November 11, 2015

HM Magazine letter to the editor (from me) in 2003

Warning: this is a very silly and embarrassing post, but I am publishing it because I want it as part of my blog archive. If you listened to, or have an interest in, Christian rock and metal music from 1992-2002, read on. Otherwise,this post will have no relevance for you.

In 2002 HM Magazine published a list called "The Top 50 albums of the Second Half of Christian rock's history". If you don't know, "HM" stands for "Heaven's Metal", as the magazine was first known for Christian metal. But when they began covering indie rock, etc. the title didn't really work. And in the 90's (when they changed the name) a band being referred to as "heavy metal" was not a positive thing. The cover you see here is from a recent issue of the now digital-only publication.

I was pretty obsessed with "the second half of Christian rock history", as absurd as that sounds. My friend Dan was equally obsessed, and unlike me, he is a metalhead. So in early 2003 he and I began an email dialogue about this list that we eventually formatted into a "letter to the editor" of HM magazine. They published it, and I am going to republish it here mainly so it doesn't get lost, but also so that some of you might get some laughs out of it. Please don't comment about what is wrong or misinformed; believe me, it was 12 years ago, and I know!

The letter is still online at Archive.org, and as embarrassing as it is, I am going to re-publish it here in full, UNEDITED. However, I am going to give some new comments to make it relevant to 2015. Oh how I have changed, and oh how the times have changed. Everything below (except what you will find in this format: 2015: comment) is exactly how it appeared on HM's website in 2003.

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Letter Of The Month

This letter showed so much effort and insightful/fun commentary that we feel compelled to share it here, unedited (for length, which we would've had to do if we printed it in HM Magazine) and full of energy. We knew, when we picked the "Top 50 of the Second Half of Christian rock's history" that the letters to ed section would once again fulfill its purpose. Surprisingly, not a whole lot of comments came in. Maybe now the fighting can begin...

For clarification, we chose to focus on the "second half," because we'd already given so much print to the "first half" in our 7th Anniversary issue, our 10th Anniversary issue, and our 15th Anniversary issue. In going back that far and covering so much ground, some great eras get left with too little coverage. Thus, our focus on the "second half." Some of the criticism our friend offers here would be explained in that we left out those bands cuz we consider them "first half" material. The line between first and second half really begins with The Crucified's heyday. It gets a little fuzzy, because the Crucified has actually been around since the mid-to-late 80s anyway. But most of the bands in the "second half" released albums in the early 90s. Okay, enough editorializing (I'm cheating by commenting on his writing before you read it. Ha ha ha.). Let's let Alan and Daniel speak their minds:

I am a long time reader and subscriber of your magazine, and despite my lack of interest in "metal," I have always enjoyed it. As of November of last year I moved to Zambia to do mission work, and because of that, no longer receive your magazine (too expensive to get it sent here, and even then, doesn't mean I'll get it because of the postal service). But, the 100th issue arrived at my parents' house, and they sent it on to me with some other mail. It was fun to be able to read about the music I love so much, especially the interview with the Violet Burning. But, what I was most excited to see was the top 50 list.

I love best-of lists, and was excited to see the one in the HM 100 issue. I have no idea what you mean as "seminal-important-influential" or the "second half of Christian Rock," but either way, it is a solid list. I don't agree with all of it, as no one would, but for the most part it covers the scene pretty well. I only discovered a few glaring errors, which I point out below. I have very diverse musical tastes, but there are still some genres HM covers that I do not listen to: most forms of metal. Because of this, I asked my friend Daniel, a metal lover, and fellow missionary in the Middle East, to help me out. So we have written a point/counterpoint discussion on the top 50 list. I hope you find it informative, humorous, and for the most part error-free. Enjoy.

P.S. I am not sending this as a "letter to the editor," even though it is a letter to the editor in the truest sense, for two reasons: 1. I don't want it "to become the property of HM" and 2. It is way too long to print. Yes, I would love to see the complete thing be published in your magazine because I think most readers would eat it up, but there is almost no chance that would happen. Maybe if you think it is worthy, you could put it on your website. If you got a kick out reading it, but no more, I'll post it on my own website. I am not saying this is some great literary work; it is just the composition of two friends who have an extensive knowledge of Christian Rock.

