James Weaver reports on Ohio-based positive metal band WEAPONS OF GOD
When in 2004 singer and guitarist Steve McGowan from Middletown, Ohio, first began to write songs to express his passions for both God and classic rock metal he had no idea that some of those songs would eventually be the foundation stone to an album. Yet now, 15 years later, the release of the eponymous album by Weapons Of God on Roxx Records sees the culmination of Steve's vision.
Steve told Cross Rhythms' Tony Cummings, "With the newest addition, Greg Alan, our drummer, I feel like a complete circle now. It was a two-year process trying to get the CD done - member changes, encounters, things happening along the way. The first song we released was the title track, 'Weapons Of God'. That song's pretty self-explanatory, talking about the armour of God. Actually, when I first wrote this song back in 2014, I think the band I started out with was called Dreams Of Serenity. At the time there was only one member hanging in there, recording with me. I talked to him about changing the name of the band. There was no process of putting the band together. It was just me and Bill Gentry. He liked the idea, and that's how Weapons Of God formed after that."
Whilst rock and heavy metal has common associations with the Devil and darkness, Weapons Of God intend to use the aggressive and rocking tones of the genre and spin it on its head with a message of uplifting positivity. This is best described on the song "Ghost". "'Ghost' is a song pretty much about my testimony. I used to be involved in ghost hunts. I was raised in church, and I knew who God is, but I wanted to know what's going on on the dark side. The things I have experienced, I have heard, I have felt, I have seen - it's real. I used to think it was a child or a lost ancestor but when I got back into church, I had a better understanding that that's nothing but pure evil. I spent that time looking for the dark side when I should've been looking for the Holy Spirit."
Citing influences from rock and heavy metal's biggest names, the quartet have a wealth of musical diversity. Said Steve, "Between all four members of the band, our influences range anywhere from KISS, Stryper, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Theocracy. There's diverse influences in this band and I'm hoping you'll hear the differences in these songs. One song will sound rock and the next one will sound metal. It just has its diversity."
It's been a long road so far for Weapons Of God. Despite their turbulent early years, the quartet have powered through with the motivation to delivering the word of God, testimonies, love, and hope to the darkness of this world. With a performance at Chains Unchained Festival already under their collective belts, and a show at J & J Christian Charity Event on the horizon, it seems that the wheels of motion for the band are only going to start turning faster. And, with a belter of a track titled "Heaven Can't Wait" on their roster, the positive shredders will stop at nothing to tell people about the good news of the Lord. "'Heaven Can't Wait' is one of our hardest hitters - pretty much a song about people who like to medicate their pain when there's a better way to go, and that's reaching out to God and seeking him first. God will heal your pain if you just reach out to him. The song talks about how people like to blame God for their own problems. You need to get your lives straight, get in the word. Heaven is not going to wait much longer."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.