In today’s heavily saturated music market where nothing is truly unique anymore, hearing somebody mention an upcoming rap-meets-metal outfit may cause you to roll your eyes. “Great, who needs another Limp Bizkit,” you might think to yourself.
While the thought is totally warranted, what if we told you instead of creating a new nu-metal approach, there was a band that simply took the best of both worlds and, instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole, simply let the two worlds come together naturally.
No cringe-worthy guest rap features. No DJ collaborations (sorry Korn and Skrillex). Instead, imagine a band who grew up listening to both Slipknot and Wu-Tang Clan and creates music sounding like an organic mix of Sevendust, Issues and Backwordz. That band is Fire From The Gods.
With the release of their Rise Records debut Narrative hitting stores earlier this year, the Texas outfit is quickly and quietly building a name for themselves in the metalcore community getting played by the likes of Sirius XM and sneaking into countless listeners Spotify and Apple Music playlists.
Now, since most fans have had a pretty tough time pinpointing exactly which bands influence Fire From The Gods’ distinct sound, we decided to hit up frontman AJ Channer to dive into his personal list of favorite albums. So below you’ll find Channer’s seven records (both metal and hip-hop) that helped shaped his band’s first full-length LP Narrative. Afterwards, if you’ve yet to scoop up a copy of the jaw-dropping record, make sure to do so here.
Candiria – What Doesn’t Kill You…
I always admired what Candiria did throughout their whole career. What Doesn’t Kill You… not only showcased how talented the band was but how innovative they were. All of their early records were a hard listen for some because their blend of rap, hardcore and jazz – which was way ahead of its time. The direction they went with on What Doesn’t Kill You… added a more palatable sound. The first time I heard it, I knew I wanted to write a record like that. It also helped that David Bendeth worked on it as well as our record Narrative.
Norma Jean – O’ God The Aftermath
Insane record start to finish. O’ God showed Norma Jean was on another level. The record came out at a time where bands like Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, As I lay Dying, Unearth etc. were all dominating heavy music. There was that metal revival and Norma Jean took the hard left and went against the grain. They crafted a perfect record.
Rage Against The Machine – Evil Empire
As with the other bands listed, they all have incredible discographies. Rage didn’t write any bad records. In fact, all of their records were incredible hence the reason the band is so popular. The first Rage record I ever bought was Battle of Los Angeles – which blew me away – but Evil Empire had hit after hit. “Bulls on Parade” is the biggest track on the record but “Revolver,” “Tire me,” “Vietnow,” and “Down Rodeo” were straight heaters. Zach said some of the realest shit. I fully identified with “Down Rodeo.” Being a metal head and a black kid, I felt that sometimes people looked at me like I had six heads.
Slipknot – Slipknot
I actually like Iowa more but that first record was groundbreaking. Corey’s lyrics were basically everyone’s thought. He was a mouthpiece for misunderstood marginalized people. [Marilyn] Manson was very influential in the same way [but] Slipknot was just more abrasive and in your face. A real “fuck you” to the world. And when you are 16 and pissed off, you kind of want to say fuck you a lot.
Wu-Tang Clan – 36 Chambers
The whole Wu-Tang [group] was featured prominently on this record and track after track you learned something new. With so many personalities, they would come from every angle. Every line was relatable. It was a work of art beginning to end. “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit” are anthems.
Nas – Illmatic
Another record that taught you something. Nas was true and real. A true storyteller. Tupac, Biggie, Slick Rick, Big L, Jigga, even Rakim were all great but Nas spoke to listeners in a different way. I think it was the innocence in his voice that made it stick, especially with younger listeners at the time – a bit like Kendrick. A good kid from a fucked up place trying to tell his story. That’s kind of one of the reasons I named our record Narrative because I wanted to tell a story.
Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Public Enemy [made the list] for the fact that [It Takes A Nation] was a conscious rap album. In the face of an industry that was trying to overlook them because of their message, they stayed true to who they were. They scared the establishment because of that. I knew I had to be myself to make this record work. They quoted Malcolm and Martin. I grew up learning the teachings of both of them and I found a balance between the two. Public Enemy never held back. Chuck D told the truth and you can’t deny the truth.