula" on Massacre Records and made a European tour afterwards, also performing at Wacken Open Air.cite web |author= |title=Undish Biography |publisher=Open Publishing |date=2005-04-30 |work=Tartarean Desire |url= http://www.tartareandesire.com/bands/Undish/2102/ |accessdate=2007-09-17 ] The German group Necromance released the albums "White Gothic" and "Wiederkehr der Schmerzen" in the 1990s. The latter incorporated industrial elements, which continued on the band's 2001 release "Tribulation Force". Their two latest albums were well-received by magazines such as "Rock Hard" and "Metal Heart".cite web |url= http://www.pleitegeier.sagehost.de/Necromance.htm |title= Ncromance |accessdate=2007-09-22 |format= |work= Pleitegeier Records (German)] Australian group Kohllapse self-released the albums "Kohllapse" (1996) and "Distant Mind Alternative" (1999). These albums were distributed through Nuclear Blast USA, [cite web |url= http://www.metalforjesus.org/news1997.htm |title= News 1997 |accessdate=2007-09-29 |author= Jonsson, Johannes |date= 1997–1998 |work= |publisher=The Metal For Jesus!| quote= Kohllapse is, at last, receiving major label interest!! (1997-12-18); "Congrats to Kohllapse on obtaining Nuclear Blast America for its distributor." (1998-03-05); "Kohllapse recently inked a distribution deal with Nuclear Blast USA.. unfortunately, they also, again, lost their bassist, Bevan Carroll, and are now seeking bassists.." (1998-02-26)] gaining the band some attention in secular circles for its unique style that combined darkwave and doom metal.cite web |url=http://disemia.com/creation/issue_9/profile_kohllapse.html |title= Kohllapse - Kohllapse and interview with Ro |accessdate= 2007-09-29 |author= St. Laurent, Neil |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= 1996 |year= |month= |format= |work= Tracks of Creation #9 |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] cite web |url=http://thewhippingpost.tripod.com/kohllapsedistantmindalternative.htm |title= Kohllapse - Distant Mind Alternative (Re-Issue) |accessdate= 2007-09-29 |author= Morrow, Matt (HM Magazine) |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= 2005 |year= |month= |format= |work= The Whipping Post |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

Industrial metal movement

In 1988 the industrial metal movement began. Although a fusion genre, there was a notable and mostly United States based Christian movement around the style in the 1990s, and the California based group Mortal is cited as one the first Christian bands that represented the style.cite web |url= http://www.suezine.fi/haastattelut?t=1&sid=87 |title= White Metal |accessdate= 2007-09-07 |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= Lahtonen, Jussi |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= 2005-10-25 |year= 2005 |month= 10 |format= |work= Sue Rock Punk Metal Zine |publisher= |pages= |language= Finnish |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] A duo led by Jerome Fontamillas and Jyro Xhan, Mortal was not exactly the first Christian band that played industrial but they had a notable role in that they opened ways for 1990s Christian industrial and industrial metal bands. Originally known as Mortal Wish, the band started out playing synthpop but changed to industrial metal around 1991. The band signed a record deal with Intense Records and released its first album "Lusis" in 1992, and it was well-received. The second album "Fathom" (1993) was Mortal's most guitar-driven musically, and became one of the band's most popular releases. [cite web |url= http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/products/Mortal/LusisFathom/519/ |title= Mortal |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last=Figgis |first= Alex |date= 1999-10-01 |format= |work= Cross Rhythms |publisher= Open Publishing |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=Nothing rivals such true genre classics as 'Neplusultra", 'Rift' or the phenomenal 'Bright Wings'. Truly a musical milestone any industrial dance/rock/metal fan would appreciate. ] The song ”Rift” was rearranged later and a music video was shot for it in 1994. The video dealt with the horrors of child abuse. Later, Mortal abandoned industrial metal and went for grunge sound.cite web |url= http://www.automatapedia.com/index.php?title=Mortal |title= Mortal |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= |first= |date= 2007 |format= |work= Automatapedia webzine |publisher= Open Publishing |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

Listen
filename=Circle of Dust - Deviate.ogg
title="Deviate"
description=Sample of "Deviate" by Circle of Dust, from "Brainchild" (1992). The song represents the band's industrial metal style. A part of "Deviate" was used as the intro for a long time in the now defunct "MTV Sports" show.
format=Ogg

