A Guide to the World's Best Christian Hard Rock Bands

A List of Several of the Best Hard Rock Christian Bands

Controlling the music
PeopleImages / Getty Images

From the underground days of the Resurrection Band of the late 1970's to the 21st century, as a genre, Christian hard rock has twisted, turned and grown. However, one thing has remained the same -- the reason they sing and play.

All the bands below make music for the Lord.


P.O.D. © Razor & Tie

P.O.D. (Payable on Death) was formed in 1992 in San Ysidro, California by Marcos Curiel, Noah Bernardo (Wuv) and Wuv's cousin, Sonny Sandoval. Mark Daniels (Traa) joined in 1993.

Throughout the 90s, P.O.D. sold more than 40,000 copies of their three homemade EPs. Atlantic Records signed the band in 1998. Marcos left in 2003 and was replaced with Jason Truby. In 2006, Marcos rejoined the band. Later, Jason left and P.O.D. left Atlantic.

P.O.D. Discography

P.O.D. Essential Songs

P.O.D. Band Members

Sonny Sandoval - Vocals
Marcos Curiel - Guitar
Wuv Bernardo - Drums
Traa Daniels - Bass

P.O.D. Official Website

12 Stones

12 Stones
12 Stones. © Executive Music Group

12 Stones was formed in 2000 in Mandeville, Louisiana (a small suburb North of New Orleans).

They were signed to Wind-Up Records in 2002 and have released three albums since then.

12 Stones Discography

12 Stones Essential Songs

12 Stones Band Members

Paul McCoy – Vocals
Eric Weaver – Guitar
Aaron Gainer – Drums
Will Reed - Bass

In 2003 Paul McCoy was featured on the Evanescence song "Bring Me To Life" and won a GRAMMY for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Decyfer Down

Decyfer Down
Decyfer Down. © Provident

Originally known as Allysonhymn (pronounced "all-eyes-on-him), Decyfer Down formed in 1999 as an acoustic group with two members -- drummer Josh Oliver and guitarist Brandon Mills.

2002 brought a lot of changes to the band. They added members, changed their name to Decyfer Down and switched to a rock sound.

SRE Recordings signed the group in 2006 and their debut came out that summer.

Decyfer Down Discography

  • Scarecrow, August 27, 2013
  • Crash, 2009 (Purchase/Download)
  • End Of Grey, 2006 Compare Prices

Decyfer Down Essential Songs

Decyfer Down Band Members

TJ Harris - Vocals, Guitar
Brandon Mills - Guitar
Josh Oliver - Drums
Chris Clonts - Guitar

    Decyfer Down Official Website

    Flyleaf - 2014
    Flyleaf - 2014. © Loud & Proud Records

    Flyleaf was formed in Texas in 2000. In 2004, the band released their debut EP on Octone Records. The full-length CD, titled, released that one year later with Howard Benson at the helm as producer.

    Flyleaf Discography

    Flyleaf Essential Songs

    Flyleaf Band Members

    Kristen May - vocals
    Sameer Bhattacharya - guitar
    Jared Hartmann - guitar
    Pat Seals - bass
    James Culpepper - drums

    Flyleaf Official Website


    Fireflight 2015
    Fireflight 2015. © Flicker Records / Photographer Eric Brown

    Fireflight hit the Christian music scene in 2006 after getting signed by Flicker Records. Led by Dawn Michele, who has been compared to Joan Jett and The Pretenders’ Chrissy Hynde, the band has proven that they definitely have what it takes to be one of the best.

    In 2015, the release of Innova revealed a new side of the band. While fans will still hear the rock they've come to know and love, there are now elements of pop and electronic thrown in, giving Fireflight an updated sound. 

    Fireflight Discography

    Fireflight Essential Songs

    Fireflight Band Members

    Dawn Michele (Vocals)
    Glenn Drennen (Guitar)
    Adam McMillion (Drums)
    Wendy Drennen (Bass)

    Fireflight Official Website

    RED. © Provident

    RED was formed in 2004 in Nashville, Tennessee when Michael Barnes met brothers Anthony and Randy Armstrong. The addition of drummer Andrew Hendrix and second guitarist Jasen Rauchy officially made a band, and RED was born.

    After the group signed with Essential Records, Hendrix left and Hayden Lamb was picked as the replacement drummer. Lamb was injured in a serious wreck in 2007 and officially left the band in 2008.

