Scream The Prayer 2011: It’s Time For Heavy Worship!

Scream The Prayer has become an annual tour that many in the metal community look forward to each and every year.

Featuring bands from the Christian metal scene, there is sure to be just as much heavy worship as there is pit action when this year’s edition of Scream The Prayer lands in your hometown.

The line up this year includes such noted acts as 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 Southern California’s own Sovereign Strength.

The tour kicks off July 1st in Nashville, TN and concludes July 31st in Pomona, CA.  In this preview of the show, we check in with six of the bands to find out about their latest projects, their thoughts on being known as a ministry, projections on what to expect from the tour, and other interesting topics.  Read on…

AS HELL RETREATS

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, and how long you’ve been together.
I’m Jackson, I yell a whole lot, and we’ve been a band for nearly 6 years.

What are you looking forward to the most about Scream The Prayer 2011?
I’m definitely looking forward to hanging out with some good friends on this tour and making some new ones with all the bands for the next month.

What is the name of your latest (or upcoming) album and is there any story or concept behind the title?
The name of the album is Volition and there is a story behind the title. The title itself means “the act of choice”. The story is about a boy going through a dark time with his faith and he chooses how to handle it all. We want to promote more than anything that you do have a choice in this world and there is always a positive one (even though this is actually a negative-like album). There is a reason for that, though!

Pick two songs from your latest (or upcoming) album and tell me what inspired the lyrics?
Hmm…this is difficult! The two songs I would pick would be “Young Heretic”, which is our newest song out now, and “Matriarch”. “Young Heretic” was inspired by struggles my friends and I have been through when it comes to faith. It talks about having a hard time believing in something you’re really not sure of. The second one, “Matriarch”, is inspired by one of us losing a mother recently. It talks about trying to put faith in a God when it seems so hard to love what I thought to be a “murderer” at one point.

What could one expect from your live performance at Scream The Prater 2011?
A bunch of dudes who want to have a whole lot of fun! We more importantly want to show our passion for our music, especially our new stuff.

Would you consider your band a ministry? Why or why not?
That’s always been a question I’ve been waiting for. It’s always a question I ask myself, and that may seem weird. We are dudes who have faith in a God that keeps this world together, but we don’t necessarily exploit it on stage. We keep it simple on stage and show passion and maybe give a tiny speech, but we are more than happy to share our belief with anyone. Most of all, we will always show love and hope to all, no matter what they believe.

After Scream The Prayer, what are your band’s plans for the next couple of months?
We are working out a little tour with The Great Commission right now that ends in New York at iMatter Festival. This a great festival that is helping to prevent suicides in this country. There is a link for it right here (go check it out!): http://imatterfest.org/

Any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles/Orange County area?
We are stoked to be coming back over there! We love California and cannot wait to hang out!

As Hell Retreats on Facebook

CLOSE YOUR EYES

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, and how long you’ve been together.
My name is Shane Raymond, I am the Vocalist of Close Your Eyes. We have been together a little over five years now.

What are you looking forward to the most about Scream The Prayer 2011?
Hanging out with our friends in different bands. With such a large lineup, it will be awesome getting to hang out and watch our friends do something that means so much to them. I personally am looking forward to watching the Chariot live. I have never seen them, and everyone tells me it is absolutely nuts. Stoked on that.

What is the name of your latest (or upcoming) album and is there any story or concept behind the title?
Our latest CD is entitled We Will Overcome, and the concept behind it is simply that no matter what struggles that we will face in life, we are not alone in those struggles, and though the darkness lasts for the night, our joy comes in the morning.

Pick two songs from your latest (or upcoming) album and tell me what inspired the lyrics?
The Body: essentially, if the body of Christ chooses not to love and accept the people around it, then I do not wish to be a part of it. I found myself falling into this mindset of viewing people of this world, believers and non alike, through a lense of presuppositions and stereotypes instead of allowing each unique individual be themselves. I was reminded that without love, I am nothing.

Digging Graves: This song is about ministering to the unloved and unwanted people around us. No matter where we are, no matter what we are doing, we constantly see people that are the “poor and needy”. This doesn’t always mean impoverished and the destitute, just people that are broken. Day after day, we continue to live lives that ignore these people, and consequently, dig the grave of those we are called to love.

What could one expect from your live performance at Scream The Prater 2011?
Energy. Lots and lots of energy. I have personally seen way too many videos of hardcore punk bands playing shows live to just stand in one place. I literally can’t.

Would you consider your band a ministry? Why or why not?
Yes, I do. I feel that in all things, no matter whether it is singing in a band, or flipping burgers at McDonald’s, some form of ministry is involved in that, if you are a believer. Paul reminds us that in whatever it is that we do, do it as if for the Lord, and not for men. In essence, all things that we do should point those around us towards something that is greater than ourselves.

After Scream The Prayer, what are your band’s plans for the next couple of months?
After Scream the Prayer we will be recording our sophomore album, and then hitting the road for the fall.

