Why I Love Metal Music: Part II

{Guest Post by Kent Blazier}

If you missed it, read Part I here.


 

A light bulb went off in a dusty field with a stage placed on it hosting a festival titled “Ichthus.” A band on the stage called Impending Doom (classic metal name) was calling for a “wall of death.”

wall·of·death / noun

  1. When a group of people at a metal concert willingly divide themselves in two lines and then…run at each other. Think red rover with a lot more participation and bloody noses.
  2. Things that never happened at bible school

What I learned at that festival is that there is a form of worship called moshing. People push, shove, jump, and throw each other in the name of Jesus. Pretty much a mother’s worst nightmare. They make gyrations with all the parts of their body in aggressive ways and call it smash dancing. People run in a circle as a herd while other people push them to try to make a twelve person pile up (circle pit). It sounds insane, but it makes total sense in the deepest parts of us.

As I found myself closing in on the person opposite of me in the wall of death, the image of Aragorn rushing the ranks of Uruk-hai came into my mind.

Aragorn.jpg

The adrenaline and testosterone in my veins finally had something to do. And in the name of Jesus?

What most people don’t realize without experiencing it first hand is that there is a way of worshiping that is not clapping, raising your hand, (or if you are really out there) dancing. Everyone at that concert had no intention of hurting another person. It happens at times, but how else do you get a little adrenaline? But surely this is just some counter-culture thing meant for ruffians that still want to go to heaven.

The fact is, worship is more than music. Worship is more than art. It is the act of using something to proclaim God is good. But how does a man use his testosterone to worship his creator when his only options are singing songs, listening to a guy lecture, or talk about his feelings in a small group? Why is it that when someone uses an unorthodox way to proclaim faith in God, it is viewed as worldly, distracting, or a silly oxymoron? Can a man screaming into a microphone really be art or worship?

Art is a medium of expression. I would give you a dumb look if you approached an abstract painting and whined, “But why did the artist have to put a splash of red paint in the center?” Let’s put it in musical terms. I absolutely love the song “All the Poor and Powerless” by the Digital Age. It is far from the metal genre and can even be found played at your local non-denominational church. The entire song is a crescendo that starts with a light guitar riff. Textures and flavors add with the increase in volume until the end of the song the vocalist screams, “Shout it. Go on and scream it from the mountains. Go on and tell it to the masses. He is God.”

Now why did he have to yell? The intensity of metal music laced with Holy Spirit passion can be the hottest flame that has ever singed your eyebrows. There is a time and place for everything (ask Solomon) and sometimes the grace of God needs to be bellowed. That is exactly what bands like For Today, Wolves at the Gate, and Living Sacrifice do who are more than willing to use just as much set time to preach the Gospel as they are to play music. They reach out to an untouched crowed with the love of Jesus, and that makes kids form a mile-long line after a show to talk to them about this Jesus they just screamed about. I was one of those kids.

At that same festival, I witnessed For Today play live for the first time and I knew I had to talk to their vocalist Mattie Montgomery. I went to the line after the show even though it was raining and a tornado siren just went off. I finally made it to the front of the line, shook his tatted hand, and noticed how his snake bites accented his smile.

Mattie: What’s up man?

Me: Hey, um, well I just kinda wanted to ask you something.

Mattie: Shoot.

Me: So here I am at this festival and… I’m just so on fire for God. I know that when I get back on that bus when I go home, it’ll be over. I’ll just go back to doing whatever sounds fun at the time. How do I stop it?

Mattie’s soft brown eyes grew softer for a moment and he took a step back. He looked around like he wanted to proclaim something, but instead only turned to his wife.

Mattie: That is the most real thing I’ve heard all day.

I gave a half smile because I didn’t come for affirmation. I came for answers.

Mattie: Spiritual discipline. Do you have a Bible? Start in the book of John. Read the first five chapters every day until you practically have it memorized. Then move on to the next five.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Conversations like that don’t happen at a Taylor Swift concert. Since I’ve taken Mattie’s advice, God has blessed me with a hunger for scripture. Man does not live on bread alone is a real thing. I am not giving Mattie or metal credit for that, but how beautiful is this interaction of The Maker, the artist, and the thirsty kid? There never is a time where I feel more equal to the guy next to me than at a metal concert. You can’t be too weird. You can’t be too dumb. You can’t be too rich. We are all just thirsty people that want to worship our God so intensely, it’s hard to walk home. I don’t know how you read Revelations, but that kinda sounds like heaven to me.


 

Engagement
I really do love metal, I promise. Photo courtesy of Brittany Brooke Photo Art Design.
Kent Blazier is first and foremost a diddler (drummer). His other comments of what he wanted to include in this biography were as follows:
“I’m also a lover…”
*shrugs*
“I don’t know…”
*Shakes head and laughs*
“No…Nein…”
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2 thoughts on “Why I Love Metal Music: Part II

  1. Thank you so much for these posts! I was a roadie (or groupie or whatever you’d like to call it) for my cousin’s metal band back in my early teen years, so I grew to appreciate the genre and the community. I am SO glad that you drew attention to the fact that worship can be done and very often is done in many different ways. We like to put God in a box, so thanks for shattering the glass with your drumsticks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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