Best Christian rock bands of all time

List of 20 Best Christian Rock Bands of All Time

Christian music has come a really long way, since the time followers of Jesus had the guts to strap on electric guitars despite resistance from the conservative society. This Buzzle article has compiled a list of 20 best Christian rock bands from varied genres and timelines.
Did You Know?
Larry Norman, often described as the Grandfather of Christian Rock, in the year 1969, recorded and released the first commercial rock album on Jesus―"Upon This Rock".
Christian Rock music is for die-hard Christian music enthusiasts. It was not welcomed by the secular world as it was considered sexual in nature. Religious folks in the U.S. were particularly apprehensive about their kids getting exposed to this kind of music.

Launched in 1950, rebuked by many and unsure of it being the right medium for the spreading the gospel, it was less successful in the U.K. and Europe. However, Bryn Haworth―Christian music artist―was a major hit with his Christian themes blended in blues and mainstream rock music style as also the Crusaders―first Christian music band.

Here's Buzzle's compilation of bands belting out numbers with gospel messages in the modern rock style. The list is not based on rankings or popularity.

Top 20 Christian Bands

* Click on the names for more info.


1. Audio Adrenaline


Origin: Grayson, Kentucky

Genre: Christian rock, alternative rock, contemporary Christian music

Operative Years: 1986-2007, 2012-present

Members: Will McGinniss, Josh Engler, Jared Byers, Dwayne Larring

Description: Earlier this band was called A-180, and they were a hit initially. Due to their rising popularity, every school was keen to book them for the weekend. They had performed over 100 shows, and released two singles. Due to these releases, executives from Forefront Records approached the band and offered them a record deal; however, the band had to change their name to Audio Adrenaline. After disbanding in 2007, their fans urged the members to reunite, which they did in 2012.

Albums: Audio Adrenaline (1992), Don't Censor Me (1993), Underdog (1999), Lift (2001), Kings & Queens (2013).

Awards: Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album (2004), GMA Dove Awards for Long Form Music Video Of the Year (1996), Rock Album Of the Year (2003)


2. Skillet


Origin: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Genre: Christian rock, Christian metal, alternative rock, hard rock

Operative Years: 1996-present

Members: John Cooper, Korey Cooper, Jen Ledger, Seth Morrison

Description: Due to their tough touring schedule and powerful shows, they were listed among the top five hardest working bands of 2011. Their band consists of husband John (lead vocal), and wife Korey (rhythm guitar). The band specializes in industrial/tech rock kind of music. The band has released a total of eight albums, receiving two Grammy nominations for their album Collide and Comatose.
Albums: Skillet (1996), Collide (2003), Comatose (2006), Rise (2013)

Awards: Billboard Music Award (2014), Drummies Award (2012), HM Awards (2013).


3. Red


Origin: Nashville, Tennessee, US

Genre: alternative rock, alternative metal, Christian rock, Christian metal, hard rock, heavy metal, post-grunge.

Operative Years: 2004-present

Members: Michael Barnes, Anthony Armstrong, Randy Armstrong

Description: Started in the year 2004, the band has sold almost 1 million albums worldwide. They are known for their post-grunge music and have a fair share of followers in Christian circles and other group. Their songs are basically about the everyday struggle a person goes through―professional or personal. They are relatively new to the Christian rock scene,and only time will determine whether they go on to replicate the initial success they have achieved.

Albums: End of Silence (2006), Innoncence & Instinct (2009), Until We Have Faces (2011), Release the Panic (2013)

Awards: Rock Album of the Year (2007), Rock recorded song of the year (2009), Rock Album of the Year (2013).


4. Thousand Foot Krutch


Origin: Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Christian rock, nu metal, rap metal, hard rock

Operative Years: 1995-present

Members: Trevor McNevan, Steve Augustine, Joel Bruyere

Description: This band has released six albums till date, initially the band created a mix of nu metal and rap core, but recently they have started to create a mix of hard rock and alternative rock. Their music is fresh and lyrics impeccable and creative, making you want to hear it everyday. They have the perfect balance of lyrics and music which will keep you hooked for years.

Albums: Shutterburg (1995), That's what people do (1997), Phenomenon (2003), OXYGEN : INHALE (2014)

Awards: Artist of the year, Group of the year (2005), Video of the year (2006), Rock song of the year (2010), Hard Music Song of the year (2010).