Author: Alan (26 years old. Favorite bands: Poor Old Lu, Sixpence None the Richer, the Prayer Chain, Sunny Day Real Estate, Luxury)

Top 5 albums that should be on this list that aren't:

Argyle Park- Misguided
Pedro the Lion- It's Hard to Find a Friend
Sixpence None the Richer- This Beautiful Mess
Luxury- Amazing and Thank You
Blenderhead- Muchacho Vivo

Co-Author: Daniel (22 years old. Favorite Bands: Bride, Believer, Tourniquet, Lament)

Top 3 albums that should be on this list that aren't:

Deliverance - Weapons of Our Warfare
Believer - Dimensions
Vengeance Rising - Once Dead

[Here is a breakdown on the entire list of 50]:

1. Unashamed- Reflection

Alan: A less-than-average hardcore album. One of the first Tooth and Nail hardcore releases, as was a much better album: Focused- Bow, which is not on this list. This album is probably best known for it's scream-o cover of "Our God is an Awesome God."

Daniel: Anyone who's ever heard the introduction song can't help but be overcome by the fury and intensity, especially if they know what hardcore is supposed to sound like. The lyrics to all the songs on this album are exceptional (straight from the Bible in many cases), the undercurrent of an adolescent recovering from divorce is hopeful in the midst of the pain, and even the little phone machine segues in between songs were creative--exactly on the money for the high school/early college years crowd. I'll admit one thing: when I first heard this album, I honestly thought that the high school howl of most hardcore "singers" was truly as unpleasant to hear as Justin Timberlake. However, this album played a large part in changing that opinion. If I continue to write this much about each album, I'll be writing for the next decade so I'd better speed up and not write as much!

2. Sometime Sunday- Stone

Alan: Agree wholeheartedly. A great album, possibly the best Christian "grunge" album ever released. However, Sometime Sunday should not be here before Blenderhead, a much better Tooth and Nail band peaking during the same time period.

Daniel: These same guys were in Tragedy Ann? Dang!

3. Fleming and John- Delusions of Grandeur

Alan: First of all, it would have been nice to see the original cover art of this album, not the reissue. That said, I love this album, one of my favorites, but it does not belong on this list. It would definitely belong on my list of the top 50 greatest albums of the last 10 years, but only behind many more female-fronted bands. I say this because this is the ONLY female vocal album on the entire HM list. Sixpence None the Richer, Hoi Polloi, Dakoda Motor Co., and Morella?s Forest should at least be here. Female-fronted music, heavy or not, has always been missing from HM.

Daniel: I agree with your sentiment that this album is simply fantastic but shouldn't have been included on the list. However, none of those other groups should have been either. If it's pop, light rock, or whatnot, I don't see why it should be included on a list that's about the 50 best heavy albums.

4. POD- Brown

Alan: A solid album, but at the time did not display the talent and energy of their live show.

Daniel: You can't help but wonder if they included this album just to awe a person who might not be as familiar with POD's non-radio stuff. All the same, I think that Southtown should have been on the list--it's what catapulted them to fame, and quite frankly, the songs on it are much better.

5. Klank- Still Suffering

Alan: A weak industrial album. The only list it should make is the top 50 industrial albums. Where is Argyle Park- Misguided?

Daniel: Ahh, Klank's Still Suffering. This tasty contribution was and remains the best industrial metal offering ever presented. A bold statement, yes, but one that is confirmed upon listening to the album. Probably the only diss I'd have on it is that the lyrics were a little typical of the "Man, I'm ticked" variety. Alan's right, and we can only hope that the omission of Misguided was obviously forgetfulness in action (I'd hate to assume it was intentional).


6. Ninety Pound Wuss- Short Hand Operation

Alan: Maybe. I don't like punk, and always hated this band, but it could be good, I wouldn't know.

Daniel: I never liked this "band."

