A COUNTY Down rocker is battling the odds to spread the word of god through heavy metal music.
Mark Payne, who works in insurance, is the guitarist for ForChristSake a Christian thrash band whose lyrics are dedicated to “praising God”.
Signed to American label Roxx Productions, Mark and his fellow bandmates Ignatios Willis, Simon Cochrane, Alan Duddy and Logan McKee have spent the last year promoting their most recent album Apocalyptic Visions of Divine Terror.
“We formed as a proper unit in 2008 to play Christian metal music and as far as we know we are the only one in Ireland North or South” said Mark, adding: “Most of the people that like us like the metal style of music we are black metal music and have a positive edge to our lyrics which underline social issues from a faith perspective.
But promoting Christian black metal music it’s not easy said father of four Mark.
“Many people will associate heavy metal music wrongly with evil or satanism but we want to show that that’s not the case.
“We are probably too heavy for some Christians and Churches but our message is relevant and aimed at the youth of today who do not know God.
“We talk about real world situations facing everyone for example the scourge of suicide.
“Similarly we also get criticism from heavy metal fans too because we are Christian.
“That criticism is probably borne out of a misunderstanding of what I am and what our music is all about. However, on the whole the reaction to us worldwide has been very positive.”
For Mark he feels his Christian faith helps him through life on a daily basis and he hopes that he show that to others through the band.
The guitarist from Magheralin said: “I am committed to my faith in Christ and I feel it prepares me for daily challenges that I face. I think it is a great comfort to have that after all material things are gone what do we really have?
“I was religious when I was younger down to my granny’s influence. I drifted away in my teens but found God again in 2004 after my first son Nikolas was born.
“Day to day my faith has helped me immensely in work and my private life and in decision making in business and personally.
“I see that God has a plan for my life. I’m not worried about the future or death as I know what comes next I feel I have made preparation.
“I do feel for people who don’t know God it must be lonely especially in times of need or fear.”
And Mark doesn’t put too many restraints on himself.
“The rules were made to ensure you had a long life. I am not an angel I am human and I still make mistakes I just have a greater appreciation of right and wrong. I still enjoy a glass of wine now and again.”
Mark’s band ForChristSake write and perform about a range of subjects such as suicide, abortion, anger and even government corruption, what he calls “the usual metal subjects”.
Mark and his family are members of Moira Pentecostal Church in Moira headed by Pastor David Goudy.
Apart from prejudice from members of the heavy metal community who can’t understand why he’s Christian and Christians who can’t understand why he plays in a heavy metal band Mark said he wouldn’t have things any other way.
“It’s not that difficult for us because we are on a Christian label with like-minded people. However sometimes it can be difficult to find like minded musicians willing to go with the vision of the band.
“I rely on God on a daily basis life is a constant battle and to have the protection I have I feel blessed and able to confront the problems life throws at me. I feel what I do with ForChristSake is part of my ministry.
“There are some great Christian music artists out there like Bloodwork, Drottnar and A Hill to Die Upon.
“I hope that people, whether Christian or just heavy metal music fans, they will try out the album and come and chat to us. I believe they won’t be disappointed.”
Apocalyptic Visions of Divine Terror by ForChristSake is out now on Roxx Productions. For more information log onto www.forchristsake.co.uk.
ForChristSake will play Fibber Magees in Dublin on October 9 and The Bar With No Name in Belfast on October 10 – details in poster below.