Bone-crushing riffs, pounding double-bass, scathing vocals and haunting synthesizers do not typically come to mind when thinking of a Christian worship band. But for the six guys who comprise See The Light, heavy metal couldn’t be a better expression of their love for God.
“Metal music is defined by passion,” said the band’s singer and Cal Poly art and design sophomore Barrett Colvin, who also handles the band’s artwork. “Screaming and playing our hearts out like this is a way for us to express what we’re passionate about.”
And what the members of See The Light are passionate about are their Christian beliefs.
With three members attending college and two still in high school, the group has come a long way since forming only two years ago, despite numerous lineup changes. Ask the band members, and they’ll tell you that if it wasn’t for the grace of God, they wouldn’t be where they are today.
“The whole purpose of this band is to glorify God,” said keyboardist and Cuesta College student Mike Ritter, who along with drummer Teddy Ramirez is the one of the band’s founding members. “He’s the reason we’re even able to do this. I know we wouldn’t be where we are now unless he was behind us.”
Earlier this year, the group independently released their first album, “Father, This Is For You.” With lyrics that are actually verses pulled straight from the Bible, the band’s live performances are less of a show and more of an intimate ministry between the musicians and their audiences, similar to what one might find at a Sunday church service.
“Our music is straight-up worship,” Colvin said. “We’re not trying to force anything down peoples’ throats; we’re just doing what we believe in and hopefully people respond.”
At any See The Light show, God is given priority. Every show begins with a prayer by band members asking for God’s presence, and sermons are delivered between songs to ensure everyone’s hearts and minds are in the right place. Band members maintain they’re playing music for one reason only: to praise God’s glory.
“When you’re on stage, it’s natural to want to take glory for yourself,” said Shadi Majzoub, bassist and Cal Poly business sophomore. “By focusing our hearts and minds, everyone knows this is not about us. We’re doing this to praise God.”
See The Light plays a style of metal the band can only describe as “mystical.”
While ferociously heavy most of the time, the group’s songs also include moments of intricate guitar melodies and symphonic keyboards. It’s an interesting mix that conveys not only downfall and destruction, but also the tragedy and sadness that follows.
Being a Christian metal band is never an easy task. On one hand, the majority of mainstream music listeners view metal as evil. On the other hand, there are the heavy metal purists who feel there is no place for religion within the genre.
But See the Light has been well received by both heavy metal enthusiasts and church members. In fact, the guys’ pastor is one of their biggest fans, and friends and family couldn’t be more supportive of the band and its message. See The Light even played a Christmas show at a band member’s high school last December.
“This is our ministry, our mission,” Majzoub said. “We don’t claim any kind of genre; this is just the music we love to play. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions. If people take our music the wrong way, we just respond out of love.”
The band has received several breaks recently, such as free recording at Rockwell Studios, promotional pictures and video shoots, and landing a spot in June’s Summer Slam festival in Southern California. The band is even hoping to play in the Vans Warped Tour this year, but still needs votes.
Some might call the young band’s success a miracle, but members say they’re simply following a chosen path. Their only goal is to have fun playing music and to continue performing God’s work here on earth.
“This band will do whatever God wants it to,” Ritter said. “I don’t know what he has in store for us, but we’re open to anything. If he wants us to get big, then it will happen, but if he wants us to stay how we are now, that’s perfectly fine with us.”