10 Christian Metal albums (from the 80's) that I Can't Get Enough Of
Stryper - Soldiers Under Command (1985)
Possibly the most epic Christian metal band, not to mention the most famous, is none other than Stryper. Their debut EP The Yellow and Black Attack showed their metal pedigree. However, when their full-length album Soldiers Under Command hit the shelves, the gloves were off and we were officially in a spiritual battle, fighting the "Lord's Battle Plan," as lead singer Michael Sweet belts out with conviction. Musically, this is one behemoth of an album and checks all the boxes for what an 80's hair metal band is supposed to be, with one little caveat, they threw Bibles and didn't shoot bullets. It's a real shame because those battle fatigues on the front cover were the most epic thing any Christian teen ever saw on the bookshelf at their local Christian bookstore. The band consisted of brothers Michael and Robert Sweet, Oz Fox (Richard Martinez), and Tim Gaines, who most recently was replaced by Perry Richardson of Firehouse. They had the look, the attitude, and they weren't playing around. They grew up on the Sunset Strip playing the Troubadour, the Roxy, and all the clubs in Los Angeles. This album was the beginning of a great career. Although their debut EP introduced their metal prowess, Soldiers Under Command is the album that broke them into the juggernaut they continue to be today.
Shout - It Won't Be Long (1988)
Boy were we grateful for Stryper. Without them we probably would have never had metal acts like Shout. If there was ever a Christian supergroup this might have been it, as it included two members from other great Christian rock bands. Ken Tamplin and Chuck King formed to make Shout when Ken Tamplin, formerly of the band Joshua, was hidden in the background and Chuck King who had "had it" with Idle Cure not wanting to really make a go of it. Chuck wanted to play music for a living (other members in Idle Cure, not so much). Ken Tamplin is the cousin to Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar. Ken and Chuck absolutely shred on this debut album It Won’t Be Long. It sure wasn't long (pun intended) until we realized that this was a serious contender for the best quality, best show, and best all-around album/band one could hope for.
Saint - Times End (1986)
This is a metal album that will have your fist pumping non-stop. It only gets stronger with each song ending on the epic five-and-a-half-minute “Steel Killer,” which in my book might be my all-time favorite Christian metal song. These guys take on the end-times like few others have done and do it Judas Priest style. Josh can scream like no other. Clad with leather and chains, this was what most metalheads were looking for. A true heavy metal contender of epic proportions. There are no melodic overtones on this album, just straight forward fist pumping metal at break-neck speed with the astounding vocals of Rob Halford (a.k.a. Josh Kramer). LOL
Barren Cross - Atomic Arena (1988)
Barren Cross's debut full length album Atomic Arena was a true masterpiece. No one thought that after their EP Believe that the Iron Maiden-like vocals of Mike Lee could get even better, but wow did they ever. Their Atomic Arena album is one of my all-time favorites and attacks topics like abortion with songs like “Killers of the Unborn” and alcoholism in “Dead Lock.” If you want a full-throttle metal album that will stand up to any mainstream title, this is the one to grab. Songs like “Terrorist Child” and “Cultic Regimes” will have you on the edge of your seat. But every song on this album explodes with atomic dynamite!
Whitecross - 1987 (1987)
So Whitecross sounded like Ratt. Yep, they sure did, and none of them even had heard of the band Ratt. Well, at least that’s the story they tell, and they’re sticking to it. However, songs like “Enough Is Enough” sound so familiar to Ratt’s “Round and Round.” But I still love it. I loved Ratt. But I also thought that Whitecross was just as good. Whitecross guitarist Rex Carroll could shred like few others. In 2005, I paid to have Whitecross go back into the studio and re-record the entire album. I am not sure if we pulled off the urgency that their debut album had, but it sure was close. Strong all the way through. I can't get enough, nuff, enough is enough.
Bloodgood - Bloodgood (1986)
“Black Snake,” “Demon on the Run,” “Anguish and .... P A I N!!!!!” Those lyrics just grip you. The music was among the best on the market at the time and the crunchy guitars from David Zaffiro and the drumming of JT Taylor laid a foundation for bassist Michael Bloodgood and vocalist Les Carlsen to deliver one spectacular debut album. This is my desert island disc, along with Saint’s Time’s End album mentioned above.
Resurrection Band - DMZ (1982)
Few bands have accomplished what Resurrection Band has. From ministry to music to the Cornerstone Music Festival, they have done it all. Glenn and Wendy Kaiser made a husband-and-wife duo like few others in the Christian metal market. D.M.Z. delivers on all fronts and although other albums like Innocent Blood were also 80's albums, D.M.Z. is from front to back their greatest album IMO. It contains the guitar shredder “Whitenoise” from Stu Heiss, which was our Van Halen Eruption in the Christian music scene. “Area 312,” “Military Man,” “No Alibi,” and “Lonely Hearts” are some key songs to listen to, but in all honesty, you need to listen to the entire thing over and over again, like I do. Recently we reissued this in a gatefold with an epic large 24"x24" poster.
Bride - Silence Is Madness (1989)
Dale Thompson is the hardest working man in Christian music still today and was even back then. I love this album from start to finish. It's my go to and nobody can convince me that there is an album from start to finish that is better than this. “Fool Me Once,” shame on you. “Hot Down South Tonight” is smoldering, and how about “Rock Those Blues Away”... we’re gonna rock, we’re gonna roll... those blues away. Cue screams! Wow, this album gives me the chills still today.
Sacred Warrior - Rebellion (1988)
These Chicago boys delivered one epic and multifaceted album with Rebellion. I can't help but sing every single word of this album. It is strong from start to finish and in my book better than Masters Command, their second album. There is something about this debut that is special. It's possibly that they molded metal and worship together in the song “He Died” and they start with such a strong song “Black Metal.” Whatever the case, this one gets heavy rotation with me belting out every word.
Angelica - Angelica (1989)
Rob Rock sings this entire album with the exception of “Face to Face,” the last song, which is sung by Ken Tamplin. But it’s Dennis Cameron that delivers a guitar clinic on this album. You won't be able to listen to this album without wondering how they didn't pull off being THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME band. Rotating singers and Canadian limitations, such as not being in the middle of the scene in L.A., New York or Nashville were the main reasons. However, their second album, Walking in Faith deserves a close second, but the debut is always on and always jammin’ for me. Dennis and Rob put on a duo attack that brings me chills still to this day.