Truthfully, there is only one band that comes to my mind when I think of Christian Metal, and it’s these guys. Most bands today that are labeled Christian metal are not even metal at all, but far from it. Such bands may be heavy, they may employ double bass drumming, or some metal style riffing. But they are not real metal bands at all, but instead, the bastard offspring of metal. Hell, even Stryper is more metal than a lot of these new bands, and Stryper sucks (not to mention they are not metal).
There have been other Christian metal bands in the past that have been decent, such as Deliverance and Believer, but those bands (to my knowledge) are not around anymore. There was also Barren Cross, but those guys seemed like such Iron Maiden rip-offs that I hesitate to give them much credit. Iron Maiden was and is a great band, but the problem with a lot of Christian bands in general is that they try to mimic what is popular, rather than being original. A lot of groups in the Christian music scene are just cookie cutter versions of secular bands with pop-Christianity sprinkled on top. Temple of Blood, however, is not really part of the Christian music scene, especially not the current “Christian metal” scene…they are just a bunch of guys playing the music they love, writing songs about what they believe. That, in my opinion, is what makes their music so noteworthy and sincere among the metal underground.
So how would I describe the music of Temple of Blood? Top notch thrash metal, worthy of comparison with the best thrash metal bands out there. You can certainly hear influences such as Slayer, Forbidden, Annihilator, Helstar, and even Agent Steel in their music–which is characterized by ripping guitar solos, commanding vocals, and crushing (not to mention fast) drumming. On their latest release, Overlord (2008), they even tip their hat to thrash metal greats Forbidden by recording a cover of the song Forbidden Evil. Forbidden Evil was a favorite album of mine growing up, so it was awesome to hear these guys cover their music–and they do it well.
Temple of Blood currently has two albums under their belt, but the band has recently parted ways with guitarist Jim Lewis. Hopefully this won’t deter these guys from writing new music…because the metal world needs more bands like them. There are so many bands out there who simply do not know how to be original and choose to play a form of metal because it is cool, not because they really believe in it. These guys believe in it, however. And they also believe Jesus is the son of God. Weird huh? They are certainly not afraid to let their beliefs come through in their lyrics. From songs about the final Judgment to songs of redemption, these guys don’t pull any punches. The song Fearsome Warrior, on their latest album, retells the Old Testament story of Samson and his struggles against the Philistines, culminating in Samson bringing the roof down on his own and three thousand Philistines’ heads.
I have always thought that some of the Old Testament stories would make for good metal lyrics, and its good to see that these guys thought so too.
Even if you feel a bit skeptical upon hearing that these guys are Christians, do yourself a favor and check out their music. They are the real deal, and it is obvious that they are genuine fans of metal, rather than simply playing metal only as a means to an end–as a way of converting the unbelieving masses, for example. On their first album, they do a cover of the song “Deliver Us From Evil,” by Deadly Blessing. And even better–they get the singer from Deadly Blessing to appear on the song!!! This is certainly a treat for die hard metal fans who are familiar with Deadly Blessing, who are underground cult metal legends. Check out both of their albums if you can…and do yourself a favor and order their latest album, Overlord, while there are still copies available.
You can check out samples of their music on the Temple of Blood Myspace page as well.