Christian Rock: Bands that Advocate Christianity with Talent and Production Values

Christian Rock Hits

The genre of Christian rock has come a long way since Larry Norman’s 1969 album Upon This Rock, which was denounced by televangelists as “too rock for secular radio and too religious for rock.”

Now there are bands who make music that unambiguously advocates Christianity. These musicians aren’t shallow parodies of popular genres and have far more talent and production values than the average band on mainstream radio.

1. Underoath

Underoath is a post-hardcore/metalcore band from Tampa, Florida. It was formed in 1997 and initially identified as a Christian group, but later decided to distance themselves from Christianity and focus on music only.

After signing to Takehold Records in 1999, the band released Act of Depression and Cries of the Past with original vocalist Dallas Taylor. After his departure, Spencer Chamberlain became lead vocalist and the band began to gain more mainstream success.

In 2006 the band recorded Define the Great Line with producer James Paul Wisner (Further Seems Forever, New Found Glory). This album saw a return to their metalcore roots but was much more intricate and melodic than their previous efforts. The song “Define the Great Line” received a gold certification. The same year Aaron Gillespie started a solo project called ‘The Almost’.

2. Switchfoot

The San Diego band Switchfoot shot to fame after their songs “Learning to Breathe” and “Dare You To Move” were featured in the movie A Walk to Remember. Their lyrical themes and music are meant to inspire. They also use their popularity to support charities.

This song from their album Fading West is an emotional track that is about a man who helps families in Iraq that have been victimized by ISIS. His story inspired the song. The guitar tones are beautiful and the lyrics are thought provoking.

This compilation features many classics from some of the biggest Christian rock bands. It’s a little odd that they included this older track despite having an album release just over a month prior to this compilation.

3. Skillet

Skillet is one of the most popular Christian rock bands in the world. Their music is heavy on distorted guitar riffs and pounding drums, and their lyrics explore themes of faith and redemption. They are a great choice for a rock band that wants to reach out to a larger audience of fist-pumping believers.

Lead vocalist John Cooper explains that the name “Skillet” was originally a joke. He and the other members were each in a different band at the time, so they decided to form a side project with a skillet as the name.

Since 1996, the Memphis-based band has released 10 studio albums, including the critically acclaimed Comatose and Awake. They have also toured with Ron Luce and Teen Mania Ministries, as well as headlined the Victorious Tour.

4. Kutless

After releasing multiple studio albums and touring worldwide, Kutless has established themselves as a staple artist in the Christian rock scene. The Pacific Northwest based band, led by Jon Micah Sumrall and James Mead, has sold over 3 million records under BEC Recordings.

Having once been a hard rock act, Kutless has evolved into a more worship-inspired, pop-rock group over the years. X 2008 showcases the band’s progression into new territory, from the punk influenced Relient K’s distortion heavy “Chap Stick, Chapped Lips and Things Like Chemistry” to the youthful, Nickelback/Creed-inspired rock of Newsboys’s “Your Touch.”

From powerful worship anthems to energetic rock tracks, Kutless’s music has touched countless listeners throughout the world. Whether it be through their faith-filled lyrics or catchy melodies, their music uplifts fans and inspires them to believe in something bigger than themselves.

5. Petra

Petra was the first band to reach a wide Christian audience through rock music. Bob Hartman, the band’s founder, guitarist and primary songwriter wanted to make Christianity more accessible to younger Christians and saw music as the way to do it.

The Coloring Song catapulted Petra to the top of three charts and to prominence in contemporary Christian music. The album also showcased John Schlitt’s stronger and more mature vocals compared to previous Petra singers.

After vocalist Greg Volz left the band for a solo career the band hired former Head East lead singer John Schlitt. The band’s next release, 1986’s Back to the Street, was a departure from their slicker, high-tech sound toward what could be called a back-to-basics rock and roll style.

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