Author: Loyd Harp

Having lived and worked in England for 13 years, my family and I have just returned to the United States. We work at an inner-city church in the Eastside of Indianapolis. I'm a youth worker by career, and a music lover at heart. Metal, punk, hardcore, indie rock, free jazz, folk, classic country all have a place in my collection.

May 13, 2022

Song of the Day: The O.C. Supertones - Adonai

No, The Supertones weren’t the first Christian ska band. The Israelites’ first album pre-dated them by a year. But in the UK, Rev Counta and the Speedoze* (another incarnation of Ishmael United) had released a full-length as early as 1980! And perhaps some Jamaican bands that didn’t fit into the CCM/CBA mold had been active earlier than that, it’s hard to say. However, the Supertones were the first Christian ska band to release an album on a nationally-distributed label, releasing The Adventures of the O.C.Continued →

May 6, 2022

Song of the Day: The New Presidents - Arabian Nights

This obscure little band, while relatively unknown, has ties to some more connected acts. They only released one 4-song 12″ EP before breaking up and/or morphing into other acts. The most well-known member was Robert Vaughn, previously of RV and the Hubcaps, and who went on to play with Gloryhouse, Southside Blades of Eden (Broken Records), and most notably Robert Vaughn and the Shadows. RV and the Shadows was essentially the New Presidents line-up with a different name and slightly more mainstream style.… Continued →

April 29, 2022

Song of the Day: Encryptor - Post Mortem Soul

Encryptor was one of the many projects of the multi-talented Felipe (AKA Phil) Diez, and was one of the first Christian death metal projects from the nation of Panama. Phil later relocated to Rhode Island and carried on his career there with several projects: Sorrowstorm (black metal), Entorn (doom metal), Northern Ash (death metal), and Rehumanize (grindcore). So far, Encryptor is my favorite of the lot, though I confess I haven’t heard all of his projects.… Continued →

April 22, 2022

Song of the Day: Sixpence None the Richer - Love, Salvation, the Fear of Death

I first heard Sixpence None the Richer while listening to a cassette demo in the Christian bookstore in 1993. They had me from the opening acoustic guitar riffs on “Field of Flowers,” the opening track from The Fatherless and the Widow. That album was fantastic, but even so, it was only a foretaste of what was to come. While the band are largely known for their romantic pop radio hit, “Kiss Me,” from their self-titled third album, many fans and critics alike are drawn to their sophomore album, This Beautiful Mess.… Continued →

April 15, 2022

INTERVIEW : Skot Shaw of Leper

What does a Christ-oriented gothic band do during a global pandemic? I had a lengthy conversation with Skot Shaw to find out. We talked about tours in Mexico, how he came to be part of Jesus People USA, and the goodness of God. IVM: Why don’t you start by giving IVM readers an introduction to the band. How did you get into doing goth music or death rock? Why does Leper exist as a band? Skot: Can open.… Continued →

Song of the Day: MxPx - Want Ad

Y’all better to get ready to put your boxing gloves on. You ready for this? Pokinatcha is the best MxPx (Magnified Plaid) album. Why? It was melodic, but still very much punk–bordering even on old school hardcore at times. It’s by far their most unique record, before they settled into the more polished pop-punk sound that everyone remembers. To be clear, I have no problem with the direction they later took (except for maybe moving further away from Christian spirituality and theology as the years went by, but that’s another post altogether).… Continued →

April 8, 2022

Song of the Day: Altars - Eternity

This hardcore band hailed from Colorado Springs. They infused their heavy chugga chugga rhythms with melodic parts without ever getting whiny. This led some fans and writers to dub them post-hardcore, which isn’t fully accurate, but I can see why they said that. What strikes me about this song is the passion behind both the music and the clear-cutting lyrics: Where is the hope? Where is the love? Without these your system will self-destruct While it might seem that the song was aimed at society in general, it is actually pointed at the failures of the Church to stay true to the pure message of the Gospel.… Continued →

