Back in the 1990s, while I was discovering Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and the whole barrage of grunge and alternative bands, I was also being introduced to some great underground Christian bands that could definitely sit along side the rest as quality musicians with plenty of substance and integrity in their music. I can list numerous records throughout the years, but here are a just a few of the pivotal releases that indeed made their mark — especially on a kid from Texas whose musical landscape was about to get severely shaken.
Scaterd Few - Sin Disease
Having already been a part of the L.A. punk scene since the early '80s, Scaterd Few released this record in 1990 and brought the punk/reggae aesthetic mostly found with seminal punk legends Bad Brains. What always stood out were Romald Domkus’ (aka Allen Aguirre) vocals that seem to conjure up visions of H.R clashing with Adam Ant. Also noted was the solid rhythm section of drummer Sam West and bassist Omar Domkus. Causing quite a stir in religious circles for the lyrical content even 17 years later, it is still a controversial but very influential CD to many today.
Interesting Note: After Bad Brains was done, H.R. (Paul Hudson) went onto do his solo project named Human Rights in which he asked members of Scaterd Few to be part of his touring band.
Mortal - Fathom
Falling somewhere along the lines of Ministry or Skinny Puppy collaborating with The Beatles, the duo of Jyro Xhan and Jerome Fontamillas managed to create some of the fiercest industrial rock songs, Christian or otherwise. The definite British pop influence can be heard in songs such as “Jill Sent Me”. They were also one of the first bands that I knew of that tackled the issue of child abuse with their song “Rift” with heartfelt sincerity. There were many notable members went onto other influential bands but the main nucleus of Jyro and Jerome would work so well that after Mortal was done, they went to a more heavy/alternative rock sound in Fold Zandura.
Interesting note: Jerome Fontamillas is now bassist for the platinum-selling rock group Switchfoot.