Film director Guillermo del Toro and spastic hardcore punk band Blaster the Rocket Man have at least one thing in common. Whereas most of society, and particularly within Christianity, monsters are usually the bad guys, these two artistic entities–operating in disparate fields as the case may be–often take the side of the monster. Pan’s Labyrinth, for instance, juxtaposes the kind but terrifying Pan against the inhuman, yet human, monsters of the Spanish fascists under Francisco Franco. Blaster the Rocket Man uses traditional monster and sci-fi imagery, all the while connecting these images to faith in Christ.
It’s a weird mix, and sometimes it’s even confusing, to be fair. It could almost be cringey, but in BTRM’s case it works for a number of reasons. Firstly, the band’s music–an inspired blending of Dead Kennedys style hardcore punk with rockabilly and surf themes–flat out rocks. They are still to this day one of the most exciting punk bands to have ever emerged from our scene. Secondly, while themes of monsters paired with theological reflections on the new birth, or the hope of resurrection in 99% of cases would come across as forced, it doesn’t with Blaster–simply because they seem to embody the sci-fi and monster themes for their pure enjoyment. So it comes across not so much as someone trying to force a Gospel theme into a sci-fi narrative (or vice versa), but rather the coming together of two seemingly disparate passions–faith in Jesus and a love for old horror films.
The band’s magnum opus was the irreverently titled The Monster Who Ate Jesus. (I won’t spoil the surprise about the title’s meaning.) The whole album is a joyful romp through 3-chord thrashing tunes, interspersed with instrumental psychobilly diddies. Musically the band would have been right at home on Alternative Tentacles, save for their Christian lyrics, which have been unlikely to inspire Jello Biafra.
Here’s track three, “Hopeful Monsters Are Dying Every Day.”