The Knights of the New Crusade - A Challenge to the Cowards of Christendom (Cover Artwork)

The Knights of the New Crusade

A Challenge to the Cowards of Christendom (2006)

Alternative Tentacles

The Knights of the New Crusade are a Christian rock band unlike any other. While most Christian bands draw the line at spreading a 'positive' messge, the Knights not only cross this line -- they blow it into the ground and make these other so-called 'Christain rock' bands look cowardly and phony. They even go as far as to call out and ridicule these 'sellout' Christian bands on the title track in which they mock their detractors: "'You'll never get signed to a major label playing that kind of music.' Good! I don't need that kind of temptation in my life!" Aside from phony Christain bands, they condemn: war ("Some of the people that get on our case for being Knights are under the influence of the same war-mongering demons as the politicians who ignore the commandments that Jesus affirmed"), hypocritical Christain profiteers ("You don't post record earnings by telling people to give their wealth to the poor"), hipsters, hedonistic women ("when I see her around town, she's doing things to make the devil proud"), drugs, divorce and pornography ("let's outlaw divorce and pornography"). They advocate the death penalty and are all-out supporters of Jesus and a literal interpretation of the Bible.

That is, if this isn't some sort of elaborate joke. You see, the Knights are so over-the-top that one must wonder if they are being serious. First of all, they are signed to Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles, which makes them labelmates with Leftover Crack. The album art looks like a pamphlet from some Bible-beating Christian group and comes complete with Biblic verse references, some of which (Keep It Real: Psalms 10:7) make no sense. They dress like crusaders (go to their website and you'll see what I mean). And some of the lyrics are so ridiculous it had me laughing 'till my sides hurt (i.e. "Why Do You Want to Go to Hell?").

But enough about the message; the music is just too damn fun to overlook. With the exception of "The Big Man" (which can only be described as gospel-punk), A Challenge to the Cowards of Christendom is a straight-forward garage punk album ranging from fast ("What Part of Thou Shalt Not Kill Don't You Understand?") to slower ("When the Knights are Low"). This combined with the vocal energy and production value of an `80s skatepunk band and 13 songs clocking in at 26 minutes makes A Challenge to the Cowards of Christendom a fun, rawking album.

So, maybe this is a joke, maybe it isn't. But the Knights of the New Crusade are the most pissed-off, eyebrow-raising Christian rock band ever. If they all sounded like this, maybe I'd enjoy going to church.