    RED Discography

    RED Essential Songs

    RED Band Members

    Michael Barnes - Vocals
    Anthony Armstrong - Guitar
    Joe Rickard - Drums
    Randy Armstrong - Bass

    RED Official Website


    Disciple (2014). © Disciple

    Kevin Young was in middle school when the first thoughts of forming a band entered his mind. At 13, he and drummer Tim Barrett formed Disciple, adding guitarist Brad Noah in December 1992. Over the next 8 years, they released 4 more albums, adding bassist Joey Fife in '03 to become a quartet.

    They went back to the studio in early '04 to record Rise Up and got the attention of A&R men at major labels across the country. They eventually signed with SRE.

    Since then, the lineup and the record labels have changed, but the great music remains the same!

    Disciple Discography

    Disciple Essential Songs

    Disciple Band Members

    Kevin Young (Vocals)
    Josiah Prince (Guitar)
    Andrew Stanton(Guitar)
    Joey West (Drums)

    Disciple Official Website

    Sent By Ravens

    Sent By Ravens
    Sent By Ravens. © Tooth & Nail Records

    Hailing from Hartsville, South Carolina, Sent By Ravens is one of those great bands that delivers lyrics that come from their hearts rather than a "success formula."

    Sent By Ravens Discography

    Sent By Ravens Essential Songs

    Sent By Ravens Band Members

    Zach Riner - Vocals
    JJ Leonard - Guitar
    Andy O'Neal - Guitar
    Jon Arena - Bass
    Dane Anderson - Drums

    Skillet. © Atlantic / INO / Ardent

    Skillet was formed in Memphis, TN, by John Cooper, Ken Steorts, and Trey McClurkin in 1996. John's wife Korey joined in 2001, Ben Kasica replaced Ken, Lori Peters replaced Trey and the band signed with Ardent Records.

    In 2004, Lava Records picked the band up and released them to the mainstream.

    Skillet Discography

    Skillet Essential Songs

    Skillet Band Members

    John Cooper - Vocals, bass
    Korey Cooper – keyboard, vocals, rhythm guitar, synthesizer
    Jen Ledger - Drums, vocals
    Seth Morrison - Guitar

    Skillet Official Website

    Stryper - 25 years of music
    Stryper - 25 years of music. © Stryper

    Originally formed in 1982 in Orange County, California as Roxx Regime by brothers Michael and Robert Sweet, Oz Fox and Tim Gaines, Stryper helped put Christian Hard Rock/Metal on the map.

    A nine-year hiatus (1992-2000) found the band members pursuing music apart, but the Yellow and Black came back and are going as strong as ever.

    Stryper Discography:

    Stryper Essential Songs

    Stryper Band Members

    Michael Sweet - Vocals, guitar
    Oz Fox - Lead Guitar
    Robert Sweet - Drums
    Tim Gaines - Bass

    Stryper Official Website

    Thousand Foot Krutch

    Thousand Foot Krutch
    Thousand Foot Krutch. © Tooth & Nail

    Originally formed in 1997 in Toronto, Thousand Foot Krutch started out playing parties, proms and any other places they could be heard. After recording a demo that made the rounds, the band signed with Tooth & Nail in 2003.

    Thousand Foot Krutch Discography:

    Thousand Foot Krutch Essential Songs

    Thousand Foot Krutch Band Members

    Trevor McNevan - Vocals
    Steve Augustine - Drums
    Joel Bruyere - Bass

    Thousand Foot Krutch Official Website

    We As Human

    We As Human
    We As Human. © Atlantic / Word Records

    The new kids on the Christian hard rock block have a real Cinderella story. Their road manager met some of Skillet's band members and gave them a CD. Once John Cooper heard it, he knew he had a hit band on his hands.

    An introduction to Atlantic Records came next and the band was snatched up. After a successful EP release, the band's first full-length album hit stores in June 2013 with guest vocals from John Cooper and Flyleaf's Lacey Sturm.

    We As Human Discography:

    We As Human Essential Songs

    We As Human Band Members

    Justin Cordle - Vocals
    Adam Osborne - Drums
    Jake Jones - Guitar
    Justin Forshaw - Guitar
    Dave Draggoo - Bass

    We As Human Official Website

    Up and Coming Bands to Watch

    Icon For Hire
    Icon For Hire. © Tooth & Nail

    No "Best" list would be complete without the bands to watch out for because they're headed to the top.

    Here are a couple bands to keep an eye on:

    • Icon For Hire - This four-piece band released their debut album in 2011 and it hit #1 on the Soundscan Christian Rock chart.
    • The Letter Black - Signed to Tooth & Nail Records, this band, led by a husband and wife team, has shared the stage with Skillet and Decyfer Down.