A black metal drummer has been charged with setting two Mormon churches ablaze, according to The New Zealand Herald.

Jacob Lowenstein, 28, who plays for metal band Igni, appeared from custody via audio visual link at Christchurch District Court on April 2 on two charges of arson – and one of unlawfully taking a vehicle.

Two churches – one in Christchurch and one on the West Coast – were damaged by fire last month.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Upper Riccarton suffered damage to a building used as a study centre around 2am on March 11.

Two days later, firefighters had to battle a major blaze at a Greymouth church.