Any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles/Orange County area?
We seriously love you guys. You have shown us so much love and support when we have played in your area. Thank you for screaming words back at us, and for having a scene that carries so much positivity. We cannot wait to be in Pomona!

Close Your Eyes on Facebook

THE GREAT COMMISSION

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, and how long you’ve been together.
Angela, I play guitar and sing back up vocals for The Great Commission. We have been a band for 3 years.

What are you looking forward to the most about Scream The Prayer 2011?
I am really looking forward to the ministry aspect of the tour. We tour a lot year round on both Christian and Secular tours, but when we do Scream The Prayer, the kids specifically come to worship and be ministered to. So it is very exciting to see God work every night.

What is the name of your latest (or upcoming) album and is there any story or concept behind the title?
Our new album is entitled “Heavy Worship.” The purpose behind this was the fact that we wanted to show the rest of the world that there are other styles of worship out there that are pleasing to God. We love heavy music and we love to glorify God with it. Religion will tell you that this style of music can’t be spiritual but we believe that Jesus stood in opposition to religion and this album is our response.

Pick two songs from your latest (or upcoming) album and tell me what inspired the lyrics?
The first track off of our new album is called “Don’t Go To Church, Be The Church“. The concept of this song came from the fact that we believe Church not to be a building with 4 walls but the Body of Christ itself. A lot of our generation have been pushed out of the church because they look different and dont listen to traditional worship music. Spiritually we want to burn those walls down and inspire believers to have church wherever they make it.

Another one of my favorite tracks off our new album is called “When It Rains It Pours.” This song is about the simple fact that we as believers are not perfect. No matter how spiritual you are or how long you’ve been following Christ, there are times that you fall away from God. This song is a dedication to those who struggle with their faith. No one is perfect, and if we can help in some way to lead those who have fallen away back to Christ then we would be incredibly blessed.

What could one expect from your live performance at Scream The Prayer 2011?
A straight party, we love to have fun on stage. So be ready to sing along, stage dive and high five! Summer 2011 is going to be a rager!

Would you consider your band a ministry? Why or why not?
This band was founded on the basis of ministry.  It’s in our name. So we’ll always be ready to go out into the world and spread the good news.

After Scream The Prayer, what are your band’s plans for the next couple of months?
We are currently being booked for some awesome Fall Festivals and Tours so keep an eye out, we are going to go straight back out on the road!

Any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles/Orange County area?
Our new album Heavy Worship drops on July 12th! We just launched our pre orders online at Merch Connection. Please go online and check out all the awesome pre order bundles. Thanks for your support and we’ll see you out there soon!

The Great Commission on Facebook

I, THE BREATHER

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, and how long you’ve been together.
I’m Morgan Wright and I play the drums in a band called I The Breather. We’ve been a band for over a year, we started back in August 09.

What are you looking forward to the most about Scream The Prayer 2011?
This is our second year of doing the tour, so we’re really excited that it’s hitting different venues and different markets. It’s a great tour to be a part of, also looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces in the cities we’ve hit before as well as touring with some familiar bands, and gaining some new fans from the kids who have never seen us before.

What is the name of your latest (or upcoming) album and is there any story or concept behind the title?
Our debut album is out now on Sumerian Records. The CD is called “These Are My Sins.” The CD is all about asking to be forgiven for the sins we’ve committed. No one is perfect and we all sin but the Lord always offers forgiveness.

Pick two songs from your latest (or upcoming) album and tell me what inspired the lyrics?
The opening track on our album “Forgiven” is about a rough time I was going through while I was dealing with, egos and attitudes from my peers. It turned into a battle that I gave to the Lord. Sometimes people can get lost in themselves and you just have to pray for them.

The Common Good” is about close-minded Christians. How much people judge and constantly put people down, but call themselves Christians.

What could one expect from your live performance at Scream The Prater 2011?
Expect a high-energized performance! Every time we take the stage we leave it all on the stage. We’ll be giving it our all night in, night out.

Would you consider your band a ministry? Why or why not?
I would say our band could be considered a ministry. We make it known to kids that we are here to talk to them on a personal level. One on one. We make it known that if they need prayer anything we are all here to help them. And beyond that I think the lyrical content of our CD says a lot to kids in helping them with their faith and beliefs.

After Scream The Prayer, what are your band’s plans for the next couple of months?
After Scream the Prayer we’ll be embarking on After The Burial’s headline tour, we’re very excited for that!

Any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles/Orange County area?
You guys are great! Thank you so much for your continuous support! We love playing LA and the Orange County area, and we can’t wait to be back! See you soon.

I, The Breather on Facebook

SLEEPING GIANT

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, and how long you’ve been together.
I am J.R. Bermuda, I play bass in Sleeping Giant. We’ve been together for 5 years, although we are still in the honeymoon phase so it seems like 4 years.

What are you looking forward to the most about Scream The Prayer 2011?
Seeing The Chariot every night. Insanity!

