The future of music

20 Best Christian Metal Bands (Most Popular)

May 30, 2023
christian metal bands

When most people think about metal music, the last thing that comes to their minds is God. 

Whilst there’s a stereotype about how metal music is demonic, it’s important to note that there are also excellent hard rock and metal bands with faith-based themes. 

Christian music is often placed in a separate category, but the bands mentioned in this list have defied those boundaries.

This post delves into the 20 most popular and best Christian metal bands. 

Many of these bands are leading the way and setting trends in their respective genres.

1. Stryper

With over 12 million records sold, including multiple Platinum and Gold records, this band had great success.

In the 1980s, they had two albums that sold over one million total units in the United States.

Unfortunately, their label went bankrupt before the album In God We Trust could officially receive Platinum status, so it remains Gold.

Stryper played a significant role in spreading power metal throughout Japan and South Korea, as well as being an important figure in melodic metal.

Despite being boycotted by both Christian and secular platforms, they dominated Dial MTV and the MTV Top 10 Music Videos in the early days of these shows.

Since their breakup and reunion, especially since 2009, they have been recognized as one of the few hair 80s metal bands to age gracefully, with many finding their modern music superior to their certified works.

2. Underoath

After releasing their album Erase Me in 2018, the metalcore giants in Underoath have faced some uncertainty regarding their religious beliefs.

Spencer Chamberlain, the lead singer, has openly stated that the conflict between his addiction and Christianity played a part in the band’s initial disbandment.

However, when they first formed, Underoath embraced their identity as a Christian band, with some of their softer songs, “Some Will Seek Forgiveness” and “Others Escape,” included on the ‘X Worship 2006’ compilation CD from ForeFront Records.

Even if their beliefs are unclear, the band’s impact on bringing heavy music to the Christian audience is undeniable and will always be remembered. The opposite could also be true.

3. August Burns Red

Undeniably, this is one of the top bands in modern metal.

With a discography of over half a dozen records, including some impressive Christmas tracks, they have garnered a broad range of fans from various rock and metal subgenres.

The band’s performances range from sharing the stage with Born of Osiris and Between the Buried & Me to playing at Warped Tour.

While not all members of August Burns Red identify as Christian, some even holding atheistic beliefs, the band has successfully bridged the gap between being a believer and a metalhead.

They serve as an excellent example of how individuals from opposite ends of the religious spectrum can come together and create some epic shredding.

4. Kutless

Since its founding in 1998, Kutless has had a unique talent for tapping into the pent-up frustration and turmoil young Christians feel.

The band’s music connected deeply with these people, featuring a powerful and emotionally charged sound while maintaining a strong Christian message.

Their music leaves a lasting impact and encourages listeners to contemplate the message being conveyed.

Kutless has a remarkable ability to compel their audience to reflect deeply on their message, something we don’t see with many bands.

5. Third Day

The remarkable thing about Third Day is the consistency of its message.

Their main objective is to create music that resonates with struggling Christians, making them feel heard and understood.

Although Third Day is fronted by Mac Powell, who has since established a flourishing solo career, this band remains an excellent choice for those who feel adrift and seek music that profoundly touches their soul.

Their music is rich with depth and significance, so it’s important not to anticipate it to be full of hard rock by any means.

6. Disciple

Disciple has consistently been considered one of the greatest Christian rock bands of all time, and it’s not difficult to understand why.

Their music is electrifying, energizing listeners to the point of being swept away by the sheer power of their sound.

By turning up the volume to their music, you can truly rock out to their unwavering dedication to Christian themes in their lyrics.

Disciples believe in delivering their music at full blast, and that’s exactly how it should be experienced.

7. Leeland

Leeland is a Christian rock band whose music consistently engages listeners, drawing them in and delivering a powerful message.

The band’s trademark soft rock style produces outstanding melodies, and the lyrics speak volumes for themselves.

Leeland’s albums are profoundly spiritual, making them a source of pure delight to listen to.

