Christian metalcore band finds niche
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Oct. 22, 2010 at 5:22 a.m.
Updated Oct. 24, 2010 at 5:24 a.m.
Did you know Christian metal bands typically base their lyrics on Judeo-Christian traditions.
Metalcore is a musical genre that combines elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk.
The vocalizing technique in metalcore is generally screamed vocals.
Well-known Christian metalcore bands: Oh, Sleeper, Burns Red, War of Ages, Demon Hunter, Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada and Living Sacrifice.
SOURCE: web research
On a recent Thursday evening, Victoria-based Christian band Far Past Broken, gathered at Parkway Church for rehearsal.
As band members set up their instruments in the church's youth room, 17-year-old lead vocalist George Miranda propped one leg on a nearby speaker, waited for his guitar lead-in, then ferociously screamed the lyrics of one of the band's newest songs into the microphone.
As a hard core, metal rock, or metalcore band, Far Past Broken's sound, like Miranda's voice, is poignant and loud. Void of any dove-like acoustic guitar strumming, or sympathetic vocals often associated with the Christian music genre, Far Past Broken is by contrast, dark, even a bit bone chilling.
But the outspoken Christians don't seem to fit their moody sound. Their appearance is all-American; their love for Jesus, elemental.
"It's very important to us to be a light in a crowd of darkness," 17-year-old guitarist, Garen Tijerina, said.
Last summer, after guitarist Austin Patterson and Garen and drummer Ethan Tijerina, 14, dissolved their blues and pop band, 1023, they organized a band with a more technical foundation, and harder sound.
In 1023, "We played blues, pop. It was fun to play, but we felt like there was something else, that we should go" in a different direction, the 19-year-old Patterson said. The band 1023 "wasn't the style we wanted."
Through their church connections at Parkway, they found bassist Colton Kalmus, 17, and through a MySpace ad the guys posted online, specifying their search for a vocal "screamer," they found Miranda. In August 2009, it became official - blues and pop was traded for metalcore.
"We've always loved rock and harder stuff, but we've also loved our faith, so we've tried to combine our two loves and find a middle ground," Garen Tijerina said.
In a little more than a year, Far Past Broken has played shows in multiple cities across Texas, performing for as many as 150 people at a time. They've also managed to cut a professionally-produced demo, and acquire two band sponsors, Brutal Manic Apparel and Shine Custom Drums and Percussion.
Now confident in its sound, Far Past Broken rebukes any critics of its metalcore style.
"Some people think this music is a bunch of noise, but if you listen to it you can hear it's very complex," Patterson said.
And even though their musical style is loud, the band's lyrics resemble those of any traditional Christian song.
"Some of our lyrics say things like 'Always and forever, I'll never let you go,'" Miranda said, describing song lyrics from one of Far Past Broken's recordings that speaks of God's power.
And when asked if the musical sound is anti-Christian, the band agreed, "absolutely not."
"There's a lot of secular music that sounds nice, but has ungodly lyrics," Patterson said.
Siding with Patterson, Kalmus added, "At the end of the day, it's about your heart. It's about how we live our lives."
Far Past Broken is serious about staking its claim on the Christian metalcore music scene. And the band hopes along the way, they'll introduce a few people to Christ.
"Hopefully, we're a positive influence on some kids. We love what we do and don't want to be like everyone else," Patterson said. "We're not perfect, we're just regular kids trying to live our lives for God."