Introduction to Christian Thrash Metal
By Mace Beard (September 27, 2016)
Christian Thrash Metal started in the early 80's. The band that is thought to be the first Christian Thrash Metal band, is Heaven's Force. Heaven's Force started in 1983. The band released two demos, both later reissued under one name as a compilation, Aggressive Angel in 1983 and Heaven's Force in 1984. The band disbanded in late 1984. The band has stated that they will never reunite due to the suicide of Guitarist Chris Richie in 2008.
Christian thrash metal picked up speed soon after that with, most notably, Deliverance, Vengeance Rising, Tourniquet, Believer, and The Crucified.
Deliverance was the first of these bands to form. The band formed in 1985 with the original lineup of Jimmy P. Brown II on Vocals and Guitars, Rick Hawksinger on Guitars, Alan Bostwick on Bass, and Chris Hyde on Drums (RIP 2015). Both Hawksinger and Bostwick left the band after a few months. Brown and Hyde hired Manny Morales on Bass and Larry Farkas on Lead Guitars. Once again, Morales and Farkas both left the band while hiring Brian Khairullah on Bass and Glenn Rogers on Lead Guitars, both of who where on the debut self-titled record. Rogers left and they hired George Ochoa. This lineup was on the Weapons of our Warfare album before all but Brown quit the band. The original run went from 1985-1996 before several disbandings and hiatus. The band's current lineup is Brown, Ochoa, Bassist Victor Macias (ex-Tourniquet) and Drummer Jim Chaffin (The Crucified)
The next band that formed in the Thrash metal scene would be Vengeance Rising, originally Vengeance, started in 1987 with the lineup of Vocalist Roger Martinez, Guitarists Larry Farkas (ex-Deliverance) and Doug Thieme, Bassist Roger Dale Martin, and Drummer Glen Mancaruso. The band's debut album, Human Sacrifice was a major sucess in the Christian Metal scene. Many magazines called the album, "the most controversial Christian album". Though controversial, the album was majorly influential in the Christian metal scene influencing several bands. The band recorded their sophomore album, Once Dead in 1990, before all the members, minus Martinez, left the band. The band recorded two more albums, Destruction Comes in 1991 with Guitarist Derek Sean and Drummer Chris Hyde (ex-Deliverance) and Released Upon the Earth with Drummer Johnny Vasquez (ex-Mortification [Live]). The band disbanded in 1992. In 1997, Martinez announced he became an "Satanic atheist". There was supposedly two albums with the satanic theme. Band members have gone on to do other projects including Die Happy and Once Dead.
The Crucified originally started as a hardcore band in 1984 under the name K.G.B. (Kids in God's Blessings). As the years went on the band changed their names to The Crucified and became of Crossover Thrash Metal/Thrashcore band. The band was highly influential alongside Vengeance Rising in the Christian thrash metal scene with their two albums, The Crucified in 1989 and Pillars of Humanity in 1991. The band disbanded in 1993, and played their last show in 1995. The band reunited in 2009 and have played many shows.
Tourniquet started in 1989 with Guy Ritter on Vocals, Gary Lenaire on Rhythm Guitar and Vocals, and Ted Kirkpatrick on Drums. In 1990, they released their debut album, Stop the Bleeding with this lineup, plus Session Guitarist Mark Lewis. In 1990, they hired Lead Guitarist Erik Mendez and Bassist Victor Macias. They released their two albums Psycho Surgery in 1991 and Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance in 1992, before Ritter left in 1993 and Mendez left the band in 1994. Vocalist Luke Easter joined the band in 1993 and Guitarist Aaron Guerra joined the band in 1994 after the departure of Mendez. The band recorded the album, Vanishing Lessons with this lineup. In 1996, both Lenaire and Macias left the band. Macias for "philosophical differences" and Lenaire for "personal differences". The band continued on with this lineup with Vince Dennis on Bass. and later Steve Andino. Since 2008, Guerra has recorded Bass on all the albums since. In 2015, Easter left the band. The band currently consists of Guerra and Kirkpatrick.
The band Believer started in 1985 as Deceiver before changing their name to Believer in 1986. The band formed in Colebrook, Pennsylvania as a Progressive/Technical Thrash Metal band. The first three albums, Extraction from Mortality, Sanity Obscure, and Dimensions, were quintessential in the Christian thrash metal realm. The band's most consistent lineup was through 2005-present, with vocalist/Guitarist Kurt Bachman, Guitarist Kevin Leaman, Bassist/Keyboardist Jeff King and Drummer Joey Daub.
Throughout the years, more Christian thrash metal bands started, including Living Sacrifice (originally a Thrash metal band), Ultimatum, Seventh Angel, and Temple of Blood. Living Sacrifice continues to play shows and release an album every few years, while Seventh Angel and Ultimatum haven't played a show since 2012, and Temple of Blood is currently worknig on a new album. The bands, Sacrament (1990-1994) and Detritus (1989-1993) played for four years each but then disbanded.
Though Christian Thrash Metal is not as controversial as Christian Death Metal and certainly not as controversial as Christian Black Metal, the Vengeance Rising dillema has certainly not helped the issue. The bands have had many projects over the years, including Echo Hollow (ex-Tourniquet), Jupiter VI (Deliverance), Die Happy (ex-Vengeance Rising) and Once Dead (ex-Deliverance, ex-Vengeance Rising, The Crucified).
In more recent days, the scene has died down with only a few bands forming. Since 2010, the scene has had the formations of Hand of Fire and Saul of Tarsus. Hand of Fire started in 2010 as a project but offically began in 2015, while Saul of Tarsus started in 2011 with Guitarist Anthony Marquez.
Though the scene has had very poor turnouts, there have been a few reunions including Wickeds End (1992-1995) and Deliverance.
To end this post, here is a list of Christian Thrash Metal bands.
As Hell Retreats
Hand of Fire
Hope for the Dying
Onward to Olympas
Saul of Tarsus
Temple of Blood
Woe of Tyrants