Their music is the type that you can simply play, lean back, and savor the experience.

8. Ashes Remain

If you’re looking for a band that knows how to rock out with a relentless, gritty edge, Ashes Remain is the perfect choice.

From start to finish, their music is overflowing with raw passion and a steadfast commitment to their message.

Ashes Remain doesn’t shy away from turning up the volume and cranking out some seriously powerful melodies that will make you see hard rock music in a new light.

With a unique contrast between their rough-edged sound and meaningful lyrics, Ashes Remain delivers a listening experience that you won’t soon forget.

9. For King & Country

This is a band that makes everything regarding music seem easy.

With several Grammy awards for their pop-rock sound, they’ve captured the hearts of rock fans worldwide.

Their music speaks to people’s emotions, and they put much effort into crafting meaningful lyrics that convey their key messages.

King & Country believes that music can tug at listeners’ heartstrings, which is why they pour their hearts and souls into every lyric.

Each song conveys a message that’s sure to resonate with you.

10. Pennell

There’s something special about Pennell that few people know about, making them even more remarkable.

Despite being a relatively small band, they are not inferior to their larger counterparts.

In fact, they have rightfully earned their place on this list.

The band’s music is centered on heavenly lyrics that touch the soul, and they aren’t preoccupied with achieving mainstream success like other bands.

For Pennell, it’s all about creating rock music that moves people, and they do it with absolute finesse.

Their style is truly one of a kind.

11. MercyMe

This is a Christian rock band that has been making waves since 1994.

Their music is known for its powerful Christian lyrics that speak to the soul, and they know how to rock out like nobody else.

But don’t worry, they won’t blast your speakers; they want you to focus on the message behind the music.

With each song, you can feel the energy building up inside you, and before you know it, you’ll be hooked on their infectious sound.

You simply can’t resist the impact that their music has on you!

12. DC Talk

Their name may be short for Decent Christian Talk, but their music is anything but conventional.

DC Talk seamlessly blends Christian rock with hip-hop, creating a sound that’s truly one of a kind.

And it’s not just the fusion of genres that makes them stand out; their lyrics are also infused with powerful Christian themes that will touch your soul.

When you listen to their music, you’ll notice how they transition between musical styles, creating an energy that’s hard to replicate. 

13. Barren Cross

Barren Cross is a Loss Angeles-based metal band with an interesting story.

It all began when Lead Guitarist Ray Parris and Drummer Steve Whitaker posted an ad in the local paper looking for a singer.

Coincidentally, Lead Singer Michael Drive (Lee) was also searching for a guitarist and placed an ad in the same paper.

Steve decided to visit Michael, and upon hearing him sing over the phone to Ray, they knew they had something special.

After many rehearsals with different bass players, Michael met Bassist Jim LaVerde, and the chemistry was instant.

The band recorded two demos in 1983 and 1984, which set the stage for their first album, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Their sound was reminiscent of Iron Maiden, and they were heavier than their contemporaries, Stryper.

However, they still achieved immense success, particularly with their album Atomic Arena, which received airplay on MTV.

State Of Control was another great album that cemented their position as the best Christian metal band of their time.

Even though their initial success waned, the band still reunites occasionally and has recorded several albums. 

14. Holy Soldier

In the 80s, glam metal was all the rage, and many Christian metal bands followed suit.

However, Holy Soldier stood out from the crowd with their unique sound.

Although the band changed personnel and shifted towards an acoustic-based alternative style, they still released two exceptional albums.

Their formation in Los Angeles in 1985 was a pivotal moment for the genre, and their music influenced many artists that came after them.

They had the look, the sound, and everything else required to make it big, but unfortunately, like so many bands from that era, they eventually faded away.

Despite this, they remain an important and identifiable band in the history of Christian rock, standing proudly among other genre giants.

15. Bride

Bride is a Christian metal band that began its journey with a heavier sound than its peers but later transitioned towards hair metal.

