Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

If you like it heavy, it will be very heavy Tuesday, July 15 at Headliner's Music Hall. When some people think of heavy music and Christianity, they think of P.O.D. or maybe even a band like Creed. That's fine - but that's not what I am referring to.

I can remember back in the spring of 2002 when Living Sacrifice played a show in Louisville. A youth minister and his group of kids stormed out of the venue, shocked by what they were seeing. I'm not sure exactly what set them off, maybe it wasn't about the music, but they were not happy.

I doubt many "youth groups" will be attending the "Scream the Prayer" tour stop on the 15th, but here's my advice to youth ministers if you're thinking about it: visit the band's websites. Listen to their music. You might even want to consider getting their parents to sign a release form so you don't lose your job.

The Scream The Prayer Tour 2008 featuring Sleeping Giant, Impending Doom, MyChildren MyBride, War Of Ages, Before Their Eyes, Blessed By A Broken Heart, Soul Embraced, With Blood Comes Cleansing, Here I Come Falling and Agraceful promises to be one of the heaviest tours with Christian artists ever to grace this city.

I am unfamiliar with some of the artists on the bill and am certainly not endorsing all of them, but seeing how some of them are on labels like Solid State, I thought you would be interested. I am! At a minimum, I have listened to at least one song by each artist on the tour and will give my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

California's Sleeping Giant is a co-headliner. Lead singer Thom Green reminds me of Phil Anselmo sometimes and at other times sounds almost exactly like Chris Barnes of Six Feet Under. Listening to their tune "Blame it on Holy Rollers," it sounds like two different people are singing for the band. That's not a criticism by the way, just an observation. If you like Six Feet Under, you'll probably like his style. On another song, "Dynasty," the band sounds like a heavier version of P.O.D. or maybe Helmet.

The other co-headliner will never be confused with P.O.D., Helmet, or anything else you may have heard on terrestrial rock radio during the day. Also from California, Impending Doom will be bringing the extreme heaviness that evening. The term "Christian Death Metal" may be an oxymoron to some, but I'm not sure what else to call it. On their MySpace page, the band lists Slipknot, Behemoth and Meshuggah among their influences. Impending Doom certainly show those influences musically. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Madison, Alabama's My Children My Bride is signed to Solid State. The band will no doubt be playing tunes from their debut Unbreakable. I would place them in the Screamo camp. If that's your thing, you'll want to check them out.

Facedown Records' War of Ages features a more traditional metal sound, with another Phil Anselmo influence in the vocals. Their new CD, Pride and Conquer releases on the 22nd of this month and was produced by Tim Lambesis, vocalist for As I Lay Dying.

Findlay, Ohio's Before Their Eyes is probably the tamest group on the tour. They are also in the Screamo vein, more so than MyChildren MyBride. When I say "tame," I am referring to their music. I have no idea what their live show might be like. For all I know, they could give Gwar a run for their money. According to the band's website, their independent debut is set to release this fall.

How do I describe Canada's Blessed By A Broken Heart? One way would be a "metal" version of Family Force Five, something along those lines. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, the band looks like an L.A. Guns tribute band and plays old school, Eighties influenced metal.

Soul Embraced is the band on the tour that I am most familiar with. I've been listening to them for years but have never had the opportunity to see them live. Their new CD, Dead Alive, was released in April on Solid State. Always a dark and heavy band, Soul Embraced in 2008 sounds influenced by Lamb of God. I heard this particularly in the song "To End it All," which sounds similar to the latter's "Laid to Rest." The band features Chad Moore on lead vocals, Rocky Gray (Living Sacrifice, ex-Evanesence) on lead guitar, Jeff Bowie on Bass and Lance Garvin (Living Sacrifice) on drums.

I'm thinking it will be a pretty brutal set. Not a lot of smiles and sunshine.

Albany, Georgia's With Blood Comes Cleaning is a band I've been aware of for some time but have not seen live. This band is just good old metal. When I say "old," I don't mean "old school." I just mean, there is just no mistaking the sound: metal. It's not "screamo" or "nu-metal" or anything else. Their debut on Victory Records, Horror, came out in January. Lead singer Dean Atkinson is another one of those guys that manages to sound like two different people, growling fiercely like cookie monster in one part of a song and screeching like a banshee in another.

It's back to Screamo/Hardcore with Springfield Missouri's Here I Come Falling. I watched a You Tube video of their live show and they look like they will be bringing energy to show. The music didn't do anything for me, but I can respect a lively performance (to be fair, I am basing this on only one song).

North Carolina's A Kiss For Jersey is compared to The Mars Volta in the bio on the band's MySpace page. No Slipknot here. This self-described hardcore band's debut on the Tragic Hero label is titled Victims.

Finally, Dayton's Agraceful (one word) is on the bill and is probably opening the show. Another Screamo band, their debut The Great I Am is out August 19.

As I mentioned, I'm not really familiar with all of these bands. You probably aren't either, as some of them are indies. If you are interested in going to the show, you might want to check out myspace.com/screamtheprayer to hear music from all the bands.

Tickets for the show are $15 in advance and are available through ticketweb.com. Day of show tickets are $17. Doors open at 3 p.m., with the show kicking off at 3:30.

Switching music genres here, coming up next month, Newsboys will play a free concert at the Kentucky State Fair. Article One has been added to the bill. The show is free with gate admission to the fair. I've never seen a full-blown Newsboys show (I've only seen a few industry performances), but I hear it's good, if you're into that.

The show is Monday the 18th, 8 p.m. at Cardinal Stadium.