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Meet the Heaven's Metal staff writers. Stay tuned as we add more...
A bearded, kilted, tattooed wonder, frequently spotted concert hopping in his natural habitat in the wilds of the Philly suburbs. Believed to be in his early 40's, Gatto values his family and his faith, makes aerospace heavy metal for a living, and then lives and breathes heavy metal all hours of the day and night. He loves a wide variety of music, spanning from Deep Purple to death metal, with a little blues and classic rock thrown in just to spice things up. Hiking, foreign languages, ice hockey, reading, and writing make up his other passions. Writing since high school, Chris has been writing for Heaven's Metal and HM for 10 years, once serving as managing editor of Heaven's Metal. Before that, he ran his own rock magazine, Nor'Easter Mag. With a BS in world missions, he is called to bring a pastor's heart to the heavy metal subculture.
In 1985 I rededicated my life and walk to the Lord by trashing my huge metal album collection, keeping only one simple album that had been contained therein - Stryper's "Yellow and Black Attack." I then began building a new collection, buying up any and all hard rock/metal available at that time, which included Saint, Messiah Prophet, Leviticus, Barnabas, Daniel Band, and Philadelphia to name a few. Throughout the rest of the 80's I bought tons of "demo" tapes and supported any Christian music I could get my hands on, as well as consuming issues of Heaven's Metal, White Throne and other such magazines.
In 1988 I took over an underground mag that was going under (God's Banging Banner - anyone remember that mag?) and with that mailing list in hand I launched "The Pendragon." For the next five years publishing music reviews, news and articles, before it finally folded too. During the time, making many contacts and friends in the Christian music community, and creating great memories.
Then, around 2005 Doug relaunched Heaven's Metal as a separate entity from HM, and I joined the Heaven's Metal crew, and here I am still. Also that same year I joined the Christian Alt Rock band Hemotheory, recording one single release - Zeta - that is still available out there digitally if you wish to check it out for kicks and giggles.
Aside from being a maniacal music hoarder, I have been the husband of one wife since 1986, father to six children, elder at my church, an avid reader of deep theology and historical studies, and a hard rocking drummer anytime I get the chance.
In 2017 I rejoined the vinyl addict world (more music hoarding), and a year or so later, jumped on the YouTube vlogger track discussing vinyl and music in general. Check me out HERE.
Doug Van Pelt
Here's my three-minute bio. I'm a child of God. My greatest identity is in Him. I want to maintain my childlike innocence and treat my Father in heaven like He's my daddy. I was born in the '60s, raised in the '70s, didn't grow up in the '80s and here I am in 2016 with the emotional maturity of a 17-year-old. Ha. Hopefully, that's not true, but I love music, I love humor. I love this life God gave me. I've had my share of suffering and setbacks, however, I have found that Jesus is Emmanuel (God is with us) and I have found great healing power in music. I was thrilled to launch Heaven's Metal Magazine back in June of 1985, thrilled to watch my dreams come true and see Heaven's Metal all over the world. Now I'm excited to see what happens with this re-launch. I'm thinking "team effort." Want to get involved? There's many ways to do that. Talk to me. I'm reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan "Doc" Swank
Former managing editor and current regular contributor to Heaven’s Metal Magazine. I am a husband, father, brother, son, grandfather (“Poppy”) and physician humbly trying to follow in the footsteps of the Great Physician. It is readily apparent (based on the amount of time I invest in this stuff during my “free” time) that I immensely enjoy listening to, analyzing and writing about music (mostly rock and metal these days), as well as reading, running and drumming.
I love writing for Heaven’s Metal and have been hooked up with this karew since 2006 or somewhere in there. I do have a background in music since I was like 9 (trumpet early, drums later) and have played in various symphonic, marching, percussion and wind ensembles and jazz bands through high school and college. I joined the Army in 1989 and served on a reserve commission during medical school (Philadelphia), and then on active commission in 1993 as a medical officer at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio during my residency in Internal Medicine, then served at Fort Hood, TX until 2000 when I resigned my commission to enter civilian medical practice in Virginia, where I have served the community since.
I find something to appreciate in just about every kind of music but mostly enjoy the heavier side of rock and the more progressive side of metal, the latter probably because it incorporates more elements from my early musician years in classical and jazz genres, as well as those well-developed lyrics and concepts … and because its heavy! I don’t restrict my tastes to only “Christian” music because not only has that label become somewhat irrelevant in the current music scene, but more importantly, I believe music is a gift from God and that like any gift, it can be used or misused. I say, leave it to the artists and listeners to discern what is “helpful” and what is not.
In addition to contributing reviews, and doing an artist interview here and there, I’ve been able to contribute a few “case studies” (links below) as well and hope to add to these in the future as time allows. As always, thanks for checking out Heaven’s Metal and taking an interest in our ministry and the bands we support. Case #1 (Christian Metal) Case#2 (Collector's Obsession).
It has been a long circuitous path to get where I am now… A founding staff writer for White Throne Magazine back in the 80’s, host to the White Metal Show prior to that (an underground cassette only show, remember those!!, show that went global). I served as part of the Soldier road crew from 1987-1989, care taker to the equipment of one Rick Hunter.
Had the opportunity to attend the first HIS Festival, the one and only Metal Mardi Gras, the 2nd HIS Festival and Metal Midnight shows in Southern California. Fortunate enough to see both Deliverance and Vengeance Rising before they were signed, what a wild ride!! Attended both Cornerstone 89 & 90, survived a wild mid west thunder storm in 1990!!
Checked out of the music seen in early 90’s but checked back in 2008… Started back up White Throne as a review blog, hosted the Heaven’s Metal podcast and White Throne Radio podcast… I am now hosting The Throne Room on Heaven’s Metal Radio. Periodically I am contributing occasional reviews and commentary to the Heaven’s Metal web zine and have been part of the Heaven’s Metal karew since around 2010…
A father to three young adults, I served as an associate pastor for 3 years before life circumstances moved into other things. You can find all kinds of hobby type stuff in my home, everything from Japanese Sci-Fi films (go go Godzilla!), superhero stuff, Books related to military aircraft and history. Camping gear and items related to astronomy.
Thanks for taking the time to check this out and learn a bit more about this rather odd staff writer…
As of 2019 I’m new to Heaven’s Metal, but the magazine was a huge part of my life during its first run. I’ve played drums and been involved in music since 1985 and I’ve been a Christian since 1989. Over the course of my musical career I’ve played for church congregations, at youth group retreats, in bars and clubs and at plenty of festivals (including Cornerstone). In addition to the outreach of some of my own bands, I also worked as a volunteer for a ministry that would exclusively promote Christian musicians and make sure that the Gospel was presented at every concert. They promoted everything from pop to the heaviest metal. During this time, I had the opportunity to meet many bands and artists that I had followed or read about and I gained even more respect for what they do. This period of volunteering and performing gave me a unique opportunity to witness what these bands do and to gain an understanding of what they are all about.
A love of music is one thing, but paying the bills is another. When I wasn’t busy playing music, I spent some time as a Christian Education Director and youth leader before moving on to a career in public service.
I am married, with an eternally supportive wife and three incredible kids. Outside of music I’m a sports fan and I love my Ohio teams. My passion for music is only rivaled by my love for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the crew here at Heaven’s Metal and I can’t wait to see what’s next.