Formed in 2000, Sorrowstorm (opens new window) is the black metal solo project of multi-instrumentalist Felipe Diez. In 2010, he retired from music due to various circumstances, but in early 2021, he announced the return of the project and signed with Vision of God Records to release his latest EP, Epoch of Exile. I had the pleasure of interviewing Felipe about the history of Sorrowstorm, the new EP, his time in two different theological seminaries, the Gospel and the future of his other projects.
For our readers who might not be familiar with you, could you introduce yourself?
-My name is Felipe Diez, but some have called me Ogrvst (pronounced “ogrus”). I’m Panamanian by nationality but live in Pittsburgh, PA. I do social work as a profession and go to school for addiction counseling. I’ve been playing in bands since 1994, mostly extreme metal. I came to a saving knowledge of Christ in ’97 through this form of music. I am a fan of death, black, doom metal, and grindcore, and have tried my hand in these sub-genres. I also had a little record label Dysmorphic Records but no longer release my own CDs through it. I live with friends and record demos in my room to later track those at a studio in this area. I only follow one sport – boxing. I trained in that that for years. I attend a local Presbyterian church and engage in bible and discipleship studies.
Sorrowstorm originally started in the year 2000 but was put on hold in 2010, then returned this year. What led you to come back to music after retiring?
-I moved to Seattle in 2009 from Panama to pursue more music over there, but I quickly lost interest. I recorded vocals for one of my projects called Northern Ash with Todd Brandt on instruments and also for Entorn (sludge doom) and Rehumanize (grindcore), but my direction was shifting away from music and into seminary studies. I enrolled at Fuller Seminary in 2010 and spent every cent I had on this path, leaving me consistently broke for years. I had no instruments and few CDs since I gave away most of my collection before I moved to Seattle. People would contact me throughout the years to see if I had any plans with music, and I thought I was done for good. I just fell off the map. I moved to Pittsburgh for more seminary after I graduated from Fuller and this is where I live now. I’d saved up money so I was all set when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Friends and family encouraged me to get some instruments and a recording interface, and I did. I wrote some songs, recorded them in a studio, contacted Vision of God Records, got signed to them for a 3-release deal, and released my EP entitled “Epoch of Exile” on March 26, 2021. I think this is my best work to date. I felt I had unfinished business with Sorrowstorm (black metal), and this project of mine was the one I thought had the most potential. I felt like in today’s scene, death metal was just not as marketable or widespread anymore so I did not shift my gear toward Encryptor (opens new window) (my death metal project). I was also listening to a lot of black metal of all kinds so I naturally just began to write in that style.
Before going with the moniker SorrowStorm you had considered the names “Throne of Sorrow” and SorrowThrone. There is a common theme of sorrow, why did you finally land on SorrowStorm, and what is the meaning behind the name?
-I wanted a name that was marketable back in 2000, that people would remember. Since I have always been familiar with the emotion of sorrow, it just naturally clicked along with “storm.” With names, I don’t think of them too much, they just appear abstractly in my mind and I settle with them if I like them. I do that with all my project names and song titles. The name “Sorrowstorm” has no serious meaning because with these matters, I think inductively (particular name toward a broader sense of meaning) rather than deductively (general meaning leading to a particular name). The whole thing with “Ogrvst” was different. I think I came up with that in 2002 while at home in Panama one summer in between college semesters. I think some friends made a comment about me appearing like an ogre while I lifted weights and it kind of stuck. For me, however, identification with sorrow, whether resulting from fallenness or as a legitimate feeling in the Christian life, is so familiar and I used to dwell on it a lot until it became rather pathological (or vice versa). That’s why my first album was called “Caverns of Grief,” which sounds isolating and morose. Times have changed, though, and I’m churning out stuff that is more Christ-centered and uplifting, incorporating a little more major chords to make it bearable for a wider audience and my own sanity. But the general lamentation is kind of there still and may not evaporate any time soon.
