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Various - We Wish You a Metal Christmas and a Headbanging New Year

By CrpnDeth, Staff Photographer/Writer
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @ 4:33 PM


Various Artists wishing you Happy Holidays

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As a kid I remember listening to Christmas albums my parents put on every December. Anne Murray, Bing Crosby, and a whole slew of other old farts I had never heard of except for this one cold month a year (I lived in NY). Year after year, like a moth to the light, I would go through my entire record collection looking for hard rock and metal Christmas covers. And, year after year, I never found any.

Luckily, things have changed drastically since then. This year we have a new addition to the stack called We Wish You a Metal Christmas and a Headbanging New Year. The disc kicks off with a thunderous version of We Wish You a Merry Christmas sung by Jeff Scott Soto (Bruce Kulick on guitar). God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman (led by Ronnie James Dio and Toni Iommi) sounds like it could have been on any Black Sabbath disc with it creepy and engaging riffs.

Stand out tracks include the bluesy hammering Run Rudolph Run, led by Lemmy (Dave Grohl on drums) – this is the version that would make your parents wonder just what satanic holiday you were celebrating. Santa Claws is Coming to Town is brought to you by none other than the nightmare himself, Alice Cooper (John 5 on guitar, Vinny Appice on drums). The typical Cooper attitude just drips throughout the entire tune making it an instant hit – only Alice could sing about Santa and give you the chills at the same time.

There always has to be at least one stinker on a collection, doesn’t there? That award would go to Silver Bells (sung by Geoff Tate with Carlos Cavazo on guitar). As soon as I saw this song on the list, I immediately thought of how sappy it would be (seems how it is a ballad, basically) and how Geoff’s vocals would sear over everything. I was wrong. It’s a rocker. Carlos totally shreds on the solo, the tempo gets the foot tapping, but then the vocals do come in. Not sure what the hell happened, but they just do not blend well in this tune. At times they seem rushed and like Geoff is trying to hit higher notes than he has to. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer sung by Stephen Pearcy is a very close second. The vocals are just horrible.

The tracks that don’t keep pace with the stand outs mentioned above, but are still better than the two stinkers, include Little Drummer Boy (sung by Dug Pinnick), though it’s not really the fault of the musicians. How heavy/hard can you make a song where you sing “pa rum pum pum pum”? The song starts out really slow, which doesn’t help things but at least it gets moving towards the middle of the song. Santa Claus is Back in Town (sung by Tim Ripper) is just the opposite – it tries to come off too heavy.

The death metal caroling shows up in Chuck Billy’s rendition of Silent Night (with Scott Ian on guitar). This is the clear winner to play for your neighbors when you want to shut them up!

Over all, this isn’t a bad disc to be cranking around the holidays.

What we need however is someone to go through the archives (much like Lars did with his NWOBHM compilation) and pull out the heavier shit – King Diamond’s No Presents for Christmas. Or 220 Volt’s Heavy Christmas. Hell, even Stryper's Winter Wonderland rocked (sorry, big fan of Robert's drumming back in '84/'85 when this song came out).

What do you guys think? What are the best metal/hard rock Christmas songs out there?

King


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