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.

P.O.D.
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

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

Flyleaf

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

Fireflight

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)

RED

RED
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

Disciple

Disciple
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)

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

Skillet
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

Stryper

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

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

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

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.