2015: I have developed great respect for Jeff "Suffering" Bettger, lead singer of this band. However, I still haven't really grown to appreciate the music of Ninety Pound Wuss.


7. Zao- Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest

Alan: I knew at least one Zao album would be included, and I am glad this one was chosen, the only one I ever considered buying. But the first time I saw them in concert I bought a shirt with the album title on it instead.

Daniel: The coolest band shirt I've ever seen (bar none) was a yellow Zao shirt that a pink bar of soap on it, underneath which it said, "Mayhem, metal, soap." The bar of soap had "Zao" on it, and I was like, "Dang, that's nice." Anyway, I would have gone with the Liberate Ex Te Inferno (or whatever that Latin junk was) just because of the Event Horizon samples and the Dante theme.

8. Mortal- Fathom

Alan: Heck yes. I get excited just looking at the cover of the album. One of the best albums on this list, in my top 5 albums of all time.

Daniel: Daniel: The only Mortal album I have heard is their self-titled one. If you like techno, it's ok. If not, you probably won't.

9. The Blamed- Give Us Barabbas

Alan: I do not understand why people like the second coming of this band so much. See The Blamed- Frail.

Daniel: Never been much of a Blamed fan myself. (Don't want to go fueling their "Pity me please" lyrical sentiments, but...)

2015: It took me years to buy it, but this is a great album. "Frail" still so much better.

10. Strongarm- Atonement

Alan: Maybe. A solid hardcore album, but I think there are better. In fact, I think too many hardcore albums are on this list. Who would have thought at the time these guys were capable of totally changing styles and becoming Further Seems Forever.

Daniel: Alan's thoughts are truly dead on here--for instance, although we're only at number 10 here, I haven't seen a single death (or even simple "heavy") metal album on here yet, and that is inexcusable. As much as an 11 year old hardcore fan might not want to admit it/learn about it, most of the (at least early) 90's were spent in heavy metal, death metal, grind metal, and thrash. That's where the good music was. To a person who thinks it's cool to go around with big ol' Buddy Holly glasses and a tie because "that defines good hard music," I say, "Break out of your own mold and try some Tourniquet, older Mortification, or early Embodyment. Or if none of that suits you give Believer, Ultimatum, or Deliverance a chance." Incidentally, why weren't any of those last four band's albums included? It's almost musical repression that more people do not appreciate these groups? music. Metallica's recent "S & M" album (highly popular) was done better by Believer way earlier--no joke, kiddies.

11. No Innocent Victim- No Compromise

Alan: Never heard the album, but I'm sure something from the original Christian hardcore band belongs on here.

Daniel: Just in case you're ever about to have to stand up to Pharoah as he drives by in his chariot while all your friends are bowing before him, make sure you have this album's music going in your mind. Truly, this was an excellent inclusion.

12. Everdown- Sicken

Alan: I liked this album at the time, but there is no way it belongs on a top 50 list of any kind.

Daniel: Man, I totally missed this album, so who knows?

13. Blaster the Rocketboy- SSFFTV

Alan: The choice of this album is about as strange as what the acronym stands for.

Daniel: If you've got dandruff, I recommend not reading this list too closely, because you'll be sure to be scratching your head at why Blaster the Rocketboy was included while Dogwood wasn't included at all.

14. Blindside- A Thought Crushed My Mind

Alan: The best hardcore album ever released. Heavy, beautiful, and talent displayed that most bands in this genre can only dream about.

Daniel: If a person wants to say it's the best album ever released, I say, "Heck, why not?" Riddled with good licks, peppered with spicy lyrics, splattered with emotion, it is pretty good stuff.

2015: My comment is a little strong and silly, but this is my favorite Blindside album.

15. MeWithoutYou- A-B Life

Alan: The most overrated album on this list. This band is ok, but they are no way as unique and "groundbreaking" as everyone keeps saying.

Daniel: Uh, Alan, I've never even heard of this band or band number 17, bro. But if you say they're over-rated, they're over-rated. Period.