Another 1990s Christian industrial metal cult band was Circle of Dust, which was formed by New York based Scott Albert after his former thrash metal outfit Immortal (USA) disbanded. Albert recorded and produced most of the Circle of Dust material himself. For the touring line up, the band was joined by lead guitarist Daren ”Klank” Diolosa and Scott's brother Dan ”Leveler” Albert. The band was signed to R.E.X. Records, which released the band's first album "Circle of Dust" in 1992. The album combined metal and dance music. [cite web |url= http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:fzfpxq8hldae |title= Circle of Dust - Circle of Dust |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= Torreano |first= Bradley |date= 2007 |format= |work= Allmusic |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] Albert rerecorded the album in 1995. The second album, "Brainchild" was more extreme than first one, and showcased dark cyberpunk-esque lyrics. The album is characterized by strong elements of thrash metal. A music video was shot for ”Telltale Crime” in Tennessee state penitentiary which was closed due to inhuman conditions. The album was exclusively distributed to secular market, where the band achieved moderate success: [cite web |url= http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=1&id=1911 |title= Celldweller - Celldweller |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= Florez |first= Joe |date= 2007 |format= |work= The Metal Observer |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= Klayton is the one man army who is responsible for Celldweller. He sings, writes, produces and mixes. He's pretty much the industrial version of Peter Tägtgren. The man has not just popped up on the music scene by pure luck. He was responsible for two bands that had moderate success in the 90s in the underground Metal/Industrial scene: Argyle Park Circle of Dust. ] Part of the song ”Deviate” was used as the introsong for a long time in the now defunct "MTV Sports" show.cite web |url= http://www.nolifetilmetal.com/circleofdust.html |title= Circle of Dust |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= Waters |first= Scott |date= 2007 |format= |work= No Life 'til Metal |publisher= Open Publishing |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

Albert led the Christian industrial metal movement at one point and he was a part of many other groups such as Argyle Park, the underground supergroup of Christian industrial metal, which released the successful album "Misguided" (1995). Albert produced the sideproject of The Crucified members, Chatterbox's only album "Despite". After a some disagreements with the label occurred, the touring line up of Circle of Dust disbanded. Daren Diolosa started a soloproject under the name Klank and recorded the album "Still Suffering" in 1997. The second album "Numb" was somewhat successful because the song ”Blind” became a hit single. [cite web |url= http://www.automatapedia.com/index.php?title=Klank |title= Klank Biography |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= |first= |date= 2007 |format= |work= Automatapedia webzine |publisher= Open Publishing |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] Dan Albert recorded under the name Level. Scott Albert grew tired of R.E.X. Records' policy and the critique that he did not write Christian lyrics enough, and eventually left the Christian scene. [cite web |url= http://www.hmmagazine.com/exclusive/circle_of_dust_on_leaving_rex_records200306/index.php?page=all |title= Klayton: Circle of Dust on leaving R.E.X. Records |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= Morrow |first= Matt |date= |format= |work= HM Magazine webzine |publisher= |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] In 1998 Scott Albert recorded the "last" Circle of Dust album "Disengage" which incorporated elements of darkwave and synthpop. He took the pseudonym Klayton and formed Celldweller, and its music has been featured on many movie soundtracks, including "Superman Returns" and "Spider-Man 3".cite web |url= http://www.automatapedia.com/index.php?title=Circle_of_Dust |title= Circle of Dust Biography |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= |first= |date= 2007 |format= |work= Automatapedia webzine |publisher= Open Publishing |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

There was also the Australian industrial metal band called Screams of Chaos which was known for its bizarre style that combined several extreme metal influences with industrial. The band achieved significant attention for Genetic War (1997), its only album, as leader Neil Johnson is a professional film maker. He shot numerous music videos for the songs on the album. Some of the videos caused controversy in Germany for featuring video material from World War II concentration camps. [ cite web |url= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqMs6eQ33Z4&mode=related&search= |title= Scream of Chaos exclusive Youtube documentary (official) |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= Johnson |first= Neil |date= 2007 |format= video |work= Morphius Film, Australia |publisher= Open Publishing |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ] The late 1990s and early 2000s United States shock rock group Rackets & Drapes was known to have elements of industrial metal as the band was often compared to Marilyn Manson. The band toured with Saviour Machine and their albums were distributed through MCM Music. Several secular labels were interested in them but Rackets & Drapes remained unsigned. [cite web |url= http://www.hmmagazine.com/exclusive/rackets_and_drapes_candyland200306/index.php?page=1 |title= Rackets & Drapes) |accessdate= 2007-10-13 |last= Olson |first= Chad |date= 2003 |format= |work= HM Magazine |publisher= Open Publishing |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

References

ee also

*Christian metal
*Heavy metal music


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