April 1, 2022

Song of the Day: The Israelites - Israelite Train

The 1990s saw a huge revival of ska music–that funky fusion of reggae and punk, or so it seemed at the time. The real history of ska was much deeper than that. Unbeknownst to the general populace, ska actually pre-dates reggae, going back to at least the 1960s. It fused traditional calypso beats with horns and sounds gleaned from New Orleans jazz. Reggae emerged in the 70s, as tempos slowed down and the overall feel became more relaxed.… Continued →

March 25, 2022

Song of the Day: Apostle - The Sword

One of the most beloved and respected bands in the traditional heavy metal scene, Apostle was a slight anomaly in that they never released an album on a record label. Formed in 1983 in Jacksonville, FL, the band released a total of 5 independent full-length albums (not to mention EPs and compilations) all while remaining an unsigned band. Apostle opened for Christian metal stalwarts Whitecross on a national tour, and also had a song featured on East Coast Metal for Regency Records, in 1988, where I first heard the band.… Continued →

March 18, 2022

Song of the Day: Antivenom - Sacred Funeral

There is an absolute plethora of underground black metal bands in the Christian scene. While this is a fact to be celebrated, at times it is difficult to judge the quality of releases, when there are so many. Antivenom actually managed to escape my attention until recently. This band, like many in the scene, is fairly mysterious. I don’t know where they are from, although one member (whose name will be recognized by Christian bm aficionados) is Armath Sargon (Armath Sargon, Elgibbor, Katumus, Light to Dead, others), who is from Finland.… Continued →

March 11, 2022

Subsist announce vinyl pressing of The Rhythm Method

Legendary, underground, Midwest technical hardcore/metalcore band Subsist announce a vinyl pressing of their acclaimed (and originally self-released on CD only) album The Rhythm Method. The Midwest band released 2 CDs in the late 90s/early 00s before calling it quits. Those in the know have always been aware of their greatness, despite their underground status. This first-ever vinyl pressing is a co-release through Steadfast Records and Dropping Bombs. See the Big Cartel link below for ordering info.… Continued →

Song of the Day: Eden Burning - My Senses Fly

The 90s comprised an amazing decade for alternative Christian music. We had metal, punk rock, emo, industrial, and out of left field we also had an amazing run of alternative-tinged folk rock. I was primarily a metalhead/hard alternative guy when I got hit by this amazing run of folk acts like Lost Dogs, Nicolas Giaconia, Acoustic Shack, and the UK’s own Eden Burning. While Eden Burning had been going in their native England for several years prior, their first US release was Vinegar and Brown Paper, for Storyville Records, a folk imprint of R.E.X.… Continued →

March 4, 2022

Song of the Day: Brainwash Projects - Want for Nada

If anyone asked me to name my favorite Christian hip-hop project of all time, it is without a doubt Brainwash Projects, and their sole album The Rise and Fall of . . . . Perhaps the album title was a hint at how long the project would last, and we all just missed it at the time. Rise and Fall had everything: lyrical witticisms, dope beats, funky rhymes, and humor by the bucketloads. While the whole album is worth listening to straight through without skipping any tracks, one of the strongest singles is “Want for Nada,” a testimony to God’s faithfulness.… Continued →

February 25, 2022

Song of the Day: Painted Orange - You Walked

Synth-pop is sort of the illegitimate child of alternative rock and disco. Although it’s not obvious, its roots like in experimental forms of music like krautrock and post-punk. As new wave splintered further and further away from punk, and added more and more synthesizers, synth-pop was being birthed. In the mainstream, acts as diverse as Kraftwerk, New Order, and Pet Shop Boys were solidifying the sound. I loved 90s synth-pop, or simply “techno” as we called it then.… Continued →

February 18, 2022

Song of the Day: The Souls Unrest - Rising

Brace yourself. The Souls Unrest has one of the more complicated histories in all of Christian metal. The roots of the band lie in old school punk band Spudgun, who released one album on Bulletproof Records (a division of Gray Dot). That band got heavier and darker, changing styles so much that a new name was warranted–World Against World. That version of the band also released one album (an amazing album at that) for Bulletproof, before morphing again.… Continued →