What is the name of your latest (or upcoming) album and is there any story or concept behind the title?
Our newest album is out July 12th. It’s titled “Kingdom days in an evil age.” We are living in an evil age. The enemy is greed, apathy, war, depression, sickness, control and deception. We are the underground terrorist movement to destroy these enemies. Our tools are love, honor, truth, transparency, and the restoring power of the Holy Spirit.

Pick two songs from your latest (or upcoming) album and tell me what inspired the lyrics?
The first song is titled “Eyes wide open“. This song is about refusing to keep a blind eye towards the oppressed and downtrodden. Its about using your voice to stand up for the voiceless, no matter how many institutional trees you shake. “We pray with our eyes open to see the victims of injustice. I’m not just one man, all of heaven stands with me. I’ve got a message for the world- It’s not just us.” Change is coming, and lives will be liberated. If you won’t fight, get out of the way.

The second song is called “Dead men walking“. This song is about not just talking about it, but being about it. If we sang about the power, presence, and love of Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but were not walking in it, we would be wasting our own, and everyone else time. If we claim to walk a life of power in the spirit, and people don’t think we were absolutely nuts, we are doing it wrong. It’s about true power from heaven, and beiong solely dependent on the man Jesus.

What could one expect from your live performance at Scream The Prayer 2011?
They can expect true worship. If people want just another performance, leave until we are done. We will be recklessly worshiping the King.

Would you consider your band a ministry? Why or why not?
Our band is a ministry because our lives are a ministry and worship. If we called our band a ministry, but didn’t minister to the sick and brokenhearted in our daily lives, wouldn’t that make us fake?

After Scream The Prayer, what are your band’s plans for the next couple of months?
We have some tours up our sleeves, nothing official yet. We just filmed 2 music videos, so you can expect those to be released soon.

Any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles/Orange County area?
“It’s the man Christ crucified, so we live and die for the secret life. And to the enemy of our souls: We’ve come here to destroy.”

Sleeping Giant on Facebook

SOVEREIGN STRENGTH

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in your band, and how long you’ve been together.
My name is Nelson B. Flores, I live in Garden Grove, CA, and I play guitar. I joined the band in 2007 when Sovereign Strength decided to get a 2nd guitarist.

I’m Jesse, I live in Lancaster, CA, and I play guitar. We started the band in early 2005 but we didnt start getting serious until 07 when Nelson joined. Thats when we booked our first DIY tour.

What are you looking forward to the most about Scream The Prayer 2011?
Nelson: I can not wait to hang with all the bands and see them every night. This years line up is so stacked! I love meeting our fans, making new ones, and seeing all my friends across the US. I’m pretty sure this summer is going to be one of the best summers of my life to say the least, haha.

Jesse:  One thing I always look forward to when we do tours with christian bands is the fellowship, learning about God and sharing my experiences is something I believe strengthens my walk with God & is an awesome way to help other bands/Ministries. Plus seeing The Chariot every single night is going to be insane haha

What is the name of your latest (or upcoming) album and is there any story or concept behind the title?
Jesse + Nelson:  The name of our new album is called “The Prophecy“, its in reference to when Jesus is coming back for his people. Which a couple songs on the record are about that but this isn’t what the whole record is about. I also just want to mention that no one knows when Jesus is coming back. So, if some dude tells you that he’s coming back in October dont believe him, and dont give him your money! Haha.

Pick two songs from your latest (or upcoming) album and tell me what inspired the lyrics?
Jesse + Nelson:  “Words Without Meaning” is about when we pray and when we speak about God we get into those routines of the words we say, and I know when I feel like I get into routines it feels like Im just saying them cause it sounds good, and not understanding the power when thank God for something hes blessed me with. Or the power of the creater. And its about the struggle of overcoming that.

No Victory” is about overcoming sin. Being tired of giving yourself to something, that just brings you further away from happiness and further away from Jesus. He’s our hope and our strength. We’re not saying that the band doesnt sin, we sin everyday. We are no better or worse then anyone else.

What could one expect from your live performance at Scream The Prayer 2011?
Nelson:  Lots of nu-metal spins and creepy faces, haha. A lot of people say that it’s better to worship in private. I think they’re shouldn’t be any rules to when and where you can worship. My worship is when I’m on stage. That’s when I feel closest to God, that’s all that matters to me.

Jesse:  Worshiping with everything we have! Haha

Would you consider your band a ministry? Why or why not?
Jesse + Nelson:  We are definitely a ministry. We play to worship God and glorify his name. We believe that our ministry is to show His love by showing kids the love we have for them.

After Scream The Prayer, what are your band’s plans for the next couple of months?
Jesse + Nelson: Touring! We have plans in the works but nothing set in stone. We can not wait to see what the lord has in store for us.

Any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles/Orange County area?
Jesse + Nelson:  We love you guys, Jesus loves you guys more then anyone can! Follow us on twitter, like us on facebook to keep in touch, please come hang out when we are in your town, we want to meet every single one of you! Thank you for taking the time to read this interview.

Sovereign Strength on Facebook

Be sure to check out Scream The Prayer 2011 – coming this summer to a city near you!!!

Scream The Prayer on Facebook

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