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. In many ways, the band’s sound was an acquired taste. It was neither glam nor thrash (the two most popular forms of metal in the late 80s), just heavy metal. The high-pitched vocals and unusual melodies made the band unique, but also perhaps appealed to fewer fans. However, in retrospect they were one of the most legitimate entries in the genre, for those coming from a faith perspective.
“The Sword” (included on the compilation mentioned above) features prominent, biblical lyrics inspired by the book of Revelation. It’s a sort of praise hymn to Jesus Christ, who will return to earth to rule and reign. Sadly, two members of the band have now passed on: drummer David Paul McKee in 2008, and vocalist/guitarist Matt Harding in 2012. R.I.P. brothers.