February 11, 2022

Song of the Day: Driver Eight - Cheers

This band was the epitome of one of those all-too-common scenarios in 90s Christian music: the frustratingly great one-album wonder. Driver Eight released Watermelon via Tooth and Nail Records in 1996, to high acclaim from fans and critics alike, and then disappeared into the . . . well, that’s just it–we don’t know what happened! The album featured a highly-effective mix of alternative rock styles including Britpop (even though the band was American), quasi-shoegaze, and jangle pop.… Continued →

February 4, 2022

Song of the Day: Corpse Under Construction - Worms of the Underground

Danish experimental grindcore band Corpse Under Construction only recorded 14 tracks in their short existence–and at grindcore tempos and song-lengths, that’s just over 10 minutes of recorded material. They were released on the split CD 4-Way Noise Explosion, which also included Eternal Mystery, Rehumanize, and Long Suffering (2008 on Sewersound Records). What made the band particularly interesting–to me, anyway–was that the band consisted of just 2 members, brothers Martin Svinth on vocals and David Svinth (also of post-hardcore band Magtesløs) on vocals and programming.… Continued →

January 28, 2022

Song of the Day: Dwayne Omarr - Anointed One

We’re digging deep into the archives for this one. For those not familiar with electro-funk, it was an underground genre in the 1980s that bridged electronic dance music and hip-hop. In fact, in many ways it was a predecessor to the proliferation of rap music. The genre was known by a variety of names: electro-funk, techno-funk, and simply electro (not the goth/industrial version from a few decades later). In the mainstream scene, some of the most well-known names were Newcleus, Shannon, Egyptian Lover, Afrika Bambaataa, and some of Midnight Star’s mid-80s material.… Continued →

January 21, 2022

Song of the Day: The Warning - Condemned to Hell

If you’ve been around the Christian punk/metal/hardcore/indie scene for any amount of time, you will likely have heard the name Burrito. Not his real name, of course–the man David Villalpando was a legend in the underground scene. Sadly, the man that many called a friend passed away this week from covid-related illness. For those who didn’t know him, it is difficult to overstate his impact on the scene. From a musical standpoint, while none of his projects ever achieved mainstream success or financial prosperity, they were always on the bleeding edge of innovation.… Continued →

January 14, 2022

Song of the Day: David Zaffiro - Diversity

When Bloodgood’s lead guitarist left the band to go solo, fans of the 80s metal stalwarts weren’t entirely sure what to expect. We probably assumed more heavy metal–at least that’s what I expected. And while there is certainly some hard rock (almost glam metal) at times, The Other Side was much broader in scope. The album showcased Zaffiro’s excellent guitar work, as we’d already become familiar with through three albums with Bloodgood: Bloodgood (1986), Detonation (1987, often hailed as the band’s finest effort), and Rock in a Hard Place (1988).… Continued →

January 7, 2022

Song of the Day: LN - Better to Be Cool

If you’ve followed my writings for any amount of time, it’s not hard to discern my love for all things shoegaze, dream pop and the like. One of the best in the game was the mysterious LN. I was never quite sure if it was a band, or a solo project masquerading as a band. Sure, it was fairly well known that Gary Murray (who later recorded as Gary Murray and LN, and then just as Gary Murray) was the principal of the band, but not as clear who else was involved or at what level.… Continued →

December 31, 2021

Song of the Day: Mike Stand - Footsteps of Love

I don’t know why it took me so long, but recently a very simple thought has helped me out immensely in my spirituality and my walk with Christ. It’s simply this: choose love. That’s it. When I am tempted to sin, choose love instead. When I want to be selfish, choose love. When I want to do something that would only please or elevate myself and not others, choose love. Mike Stand was singing about it decades ago.… Continued →

December 24, 2021

Song of the Day: Level Heads - Born in a Stable

This quirky alternative rock band released one independent EP and one full-length for Broken Records (also home to Undercover, The Holidays, Adam Again, etc.). While their normal material was interesting, to my ears the most compelling thing they recorded was a song for the Broken Christmas project, called “Born in a Stable.” While technically a Christmas song, it does a great job of pointing to Jesus’ purpose for coming to save us, by tracing the story of Jesus’ life and ministry all the way up to the empty tomb.… Continued →

