Chris DormanThe Good Old Days

‘They sure don’t make things the way they used to!’ Have you ever heard that expression before?

If you are a child of the 1960s or 1970s at one time you had family/extended family that grew up in the 1920s and 1930s, a time when things were built to last.

​Growing up I don’t ever remember my parents purchasing a new refrigerator, stove, washer or dryer; they didn’t have to. Why? Because things were built to last, to endure.

​The hymns are like that…songs for the long haul, written to endure….songs that have stood the test of time.

​God brought me to Himself through the evangelistic efforts of my very first friend in life, Adam Christing, as well as the ministry of the church then known as Whittier Area Baptist Fellowship, or “WABF” as we used to say. The foundations of my faith were formed there. There I was baptized. And it was there that I was first exposed to the hymns.

​I remember how awkward the hymns seemed to me…how stodgy the music was…who plays an organ anyway? But when I tuned out the music and read the lyrics to these songs, my heart was filled with a desire to sing these old dusty songs with as much gusto as I could.

​The truth is modern “worship” music is very different from the hymns. We’ve all seen the many jokes and memes that have been written, poking fun at the shallow lyrics and endless repetition of modern worship music. The reason why these memes are funny is because they are true; our own experience confirms it. One cannot say that about the hymns, however; there is nothing shallow about these songs.

​Joyful, joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of Love; Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, Opening to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away. Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day. [by Henry van Dkye]

​ For those who may not have been exposed to the hymns or who may not as of yet grown to love them as we do, we present this appreciation in the hopes that you, the people of God, would honor Him through worship and adoration of your King!

— ​Pastor Chris Dorman


Nick LaytonThe idea for an instrumental hymns album was never really on my radar. I have an instrumental hard rock/metal album I released back in 2008 called Storming the Castle, so I’ve got experience with guitar oriented instrumental music where the lead guitar takes over the lead melody instead of a vocalist. But the idea of doing a full album of hymns like that never crossed my mind.

Then one fine day Chris Dorman from Sanctuary International asked if I’d do a hymn for background music to use for a biblical teaching video he was doing. The hymn was called “O The Deep Deep Love of Jesus” and I’d never heard of it, but I did some research and agreed to create an instrumental version for Chris. It turned out so well that I started hearing things like “hey, you should do a full album of these hymns…it would be such a blessing to people.” One thing led to another and I decided I’d just start working on some hymns in my free time and see where it went.

After I’d completed about 4 of them I committed myself to doing 10 hymns with the hope of releasing a full length album, but I knew I needed a musical partner to bounce ideas off of. Enter Roger Dale Martin. Roger was the bassist for the Christian thrash metal band Vengeance Rising and also played bass in Die Happy and Once Dead. I was introduced to Roger by Chris Dorman who has known Roger for years. Roger heard the material and jumped on board.

What came after Roger joining can only be described as God inspired. We worked together so well and challenged each other with creative ideas. Roger brought some ideas for many of the arrangements including the extended guitar intro on “Holy, Holy, Holy,” the Rap trap drum groove on “Nothing But The Blood” and the punk attitude in “I’ll Fly Away.” I would have never thought of those things.

In addition to Roger I also had the benefit of bouncing ideas off of some guys who know a whole lot more about hymns than I do—Don Waite, the aforementioned Chris Dorman and Scott Herrin. These guys all do video podcasts and teaching on various biblical/life topics through Sanctuary International which is led by Christian metal pioneer Pastor Bob Beeman.

These guys were critical to the entire Roxology project. This album would never have happened without their guidance in choosing hymns, encouragement and spiritual wisdom along the way. I truly believe God brought this group together for this work. I know I learned a lot about the depth and meaning of these hymns from these guys. And we’ve had a lot of fun along the way!

The challenge with reinterpreting hymns is coming up with creative and interesting arrangements that flow and are exciting to listen to. In addition to that I wanted the hymns to reflect the hard rock and metal background that Roger and I have while still being respectful of the original melodies. So it wasn’t simply a matter of recording an old hymn; there were a lot of creative decisions made along the way for each of them.

We are all extremely satisfied with the result and hope you enjoy listening to the album as much as we did making it!

— Nick Layton

Roger Dale MartinChris Dorman and I go way back. Back to when Sanctuary South Bay was the place to be every Sunday afternoon.

Metal heads worshiping Jesus Christ Almighty. Seeking wholeheartedly and becoming rooted and grounded in the Word. Those who were fortunate enough to be in Los Angeles during this very exciting time all have a deep connection. Chris and I are no exception.

“Roger, I am inviting you to join a group of gentlemen who are very excited about a musical project,” Chris said. “Me, Scott Herrin, Don Waite and Nick Layton.”

Don is in the brotherhood of Sanctuary South Bay also. Once again, the connection is deep for us pioneers. “This is indeed interesting,” I thought to myself.

I had met Scott at a Sanctuary International social event. Liked him.

But who was this Nick Layton? Turns out to be the guy from Seattle who recorded background metal tracks for WeAreMetalWeAreFamily.com. I’ve always wondered who did those crunchy guitars.

So I called Nick and introduced myself. He sounded nice and very professional. We chatted business for a bit and established the songwriting and production team of Layton and Martin. Oh yeah.

We began work immediately. Within a couple of days I am laying down bass tracks for “A Mighty Fortress”. Nick is such a pro. I learned that he was a former worship director at his local church, and I got very excited because I played the Nashville church circuit from 1994- 2016. I have worked in that musical arena for awhile and have a ton of experience working with worship leaders. As long as you have the fundamentals of music down you can work with these guys.

So it was wonderful working with Nick. Chord charts were used, lines were spelled out, musical notation and tabs. Nick is hardcore and shreds like a big dawg. Awesome tone. When he bends a string into pitch, he nails it. For you musical freaks, Nick will sometimes cram 8 separate triplets into one bar. “Just to throw a little heat on it,” says Nick. Ha!

Our focus: Traditional Christian hymns — set in a blazing rock format. No holds barred and no boundaries. Trap beat? Yup. Punk rock upside your head? Mm hmm. Texture like crunchy peanut butter? K. And inspired musical moments? Without a shadow of doubt.

Our goal of being finished recording by Christmas Day was accomplished on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. All because of the love and prayers that we shared amongst the team.

Verily, verily I say unto you. I am proud of this album. It will melt your face, homie…

— Roger Dale Martin

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Interview with Layton & Martin

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