5. Flyleaf


Origin: Belton, Texas

Genre: Alternative metal, hard rock, post-grunge

Operative Years: 2002-present

Members: Kristen May, Sameer Bhattacharya, Jared Hartmann, Pat Seals, James Culpepper.

Description: This band rose to stardom in the late 2000s by completely sweeping fans off their feet. Their songs are plain and simple, have great meaning too. Former lead singer Lacey Sturm was the voice of this band work, but I guess the band has to now find a suitable voice to reclaim the popularity and fan-following of the past.

Albums: Flyleaf (2005), Memento Mori (2009), New Horizons (2012), Between the Stars (2014)

Awards: Favorite Music Video, Pop Song Award (2009).


6. Switchfoot


Origin: San Diego, California, United States

Genre: alternative rock, post-grunge, hard rock, Christian rock
Operative Years: 1996-present

Members: Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas, Drew Shirley

Description: They gained popularity due to the inclusion of four of their songs in the 2002 movie A Walk to Remember. They have been noted for their active and live performances. Jon Foreman suggested the name Switchfoot because apparently, they all have a liking for surfing, so the name made sense. As switchfoot means changing your position preferably, a new one, a different way to approach music and life. They have been involved with many other projects like DATA, One campaign, Invisible Children, etc.

Albums: The Legend of Chin (1997), Oh! Gravity (2006), Vice Verses (2011), Fading West (2014)

Awards:Best New Artist (1997), Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year (2004), Long form Music Video of the Year (2005), Rock Recorded song of the Year (2010, 2012).


7. BarlowGirl


Origin: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Genre: Christian rock, contemporary Christian music, alternative rock, rock music

Operative Years: 2000-2012

Members: Alyssa Barlow, Lauren Barlow, Rebecca Barlow

Description: It was an all-female band, comprising three sisters. Having an all-female band is nothing new, but the way they performed with so much passion and love left us awestruck. Initially, they acted as a backup band for their father and traveled the country. Later, they decided to form a band of their own, and were picked up by Fervent Records in October 2003. However, on October 2012, they announced that they would be retiring, and their final appearance as a band resulted in the premiere of their final song "Hope Will Lead Us On".

Albums: BarlowGirl (2004), Another Journal Entry (2005), How Can We Be Silent (2007), Love & War (2009).

Awards: They have been nominated for several awards like Rock/Contemporary Album of the year (2005), Group of the year (2006), Short Form Music Video of the Year (2010).


8. Casting Crowns


Origin: Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.

Genre: Contemporary Christian, Christian rock, soft rock.
Operative Years: 1999-present

Members: Mark Hall, Juan DeVevo, Josh Mix, Melodee DeVevo, Megan Garrett, Chris Huffman, Brian Scoggin.

Description: The founder of the band, youth pastor Mark Hall, describes their music as a "Ministry of Discipleship". Their dedication towards Christian music says it all, that's why they were able to sell 5 million records in the SoundScan era shows. They often toured from Thursday to Saturday, and made sure they were at home for church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.

Albums: Casting Crowns (2003), The Altar and the Door (2007), Come to the Well (2011), Thrive (2014).

Awards: Contemporary International Artist (2007), Group Of the Year (2005), Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year (2006), Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year (2008), Long Form Music Video of the year (2011).


9. Disciple


Origin: Knoxville, Tennessee.

Genre: Alternative metal, heavy metal, hard rock, Southern metal.
Operative Years: 1992-present

Members: Kevin Young, Andrew Stanton, Josiah Prince, Jason Wilkes, Joey West.

Description: The group was formed by four high school friends, they had their first performance in May 1993 at Topside Church of God in Louisville. Their song "Game On" was a major hit and was used for many television shows and commercials. It was used as a background music for CSI: Miami, Criminal Minds commercials.

Albums: What Was I Thinking (1995), By God (2001), Disciple (2004), Southern Hospitality (2008), O God Save Us All (2012), Attack (2014).

Awards: Rock Album of the Year (2008), Rock Album of the Year (2011).


10. Newsboys


Origin: Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia.

Genre: Christian pop, pop rock, CCM, Christian rock.
Operative Years: Christian pop, pop rock, CCM, Christian rock.

Members: Jody Davis, Duncan Phillips, Jeff Frankenstein, Michael Tait.