Who are your main vocal and musical influences?
-Early Sorrowstorm was influenced by Emperor, Arcturus, but especially Lord Belial. Thomas Backelin is such an underrated black metal vocalist – sharp, powerful, piercing, and just overall menacing. Garm of Arcturus is an iconic vocalist and my vocals sound a bit like his on some portions of new Sorrowstorm, though maybe a little higher pitched. “Funeral Oath” era Sorrowstorm is more influenced by Marduk and Dark Funeral, although I was not seeking to emulate their vocal style. Some newer songs from “Onward” had that “Immortal” feel, and “Epoch of Exile” was its own thing, really. This year I was listening to Shylmagoghnar (hard time pronouncing that) and Advent Sorrow throughout the writing process, so you hear a little of that in the new EP. There is absolutely no death metal influence in Sorrowstorm because I already do that with Encryptor and don’t wish to be redundant.
You recently revealed in a Facebook post that you are ignorant of music theory. Tell us more about this. How did you learn how to play music?
-I took guitar lessons starting at age 12, and I was too lazy and absent-minded to memorize any of the names of the notes. I took drum lessons for a little bit and was very indifferent about learning to read those black shapes on the white page – tabs or something. It took too long to work through them and I would rather just not learn them. I tune my guitar and drums by ear and can’t read the notes on the Psalter when I sing the Psalms in Bible study or prescribed church worship. They are literally random blotches on paper to me. I have no idea which note I am playing on my guitar or why I choose to create one riff following another one. I don’t even know what I am doing when I write music, if there is such a thing as a logical process in that. The riffs just come together and the songs start and finish when I want them to. I was never a good student of music because I practiced when and how I felt like it (which was rarely), except when I was playing in bands because we had to practice a lot before shows and make music. I was always very particular about the genres I’d play and I really wanted my death metal to stay death metal and my black to stay black, and my doom to stay doom, but I don’t really know why. I never did crossover or experimental stuff. I was just really rigid. Even now It makes me feel a little uncomfortable that Sorrowstorm is moving in a more progressive direction because there is an irrational fear of “leaving” the category of black metal. I just need to be ok with flexibility, I guess.
Musically, you took more of a melodic approach to black metal. What influenced this slight change in direction?
-During the vocal recordings for Northern Ash, I integrated some clean vocal “mock chorus” singing into a couple of the songs and I liked how it sounded. Then last year I was listening to Asgaroth (Spain) which has some clean vocals, and ideas started brewing to put some of that into Sorrowstorm. At the same time, I was just a little burnt out from playing the brutal raw stuff, and decided that to appeal to a larger crowd I’d do something more melodic that would probably turn a few more ears in my direction. Emotionally, I’d matured some and found more consistent melodies to be increasingly desirable to me so it all just converged. I’m honestly liking this direction and plan on adding even more melody to the band in the future. Things aren’t going to be the same.
What is the concept of the artwork and who designed it?
-I contacted my friend Nat Handloser who does art for bands in late January. I gave him an idea of the concept of Exile in the Bible. The name “Epoch of Exile” just fell on me one night and I gave him the song titles and let him figure it out. He also redid the logo. The artwork depicts a random disheveled exiled person departing from a burned, looted city in the Kingdom of Israel around the 600s BC depicting the time of the sacking of Jerusalem by king Nebuchadnezzar.
