Many rock and metal bands record and promote music, without the help from a record label--and this isn't neccessarily a bad or unwise choice. Sometimes, the creative liberties and freedoms of working independently show a well-worth payoff.
If you haven't listened to many indie bands, you don't know what you're missing. To get your search started, here are seven rock and metal bands who are creating great music with no limits.I think you'll enjoy the music and styles that these artists release. And, I believe you'll love the messages they share through their music. I hope you find a band that you enjoy and will consider supporting.
Reclaimers is a project by indie artist Samuel Day. Sam is a passionate man in the music scene, especially within the Christian-based rock community. Reclaimers' style of rock is captivating, with the mix of atmospheric elements and electronic dance music (EDM) influence. Sam's vocals are very clear and his messages are, too. The rock project is relatively new, with his first single released in 2019 and third single earlier this year, "Say What You Will."
Words from the band: "A main goal of Reclaimers is giving a voice to victory--creating anthemic rock with a big, modern sound that gives people a soundtrack to win by. To 'reclaim' means to take something back, and while we know that we have a spiritual enemy, we also know that everything he has is stolen, and there are good promises for us."
Ignescent has earned the attention of some big names in the rock community, as is mentioned below. I hope to see that well-earned attention spread to more rock music fans too, not just producers. Ignescent is a female-fronted rock band that has been releasing music since the early 2010s. However, their last few songs are really taking things up a notch. These EDM-influenced songs have a darker edge to them musically, yet speak hope into our lives.
From the band: "I'm Jennifer Benson, lead vocalist and founder of the band Ignescent. We are from the Chicago area. Jose Jimenez is our guitarist and Ian Sebastian is on bass. We've been honored to co-write songs with Ben Kasica of Skillet and Sameer Bhattacharya of Flyleaf. Our latest song, 'Exodus,' was produced by Jeremy Valentyne, formerly of the band New Years Day and we just recorded a new EP with producer, Cameron Pierce Mizell, who has worked with many bands including Memphis May Fire. We love Jesus and love to share the gospel message no matter what venue we play at."
Then It Ends
One of the best metalcore bands right now is Then It Ends. Their 2020 debut album, Restored, definitely brought some fresh talent to the Christian metal community. How did they do it? With exemplary love for Christ and talent both musically and vocally. Lead singer, Grant Lilly, loves to engage with fans through social media with humor and live conversations. They work hard to bring a message of hope and love through their heavy music.
From the band: "Then It Ends formed in 2020 looking to make an impact in the world. We wanted to write music that was catchy but also relatable to the issues that we face every day. We have found that the only hope this world has to offer is the gospel of Jesus Christ and we want to represent that through our music. It's easy to start looking for purpose in anyone or anything else other than Jesus but those people or things that we seek purpose in will only let us down. We need the hope that only Christ has to offer. Music is so powerful and we know that God can use music in a huge way to change the hearts of people so we are praying that God uses us in His ultimate plan. Then It Ends will be releasing plenty of new material in 2021."
Diamonds to Dust
Perhaps the heaviest band, musically, on this list is Diamonds to Dust. Their songs have a great balance of death metal and metalcore genres to present excellent heavy music with purpose. They released an EP called Decisionswith three fantastic songs. My favorite song of the three is "Corpus Christi." It's one the best metal songs I've heard in years. Diamonds to Dust has a few previous releases worth checking out as well. They're definitely high on my personal watch list.
From the band: "Hey everyone, we want you all to know that if you are ever feeling down or beaten that God is there for you. We also want you all to know that we are there for all of you as well. You can message us at any time on any of our social media platforms and we will respond. We also have some great news. For those who don't know we are working hard to put out our self-titled album. We have no release date yet, but we will let you all know when we are getting close to finishing. One last thing we want to say is that we appreciate all those who support us because without all of you there is no us."
A man of many talents is metal vocalist James Franchise. His bio is simple and awesome, "I love Jesus and I love breakdowns." His commitment to the gospel spreads into several different projects. His main worship-style metal band is This Surrender. This Surrender is releasing their debut in March 2021. The project includes covers of contemporary worship songs and a couple originals. His self-titled project also has some worship covers. James' original band is PRDGRMS (Paradigms). This project of his is my favorite. The band's new heavy and gospel-centered EP, Shift, was released in early 2021.
From the band:
"Hey guys. I appreciate you taking the time out to read my portion. I'm in awe of what God can do. If you're at a place where you're doubting God, just know if God can take a regular brown bald guy with messed up teeth and elevate him to a place of recognition, he can take you places you never could've imagined. So if you have that idea, that clothing line, that music, that content idea, then let's get to it."
Melodic metalcore band Reverie is tackling tough topics with a lens of the gospel. Their 2018 heavy and hard-hitting EP, The Prodigal, is a great listen (I still spin that EP often). It features Wolves At The Gate's Nick Detty on vocals. Reverie's two singles in 2020 have firmly kept my attention, "Create Erase" and "God Complex." The former tacking our human nature and responsibilities from God to the Earth. The latter a call out to hypocrisy among leaders.
From the band: "With our first full-length album, we wanted to take what we built with The Prodigal, and stretch ourselves even further to mature both musically and lyrically. We want to go deeper than ever before, addressing subjects ranging from depression to our failure as stewards of the earth. As always, our ultimate goal is to point all glory to Christ, and that the only hope for our darkness and failure is in Him, which is an overarching theme throughout this record."
Chaotic Resemblance is following in the steps of great Christian rock and metal pioneers by bringing a '80s style of metal into the modern rock community. They started releasing music in 2012, but notably, their 2018 record, Covenant, showcased their developed skill and sound. Their 2020 single, "Unto The Lamb" bears a striking resemblance to Stryper, because the band's lead guitarist Oz Fox is featured. "Unto the Lamb" is devoted to Jesus wholeheartedly. Some credit them to nostalgia, which may be partially fair, but their talent deserves your attention as they continue to grow.
From the Band: "The band's calendar is currently filling up, many people are booking even in the midst of the pandemic. We have a few big announcements coming soon. This is our 1st run with our new drummer James. Can't wait for everyone to meet him. Oz Fox (Stryper) currently is recovering in the hospital from his brain surgery, our mentor and producer. He is featured on our new release "Unto The Lamb." All proceeds from this song go directly to him for medical expenses. We have been writing new music & are planning to get it recorded soon. Praying for many souls to be won to Jesus."
Ryan Adams lives with his family in Montana. He has been NRT's Rock Reporter since 2018.
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