Description: This band has shown consistent, unmatched dominance both on stage and in the recording studio. They have released 16 studio albums in total, out of which six have been certified gold. In the year 2002, the band released their first book Shine: Make Them Wonder What You've Got. The book emphasizes on Christians to have strong belief in their faith

Albums: He's Coming Back (1987), Hell Is for Wimps (1990), Not Ashamed (1992), Love Liberty Disco (1999), Devotion (2004), Born Again (2010), Restart (2013).

Awards: Rock Album of the Year (1993), Recorded Music Packaging of the Year (1997), Special Event Album of the Year (2001).


11. Third Day


Origin: Marietta, Georgia, U.S.

Genre: Christian rock, southern rock, contemporary Christian.

Operative Years: 1991-present

Members: Mac Powell, Mark Lee, Tai Anderson, David Carr.

Description: According to the Bible, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion, hence the name Third Day. They sound really religious and spiritual. They have sold over 10 million albums in the United States. No wonder, they are still a name to reckon with in the Christian rock and gospel music industry. In the year 2009, they were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Albums: Third Day (1996), Time (1999), Come Together (2001), Wherever You Are (2005), Move (2010), Miracle (2012).

Awards: Praise & Worship Album of the Year (2004), Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year (2006), Recorded Music Packaging of the Year (2009).


12. Payable on Death (P.O.D.)


Origin: San Diego, California

Genre: Alternative metal, nu metal, Christian metal.

Operative Years: 1992-present

Members: Sonny Sandoval, Wuv Bernardo, Traa Daniels, Marcos Curiel.

Description: Considered as one of the greatest Christian rock bands of all time, their name Payable On Death is derived from the banking word, which means that all the human sins are paid for by God. No band really sounds like this band, their work is complex yet seems effortless and real. They have sold over 12 million records worldwide, and their album Satellite has gone Platinum.

Albums: Snuff the Punk (1994), Satellite (2001), Payable on Death (2003), Murdered Love (2012).

Awards: International Alternative Group of the Year (2003), Best Hard Rock Artist (1999 and 2000)


13. Relient K


Origin: Canton, Ohio

Genre: Alternative rock, Christian rock, pop punk.

Operative Years: 1998-present

Members: Matt Thiessen, Matt Hoopes, John Warne, Jon Schneck, Dave Douglas.

Description: Related more with contemporary Christian music and punk music, this band rose to fame with mainstream pop punk and alternative rock. Their three albums have gone gold. Their impeccable songwriting, and innovative music makes it hard for other bands to imitate them. They are different and believe in being unique and delivering good music.

Albums: Relient K (2000), Mmhmm (2004), Forget and Not Slow Down (2009), Collapsible Lung (2013).

Awards: International Alternative Group of the Year (2003), Best Hard Rock Artist (1999 and 2000)


14. Kutless


Origin: Portland, Oregon

Genre: Alternative rock, Christian rock, hard rock, contemporary worship music.

Operative Years: 1999-present

Members: Jon Micah Sumrall, James Mead, Neal Cameron

Description: When this band first began to perform, their songs were raw and unpolished, giving an impression of being clueless about their music? However, gradually with time, their music and lyrics picked, and they churned out seven studio albums for the public.

Albums: Kutless (2002), Strong Tower (2005), To Know That You're Alive (2008), Believer (2012), Glory (2014).
Awards: They have been nominated for several awards like Group of the Year (2006), Rock Album of the Year (2009), Rock/Contemporary Album Of the Year (2010).


15. Jars of Clay


Origin: Greenville, lllinois

Genre: Christian rock, pop rock, alternative rock, acoustic rock.

Operative Years: 1993-present

Members: Dan Haseltine, Stephen Mason, Matthew Odmark, Charlie Lowell.

Description: This band is a huge favorite for many Christian listeners, and their 5 continuous gold records are indicative of their popularity. Their debut album resonates as one of the best Christian rock albums. Dan Haseltine has started a non-profit organization named Blood: Water Mission to create awareness and raise money for poverty and AIDS stricken regions around the world.

Albums: Jars of Clay (1995), If I Left the Zoo (1999), Who We Are Instead (2003), Good Monsters (2006), The Shelter (2010), Inland (2013).

Awards: Recorded Music Packaging of the Year (2006), Short Form Music Video of the Year (2007), Recorded Music Packaging of the Year (2010).


16. Stryper


Origin: Orange County, California, United States

Genre: Christian metal, galm metal, heavy metal, hard rock

Operative Years: 1983-1993, 2003-present

Members: Michael Sweet, Robert Sweet, Oz Fox, Tim Gaines.

