James Franchise, a solo artist from New York, has been making a name for himself by taking worship songs and giving them a metalcore spin. Everything he has done has been done through his own funding thanks to a job at a charter school. However, in June he was terminated from that job, which put a lot of questions marks on the future of his work. Because of his belief and dedication to making, as he calls it, “heavy, spirit-filled music,” he decided to start a crowd-funding campaign to launch a full-length worship album that will feature his own original material.
It is incredibly fulfilling to hear worship done in a way that expresses the emotional weight behind the words, with the musical punch of a metalcore song. An interesting correlation exists between metal lyrics and the psalms already (for real, just check out Earth Groans as an example), so having a marriage of these two into one just seems natural. James Franchise does an excellent job of making this happen.
Of the songs he has covered, the standouts are “Praise You in the Storm” (originally by Casting Crowns) and “Here As in Heaven” (originally by Elevation Worship). Sonically similar to Wolves at the Gate, Phinehas, and Killswitch Engage, James Franchise takes typical CCM songs and gives them a facelift that reaches an audience that otherwise may have never heard them.
As of September 27, his financial goals to produce the full-length album were reached, and recording tracking has started. With his ability to rewrite these songs into powerful metalcore tracks, his future looks to be a very interesting one. A heavy metal worship artist may just what the Christian music scene needs. If nothing else, metal is an underrepresented genre within the worship community.