Scream The Prayer 2011 Kicks Off in Nashville, Tennessee
Scream The Prayer is a touring metal and hardcore festival of sorts, already in its fourth year, that packs the stage with bands that specialize in redefining what counts as a Christian worship service. The bands associated with the tour this year are as follows: Norma Jean, Sleeping Giant, The Chariot, War of Ages, Close Your Eyes, Texas In July, I The Breather, The Great Commission, As Hell Retreats, and Sovereign Strength. From beginning to end, each band worked towards bringing the word of God to the masses in the form of relentless heavy metal.
Regardless of your stance on religion, you have to commend these bands for their drive. On July 1st, I was on hand to catch the first date of this 2011 tour.
Each band brought enough energy to get the crowd moving from 3pm until beyond 10 at night. The first two bands, As Hell Retreats and Sovereign Strength, kicked things off during an oppressively hot and humid Nashville Friday afternoon at Rocketown’s smaller venue. It may have been the smaller of Rocketown’s two buildings, but it was packed to the back just the same and you’d get the feeling you’d pass out if you didn’t sit down in between sets.
The Great Commission and I The Breather had the audience jumping, at one point lowering them all to the floor and then having them jump on cue. At one point, a wall of death was attempted and both sides of the room charged each other head-on. Texas In July and Close Your Eyes followed up with a double-dose of heavy preaching set to fast double-kick drumming and growls. War of Ages raised the bar on guitar skills for the night, clad in their Iron Maiden shirts.
The Chariot, easily the wildest band on the bill, made the stage their personal panic room. Between bouts of flinging guitars left and right, one of the guitarists climbed up to the rafters and hung upside-down with his guitar like a bat. It was odd, but it sure made the crowd go wild. Everyone wanted a piece of them, and several times the band opted to jump out into the crowd and surf while playing. More chaos than order, the band seemed to be going into hysterics on their instruments, building to a fever pitch and ending when the energy was high.
Sleeping Giant followed with the most crowd engagement, at times reaching out over the audience as the audience had their hands held high. Charismatic front man Thom Green interjected bits of Christian wisdom and words of hope between songs. After stirring up the audience, Green called the Holy Spirit down on the crowd as they sang back to him and held their hands high. This was the highlight of the show and the band’s naked devotion to their God was shown in all its fervor.
My interview with Sleeping Giant’s Thom Green and J.R. Bermuda will be available online very soon.
Norma Jean ended things by forgoing the venue’s lighting, opting for their own blend of strobe lighting and back-lit stage props. The band rounded out the evening and brought the show to a close after eight hours. For a list of all Scream The Prayer 2011 tour dates as it continues for the entire month of July, head on over to this link.
A photo album from the show will be up shortly in the Photo Gallery.
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