Description: Recognized as first openly Christian heavy metal band to gain popularity in the music world, the Strypers even have had their share of criticism. Many critics did not approve of the group's association with the heavy metal culture, which has always been linked to satanic imagery. They have sold over 10 millions recording worldwide, and two-thirds of their albums were bought by non-Christians. The 1980s was known for big bouffant hair and stretchable pants, which made for a great rock image, and they certainly pulled it off.

Albums: The Yellow and Black Attack (1984), To Hell With the Devil (1986), Reborn (2005), The Covering (2011), No More Hell To Pay (2013).

Awards: Best Christian Hard Rock Band (2011)


17. DC Talk


Origin: Lynchburg, Virginia

Genre: Hip hop, rock, Christian hip hop, Christian rock, rap rock.

Operative Years: 1987-2000

Members: Toby Mckeehan, Michael Tait, Kevin Max Smith

Description: A Grammy-winning Christian rap trio, which some might argue is the most talented band of Christian singers, especially for me. The trio had so much of talent and star power, they might have ruled the Christian music scene, had they remained together. They produced three platinum records at a time when Christian rock bands were still not accepted by many conservative people. The group never officially reunited or disbanded. In the year 1998, they started the E.R.A.C.E. Foundation to create awareness and fight against racism. In 2000, the group finally disbanded and each member went on to pursue their solo careers.

Albums: DC Talk (1989), Free at last (1992), Supernatural (1998)

Awards: Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album (1994, 1997, 1998, 2002), Dove Award for Rap/Hip hop Recorded Song of the Year (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998), Alternative Modern Rock Song (2001).


18. Petra


Origin: Fort Wayne, Indiana

Genre: Christian rock, hard rock, contemporary Christian music, country rock

Operative Years: 1972-2006, 2010-2012.

Members: Bob Hartman, John Schlitt, Greg Bailey, Cristian Borneo

Description: Formed in the year 1972, I am sure they might have had a hard time initially, for people were still not receptive to this genre of music. A very old band, but a very good one, it has seen a lot of fame and success. They had the advantage of setting the benchmark for other subsequent bands, out of which few had the courage to match up to their expectations.

Albums: Petra (1974), Never Say Die (1981), Not Of This World (1983), Back to the Street (1986), On Fire (1988), Wake-up Call (1993), God Fixation (1998), Revival (2001), Petra Farewell (2005), Back to the Rock Live (2011).

Awards: Inducted into the Hard Rock Cafe (1994), Inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2000), Best Performance by a Gospel Duo, Group, Choir or Chorus (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989), Best Rock Gospel Album (1996, 1999, 2004).


19. David Crowder Band


Origin: Waco, Texas

Genre: Christian rock, electronic rock, pop-punk, worship, blue-grass, alternative rock, folk rock.

Operative Years: 1996-2012

Members: David Crowder, Jack Parker, Mike D, Hogan.

Description: They often merged unusual musical instruments in their performances and songs which were created by the band's drummer Jeremy Bush. They were responsible for renewing the faith in God in many college-going students and youth with the help of a little bit of funk and rock. The band performed for the last time in 2012 before splitting up.

Albums: Can You Hear Us (2002), Pour Over me (1996), Remedy (2007), Give Us Rest (2012).

Awards: Rock/Contemporary Song of the Year (2006), Recorded Music Packaging of the Year (2008), Christmas Album of the Year (2012).


20. Superchick


Origin: Chicago, Illinois

Genre: Christian rock, pop punk

Operative Years: 1999-2013

Members: Tricia Baumhardt, Matt Dally, Max Hsu, Dave Ghazarian, Brian Fitch, the band has many former members.

Description: They were a mixture of hip-hop, alternative rock and little bit of fun, this remix paved their way to success. But they need to thank Gwen Stefani for this, as before their band was introduced, she had already paved the way for their style of songs and music. Their songs have been used in many television sitcoms like The Hills, Brothers & Sisters, Make it Or Break it.

Albums: Karaoke Superstars (2001), Last One Picked (2002), Beauty From Pain (2005), Rock What You Got (2008)

These bands have changed the way people perceive Christian rock band and have actually inspired many to walk in their footsteps and explore their talent with music. They are definitely going through numerous changes, and are expected to increase their fan following in the subsequent decades. So, do tell us which is your favorite top Christian rock band.
Advertisement