2015: mewithoutYou is now one of my favorite bands. While I still don't like this album that much, mewithoutYou is more unique and groundbreaking than they get credit for.

16. Horde- Hellig Usvart

Alan: No clue.

Daniel: Ahh, like a waft of fresh air cooling your sweat-soaked body after a productive garage band practice, Horde descended on the musical scene with the full fury of what it was--plague of hornets disguised as music. Truly beautiful, up-front and in-your-face, and heavy as an 18-wheeler running over your foot, this album succeeded in actually doing what would have been simply pretentious for others--naming your band "Horde."

17. Dashboard Confessional- The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most

Alan: Of all the albums present, it deserves to be here the least. Not hard, not rock, not good. Just because the teenagers love it and MTV gives it an award, doesn' t mean an acoustic solo album about making out from the former lead singer of Further Seems Forever should be given any credit. And I don?t know where to place this comment, so I'll put it here: WHERE THE HECK IS PEDRO THE LION? Under no circumstances is there anyway David Bazan's band should have been left off this list. I could write a book about why, but I don't think anyone would argue with me.

Daniel: See band 15. I'll be honest with you, although some would make fun of me for not having heard of this band, I count it as a good thing that I don't get my musical taste from MTV. Who gives a rip what MTV thinks?

18. Stavesacre- Absolutes

Alan: Absolutely. I would have picked Friction over this, but both are amazing albums. If only the band hadn't fallen apart.

Daniel: I'm beginning to feel like a pessimist here, but all my creative energies are being turned to the dark side as a result of what were really the better albums getting totally dropped from this list. Thus, whereas normally I'd be soaring up into Miltonesque rhapsody about the joys of this good music, right now I'm just saying stuff like, "Stavesacre is, like the DC Talk remix of a certain pathetic Doobie Brothers song, just alright."

2015: Thankfully, after "falling apart", Stavesacre did recover to release a great LP in 2006 and EP in 2009. And they are now at work on new music!

19. The Crucified- s/t

Alan: I don't like the music, but I agree with its selection. One of the first good Christian punk bands, and these four guys went on to tear up the scene as they formed numerous other bands.

Daniel: I couldn't have said it better myself so I won't. I'd really appreciate it if somebody re-mastered the early Crucified cds so that their genuine energy could shine again.

2015: Took me a really long time to properly appreciate The Crucified, but I now listen to "The Pillars of Humanity" all the time.

20. Tourniquet- Pathogenic Occular Dissonance

Alan: Not my favorite album by this band, but Christian metal was rarely better.

Daniel: Again, Alan's right. It's tough to choose the best Tourniquet album (the first one, the second one, their most recent one?), but this one, although perhaps not their best, was great. And again, no, Christian metal has never been better, although I'd say there are other bands that are equally good (in their own styles).

21. Hopesfall- The Satellite Years

Alan: Is this the most recent release to be included on this list (Fall 2002)? Why is it?

Daniel: My hope's fell on seeing this entry because I've never heard of it.

22. The Prayer Chain- Shawl

Alan: One of the top three best albums on this list. This amazing band is made up of four incredibly talented individuals who have gone on to release dozens of albums as many artists after the band's demise. If only one Prayer Chain album could have been included, it should have been Mercury, but in reality both belong.

Daniel: Although this style of music isn't really my forte so I can't totally tell, what Alan said seems true enough.

23. Overcome- When Beauty Dies

Alan: Tons of albums are more deserving, but not bad.

Daniel: If you think hardcore is the epitome of heavy music, I suppose this is a decent inclusion.

24. Further Seems Forever- The Moon is Down

Alan: I like this album, but it doesn't justify the band's popularity. I am of the opinion that if Chris Carraba hadn't left to do his own thing, no one would care about FSF or Dashboard. This album is however tons better than his solo work. And, since we are in the genre, where is the Juliana Theory? I am not saying they need to be on this list, but they do well ahead of FSF.

Daniel: Yet another embarrassing moment for me. I've never heard of this sailor, and because everything you wrote about him and the name of the album/band seems to indicate that it's not really heavy music, I'm pretty happy with this state of affairs.