Their album, Kinetic Faith, marked a new chapter for the band with increased popularity and success.

Kinetic Faith was an experiment with a new sound with more of a rock and roll influence.

Although the band faced disagreements with the producer, the finished product won them a DOVE Award for the song “Everybody Knows My Name” and established them in the mainstream Christian music scene.

However, Bride changed their sound too often and never found a consistent style, despite having some great metal albums in their catalog.

16. Tourniquet

In the 1980s, it was challenging for metal bands to have a truly unique sound. 

This was even more difficult for Christian bands, which often imitated the popular bands of the time.

However, Tourniquet was an exception and had a sound that was truly their own. 

The band’s drummer, Ted Kirkpatrick, is a talented musician credited with forging their path.

Although formed in Los Angeles in 1990, just outside the 80s era, Tourniquet has released nineteen albums, and its members remain dedicated to creating intense music.

Tourniquet’s music is often described as “Beethoven Meets Frankenstein,” as Kirkpatrick’s passion for classical music and technical metal is apparent in many of their songs.

While Tourniquet blends various styles in their music, two things stand out, their originality and melody.

17. Sacred Warrior

Sacred Warrior is a Christian rock/metal band that incorporates melodic and progressive elements into their music, evocative of the styles popularized by Queensryche and Iron Maiden.

The band’s origin can be traced back to a secular metal band named Nomad, established in 1985.

After lead guitarist Bruce Swift’s conversion to Christianity, he brought along fellow bandmates Tony Velasquez and Rey Parra.

Additionally, Rick Macias, who previously worked as a bouncer, was recruited to join the band.

Bassist Steve Watkins completed the lineup in 1988, and thus Sacred Warrior was born.

The band catered to fans of Queensryche who were also Christians, showcasing their skill through multiple successful albums.

However, some critics felt that their sound was too heavily influenced by their influences, failing to carve out a truly distinct identity for themselves.

18. Horde

Jayson Sherlock, formerly of Mortification, launched a solo project called Horde which provided an alternative for black metal fans who shared his dislike of its messages.

The project’s only release, “Hellig Usvart” (meaning “holy unblack” and the origin of the subgenre’s name), caused controversy within the black metal community and reportedly led to death threats directed towards Sherlock.

Despite not being the first musician to venture into Christian black metal, Horde became the first well-known example of the subgenre, sparking a controversial movement within the already-controversial world of black metal.

19. Skillet

This is another successful Christian metal band of all time. 

Skillet’s single “Monster” alone has been streamed over 3 billion times globally, and several of its other songs have surpassed 1 billion streams.

As a result, Skillet is one of the most widely heard bands in the world and has achieved superstar status since its mainstream breakthrough in 2010.

Covers of their hit singles abound on YouTube.

20. Antestor

Although Horde is credited with establishing unblack metal, Antestor is widely regarded as the definitive unblack band and a key influence on subsequent unblack groups.

Originally known as Crush Evil, Antestor began as a Christian doom/thrash outfit in the early 1990s.

Despite their well-known religious beliefs, the band faced threats from black metal figurehead Euronymous.

Undeterred, Antestor persisted, eventually adopting a Norwegian black metal sound.

Vocalist Kjetil Molnes emphasized that their identification with black metal was purely musical rather than ideological.

Based in Norway, Antestor has faced hostility from fans and fellow musicians, yet they continue to create music.

Notably, Jan Axel’s “Hellhammer” Blomberg played drums on two of their albums, lending them additional credibility in the metal world.

Best Christian Metal Bands – Final Thoughts

There you have it!

These are the best Christian metal bands of all time.

While they still embrace the heaviness of the genre, Christian metal bands typically incorporate more positive and uplifting themes in their music.  

Similar to secular metal, Christian metal also encompasses various subgenres, including hard rock, metalcore, and punk.

These bands have gained significant popularity, and their music has become one of the most sought-after genres in Christian music.

You may also like: Best Worship Songs

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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