When I Listen to Hardcore Music I…
Little known fact, but I enjoy hardcore music. When I tell my peers this, I usually get a shocked response. But alas, while it is true that I do love hardcore music, I didn’t always enjoy this type of music.
My First “Hardcore/Metal Experience”
Blood of the Martyrs, a metal band from Farmville, Virginia. This was my first hardcore/metal concert. A local church in my area held a concert for the local youth and I decided to attend with a few friends. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to understand any of the band’s lyrics. I said things like, “Why are they screaming?” or “This sounds terrible.” I silently judged while thinking,“Why are these kids dancing around like drunken monkeys?” I went home that evening and was thoroughly disgusted by the “washing machine music” I had just been subjected to. All I had heard about hardcore music before that evening was that the bands were “Satanic” and sang about ungodly themes. However, I was intrigued by this heavy genre and looked up Blood of the Martyrs lyrics online. This is what I found:
“To Those Who Believe
In A World That Doesn’t
Don’t Be Afraid, You Are Not Alone”
While I couldn’t understand these words during the concert, knowing that they sang (rather screamed) these lyrics broke my heart in the best way possible. I felt immediate guilt for judging their sound when I had no idea the message they were sending. What an incredible way to witness to the “metal kids” I knew didn’t know Christ. From there, I fell in love with their mission. Each day I would listen to a new band, and then look up their lyrics. Some I enjoyed, some I disliked, but each group found a way to witness to my heart.
My Thoughts Today
My musical tastes have been cultivated a little more since my middle and high school years, Blood of the Martyrs is not my favorite band, and you probably wont find me at any hardcore shows. However, I still have a place in my heart for hardcore because I have seen the effect of its ministry. “What effects?” you may ask. I’m talking about the times of prayer and repentance after the shows and witnessing first hand, these kids worship and become vulnerable before the Throne. Before you make a comment about that kid who is throwing and dancing in the pit, think about this: What if that’s his expression of worship? King David even said he would become more undignified than this, and would be humiliated in his own eyes. When it comes to screaming, I have learned that it is purposeful. Even for groups that don’t claim Christianity, there is usually a reason behind the screaming and you can tell that they have a full understanding of the words. Many times the lyrics demand it.
I agree that we should definitely be discerning when selecting our musical pleasures. But when selective, we can find some inspirational gems in this mysterious realm of screams and crunching guitars. Hardcore isn’t for everyone, but I challenge you to at least read the lyrics of some of these greatly esteemed bands such as: As Cities Burn, The Chariot, Emery, Oh Sleeper, My Epic, and Underoath. Allow these bands to speak to you. I’m nowhere near an expert on this subject, but appreciate the mission of these bands and the music. Even among the screams and heavy sounds, we can hear the truth of God if we allow ourselves to listen. When I hear hardcore music I hear angst, struggle, and more importantly truth.