2015: Turns out I like this album way better in hindsight.

25. Michael Knott- The Life of David

Alan: I am a huge Knott fan, and I can't figure out why this is the album chosen of his. It is good, but compared to a lot of his other stuff it is nothing. I can understand when an artist releases 2 or 3 albums a year for the last 10 years why it would be hard to pick one. But I cannot understand why this would ever be the one to be picked.

Daniel: I've heard a bargeload of Knott's stuff too, but I haven't heard this one so I don't know either.

26. Bride- Snakes in the Playground

Alan: The best metal album ever?

Daniel: The sound of dancing angels floats down into the waiting ears of the faithful as the opening kick of this album begins thumping them repeatedly in the chest. Honestly, this album is so good. It's one of the few albums ever recorded that can sustain literal years of constant replay and only begin to get slightly old. Even most metalheads seem to occasionally enjoy bashing Bride just for the fun of it, but I'm one of the few who abstains. The members of Bride have done a boatload of good for the music world at large as a result of their 20 years plus of playing, and I wouldn't hesitate to say that their impact made for the kingdom will not be forgotten by the King when their time comes to meet him. If Bride's "Live to Die" was THE BEST metal album of the 80's, "Snakes in the Playground" was THE BEST metal album of the 90's.

27. Paramecium- Exhumed of the Earth

Alan: No clue.

Daniel: Paramecium? No clue? Come on, bro. Paramecium is truly--hold on, I'm distracted because now I want to look them up on MP3.com--one of the best metal bands there ever is/was. I don't think it's cool to go building up already relatively famous folks' already-siliconed biographies, but Jason Sherlocke deserves a pat on the back for the great stuff he's contributed to the metal music scene. One other thing, Paramecium's not included on MP3.com; could somebody holler out and get them on there?

28. Galactic Cowboys- s/t

Alan: I came close to buying one of this band's albums in the late 90's, but never got around to it. I know the band is good, and they should have something represented.

Daniel: Everybody who's anybody likes the Galactic Cowboys. I've never really been a fan.

29. POD- Satellite

Alan: The most popular and best-selling album by a Christian rock band ever? Despite that, it is really good.

Daniel: POD's come a long way (not necessarily a good thing for a few of their fans) since their early days, and although admittedly much of their true hardcore grit has been lost, perhaps that's a good thing.

30. Crimson Thorn- Unearthed

Alan: No clue.

Daniel: Honestly, Crimson Thorn is such good hard music. Playing on the level of all the best death/grind/whatever bands out there, their music is so low and downtuned and terrific that I can hardly imagine better. I would say that you should be proud to have your band picture taken while you're wearing a Crimson Thorn shirt.

31. The Blamed- Frail

Alan: I was shocked to see this on the list, but not because it doesn't belong. I LOVE THIS ALBUM. The best hardcore punk I have ever heard. One of Tooth and Nail's early releases that seems to have been lost in the shuffle, no one ever talks about it. Hard to believe that the Blamed is the only band next to POD who has two albums represented here though. Of course it would be hard to convince someone that the two Blamed albums are by the same artist, I am not sure myself.

Daniel: Doh! Not again! I was wondering if anyone was going to be included twice on the list, and The Blamed would have been one of my last guesses.

32. Chevelle- Point #1

Alan: A good album, but doesn't touch their newest, 2nd release. But, at the time, the Christian scene had nothing to offer that sounded anything remotely like this: Tool, Helmet, etc. I like it.

Daniel: I echo Dell Griffith and Alan both, saying, "I...I like me." I mean, I like Chevelle too.

33. Starflyer 59- Silver

Alan: I am so glad this was Starflyer album picked. With tons of releases that all sound completely different, it is hard to choose, but I definitely like this, their debut, the best.

Daniel: I appreciate Starflyer 59 in the way you do your 2nd best friend's dad...you kind of realize that he's important somehow, but you just can't really put your finger on it.

34. Precious Death- Southpaw

Alan: I had a friend who loved this band, and I think this album was his favorite of all time. Myself, no clue.