What are some of your favorite Christian metal albums and what was the first black metal album you heard? (Question from Jonathan Leary)
-Return of the Black Death (Antestor) is legendary. That was the first one I heard of that genre back in the 90s. You’ve got Sanctifica (Spirit of Purity) which is also an excellent album. Vaakevandring’s EP is also sonic gold. Actually, the first Christian metal band I ever heard was Mortification. Someone was playing it on the radio in like 1995 in Panama. It was a song from “Post Momentary Affliction.” I was instantly hooked! The second band I heard was Vengeance Rising back in 97. Believer is another one I have fond memories of. The first actual brutal death metal CD I heard was Crimson Thorn’s “Unearthed” a couple years after it was released. Grindcore’s gold standard is “Vomitorial Corpulence” with Skin Stripper and for doom you had Paramaecium’s “Exhumed of the Earth.” Back then you didn’t have too much of a selection so you appreciated the little access you had to Christian metal. Also, the internet wasn’t as big as it is now so you had to hunt for bands like a hound and go to html websites to see if you could download a free track. This was before Napster, so you had to go to each individual website, whose links to songs sometimes didn’t work. You had to call Cross Rhythms Music (the Christian store that later changed its name to blastbeats) by phone to place your CD, cassette, and vinyl orders. We really appreciated each band we listened to.
You recently signed to Vision of God Records for the release of Epoch of Exile. How did you get connected with the label, and how has the experience been thus far?
-I’d seen posts from Vision of God records concerning releases of theirs, so I had them in mind for me. I considered a couple other labels too but Vision was my first choice. I contacted Duane in mid-February of this year, we hammered out a 3-release contract, and released the EP in late March along with merchandise. The experience has been great. I mean, this is the biggest contract I’ve ever gotten with a label and Duane puts out the stuff quickly and professionally. He’s a friend. I like my labelmates, those bands, and we support each other in many different ways, among them being spiritually with prayer and stuff. It’s a long-haul contract, so in the future I won’t have to go label-shopping or anything like that. It’s a ministry, too, so it goes well with my attitude toward ministry and my primary reason for making music.
Playing music for over a decade and releasing fifteen albums, one’s beliefs can go through various transformations. What would you say is the most significant change in your theology from Caverns of Grief to Epoch of Exile is?
-I came to a saving knowledge of Christ at a Spanish-speaking evangelical-Pentecostal church back in 97. I was sort of dispensationalist (opens new window) (please google the term if you need to, it’s a long story) and bought into some surface doctrines of the prosperity Gospel, yet rejecting the glitz and glamor that accompanied it. When I moved to college at a Christian liberal arts institution, I became familiar with the doctrines of grace (often termed Calvinism (opens new window)), which pushed me a little further in that direction, but I still had a little Pentecostal in me, at least as far as some terminological usage is concerned. For example, in my song Occult Moon, the lyrics include the following: “did you know that the one you adore is wretched and hateful beyond your control? I rebuke the power that binds in the name of Christ.”
A few decades ago, a popular American teaching became widespread, stating that were given authority by God to rebuke evil spirits. This, they say, can be deduced from passages such as Luke 10:17, when the 72 disciples were sent out by Jesus to perform extraordinary works. They returned to Jesus and said: “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Believers in “rebuking demons” reason that this same authority is present in all believers, even to this day. In like manner, they believe that Joel’s prophecy in Acts 2 (opens new window) (the part about visions and dreams) is operable today. However, said prophecy took effect finally in Acts 2. The remarkable thing, however, is that the teachings in question do not state (implicitly or explicitly) that we are able or commanded to do these things in those Scriptures. What is stated in that part of the Bible is descriptive (happened) and not prescriptive (to be done). Taken to logical conclusions, one might state that the Appalachian “snake handlers” are exegetically responsible when these take Mark 16:18 out of context and foolishly place themselves in danger when they handle snakes, believing that God has commanded this. Instead, I believe, we ought to place our armor (Eph. 6) and spiritually defend ourselves with the Scriptures and faith, and ask God to deal with the enemy directly. The apostles and prophets performed signs and wonders as part of the inbreaking of the kingdom of God, to expand and edify it. The plan was to add to the OT divine revelation and eventually close the canon of the NT church. Those who teach that we have the same authority as the apostles misunderstand the verse: “resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7b). But section “b” of the verse is dependent on section “a,” which reads “Submit to God.” One is protected from the wiles of Satan by drawing near to God, not by rebuking or binding the Accuser. I did not understand this when I wrote those lyrics for my song. I am not anti-Pentecostal or wish to disillusion anyone, but as a church we ought to give a reasonable defense for specific beliefs.
