In a predominantly Christian country such as the Philippines, Lenten season is either spent catching up on long overdue recollection and penance, or escaping the hot and humid city life in a most likely crowded beach. However, there are those who choose to reflect and spread a holistic vibe regardless of the season and in the most extraordinary yet most personal way—such as music—and among them is homegrown Christian metal band, REBORN.
REBORN is neither your usual Christian band nor your typical group of metal-headed rock musicians. While the genre is not unheard of and the movement has exhibited international mainstream success over the years through nu metal acts like P.O.D., Christian metal remains an acquired taste partly because societal stigma dictates that Christian songs are only sung in church and heavy metal is drug-induced music for troubled beings.
The band, however, disproves all these false notions. We now live in a world where it’s cool to be sober, decent, and to enjoy rock and roll, all at the same time.
Formed in 2014, this four-piece crew is composed of guitarist Sunil Dholwani, vocalist Rhayan Linga, bassist Mark Natividad, and drummer Choi Felipe. Aside from being friends, some of the band’s members serve in the same church as volunteers. With their shared passion for music, they are on a mission to reach out to the lost and share messages of positivity through their songs.
Beneath the sometimes overdriven, sometimes growling riffs, and dense rhythmic patterns are the spiritual messages imparted through the songs’ lyrics, which the members claim were inspired by their emotions and experiences as individuals.
Christian metal has been around since the late 1970s, but not too many bands have taken to it locally. Why Christian metal? Isn’t it difficult to pull off?
We all came from secular bands and lived the rockstar lifestyle. We all had struggles and we were lost living in darkness—not knowing where to turn to. God came to our lives through different methods; giving us peace and spiritual connection, which we have with Him now. Don’t get us wrong; we are not religious in any way. We are normal dudes. We still freak out. The only difference is, this time, we have Christ in our corner.
Playing in a secular band will give you more gigs, more fame, but we chose this genre and style of music to give people a fighting chance of hope that there is no end, even when life puts us down at times.
What should first time listeners expect from your music?
REBORN’s sound is a mixture of different genres of metal, put together mainly being nu metal with progressive elements in which we mix groovy riffs, melodic lines, and odd time signatures. We also put in a touch of electronic sounds from eerie tones all the way to dub step.
We get a lot of comments that our sound isn’t your typical metal. We stay away from the generic sound, and hence we put our own signature tone to it. The listeners can expect melodic vocals, lots of groove, and heavy layered guitars. We use 6-, 7-, and 8-string guitars depending on what the song asks for.
What do you talk about in your songs?
Our songs are usually stories talking about our personal experiences—how life has been a journey filled with ups and downs. We share our testimonies in which we talk about coming from the darkness and going into the light.
Is there an underlying message that you wish to impart through your music?
Our songs convey messages that are positive in nature, serving as a medium to give the listener hope that there is more to life than all the negativity that surrounds us, and to tell them that they have a chance to cope with challenging life circumstances when they are lost. Thus, our debut album is entitled Redemption Begins.
Would you say your faith plays an important role in your music and your life as musicians?
Yes, our faith plays an important role in our music and our lives as musicians. Faith is what makes REBORN. We have a song on our Redemption Begins album, "Declaration," that strongly speaks about boldly professing our faith. As musicians, we play in different venues and circumstances. There is always a chance to slip away from the track, but we have each other to keep ourselves together and sober. Ha ha!
What aprting messages do you have for the FHM.com.ph readers?
Always remember, life has a lot to throw at us. But we all still have a choice where and who to turn to.
REBORN’s debut album, “Redemption Begins” is available on iTunes and Spotify. The band is currently working on its forthcoming EP, “Resistance.” Music videos and live gig coverages can be viewed on REBORN’s YouTube Channel. Check the band’s Facebook page for gig info and updates.
Photos courtesy of Light Post Productions