Daniel: Ahh, I was honestly beginning to think that I'd have to name this "Dan's Rants" until I saw bands 34, 36, and 37 on here. Pardon me while I go into a brief rhapsody about all these bands. As a drummer, I can tell you definitively that the drum playing on this album is incredible, and even the editors of HM ought themselves to remember that PD's bass player at this time was given their own personal "Best Bass Player" award--not bad. The music was hard and fast and tough to be labeled. Southpaw was one of those albums that was just...good.

35. Roadside Monument- Eight Hours Away from being a Man

Alan: Great band that I could never get into. If the word emo should be used to describe anything, this is it: truly EMOTIONAL music. Three incredible musicians at their finest hour. I would watch them play a live show any day.

Daniel: I would add that emo, not in itself a bad word, normally conjures up basically pathetic music? Ahhem, the good angel on my left shoulder has just informed me that I'm already digging myself into an inescapable pit concerning my "unashamed" preference for heavier metal over hardcore or grunge. The bad angel on the other shoulder is encouraging me to continue. I'll compromise between them both, and say, "The two best emo albums of all time were Dear Ephesus's 'The Consolation of Pianissimo' and Sleeping at Last's first album." And the only reason I mention Sleeping at Last as emo is because I have no idea what otherwise to call them.

2015: Sadly wasn't until this year that I finally bought all the Roadside Monument albums!

36. Extol- Burial

Alan: Longest hair in the business. Besides that, no clue.

Daniel: The first time I ever heard this cd, it scared me. Not like, "Ooh, this is loud" scared or even "Ooh, these guys have long hair and/or are scary" scared, but "Dang, this is truly frightening music" scared. The incredibly fast double bass kicking and the rapidity of the snare hits just overwhelmed me at the time, and I lay in bed glad that I was still single so that I wouldn't have to be scared in front of my wife. This album is incredible, almost so good that once you've listened to it a few times, you almost have to put it away. Why? I don't know why.

37. Mortification- Scrolls of the Megilloth

Alan: This band scares me, and I like Argyle Park. No clue.

Daniel: I had thought up a really cool line to say about Mortification's inclusion, specifically the inclusion of this album. I forgot it. But this album, basically undebated even by Satanists and whoever else listens to this stuff, is about the best death/grind metal album ever recorded. If you dislike heart-shocking drums, face-blistering bass lines, knee-quaking guitar stress, and vocals that came from the deepest abysses of a man's being, stay away from this album. Otherwise, keep Mortification in your thoughts--Steve Rowe's life is undoubtedly still difficult.

38. Brandtson- Letterbox

Alan: One of my favorite bands, but far and away their weakest release. Crappy production, and the poorest songs the band ever wrote (the first songs they ever wrote). Besides the most requested song of the indie scene, this album has nothing to offer. Any of their other releases belongs here, but not this one.

Daniel: Just because this is one of Alan's favorite bands, "this band scares me."

39. Poor Old Lu- Sin

Alan: My third favorite album of all time. Unlike anything ever released. Not to mention the best cover artwork of the top 50.

Daniel: Poor Old Lu deserved to be included on this list, if not for a specific album, at least for the good tunes they've given to the world throughout their existence.

40. Norma Jean- Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child

Alan: A lot of people like this band. Not me.

Daniel: No offense, but I never liked Luti-Kriss. Hokey, man. Hokey.

41. Appleseed Cast- The End of the Ring Wars

Alan: Ditto as the other Deep Elm band on here. Appleseed Cast has released groundbreaking albums; this is not one of them. Just because it is their debut doesn't mean it's their best; wake up HM. And I find it strange that a band with only one Christian member and a co-songwriter that is Jewish is "important" in Christian Rock. If we are going to start including bands like this Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, and the Gloria Record need to be here.

Daniel: Truly well put, Alan. If we're going to include bands that have only one Christian member or whatnot, then we ought to have included Craig's Brother and a number of others.