I began to read philosophy, apologetics, and theology religiously starting in 2006. My lyrics began to reflect this beginning with Northern Ash’s first album “The Age of Irrationality (opens new window)” with the following: “man is a cosmic orphan in a land of total separation. Reason destroys the arguments against my God. Why be a slave to morals if they don’t exist? Why is it wrong to kill if there is no law?” Basically, the song questions the logical consistency of subjective moral reasoning, and posits the existence of transcendent and eternal ethical precepts proceeding from a personal loving God. In 2007, I became a Calvinistic Baptist through my studies and entered a phase of excitable angst directed toward false-teachers, most of whom appeared on popular social media sites and TV. I employed familiar grindcore tactics on the song: “False revival, demonic spirits, deceiving message of Todd Bentley. Prophetic movement filled with visions not of the Father of but fallen angels.” Bentley, the man in question, was the oddest man I have ever seen around a pulpit. He would speak of obviously occultic and just plain bizarre manifestations, treating these as movements of God. He later committed various moral failings and was defrocked by those who ordained him. After my first retirement from music, I became a Reformed Presbyterian and am one to this day. “Epoch of Exile” lyrics reflect this because the lyrics were more textual in content, though displaying some woeful imagery reminiscent of past works. The difficulty for me lies in crafting lyrics that will fit song tempos. Longer 5 or 6 syllable words usually found in theological parlance may not fit well inside a song and are usually cognitive-oriented, when black metal tends to be rather poetic, emotive, and “mystical.” A standard cognitive approach would work well with technical thrash or death metal, but I’ve always had trouble incorporating my theology solidly into Sorrowstorm music.
When you start the creative process of creating and writing songs, how intentional are you in your theological thought process?
-With me, lyrics or theme ideas are never generated before the music. All of my songs start with guitar riffs. Then the drums are added, and I either write the lyrics as the song goes or (usually) leave them for last. The song name randomly appears later in the process. This makes it difficult to import theological ideas into the song structures because systematic theology (opens new window), being propositional in nature, does not fit well into song, so any theology that is present in songs has to be extracted from a hazy and poetic set of words that have been embedded into the songs. In other words, the lyrics are icing on the cake and must be spread onto the already baked dessert. It’s easier to take partially-verbatim sections of the Bible, like a more poetic literary structure, to place into the songs. My theology centers on predestination, election, God’s complete Sovereignty over all creation superseding man’s supposed free will, the infallibility and authority of Scripture, the final earthly triumph of the church over the worldly dark forces (an eschatological (opens new window) position known as postmillennialism (opens new window)), and God’s decree of earthly suffering for all people with the promise of delivering them from all of their fears while they are patient in tribulation and prayerful with thanksgiving. All in all, my process is not very intentional until the end when it begins to take shape and “closes” the song out. Afterward, it is the capstone of the song, interwoven throughout.
Your other project Rehumanize focused heavily on calling out false teachers who are misleading the flock of Christ. What particularly motivated you to call them out openly?
