Raging Christian Metal ... No, Really

Messengers (Solid State Records)
August Burns Red

By Kory Wilcoxson

It's a bit of an oxymoron to talk about a raging metal Christian band. Isn't that like a Celine Dion doing gangsta rap, or P. Diddy singing Broadway tunes? It might sound strange, but August Burns Red is able to fuse the rage and intensity of their music with the depth of their beliefs.

The album's title, Messengers, is appropriate. In their lyrics they share both the joy of salvation ("On my knees praying for mercy/Hands raised high/Humble and broken/Wanting your grace" on "Redemption") and the dangers of eternity in H-E-double hockey sticks ("The lost find their way back home but the masses buy what will make them rich, feasting on lies, chasing their tails/Truth be told, they'll get what they were promised" on "The Eleventh Hour"). They may not become Billy Graham's house band, but their message is clear and uncompromised.

The music is a constant driving mash-up of screaming lyrics and guitars, but it is Matt Greiner who drives this bus. He beats the skins like a mad octopus whose dog just got kicked. His energy is bleeds into the rest of the band, giving a sense of urgency and rawness to the message.