2015: Turns out, according to this interview with Chris Crisci, the Appleseed Cast may have had zero Christians in the band. They played Cornerstone the first time only because they were on tour with Dear Ephesus, and then again the next year only for the money! :) This one example of many why bands should never be classified as "Christian" or not anyway.

42. Plankeye- The Spark

Alan: A good album by a very under-appreciated band. I liked it, and thought it was the best thing they ever released.

Daniel: It's funny you think Plankeye was under-appreciated--they were pretty popular in the Dallas/Fort Worth region. Anyway, has anyone besides me seen that one video where they're kind of acting like the Power Rangers? I thought that was funny. (Ok, I admit it again. I wasn't really listening to this album back in the day--when you've got GROMS, why should you?)

43. King's X- Faith Hope Love

Alan: I was never a fan, but from what I heard, it was the best album by a great band.

Daniel: I'm probably embarrassing myself by having admitted that, like Alan, I was never a fan, but I also agree that I heard it was good.

44. Saviour Machine- Legend I

Alan: A great, albeit very weird band. This is the only thing by them I ever bought, and as good as it is, I couldn't get into it.

Daniel: If orchestras and heavy metal and apocalyptic themes strike you as the best thing ever, you're wrong; Because Savior Machine has genuinely weird stage stuff too. And that makes them about the best at what they do. Incidentally, uh, does anyone know what they actually do?

45. Circle of Dust- (1995)

Alan: A solid industrial album, but not my favorite Klayton Scott (Albert) release. I'll repeat if any industrial album belongs, it should be Argyle Park- Misguided. And it is nowhere to be found.

Daniel: Not to jump on the complaint bandwagon, but I heartily agree that Misguided should have been included on here instead.

46. MxPx- Life in General

Alan: I'll agree that MxPx should be on this list, as they are far and away the best Christian punk band ever. But, not this album; Pokinatcha or Teenage Politics are both tons better.

Daniel: Yeah, it's good. "Dan, are you unhappy about anything?" "No, I just don't (sniff) like MxPx very much."

47. Rackets and Drapes- Candyland

Alan: The only thing I know about this band is that they are supposedly the Christian alternative to Marilyn Manson. Whether or not they are good, no clue.

Daniel: Alan's exactly right--these guys "were" (not around anymore) the Christian Marilyn Manson. Whether you think Manson's "good" will determine whether you like these guys or not. Personally, I think they're ok, and I was dang pleased to get this one concept album they put out. A good idea in case other bands are interested: Print up a very limited number of cds with unreleased, high-quality songs, sign and number each of the packages, and include all kinds of privileges with it such as lifetime free admission to concerts, discounts on all t-shirts and albums, etc. Now that's nice.

48. Living Sacrifice- Reborn

Alan: The best album by this prolific band.

Daniel: Truly an incredible album. This band is one of the four ongoing hard Christian metal bands that continues to make as much of an impact as when they first came on the scene. Speaking of which, I've been re-listening to the original (not the re-release) album, and friends, it is just blazing. I love it when guitars sound like they're on fire, and the guitarist is trying to put it out by playing so fast that the air pockets created by his hands will douse it. Shouldn't forget the drummer either, since he's like the only original member.

49. Guardian- Buzz

Alan: Guardian released some good albums in their day; this was not one of them. A pathetic attempt to change genres from metal to modern rock. Of course any attempt at changing from metal to modern rock is pathetic.

Daniel: Absolutely agreed here, man, although I was always under the secret impression that Guardian was secretly a little bit flaky. Incidentally, the only notable possible exception to your otherwise deservedly axiomatic statement about changing from metal to hard rock is Bride's Snakes album, Alan.

50. Wish for Eden- Pet the Fish

Alan: At the time I loved it. What was I thinking? Nonetheless it should be included just for being the very first release of Tooth and Nail Records, the best in the business.

Daniel: Just to allow myself to be distracted from the point that I never got into Wish for Eden, I'd like to ask why my garage band wasn't included on this list? Anyway, a big holla ought to go out to HM for putting out this fun list in the first place.

[HM Magazine thanks Alan and Daniel for the non-exclusive use of their article/letter/thing here.]

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