-It was 2007 and a friend and I were experimenting with grindcore. I did vocals and as I was thinking about lyrics to write, I came across some of Joel Osteen’s teachings and was instantly triggered, so I wrote lyrics for the song “televandalism” among other songs. “Resident Apostasy (opens new window)” was a much bigger deal and was released on Open Grave Records, and by then, a host of false teachers was being presented regularly on Youtube, prompting me to write songs like “Supersized Megachurch” with lyrics like: “How many leather coated seats do you need? Tens of thousands to hear your sappy message, bookstores are filled with useless material. Tithe money wasted on irrelevant décor. Excess lights and luxury are placed before the Word.” If anything is going to produce socio-political commentary, it’s going to be grindcore. This was back in 2007 – 8 when I was still young, vigorous, and trying to find my way through the maze of theology and ecclesiastical-cultural tendencies that were brewing at that time. Honestly, I witnessed a lot of people I know defending these teachers, so I was alarmed and was hoping to explain to people why these folks should be avoided while having fun making grind. Looking back, I am surprised that Open Grave released the CD because Rehumanize was just a side-project, but it worked out well and the message got out there. Since 2006 I was extremely drawn to studying, and I was rather antagonistic toward theologies I had not adopted (whether I was generous about it or not). Back then, my mental constitution and life habits tended toward extremities, so the lyrics sound very “in your face.” I’ve relaxed a little since then so rather than overstating my critiques, I hope to promote what is pleasing and noble, attempting to influence people to draw near to God and loving them where they are at in life.
How did you come to faith in Christ? Were you raised in a Christian home?
-I was baptized Roman Catholic and raised with the general moral teachings of Christianity, but I never understood the Gospel or had the Bible as an ethical framework addressing every human concern. I was raised in very good home, and my family has always supported me in every area. In my theological tradition (Presbyterianism (opens new window)), we tend to consider Roman Catholic baptism as legitimate, yet acknowledging major disagreements in essential areas of the faith. I mean, I was re-baptized when I was 20, but now I would say it was redundant but pretty fun. At age 16, I became interested in exploring Christianity some more. I had left the secular metal scene, disillusioned that people in it seemed so eager to promote darkness and negativity. Also, the bands I played in were not heavy enough for me. I wanted to play death metal with people who didn’t smoke, curse, or drink, but good luck finding that. Around Thanksgiving of 1997 I received a random call from the then guitarist of Ministros del Santuario. They were looking for a drummer and I happened to be available. I went to their church in Panama City and a few days later after meeting the people there, getting prayed over, and listening to the preaching, I began to identify very strongly with evangelical Christianity. I, being a person of extremes, was happy to speak of Jesus and the Bible to everyone, and defend the Christian faith. So, I became kind of a metal evangelist.
You have a background in theological studies and have obtained two master's degrees. Could you give us more insight into your post-secondary education? (if you could elaborate on why, you did the same program in different schools)
-Sure thing. I moved to Seattle in 2009 because my sound engineer who lived in Tampa moved to Seattle. After having recorded in FL, I went to Seattle to work with him some more. I really liked it there so I re-located, but found that due to difficult circumstances, I was unwilling and unable to continue with music. My dad had been persuading me to attend seminary, and he asked me to find one in the area to enroll at. Fuller Seminary (northwest extension campus) was 15 minutes away from me, so I entered the Master of Divinity program there. I later switched to a shorter program due to financing and theological differences. I learned Church history and Systematic Theology under distinguished professors there, and developed a respect for Christian traditions not of my own, which I highly disagreed with but nonetheless began to learn to live with. Many people have asked me why I made such a choice. Well, back then it was the largest seminary in America and the best one in the area. Second, it molded my often-difficult character and exposed me to a different ecclesiastical realm. One thing that many people don’t really know about me is that I used to have a combative streak in me. When I was in a bad mood, I would become defensive and irritable, wanting to state my case and prove other viewpoints wrong, almost as if these positions could not exist around me. In the process, some people were understandably alienated by this behavior. So going to Fuller allowed me to study with people that I now viewed as persons instead of false-teaching vessels, and this allowed me to understand their beliefs and why they arrived at them, loving them in a Christ-like manner.