December 17, 2021

Song of the Day: Fable - Foreshadowing the Reincarnate

One of the very few true “screamo” bands in the Christian scene (not just melodic hardcore/emo-core), Fable only released 6 songs in their entire career–4 on their 7″ Give Us the Night (through the legendary Takehold Records), 1 on the hardcore compilation A Testament to Broken Walls, and 1 on a split with secular screamo band Mara’akate. Band members were only 15 when they started playing together in their hometown of Holland, MI, but they quickly made a huge impact in the underground scene.… Continued →

December 10, 2021

Song of the Day: Blindside - Nerve

I remember when I first heard this song. It was on the Tooth & Nail Songs from the Penalty Box compilation, amidst other songs ranging from pop-punk to hardcore and everything in-between. But Blindside was hard to peg. It was heavy and raw, and kind of hardcore, but not really. There was a mild rap influence in the delivery, but it wasn’t really rapcore either. Post-hardcore hadn’t really occurred to me as a category yet. The band put the song on their debut, self-titled, full-length album and a year later released a second–both albums on Tooth & Nail/Solid State.… Continued →

December 8, 2021

New war metal project from members of Antiviper and Goatscorge!

Big news for those into extreme metal. There is a new collaborative band in the war metal/bestial black metal style by the name of Cataclysmic Warfare. Vocals will be handled by Nocturnal Servant (of Goatscorge, Shekinah), and music by E.O.S. (of Marble Tomb, Antiviper). They are currently recording an EP, which they hope to release by mid-2022. The band will release a lyric video in the very near future, but for now they’ve offered this brief teaser.… Continued →

December 3, 2021

Song of the Day: Batzz in the Belfry - Touch the Stars

San Francisco-based goth band BATZZ in the Belfry are relatively unknown in the mainstream, but that is a real shame. They combine “unashamed traditional old school goth” with ethereal dream pop, and even hints at shoegaze at times. I suppose this puts them in the realm of darkwave. Take “Touch the Stars” for instance. The song would easily be at home on a Metropolis or Projekt Records compilation alongside Sisters of Mercy, Love and Rockets, or Love Spirals Downwards.… Continued →

November 26, 2021

Song of the Day: Enemy Ships - Rock American Style

Welcome to the best band you’ve never heard of. Enemy Ships (FKA The Emergency, not to be confused with The Emergency, AKA Ten-33) was a sort of supergroup with members from Christian alternative heavyweights like Jason Martin (Starflyer 59, Bon Voyage, Neon Horse, etc.), Dirk Lemmenes (Stavesacre, Focused), Ryan Denne (Stavesacre), Travis Zimmerman (Jupiter James), and Frank Lenz (Fold Zandura, Frank Lenz, etc). The band recorded an album for mainstream Atlantic Records entitled The Emergencyin 2007, but sadly it was never released.… Continued →

November 19, 2021

Song of the Day: The November Commandment - High

It’s time for some industrial! But not the guitar-heavy metallic brand. The November Commandment (or often Nov*Com) were doing EBM/electro before it was trendy–or even before it was called that. Hailing from Sweden, the band emerged with an independent cassette in 1988 called Complete Structure. The tape featured a minimalist sound driven by synthesizers, not too unlike Coil and some of Wire’s more experimental material. They released another cassette in 1991, this time a 5-song EP.… Continued →

November 12, 2021

Song of the Day: Gidians Bible - The Dream

For our Song of the Day this time, let’s dig deep. While I often get stuck in the 90s (admittedly a great era for faith-based musical excursions), let’s not forget that Christian rock goes back *at least* to the 1960s (or arguably earlier if we include Sister Rosetta Tharpe). Not a lot is known about Gidians Bible (sic.), but what is known is fairly significant. Take a closer look at the band photo, particularly the vocalist on the far right.… Continued →