For those unfamiliar with a popular position at Fuller, it is the denial of biblical inerrancy while still preserving biblical authority (as they articulate it). The seminary jettisoned inerrancy from their statement of belief in the 1970s during the reemergence of the liberal vs. fundamentalist controversy that brewed as a result of the socio-cultural shifts of that time. Inerrancy is the teaching that the Bible is without error or fault in all its teaching, in particular as it relates to scientific and cultural viewpoints. Fuller’s statement acknowledges that the Bible is authoritative for Christians, but not inerrant, in that the more peripheral teachings (not major ones such as the Resurrection and the Return of Christ), such as the Petrine statement that women are the “weaker vessel,” (1 Peter 3:7) were limited to ancient near-east 2nd temple society. They, then, will sometimes apply this interpretive principle to other portions of Scripture that teach concerning women ministers, LGBTQ ethics, and even cosmology. I am happy that I got to learn in this environment because it enriched me.
Upon graduating, I moved to Pittsburgh to study at Reformed Presbyterian Seminary’s Master of Divinity program. This school was more friendly toward my theology, had more of a pastoral and practical focus. I got to learn with people who formed a tight-knit community, and learned what it meant to “study under pastors” (The seminary’s motto). I ended up transferring to the Master of Theology program due to the fact that I had no calling to become ordained and had a very time-consuming job. I graduated from there 2 years ago.
Who would you say has (have) been the most influential theologian(s) or pastor(s) in your life?
-Dr. Gordon H. Clark (1902 – 1985). He was an American presbyterian philosopher, apologist, and ordained minister. I came across his writings when I moved to Seattle and ended up reading 30 of his books. He was an expert in early Greek philosophy and created his own apologetics focusing on the defense of the Scriptures as a foundation (without arguments external to the Bible) over and against an evangelical tendency to use evidences for the existence of God (classical and evidential forms of apologetics). His philosophy is known as Scripturalism, and is rarely used in apologetics, though it can be powerfully put to use. He also wrote about the philosophy of history (historiography), science, education, and psychology. His thought influenced my view of life, theology, and lyrical shift in a more biblical direction.
In your own words, what is the Gospel?
The Gospel (euangelion in Greek) simply means “good news.” It is the news concerning the work of the Lord God and how salvation is attained, founded on His goodness and holiness. Of His goodness, Psalm 100 says “be thankful to Him and bless His name, for the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” He is also Holy. The book of Leviticus says “I am the Lord. Be Holy for I am Holy.” The word “holy” means “separate.” God is separate from sinners, and he commands everyone to be separate from sin, like Him. The problem, however, is that we are not. Even though we are made in His image, we were born morally corrupt, with evil inclinations, because of the sin of Adam. The book of Genesis says: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The book of Romans says that nobody is righteous in his sight, for “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” To “fall short” means to “miss the mark.” Because of our moral corruption, we have missed the mark of goodness and holiness. This poses a great dilemma. God cannot simply let a sinner into heaven because the sinner believes they deserve it. In fact, such an action would be evil, and Psalm 92 says: “The Lord is upright. He is my rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.”
If a judge was in court facing a wicked person rightly accused of murder, and the judge said: “because I am a good judge, I am going to let you off the hook and forgive your crime,” would we not demand that the criminal pay for it? We would demand this, and the situation with God is the same. But all of us who have sinned don’t really believe that our sin is bad enough to be barred from paradise. We want to establish our own goodness, but God will not accept this. Legally, we must pay for every sin that we have committed, eternally, since God is an eternal being.” But then who can be saved? Who can enter heaven?
In order to enter Heaven, one must be morally perfect to be able to coexist with God peacefully. But no person can meet this standard. Either God does a mighty logical act or he lowers His standard, the latter which he will not do. God does a mighty act. The book of Proverbs says “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent-- the LORD detests them both.” God will not condemn an innocent person (which there are none) and will not let an unatoned for guilty person go unpunished. During the day of atonement in the Old Testament, there was a priestly sacrifice consisting of a lamb that served to appease the wrath of God once a year, so that the people’s sins could be forgiven (expiation). During this ceremony, a finite human priest sacrificed a finite animal, which served its purpose back then, but pointed to a much greater reality on the cross. This animal sacrifice pointed to Jesus’s Christ’s final sacrifice on the cross for the sins of His people, both Jews and Gentiles. God will come down from heaven as a man and live a perfect life, die a perfect death, and rise again from the grave to be seated at the right hand of the Father. The book of Acts says:
“Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”
The book of Hebrews says of Christ’s Sacrifice:
“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands [Old Testament day of sacrifice with lambs], which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
Jesus, then, being a perfect man who lived a perfect life, is God (2nd person in the Trinity) the Son. He paid for people’s sins on the cross voluntarily. He humbled Himself. The book of Philippians says: “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
What does God command, then? Repentance and faith! The book of Acts says:
“God now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
And as Paul and Silas told a fearful man who stood guard by their jail cell, after the jailer asked the question: “What must I do to be saved?” “So, they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
God solves the problem concerning how a sinful person like you can enter heaven without compromising his law and attributes. God, being a good, holy, and righteous judge, not only takes people to live with Him eternally, he calls people “sons and daughters.” He has loved these people since before the foundation of the world so that they may have fellowship with Him, and provided a sacrifice “par excellence” to deal with the issue of sin. These people receive a changed heart and a new mind, and they are “born again” (born from above) not from flesh and blood but of the Holy Spirit, having different inclinations – hating what God hates and loving what He loves, knowing that no good work of theirs would be able to justify them in His sight. Your salvation, if indeed you have it, is based on the person and work of Christ alone, and not yours. You did nothing to contribute to it, as it is a free gift. He changes everyone that He calls to Him, and they are able to know this through the Holy Spirit. The book of Romans says: “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
But those who reject him have the worst of outcomes. The book of Revelation says: “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ and demonstrates it with their wicked works will be punished eternally. If you have ever sinned and broken God’s law, even once, you have been cursed. To be redeemed from that curse, The Lord commands you to repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ, that He is who He says He is, and will “prepare a place for you” in Heaven. Live a life pleasing to Him, develop the habit of reading the Scriptures, and pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus.
What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?
-That would be the book of Hebrews because it speaks of so many different essential topics to the Christian faith including the final supremacy of Jesus Christ, how He is greater than everyone including David, Melchizedek, and the angels. It elaborates on the theme of faith and those who have had faith throughout the Old Testament to give hope to the recipients of the letter so that they would not shrink back from their “so great salvation.” It makes sense of so many Old Covenant rituals and is beautifully pieced together – a stylistic masterpiece although the identity of the author is highly disputed. This is a letter that you can read in one sitting. Grab a coffee, some pastries, and cottage cheese (or whichever healthy treat you like), and pray for wisdom while reading this letter, and you can be sure that God will grant it.
With the return of SorrowStorm. What does the future look like for your other projects? Are there any plans of resurrecting, so to speak, any others?
-One of the toughest things I’ve had to do musically was to properly balance my projects out so that they would each have the songwriting, recording, and marketing quality I wanted. This was not always the case, so to keep it simple I’ll just stay with Sorrowstorm this time around.
Now that EP is available. What is next for SorrowStorm?
-Vision of God Records will be releasing my old material remastered and repackaged, with some bonus tracks. We hope to do this in the Summer. It’ll definitely be announced on social media. It’ll have new cover art. Other than that, I’m currently writing music to record later this year. I’ll be promoting my stuff online via all kinds of media and putting up little videos so that all of you could learn more about what I do as a ministry and as a musician.
Thank you for taking the time to do this. Any last words you would like to share?
-I really appreciate you taking the time to do your research and articulating the questions in a solid-comprehensive manner, it was a blessing to have participated in this project. This return to music was not carefully planned, but panned out well in the end, and built itself by God’s providence and timing. There were a lot of rough days in the studio and a lot of effort placed into everything that was done that culminated in the final product we have today. Purchase Sorrowstorm’s music and merchandise at Vision of God Records (opens new window). May the Lord bless all of you and give you peace.